Passed PMP yesterday 5/14/2013 First Try. Lessons Learned
I passed the PMP exam yesterday (first try!) after a preparation period of just over a month. That being said, part of my master's in construction engineering management is a course in advanced project management that just concluded two months ago, which I received an "A". I didn't feel that the course prepared me 100% for the PMP exam so I decided to give myself a month of study before I sat for it. BTW, I only had 15 minutes left on the clock when I finished my exam.
Here are the resources I used in chronological order:
1) Head First PMP - read this one once
2) Rita Mulcahy Exam Prep 7th Ed. - read once
3) Rita Mulcahy Pocket PMP Exam - 200 q's once
4) Rita Mulcahy Hot Topics Flash Cards - reviewed multiple times (600+ flash cards)
5) Rita Mulcahy Online PMP refresher course - 3 day access - a few days before the exam (Fast Track included)
Contrary to popular belief, I did not try to memorize ITTOs, but rather tried to gain a holistic understanding of the processes, tools, inputs, and outputs.
I am a project management practitioner and use the concepts day in and day out. There are terms in the exam that were unfamiliar or used in a different context in my company, so I really had to realign myself to PMIs lexicon. Be mindful of that.
For those who hate Rita's exam prep book, I don't blame you. The language really threw me off but you'll find the online refresher course enlightening when putting it all together. It cost $288 but included the refresher, Fast Track, and Hot Topics intermingled in the course which I thought was a great value.
Head First PMP helped me understand the base concepts but I felt that it needed more reinforcement all the way around. I suggest you get both Head First PMP and Rita's book to drill it all in.
My exam was heavy on math and network diagrams. The Head First sections on those subjects helped me understand and apply the needed techniques.
Be mindful of "what do you do next?" questions. They are wordy and the start of the questions are there to throw you off. Pay particular attention to the end of the question where it really matters.
I hope this lessons learned will help those intending to sit for the exam soon. Take it now before it changes to the new edition.