Cracked the exam - 17th March 2013 - - Advice to all

 All of you out there…..

I cleared PMP in my first attempt on 17-Mar-2013 and wanted to share my experience on this ‘expedition’. Special gratitude to God, my wife (who supported me throughout) and all members of my family and friends.

The exam was not an easy one to crack. A smart method to study, perseverance and a positive attitude are the elements to cracking this exam. Nothing more, nothing less.


Overall, I would say I have put approximately 45 days of preparation with a study of around 3 hours per day. Decided to take a week off before the exam to attempt as many mock exams possible and keep an intense study schedule going.


PMBOK guide Fourth Edition (1 time)

Rita Mulcahy 7th Edition (1 time)


One should realise, that the PMBOK can be studied for weeks and months without an end. However, our aim is not to pursue an indefinite period of study.


Aim to cover all the areas in general, study smart and clear the exam.

To do this, my advice to all is to;


Go through the PMBOK once, in parallel with Rita. (Read slowly to understand)

As one goes through, jot down the inputs, T&T, outputs and all important terms and points covering each chapter as a whole, in 3-4 pages. Do not sit and write down everything, as you will be creating another version of the PMBOK. Keep your notes shorts and crisp. Take 30-45 days for this exercise.


Once your first pass is done, you will end up with a 40-50 page notebook – your condensed version of the PMBOK and Rita. Also, write down all the formulas required on a single page.


Close the reference books & keep them aside.


Refer only your notebook and go through the notes trying to grasp the processes and terms of all chapters. Take 1-2 Weeks for this


Now, attempt around 6 mock exams from different sources. I would recommend:

HeadFirst PMP

Rita Mulcahy Chapter End

Christopher Scordo (7 - 12)

Andy Crowe (Chapter end)

PM Study3


PM Study4

Rita PMP Fast Track


Write down the scores of your test. The scores don’t matter much at this time, so not to worry. You should be getting somewhere between 50-60%.


Bring back your PMBOK, and go through all the sections that relate to the questions answered wrongly.  Take 1 week for this. This will fill ensure you have filled all your knowledge gaps.


Now, apply for 1 week’s leave and schedule your exam.


During your leave (intense study), attempt the very same mock exams attempted previously. Attempt 1 exam in the morning and 1 in the evening. By now, you should be achieving 70-80% easily.


Use the hours in between the exams to mark your second round of wrong answers and fill in the gaps.


The day before the exam, practise writing down all your formulas on a single page, several times.

On the Day:

Do not begin to do a brain dump even before starting the tutorial. There will be a screen asking you to confirm if it is ‘You’. Make your dump sheet after this procedure; otherwise the exam will automatically end.

After completing the brain dump, go through the tutorials.  Take few deep breaths and begin the exam with a smile. Just believe that you will crack the exam and begin.

The first 50-80 questions are going to be tough and take longer to comprehend. This should not worry you at all because the forthcoming questions are going to get easier. Do not spend too much time pondering and worrying over the first 50-80 questions- take your best shot, mark for review if necessary and proceed. It’s just a mental game. Keep your cool and move on.

When you reach the 100-150 question range, you will ease down and feel better. Try gaining some time here to ensure you get at least a 15 minute time period at the end to do a review of all your marked questions.

Tips & hints:


Do not keep studying the PMBOK indefinitely. Make your notes and keep the book aside after your first pass.


Do not underestimate the exam. It is designed to be a tough and a long one. But, using the right studying strategy once can crack it. The right strategy is to do an early attempt on the mock exams after your first reading of the PMBOK and identify your gaps. Study all the gaps and attempt the mocks again till you reach a scoring range of 75 – 80%.


Practice all the Time and Cost problems. These are going to be your ideal weapon to passing the exam, they are sure scoring questions. You will easily get 30 numerical questions and make sure you get all these right.


PMP exam is not your life and not your end. Treat it like an exam only. You will realise how relaxed you will feel.


Make sure you take a week’s leave before the exam and get busy cracking your mocks and studying the gaps. 


All the best. You will get through, if you believe in yourself! 

Congratulations Romi and thanks for sharing your LL.


~ Diba

admin's picture

Congratulations and thanks for the detailed writeup



Congratulations on your success. Your comment was just the motivation i needed!

 Great move!

For the exam did you use other formulas than the below





P (% complete) = EV/ BAC



TCPI (based on EAC) = (BAC-EV)/(EAC-AC)




 your missing some formulae on EAC.  (eg. EAC=ETC+AC)

Also, include standard deviation, PERT, communication channels, EF/LF float formulae.

Rememebr, the questions on the exam are not straightforward. One needs to know how multiple forumlae can be used to find different unknowns. for eg. to find AC, you could use EV/CPI


 Congrats !!

very useful writeup.