Passed PMP today 28 May 2013 with 3Ps and 2 MPs
**** A very long Lessons Learnt Session , sorry for that , but tried to write down whatever I could *****
I had been a silent observer of this forum and going through the forum posts everyday. PM Zilla is a huge body of knowledge i would say and to be honest it gave me answers what I always expected , the benchmarks posted by various members are a key to let you know that you are prepared. And as everybody stated , take any regular full exam mock from a standard source e.g pmstudy , simplilearn , pmp exam prep , if you are scoring above 70% (75% and above to be on the safer side) in all of them you are almost certain to pass the exam.
Preparation : I have studied aroud 6 months , with gaps in between and I could hardly get 3 hrs a day max to study after a whole days of work. And that too if you are working on IT infrastructure management , one P1 issue takes away night's sleep for a couple of days , so you cant think about studying at that point.
Started with Rita Mulcahy's book , went through it , found very easy coceptually and got confidence. But after writing the 1st Mock exam from PM Study , I understood it was alone not enough and picked up the PMBOK , which I would say is a must to pass your exam. You study any book in the world to prepare for the exam , but if you dont grasp PMBOK well , I would say your chances will be very low. I went through it twice and everytime whenever I had doubt on any topic. Also I read some blogs of this gentleman called Fahad Usmani , and I found them really good. the concepts are very well explained , its a very good read , especially when you are in office attending a boring meeting , or a bit free while travelling etc. To beginners , I would suggest its a very helpful item. Go though it if possible.
Also I had the habit of making notes , and for each chapter I would jot down every possible important points in my notebook. Now what I used to do , when i used to prepare notes , i used to leave a few pages blank , between two chapters. Guess for what , so that everytime I came accross a question in a mock test which I couldnt answer as the concept was first heard or unclear , I used to jot it down at the end of the respective chapter. So if I come accross a question on risk management on a certain term which I had never heard of , after the test , during my post test analysis I used to note it down in my notebook , in those blank pages which I had left in my notebook between the risk management chapter and the procurement management chapter. This helped me a lot , when I revised my notes as important points were noted after every chapter and I could go through them in a minute.
So after two rounds of PMBOK i used to refer my notebook everytime (still have the habit of jotting down everything in a notebook , after working for more than 8 years in the IT sector :-( , the paper and pen seem to be handy than the costly microsoft products ) .
Also I didnot memorize the ITTOs , but you need to have a very good understanding of them. I didnt get any question where it directly asked for an ITTO of a process (or hadly 1 or 2 I cant remember exactly) , all were based on situations. So understanding them is important than memorizing them. Also if possible try to remember page 43 of PMBOK . that would be helpful.
Mock Exams :
Below is the list of exams which I had written and the percentages scored in 1st attempt .
|Test||Percentage||Number of Questions|
|scordo test 1 - 18||76%||average of all tests|
|pmstudy free test||71.40%||200|
|simplilearn test 2||73%||200|
I would say the exam doesnt match any of the mock tests you try , even the real exam which I wrote today was much tougher than the pmstudy exams . So I would recommend dont go for only PM Study exams as your baseline , try from other sources as well. I would say the exam from simplilearn was a bit close to the real one , a bit complex as well. So try all possible sources.
I even bought the pmzilla tough exam questions , but couldnt score above 60% in any of the sections , they were really tough. But gives you a very good knowledge on the real scenario and let you know your gaps. So try them after you have completed 80% of your preparation.
Also as working professionals , most of the day you will be spending in office , so here is a very good link , on some small question sets (10 each) . I used to try one set either during lunch break or whenever free in my office. (you will never get time , but you have to squeze time). Try them if you find them useful.
Kim Heldman Questions are also very good and you can try them (they are on the tougher side but the real exam too is a bit tough so try them out if possible). I completed around 80% of them and found very useful.
Also for EVM calculations and other quantitave questions I tried
but to be honest , I didnt like it that much , as some concepts from PMBOK differed with the views of the author , so I followed PMBOK. But a good try. The concepts of mean / median /mode is never mentioned in PMBOK so why try questions on them.
Also I tried Rita's fast track question bank , they too were helpful to brush up your knowledge and understanding . Good confidence booster , but are much easier than the real exam , so have a try if required.
The Real Exam :
Much tougher than PMStudy or Simplilear exams. May be my set of questions were really very tough. Even though I heard that EVM and other critical path calculation questions are easy , but in my case those also had a twist and I needed unitary method to calculate , as mere formulas were of no help. At one point I thought I am wasting my time here , go home and start preparing for the next exam. But again I had that confidence that I was consistently scoring above 70% , so let me fight till the last. Completed in around 3 hours , marked around 10 questions , changed 1 or 2 and then clicked the submit , and bang on where the screen says "Congratulations". I couldnt believe I passed.
Also I would say the center staff was very co operative and segregation of tests were done quite well. In my room all were quietly writing the exams , no banging of keyboars , no noise at all. Staff were patrolling quite often and helped whenever required. Except for the fact that the prometric centre was close to London Canon Street Station , so everytime a train passes by , you feel an earthquake occured , as the building used to shake :-) . But overall it was good.
About PMZILLA , admin , SS Pawar , Vishwanath , Diba :
A sincere note of thanks to all of you for creating such a wonderful site and helping with all materials and links possible. Your suggestions /comments were really very helpful. I too dowloaded the Rajesh Nair notes and Raga's 355 points and found them very helpful.Also the links on exams are really of great help. So MANY MANY THANKS and keep up the good work pmzilla team. Let us know if we could be of any help to you.
Also I actually did some work on Raga's 355 points , what I have done is segregated them chapter wise , so that they are easily understandable. I can send it to the admin and if he finds it useful , he can post it in the forum for the benifit of all. Also I have Vishwanath's email ID , so I can send them there , and if you all find it useful you can keep it for everybody's benefit.
Off too bed now , will have a good night's sleep after 6 months , no tension to wake up early and think whether I understood the difference between verify scope and quality control correctly :-) .