Passed PMP today - what I did

Hi folks,

Passed today on first attempt. Here is what I did.

PDUs - Took an online class from Simplilearn about a year ago. My year of exam eligibility ends Jan 10th, so I finally got around to scheduling the exam a month ago for today. (I work in org dev in an agile/scrum env so I haven't been thinking about PMP for a while)

Study time - 3 weeks or so. Two hours per day, maybe 3 on weekends. A lot more the last 4 or 5 days.

Study materials - Read Rita twice, PMBOK once, then flipped back and forth trying to pick up bits I missed in the first read throughs.

Practice Exams - Exam Central 200 question timed practice test. Scored 70%. I did that 3 days ago. The practice exam was very helpful and helped me see a couple areas I needed to reread. Procurements and Quality were weak ones for me.

Brain Dump - This helped A LOT. Memorizing this stuff makes everything else fit together much easier. Having the brain dump during the exam is helpful, the process of having to memorize and learn your brain dump is really a boon. Here it is:

  1. Process Chart - wrote it out every night 3 to 6 times. (by mid last week I could write it backwards)
  2. Process Chart including major outputs - Started adding outputs to Process Chart a week ago. I did not include inputs or TT. Inputs are pretty easy to figure out and remember just from knowing the outputs and then reading the books. The trick is to actually think while you're reading. I know, a pain in the ass.
  3. Formulas: PV, EV, AC, BAC, EAC, ETC, VAR, CV, SV, CPI, SPI, TCPI
  4. Estimations: Three point, Beta, SD and then I just wrote down analog and parametric at the end to remind myself what they are.
  5. 7QT
  6. 7QAT (This is just my shorthand for Tree, Affinity, Network...)
  7. 5Powers
  8. 5Conflict Types
  9. Top 3 Conflict Causes
  10. 4Theories (MMHM)
  11. Comm Channels
  12. Risk Responses
  13. NPV
  14. Network Diagram
  15. A little note about Contract types

Again - working through and memorizing your brain dump forces you to understand what is included in it. This is very important.

That's what I did. The test was nerve wracking. I felt like I was failing the whole time. The wording on the exam questions were much... less specific than I was expecting. I did not get a % score. I got a PASS with Moderate Profiency in all catagories.

The questions I found hardest were, 'some sort of vague situation with lots of words' followed by 'what should the project manager do next' or 'how should the project manager handle this' with four possible answers, each answer being also sort of vague. Those were a pain.

Other questions were almost like trick questions. For example, "During bidding,... a whole bunch of stuff... what is the project manager doing right now?"  and every single answer was reasonable based on how much stuff was going on in the scenario. Cept that first bit... during bidding. So only one answer can possibly be right out of those offered. Conduct Procurements. I almost laughed out loud at that one.

Any question involving numbers was a relief. Those will save you as long as you memorize the formulas.

And there will be funny things you'll notice too. Like, I got four questions on communication channels. lol. Really?

I think that I got some guesses correct based simply on the how the answers were written. So pay attention to that. Some answers didn't have the 'feeling' of protocol.

Anyway, hope that helps anyone coming up soon. I did probably the least prep you should consider.

admin's picture

Congratulations on your PMP and thanks for you post here. 

Thank you!

Congratulations. Yes really short prepararion time. I spent 4 month.

can you elaborate as to what do you mean by brain dump??

Hi - Anything that the exam taker feels that will be helpful during solving , is referred as brain dump.Normally exam takers write down KA/PG charts, imp formulae etc before start of their exam.

Thank you! wondering if you have so much time to dump all your brain dump during tutorial or did you do it early on before starting your exam.

It took the tutorial time plus about 3 or 4 minutes.

The first two hours of the exam I fell behind about 10 minutes. 90 questions done at the 2 hour mark. Many of the early on questions were very long and sort of through me off balance. In the second half I was in a much better mind space and had loosened up, so to speak, and ended with 12 minutes to review the questions I marked for review. I ended up changing a couple answers.

Hi - can you expand on your brain dump for process charts?  Where did you find these process charts?

rkraneis's picture


Although you can build your own 47 brain dump with practice, I built a 47 processes spreadsheet in Excel format.  My spreadsheet has memory tricks for the 47 processes.

I market my PMP 47 processes spreadsheet and a wonderful Microsoft Word template for taking your PMP notes on my website.

Best Wishes on Passing the PMP Test,

Richard Kraneis, PMP
Chicago, IL  USA


Project Management Professional (PMP) is a degree offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). There are currently 618,933 certified PMP active individuals and 272 chartered chapters across 104 countries worldwide.


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