Passed the PMP Exam on my first attempt - 23 Jan 2017

vatsav1984's picture
Hi All -
I am a 32 year old IT Professional .
After 2 months of  serious  planned studying in whatever time i could squeeze out - happy to announce that i cleared PMP today, with 4 P's and 1  Below P  (in Closing) 
My approach :
1. I did not study the PMBOK Guide. Tried it a couple of times, it worked as a good sleeping pill for me - abandoned it. Though  i wouldn't recommend this as a strategy.
2. My 2 main study guides were  Head First and Rita Mulcahy.  I used to study a topic  from Head First , first and then used Rita M for a more serious review. The negative tone of Rita's book puts off many people, but i was not rattled by it.  I did chapter end of questions of both about 3 times each. Head first questions are mostly embarassingly easy, so dont pat yourselves on the back for having got most right the first time itself. Rita's questions are trickier , so dont be overtly dissapointed if you come a cropper the first time around.  Learn the 25 planning processes that are in order - pretty easy if you read them about 3 to 4 times and write them down twice.
I also bought Rita's hot topics for quick revisions when i had time at work, during travel etc.
M Fahad Usmani's Short Guide on PMP Exam Formulas is another very good investment. He covers the quant portion very well with lot of examples and solutions. Priced cheap at around 10 dollars.
3. I divided the whole syllabus into 4 blocks  as follows :
a. BASE Block  : prelims, pm framework, pm process
b. QUANT block :  time  & cost
c. EASY Block :   HR,Comms and Stake Holder mgmt.    //  deceptively easy i should say,scope for screwups is big if you misunderstand concepts.
d. TRICKY Block :  Quality, Risk and Procurement.   Make sure you study these chapters  IN DEPTH from Rita M.  BURN the concepts into your head. Read more from the net. 
Quality is the easiest among the 3. Risk is the trickiest, even on the exam.Learn the outputs page just before the chapter end quiz for Risk in Rita M. It will serve 
you very well.I enjoyed studying Procurement, though many people find it tough for some reason.
4. I strengthened the above blocks in order the first time - and used to revise one block at  a time whenever i got the time. Made condensed notes so that i  didnt have to lug huge books around.
5. Mock Exams  :  
HF PMP : 87 %  // easy exam
OLIVER LEHMAN : 70 %  // way tougher than real exam
PM SIMULATOR 1,2 & 3  // 74 % , 87 % & 85 %.
Invest in PM SIMULATOR - it has 9 mock exams , the last one is purely based on ITTO - so effective 8 full length tests. I gave only 3 - couldnt take out time for the rest.
But i ensured that i completed all 1801 questions on the simulator by way of learning/timed quizzes. This exposes you to a large number of situational questions and sharpens your skills in eliminating wrong options. Also gives very good detailed explanations. Its also important to  review the answers you may have marked correctly during simulation as you may have marked the answer right, but your thought process may be totally wrong. 
6. If you can memorize ITTO's for a few chapters , it will serve you well. I memorized for a few chapters, and just kept a general understanding of the flow for others.
7. The exam had tricky questions - though nothing seemed like a bolt from the blue , barring one or 2 questions which i suspect may have been from the PMBOK - which i had abandoned with disdain. The situational questions were tricky - with options that really made you cringe  - just when  i thought i had the question nailed, i used to be stumped with another seemingly better option.
There were about 25 numerical questions - most were easy. About 3 were tricky , and made you work a little harder in terms of thinking - but they were solvable. Learn to spot red herrings and navigate around them.Resist the temptation to give up immediately on seeing something unfamiliar. Most of the times there will be extra data to confuse you.   I can confidently say i got all the numericals right . 
I completed the exam pretty fast , around 2.5 hours. I took another 20 minutes to review my marked questions, i realized i had marked the answer for 2 numericals wrongly in haste and corrected them . 
Finally, my restlessness got the better of me and i decided to wind up the exam -  it was nerve wracking when the system was deciding my result - but soon the PASS message flashed and i could scarcely belive i had 4 proficient ratings in initiating , planning, executing and monitoring.  
Closing was a disappointment with a below proficient rating. I am not sure why that happened ... anyway i was satisfied with my planning and performance overall .  Now, i am off visiting my family for a week - 
for what seems like a well deserved break !
Vamsi Gorthi


admin's picture

Awesome post. You have put lot of effort. Congratulations !

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That's very good. Congrats!
Those who want to read the experiences of recents PMPs can look at the following link.
Good luck.