My Lessons Learned

Completion date: Friday, May 28, 2010

Duration:  6 months (Took an online prep course from Nov-Jan; from Feb-May studied)


My Preparation:

First I would like to say that I have been talking about taking the exam since 2006. At that time I needed more experience so I waited until 2008 to apply for the exam. I let it expire; I’m terrified when it comes to standardized test. I have never been the best test taker. I heard so many horror stories about the exam I just got scared and didn’t believe I could accomplish this goal.


I was blessed to have great people around me who supported and encouraged me on my journey. So Nov 2009, I decided to take a prep course. I thought this would help me get back into it. Well it did; after the class ended in Jan 2009 I decided to purchase Rita’s book. I had her material from the last edition. I had her exam software and the book (wasted my money; never used the software and barely read the book). Anyway, below is an outline of my preparation:

·         Nov 2009-Jan 2009 – Took online prep course (this forced me to read the PMBOK all the way through) - In Nov 2009, I reapplied for the exam.

·         Feb 2010-March 2010 – Created a study plan for Feb-May. Started reading Rita’s book; in Feb paid for the exam (was audited Feb 12th); I took Rita’s end of the chapter questions. By the end of Feb I was done reading Rita’s book. In March went over chapters I scored below 70%

·         March 2010-April 2010 – By the middle of March, I decided to re-read Rita’s book and reference the PMBOK while reading. In April started reviewing ITTO & formulas; started writing down formulas and processes (making sure I was within 15 mins).

·         April 2010-May2010 – At the end of April re-read Rita’s book and again referenced the PMBOK. While doing this, I started taking practice exams. I would do quick quizzes during the week and full exams on the weekends (NOTE: didn’t start taking full exams until the last weekend in Arpril)

        NOTE: I listened to Rita's audio book while working out and/or driving. I listened in addition to reading the chapter (e.g., if I was reading about Cost Management, I would read it first then listen to it) - might be over kill to some, but worked for me (you have to figure out your learning style and plan from there)

·         May 28, 2010 – Took the exam at 8AM; I stayed for the entire 4 hours. Took one break; the exam wasn’t hard if you are prepared. I can say now that if I hadn't prepared I probably would have failed. I think the hard part is staying focused for 4 hours. There were not a lot of crazy formula questions on my exam; thank God for that. There were lots of situational questions and it definitely tested your knowledge as far as do you really understand the concepts.


As you can see my Lessons Learned is not that different from all the other PMP’s that posted their LL’s on this website. That is because there is no short cut to it; unless you want to spend several thousands on the boot camp class. You have to put in the time and dedication to pass the exam. Lots of prayer and meditation is what really got me through.



Rita Mulcahy 6th Edition PMP Exam Prep

Rita Mulcahy audio book –PMP Exam Prep-downloaded each CD to my iPod

Headfirst (Specifically for Critical Path & Risk Managemnt) –Downloadable pdf from their website - http://www.headfirstlabs.com/books/hfpmp/

Andy Crowe (Specifically for Procurement & 200 question exam)


Practice exams:

http://www.deepfriedbrainpmp.com/2009/03/pmp-certification-exam-sample-questions.html (I used several of the exams listed on this site; I think all of them are free; also you can find the popular exams like Oliver L, Headfirst, PMStudy, etc.)

http://www.pm-abc.com/ (100 question)

Andy Crowe 200 questions

http://www.project-management-podcast.com/index.php?Itemid=35&id=20&option=com_content&task=view ( Cornelius Fichtner -15 questions emailed to you for 7 days; he also has a newsletter that can be emailed to you daily with random PMP topics. He does a great job with explaining different concepts of PMP. From the newsletter he also will give you 75 FREE flash cards.) NOTE: I didn’t use his podcast, but I think if you are just starting out with preparation the podcast will be beneficial.


Thank you pmzilla and other's who actively answered my questions on this site! Also, I would like to thank everyone who shared their LL's on this site. I visited this site religiously; I would specifically read the LL's. Good Luck to all that are preparing! I know you can do it; don’t give up!! If this is really what you want you should do whatever it takes to get it (as long as it’s not illegal....)!


Take Care,



admin's picture

Congratulations on this achievement I am sure it must be a huge sigh of relief after the long timeline you had. Thanks for sharing


It is a huge sigh of relief!!! It feels good to have this behind me. I have a question; should I start obtaining PDU's now? How does that work?

chowdary2104's picture



The PMP Guru's picture

Congratulations maj1981...

You have Three years man to collect the PDU's. Relax, Chill and enjoy your PMP first. After a while start collecting the PDU's and submit it on the PMI site directly or via snail mail.


Kind regards,

The PMP Guru


LOL...OK, I was just wondering. I also wanted to thank you for that long list of things to know before taking the exam. Anyway I used that list the last few weeks before the exam and basically reviewed it everyday up to exam day.

Thanks again!


The PMP Guru's picture

Thanks, You are wellcome...

I know, The list was a huge one but I think it was useful. Actually I had another list as well :) but I was reluctant to share it as people would say am I insane or what...

Before taking the PMP exam, One should know whether his preperation is according to PMI and PMBOK and that he is 100%...

What do you think about reading the PMBOK guide, I am maintaining a survery on my Blog, Please visit and put your comments, Actually I posted it in PMZilla but the Admin's removed it.

Kind regards,