Passed PMP Exam On My First Try (25 June 2011) - Some Lessons and Tips
Hi PMPs and aspiring PMPs,
My background is in finance, IT, and process excellence. I got my Six Sigma Black Belt in 2007 and I found that many of the tools I utilized for that can also be applied to Project Management. I have managed small/medium projects before, so that experience helped too, but this test is passable for someone who has limited PM experience.
I took the exam yesterday and scored proficient in Planning, M&C, and Execution and scored Moderately Proficient in Initiating, Closing, and Professional Responsibility. Due to work, I was religated to studying on the weekends. From my experience, I wanted to share some of my experiences and lessons with you. It took me 1 hour and 35 minutes to finish the exam with no break.
1) I wouldn't necessarily classify the exam as "difficult". It is tricky and requires focus. I took the four sections of the CPA several years ago and passed that on my first try. The PMP exam was more broad and challenging than at least two of the CPA sections.
2) For text, I read the Rita book (sixth edition) and did all of the chapter end questions. I took extensive notes off of this and essentially studied my notes after I was done reading the book to keep the information fresh in my mind. I sold the book once I was complete with it, so it forced me to rely on my notes.
3) Take practice tests! From some of the practice tests I have taken, the questions I seen on the exam were very similar. Here are some very good question sources to prepare:
ExamCentral - I liked this and it is free. Solid reinforcement material. Try to score in the 80-85 range with the material and you should be set.
Oliver 75 and 175 test - Good, detailed questions. Scored 84 on the 75 question test and 86 on the 175 question test.
CertGear trial - This gives you a variety of 113/114 question exams and a final 200 question exam.
PMP Exam Simulator v4.1 - Good practice questions and learning tool. This is the only tool I purchased through Dr. Larry Hawkins store on eBay (hawkins8733).
4) Make sure you prepare adequately. Give yourself at least two months before the exam to study, depending on your familiarity with the material and experience.
5) For the practice tests, don't get frustrated. Try to understand WHY an answer was wrong. Often, on the PMP, there will be two answers that appear to be correct. Try to understand the flow between the knowledge areas and process groups to logically select the correct answer.
6) Definitely understand the Quality and Risk areas. There was a variety of questions from these two areas on my exam.
7) When taking the exam, remember to breathe, RELAX, focus, and logically progress through the questions. If you see a few questions with information you haven't studied, don't worry. If you follow my advice above, you will see 95% of the material that is on the test.
Best of luck to everyone.