Passed PMP today (8 Nov)

I passed the PMP exam today on my first try.  My lessons learned:

Exam Prep: 

I used the Ultimate PMP Exam Self Study course from True Solutions ( for 95% of my prep.  I was able to dedicate an hour or two daily for about three weeks to get through the curriculum.  It's a good system that integrates reading sections of the PMBOK while keeping enough variety and practical application where it doesn't get too dry or repetitive.  Additionally, it comes with six hours of videos and about the same of audio for reviewing and reinforcing the concepts.  This came in handy since I had about a two month gap between when I completed the self study program and I took the test.  Over the past couple weeks I went through all the videos (reviewing the processes) and put the vocabulary word review mp3's on my ipod.   In addition to all that, it provided the 35 contact hours I needed to apply for the certification.  Overall I felt it was a thorough program that I used some of the informatio.

Besides the true solutions program, I looked through some of the tips here at PM zilla and took one or two online practice tests (which actually hurt my confidence more than anything).  

My overall exam prep time was about 40 hours for the self study program and another 15-20 hours reviewing during the past week.

Exam itself:

The true solutions course had a test expectations guide which said to expect the actual test questions to be different than any I seen previously.  I definitely found this to be the case and most every question required some thought to answer.  The test creators do a good job of making at least two answers look right on every question.

For types of questions, I had quite a few cost control questions and I was glad I reviewed the formulas and had them down before going in.  As soon as I sat down I did the memory dump on the scratch paper.  There were at least 10-15 questions I referred to my memory dump paper for.  The rest of the questions were balanced among the process groups.  A few questions I figured were part of the 25 control questions since I was completely guessing on them.

I answered the first 100 questions before taking a break (2.5 hrs remaining) then did another 75 until break two (1.5 hrs left) and took one final break before review (40 min remaining).  I had about 15 Q's marked for review (only one I had not answered) at the end.  I found that breaks did a good job of getting me back focused and that I was able to get through the questions quicker with a clear head following the breaks.  Especially at the end when I had been concentrating for a few hours straight.  I changed the answers on about half the questions I had marked for review and pressed submit with about 25 minutes left on the clock.  

I felt pretty good about my chances of passing but still very happy to see the "congrats" displayed on the screen.


If anyone has any specific questions let me know.  Best of luck to others working on their PMP!


admin's picture

Congratulations Matthewsbc on this achievement ! Thanks for sharing your experience with PMP aspirants


Dear ,

many congrats on acheiving this big milestone ... hope you would continue the same way in ur career.

Just have a question in mind .. that what the Specific things that we need to memorize with all heart n soul ..  i mean 5 p.groups 9 knowledge areas , 44 processes , ITTO and formulas ..etc

Kindly summarize them if you get time for this .. u may also mail me at

Many thanks and regards,

Khalid Hussain


The test is much more about understanding the concepts than about rote memorization.  That said, it doesn't hurt to have the items you mentioned above memorized as you will certainly face at least a couple ITTO and formula questions.  I just wasn't willing to spend the time memorizing ITTO when it was such a small percentage of the test.  I had about 4-5 ITTO questions and I'm guessing I answered at least half right without purposefully studying them at all.  If you understand how the processes fit together, some of the ITTO's are common sense.

The only things I had down solid out of your list above going into the test was the formulas and the 5 process groups.  However, on a multiple choice test I could pick out the right answer in regards to the knowledge areas and processes.

The test requires a lot of critical thinking and the ability to narrow down the multiple choice answers.  Your reasoning skills will be tested more than your memory. 

Bottom line:  My advice is to at a minimum have the formulas memorized so you can write them on the scratch paper right after you sit down.  Additionally, I'd review all the types of graphs/charts to ensure you know which ones go with what processes.  I would only try to memorize ITTO after you are confident on the rest of the test and you have some spare time on your hands.

Congrats! I am studying for the exam and wanted to please ask learning the outputs of processes is more important than the tools? I ask because, I have some time to maybe memorize the ITTO, but I can't learn all of them.

You mentioned that the exam requires you to think critically.  Are the questions similar to Oliver Lehman's questions in that regard or another test bank?  I don't have the money to buy Rita's question, but is it similar to any of the free ones.   Lastly, do you feel that the exam time was sufficient based on the questions asked or did have to really answer questions quickly.  Congrats again on passing.  I would greatly appreciate any assistance. 

I can't really say whether TT's or outputs are more important.  If you are comfortable with the how the processes fit together in a project (which you should be prior to memorizing ITTO), then you should be able to use deductive reasoning on the multiple choice questions and do pretty well.  TT's are usually pretty easy to pick out amongst inputs/outputs but the testwriters are good and I found myself having to guess between a couple more than once.

Regarding the questions, I'm not familiar with Lehman's, Rita's or any other questions besides what I had in the True Solutions book and from PMZilla.  One thing that the True Solutions curriculum stressed is that it should be your expectation that every test question would be different than any you had seen previously.  This is pretty much what I found.  Some questions were long, some short, some easy, some hard.  This was consistent throughout the test which is why I felt taking breaks was key.

The exam time was fine for me and I never really felt pressure to answer quickly.  However I was also comfortable not being completely confident in all my answers.  It's a hard test and you'll likely have to pick between a couple answers more than once.  Go at a steady pace, mark difficult questions for review, and take breaks.  Good luck!



Congratulations Matthewsbc!!!

 Can you send me the coredump you have in email?

Any advises are appreciated.





Not sure what you mean by coredump, but I don't really have soft copies of anything.  All my studying was done with the PMBOK guide, the True Solutions PMP workbook, and information on this site.  Like I said before, besides the forumlas I didn't work on rote memorization.