Experience Sharing after Passing PMP Test Yesterday (7/5/13)

I passed PMP test yesterday with 3 P's and 2 M's.  I hope my experience sharing below would be helpful to others as I have been helped by reading others' notes.

Prep Experience

a. Timing -

- Started by attending 2 company offered training classes in Oct, and Nov of 2012 each 2 days to learn the framework of PMBOK.

- Started to plan the study and registration in Jan.

- Submitted the application in Feb and used the following template to record my PM experience, which I have found it was very helpful. (http://www.projectation.com/pmp-hours-spreadsheet/)

- Studied during week nights and weekend on/off from Feb to July spending averagely about 4 to 10 hours a week depending on my working schedule

- Scheduled the test for 7/5/13.

b. Materials -

- Skillsoft : it has good lessons but too time consuming. Practice questions have more than one correct answers which do not match the real PMP test. Stopped using it after 3 lessons due to time constraint

- Rita M. prep book 7th edition - read it from cover to cover about 1.5 times together with PMBOK. I typically quickly glanced thru each chapter of PMBOK at a high level to get an understanding of the framework, then read Rita's chapter word by word including doing the practice exam

- PMBOK - only read thru high level (not in details) with Rita's book during the first round. Then use the PDF version to find answers for the wrongly answered questions during mock tests in the second round.  Never read from cover to cover since I did not have time.

- Rita's Fast Track CD - it is very worthwhile in my opinion

C. Mock tests and scores -

I would say all of the mock tests from 1 to 6 and 11 were excellent materials below. I would not recommend mock tests listed as 7 to 10.  If I would choose only one mock test due to time constraint, I would highly recommend just use Rita Fast Track which is following the same thinking/design style of the real exam.

1. Rita Fast Track first try - 78.5

2. Headfirst - 77

3. Techfaq260 - 79

4. PMStudy - 70

5. Exam Central - 82

6. Rita Super - 69

7. Lehmann75 Q - 69 (I do not recommend this. Waste of time. Not useful for practicing real exam)

8. PM Exam Simulator test 1 w/30 questions - 60 (I do not recommend this. Waste of time. Not useful for practicing real exam)

9. PM Exam Simulator test 2 w/30 questions - 63 (I do not recommend this. Waste of time. Not useful for practicing real exam)

10 PM Exam Simulator test 3 w/30 questions - 67 (I do not recommend this. Waste of time. Not useful for practicing real exam)

11. Rita Fast Track second try - 80

D. Study Notes - 

- I found the following two notes were useful. Especially the "Raga 350 points" was a good quick review in the moring of my test

a. Raga.s 350 points

b. Rofa’s Notes 4th edition

Test Day Experience

- It helped to calm me down to do the brain dump of the following in the first 10 min before clicking on the start button for the tutorial (which I finished in 4 min with fast paced)

a. PMBOK page 43 all processes

b. All formula related to time, cost, com channel, TPA, AF (actual fee) and AP (actual price=actual fee +actual cost)

c. Rita's planning processes in the specific order

- Brought water and snack in case I could take a break but I did not due to the time constraint I experienced during the test.  Questions required a lot more thinking and judging to avoid being tricked.

- Real questions that I have are normally one or two sentences (not like some mock tests with over 10 lines in questions).

- Questions require a deeper thinking and judging what it is really asking. If you have clear concepts on all terms then you will do just fine.

- It helped to skip any lengthy calculation questions (like network, or EVM). Mark them plus picking a wild guessed answer for later review.

- I marked any questions that I was not 100% sure about the answers, but only write down those questions that I was less than 50% sure about the answers.  This allowed me to use the remaining time to review these questions first.

- I watched the timer closely to ensure that I am on the right track in answering each question within a min.  Whenever I was slower than that I would catch up by either skipping the complex questions or answer the 100% sure questions quickly without marking or thinking too much

- This allowed me to finish first round of answering all questions with about 40 min left.

- I was able to review all questions that I wrote down with less than 50% confidence about the answers.

- There were about 4 very time-consuming network or EVM related questions that need a lot of time to calculate.  I have decided to guess the answers without calculating and save the time to make sure that I got the other marked questions answered more accurately.  It is not worth spending over 5 min to get one question right if I can spend the same time ensure that I got the other 5 questions right. Keep in mind that they are all worth one point each.

- with 3 min left, I started to try to solve one of the complex network questions, but the time ran out with an auto warning/reminding message popped up before I could finish it.

- After answering the survey, it took about 1.5 min blank screen time while the system was calculating my result. It came back with the passing message showing 3 P's and 2 M's



- I respect people's suggestion to read PMBOK at least 3 times.  But I could not afford to do so due to busy work.  I found my approach was very effective. That is doing only high level scanning on each chapter of PMBOK, then read Rita's chapter word by word, then do the practice test at the end of Rita's chapter.

- Then committed to do the above mock tests at the same hours of my real test (e.g. from 12 - 4 PM every day during the last week) including practicing eating the appropriate diet and bathroom break during the test.

- Review the wrong answers after each mock test and use PDF file of PMBOK to help me understand the concept and related definitions was a key success factor.

- ITTO can never be memorized. But I did print out the figurs of all ITTO processes from PMBOK and review whenever I can.  I also did some deep thinking to understand why some key processes (e.g. Plan Quality) would need those input.  And some key TT occurs in multiple processes (e.g. variance analysis).

- Overall, I think it is definitely a worthwhile effort.  Some of the knowledge is very useful in my real PM job and  I plan to implement them in my PM works.  The knowledge also helped me to speak the same language (or standard terms from PMBOK) to help communicating with other PMs.

- Have a good understanding of all terms is a key success factor.  It would be difficult to understand a concept if you have never used (or seen) it in your PM work. So I looked up on Internet to view images of certain terms (e.g. Constraint Optimization) to help me visualize and understand what it is.  


I hope the above experience sharing is helpful.  Good luck to all!!!  God bless!!!

admin's picture

 Very good detailed LL, will be helpful. Thanks for posting.


 Thanks for the feedback.  I have found the info on this Website was very helpful to me.  I just wanted to contribute so others can benefit as well.


 Hi Gary,

Thank you !.

i Just followed yor LL as a Template in score card .


My Score Card:


Oliver Lehman   65


PM Study 1         67


Rita Q&As            67


Other PDF Q&As              70


PMStudy 2          74


Exam Central     78


Techfaq                79


Headfirst (50 Qs)              85



PMStudy 2 -Att2               95 ( same 200 questions)



Congrats, Surendeep.

I am glad that my score card was a helpful reference to you.