PMP Passed - Lessons and study plan
I Passed PMP Today and since i had been (Mostly) a silent lurker to this forum for "Tips and Lessons", thought i owe it to share my experience.
Initiation - Moderate Proficient
Planning - Proficient
Execution - Proficient
M&C - Proficient
Closing - Moderate Proficient
Preparation Time: 2-3 Months. Plan to spend 2 hours on weekdays and 4 hours on weekends. That's how long it took for me. Got inspired from seniors at work, thought of upgrading my skills aswell. December proved to be best month for preparation, as office mostly stayed easy, viz-a-viz giving more oppurtunity to expliot.
Material: At minimum, you need a Prep book, adquately supplemented by PMBOK (Which i will not suggest to buy, as you will get an electronic copy upon registration at PMI), further details below:
Rita Mulcahy: Covers almost everything what you need to know for exam. Good for understanding and has a direct co-relation with PMP Exam. Only missing link, which triggered me to refer to PMBOK more often was the absence of "Inputs - TT - Outputs" Charts. Not that they are not discussed at length, but I needed to knowwhat is being discussed". But then again, it could be my limitation and may vary from person to person.
PMBOK: Used as reference manual, being dry i had to bank on Prep Guide to get some juice of PM processes.
Kim Heldman: Selective study for Quality, Risk and Configuration Management.
PMZilla - Coulnt have done without it! Many time you tend to lose focus. Experiences shared here bring you in line with objective and help you to focus your efforts on "stuff that matters"! Big Thanks!
Mostly free ones, and trust me there is lot available on the internet, I practically couldnt complete my intended target of sample tests.
Headfirst: Easy, used to gain confidence and identify gaps. (Marks: First try (80%), Rating: 7/10)
PMStudy: Worked the Best for me. Test your applied knowledge. (Marks: First try (77%), Second try: (87%), Rating: 9/10)
Oliver Lehmann: Towards the difficult side, questions adequaltely covers the knowledge areas. (Marks: 175Q: First Try (74%) Rating: 8/10)
SimpliLearn: Besides some editing problems, exam gives you a chance to test your direct knowledge (Quotes from PMBOK etc.). (Marks: First try (80%), Second try: (88%), Rating: 7/10)
PMRoadtrip: I found it easy overall. (Marks: First try (89%), Rating: 7.5/10)
RITA Fast Track: Excellent source of diverse quesitons, the only issue i faced was, after sometime you kinda start knowing what Rita is expecting you to answer. But hey, PMP is all about what PMI expects, right?
I refrained myself from visiting Rita's quesitons more that 2 times.
(Marks: First try (74%), Second try: (92%), Rating: 8.5/10)
Exam Central: Gave me chance to test my mental stregth to stay focused for 4 hours in a go. Good test over all, recommended.
My two cents on simulated exams:
1. Try as many as "different" similation exam, as take for granted that questions will not be repeated, so its necessary to tune your brain to think right!
2. Avoid visiting a simiulation more than two times. First time, you are testing your knowledge, Second time you are testing your knowledge and Memory.
1. Read Rita Cover to cover, solved problems at the end of chapters.
2. 200 Question Headfirst Test, identify gaps.
3. Read Rita again and filled gaps with frequent references to PMBOK.
4. Exam simulations, find gaps which were not filled appropriately.
5. Read Rita again and filled gaps with frequent references to PMBOK and Kim Heldman (Selective chapters)
6. ITTOs. Find more on this below:
7. Exam similutaion
8. Rajesh Nair - Amazing notes, you dont need to write anything, just refer them in last few days! This fella somehow have squeezed PMBOK in excel. Hats off!!
Lessons Learned, Tips and Tricks:
To Memorize or not to memorize the ITTOs? i didnt! but i had a fair understanding of what is required, to get what and using what? I initially tired to memorize, but its too much of information overload. You shall need your brain free when you are in exam.
Brain dump sheet: I had all 42 processes, EAC formulas and Contract types Chart with risk factor defined.
Have something to keep you motivated thru out, like a bottle of wine worked for me! Kept it safe to open on the day i pass the exam.
Had exam at 8:30 Am, i couldnt sleep well night before. However was reasonably fresh for the BIG day. First 20 minutes, i thought i blanked out - attempted 25 question, and most of them were marked for review. But life returned and i was on the roll. No breaks taken, finished exam in 2 Hours 58 Mins and used last one hour to review the questions. finished the exam with 18 secs to go...
Came home with wife and kid waiting, both knew about the exam and throughly supported me thruout the journey. Big Thank to my wife, she took care of all family affairs while allowing me to focus on my exam.
Its time to open my wine bottle :)
Happy New Year!!