PASSED THE PMP EXAM ( lesson learned)

firstly, let me say thank you for sharing all of your experiences and lessons with all of us here. i have been reading throughout this forum and have learned quite a lot. i have finally passed the project management professional exam. it only happened when my eligibility was about to expire. i tried the exam over a month ago and i underestimated the exam. so here is what happened the first time i took the exam ( didn't pass) and the second time ( when i passed the exam):



resources used: i only depended on rita's book (7th edition).


i took me about three months to read rita's cover to cover two times.

i dedicated 3 hours a day for reading after work, even in the weekend.

i took the exam mid-january 2013 and i was close to a pass but didn't pass.

on the exam day, i barely finished the 200 questions and the time was up.


lesson learned from the FIRST TIME:

1- never underestimate the exam, it's tough and it tests you as an expert in the project management

2- never depend on only one source for your studies ( i only depended on rita's book)

3- i didn't practice many questions and only practiced on rita's end of chapter questions. i only practiced on the simplilearn and pmstudy three days before the exam. it was a horrible mistake.

4- i was practicing on the mock exam and studying the day before the exam. i was afraid that i left some of the materials uncovered.



resources used:

PMBoK 4th edition (my main source)  three times

rita's 7th edition two times

rita's fastrack 7th edition

pmp book for kim heldman one time

chowdary notes (before the exam)

my notes, a lot of them

simplilearn mock exams (four) mock exams ( free, two, and four)

five to six hours a day of studying.

i didn't memorize the ITTOs, but the more i studied the PMBoK, the more i understood the processes and their related tools and techniques.


when i realized that i didn't pass and i only had about 55 days left for my one year eligibility period to expire, i booked a trip to europe and relaxed for a week there. i was totally devastated after the exam and i thought i would never recover from that shock.


so when i came back, there were only 45 days left. i decided that i would read the PMBoK as many times as i could to make sure that i understand and comprehend the materials. i also decided that i would practice more and more on the mock exams to look for gaps in my knowledge.

i bought the rita's fastrack and took them forever to activate it for me. it's pricy though, $ 299.

i started reading the PMBoK and finished it in two weeks. i read rita's book again to consildate my knowledge ares and then practice on rita's fastrack. i was scoring between 60 - 72% in rita's fastrack. then i started reading the kim heldman's 6th edition.

i finished reading the PMBoK the second time in one week. then i practiced on rita's fastrack and started getting 75 - 80 %

two weeks before the exam, i answered the questions that the training center had given me so they can mark them and identify gaps in my knowledge. they got back to me and said that i had got 74% and i should schedule my exam as soon as possible otherwise they were afraid that i would forget what i had studied.


the last two weeks before the exam can be summerized in four words: practice, practice, practice and more practice. i got the simplilearn four exams and i was scoring around 85% two weeks before the exam. then i needed something more challenging and took the pmstudy mock tests and has scored 75% and 76 % two weeks before the exam. then was scoring around 80-84% the last week before the exam.


the exam days:


i have to say that when i was preparing for the exam the second time, i couldn't sleep well. only got three to four hours a day of sleep. i didn't choose not to sleep well, but the constant thinking of the exam and what would happen if i didn't pass on my last day before my eligibility period expired.


i didn't study the day before the exam. i didn't even think about it. i was watching movies and had dinner with friends at the steak house.


i was there at the exam site one hour and a half before the exam. with one hour and a half left, i was even going through the notes.

at 9 a.m. i was in the prometric lab. the perview of the exam started for 15 mins. i wrote the 42 processes on the papers along with the 8 stratigies for risk. then i started the exam. the first, sixth, and seventh questions were tough; or should i say i was too scared when i sat for the exam.

there were too many calculations, i felt like there were 6 in each 10 questions were calculations. too many HR and conflict resolution questions. i finished the 200 questions in three hours and twenty minutes, so i thought i was doing good by spending only one minute per one question.

i took a break after that to go and wash my hands and face and cool down. from the inside i was almost sure that i was gonna pass but you never know what might happen down the road.

i got back to the lab and found that i marked 17 questions: i only changed three answers. after that i clicked on finish. then i filled in the survey and after that i was waiting for the results. although it took 10 seconds to get the results,but it felt like forever.

a message appeared on the screen saying : CONGRATULATIONS.....ETC you will get the certificate in about six weeks.


after one day, i found my name and certificate signed off on the pmi website. now waiting for the certificare to safely arrive.


 Congrats Moe!. Your indepth reading and understanding of the PMBOK in conjunction with Rita paid off at last. Congratulations!!. Now, you can take a relaxation trip back to Europe.

 Dear Friend,

             Congrats and thanks for sharing in detail LL. 



Hi Moe

Congrates on getting PMP certified !


Congrats on ur PMP.

Based on the posted LL, can u eloborate with some example how these questions are tough?

Are they out of PMBOK or situational based or some sort of lengthy questions?

then i started the exam. the first, sixth, and seventh questions were tough; 


I have my exam on 25th March and will be prepared for such questions.



 these were situational questions. the answers laid down in the PM process groups, such as: in the exectining, when a new risk is discovered where do we identify it ?. answer: in the monitor and control risk. 

some answers you will know that the phrasing of the answer is just wrong and you immediately eleminate it and you're left  with three answers to choose from. 

good luck with your exam. 

Hi Moe,

so when we said executing,we are not in teh Execution phase?


 Hi Sunita,


We can identify new risks mainly in 2 process groups. (Although generally risks can be identified throughout the project)

1. Planning (Identify Risks)

2. Monitoring & Control (Monitoring & Control Risks - Risk reassessment)


So when you are in Execution phase, new risks will be identified in Monitoring & Control process group.

Hope this makes sense.

Thanks Arun,

But am still confused with this statement

"So when you are in Execution phase, new risks will be identified in Monitoring & Control process group."

 From the below lines it is clear that Monitoring & Controlling risks will be done throughout the project.

"Monitor and Control Risks is the process of implementing risk response plans, tracking identified risks,monitoring residual risks, identifying new risks, and evaluating risk process effectiveness throughout the project"

When you are executing your project, you parallely look out for any new risks that surfaces out. This parallel task is nothing but monitoring & controlling risk where you identify new risks.

Thanks for the explanation Arun

 the question/situation is assuming that you have already finished the planning phase and you're right now in th executing phase, when a new risk comes up that has not been identified in the planning, the new risk is identified in the monitor and control risks. 

for more information: read the PMBoK page 308 line #  2

admin's picture

Congratulations on your PMP.