Passed PMP today, 10/18/2012
I passed PMP today on the first try with 2P and 3MP. Some people say the real exam is easier than mock exams, but NOT! During preparation I went through Head Firts (once) and PMBOK (twice) + I used test questions from Rita, Headfirst 200, Oliver Lehmann and some other free sources. The real exam questions are very close to Rita's questions and in some cases they are really wordy with unnecessary extra information. 2 weeks ago and last week I took a day off from work and I took 4-hours tests. It helped me to judge how fast I can answer, how I can use my time. The results of both mock exams were 75-80%.
Today I woke up very early (I was really nervous and couldn't sleep much) and arrived to Prometric center one hour before my appointment. Much to my surprise they asked me if I want to start earlier. I didn't want to wait more so I said yes and went in. I was asked to put my things into the locker and they warned me that it is not allowed to open the locker during exam time. I asked how I can drink or have a chocolate if I can't open so they told me to leave the food somewhere outside (I put it on the heater). I had to empty my pockets and I was checked with a metal detector. One document was enough to identify me (it was my passport), I got 2 pencils and 8 scratch papers, I signed a paper and went inside the test room. Because I work with computers I know everything can happen so I asked what if the computer freezes. They ensured me they are prepared for this situation, in this case computer will be restarted and I will be able to continue the test from the point where it stopped.
In the room the temperature was very-very low (I almost froze to death) so I recommend you to wear at least 2 sweaters, pants and warm socks :) But maybe I felt cold only because I was soooo nervous. At the moment I started the test I felt like throwing up but fortunately I could control it.
I have a masters in computer science and during preparation mathematical questions and formulas seemed very easy to me so I decided not to use the first 15 minutes to braindump. But in the morning when I woke up I realized it wold be helpful to write processes down... so in the test room after the introduction (how to use the mouse, what is scrollbar, etc.) I used the remaining 10 minutes to write down processes like it is in PMBOK page 43. And it helped me a lot during the exam so I advise you to do the same.
Afert the introduction suddenly the exam started. I saw the first question and almost fainted. It was a long, situational one from professional responsibility topic (this was my weakest point in mock exams). I spent one minute but couldn't find out the answer so I checked one and marked the question. Next one... The same... Third one... Finally I was sure of the answer so instead of panicking I started to concentrate. I finished the first 50 questions in 40 minutes (marked approx. 25-30!) but still felt very nervous. I stood up, shook my arms, legs, sat back and continued with the next question. I finished 100 in a bit more than an hour. I decided to take a break so I signed off, went to the restrooms, had some cookies and ice tea. It took exactly 5 minutes. I knew I had almost 3 hours left and finished half of the questions so I felt much better. So after the first 100 questions I was relaxed. I went through the remaining 100 questions a bit slower and finished all in 2.5 hours. I realized I marked too much questions (more than 100) so I took another break and went through the marked questions again. I didn't change too much answers, maybe 10 from 100. There were 5-6 questions I couldn't even guess what the correct answer can be.
After 3.5 hours I pressed End button and .... white screen... and nothing. I didn't know what to do, waited another 5 seconds and I was to ask for help when a screen with Prometric questions appeared. I answered all (it was no more than 10 questions), got a pop-up screen to wait and CONGRATULATIONS! You passed the exam!
I was surprised because somehow I expected a fancy colourful screen with huge letters saying I passed (I even imagined bells) :) It was a normal screen with normal characters but I was so happy I started to cry.
I went out of the room, the administrator printed and stamped my results and that's all. I called my family, my friends, my colleagues. I wanted to go home but I was still so excuted I was lost in the city but I didn't mind it.
3 hours later I'm at home, here... writing LL and smiling. My stomach still hurts, I'm still excited and happy to passed the exam. Having a masters degree, other certifications and exams I can say it was one of the hardest exam in my life but it worths it!
Some words about the exam questions: there were lots of EV calculation questions, situational ethics-related questions, negative risk responses, virtual teams, few ITTO questions (no more than 5), questions about the order of processes and direct questions like how you calculate something and the answer was the formula, 3 critical path calculations. There were no positive risk responses, no communication channel calculations, no sigmas, atypical and typical EAC, ETC.
I think I covered everything but if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me!