PASSED on 8/27 in 26 days! Read how this busy working mom did it!!!
First, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone on the forum. I have been a silent "reader" for the last 4 weeks.. I found a lot of inspiration from all your success stories. So thanks!
I'm currently a PM for BP. Although i have been a PM for the last 4 years, the PMI material was all new to me. I have 2 active toddlers - 4 & 2, which meant I didnt have the time or energy for long study marathons on the weekends. Studying after work was NOT an option, because again my "second" job started once i picked the kids from school. :-)
Despite my heavy study time contraints, i was determined to put the nice PMP feather in my hat! I applied for the PMP in Febuary 2011. Sometime in March, i got approved. Thankfully no audits! As mentioned earlier, my after work hours are fully packed with toddler activities, therefore going to a PMP prep course was totally out of the question. I knew I would have to buckle up and study on my own, which turned out to be a great gamble!
Once i got my PMP approval, i went out and bought PMBOK book. arrrrghhh. Big mistake. i will tell you why soon. I thought "hey, it's only one book, how hard can it be?" i went through 2 years of Msc degree, PMP has nothing on that... WRONG. I spent the month of July flipping through PMBOK book mindlessly. I just didnt get the material. it was dry and so different from how am used to managing projects. I started reseaching other PMP prep books and finally decided on the infamous Rita book and Andy Crowe's book. Brillant choices. That's if you can get pass Rita's dry and pessimistic humor! she's tough, i tell ya..
I finally decided to schedule the exam for aug 27 to give me some motivation to start heavy studying. So Aug 1st, i drew up a calendar. I read one chapter of Rita's book, along with exercises, everyday. Once i finished with Rita, i felt a "little" confident about my process. BTW i scored 68 - 78% across Rita's chapter questions.
Then i moved to Andy Crowe's book, and read a chapter a day. The light seemed brighter at the end of the tunnel. Andy is GREAAT. He made complex topics like Earned Value Management very learnable. I was able to remember all EV formulas without memorizing them. I simply got a better understanding from Andy. However Rita gave the in-depth details.
Once finished with Andy, i felt confident to start doing practice exams. Based on all your recommendations, i settled on PM Study. I bought the set of 4. This was two weeks ago. My first exam i scored 64.5% to my dismay!! I went back to Rita to brush up on my gaps. I studied each chapter for a week or so during my lunch. BTW, all my studying took place at work, during lunch, in a quiet conference room. Then, i did a 2nd exam and got 72%. I felt better.. my 3rd exam, i got a 73% (not much improvement there). But i felt i had a good grasp on the materials. i went back to reading Rajesh nair's notes. These notes were lifesavers. i was able to study them at my desk when i had a few mins or hours to spare. very handy and well written. a must-have!
Fast forward to a day before the exam, yesterday, i woke up at 5 to take my 4th exam. I decided on simpliLearn. Unfortunately, it did nothing for my confidence because i got 68%. I started to get a little down but i rationed that passing score was 61% with the real deal, anyway.
I went back to reading through all books. I barely touched PMBOK.i studied Rajesh's notes INTENSELY.
I did try to do Exam Central, i did the first 50 questions. It seemed too easy. However the exam is quite close to exam central.
Woke up at 3.30. I was a bag of nervous. Couldnt sleep much. Got up and studied Rajesh's notes again. Glanced though Andy's book again. By 7am Staurday, my kids were awake (there goes any last minute study time!). I go to Prometric center by noon.
The exam is EASIER than i expected. You will easily answer about 60% of the questions. There were about 5 questions, i abosutely didnt know the answer too. The rest were more tricky questions. you have to make sure you read very carefully. slow your thoughts down and dont answer in a hurry. I used up all 4 hours however i took a 10 min break after 100 questions (which took my 2 hrs).
Once i completed the survey, my heart has never pounded so fast!!! Then i saw "Congratulations...." absolute joy... :-)
I scored Proficient in all the knowledge areas except Social and Professional responsibility (Moderately Proficient). BTW Proficient is the highest ranking.
Exam tips and Advice
- Read Rita's book FIRST. The book will break down the concepts and help you understand things easier than PMBOK (read 3x)
- andy Crowe - read 1 - 2 x. Simple way of delivering the material
- Then read PMBOK.
- Do at least 3 exams closer to your exam date so you can retain better. dont beat yourself up if you are not in the 80 percentile. The idea is to find your gaps and learn from your mistakes
- take your time reading PMP exam questions. they do get tricky at time. but are straight forward
- Study RISK inside out. i cant stress that enough. Then procurement, quality and integration. You have to feel very confident in these areas
- learn your EVM forumulas and float, CP calc. these will come up
- STUDY HARD AND PLAY HARDER ONCE YOU PASS. :-)
Good luck folks. Thanks to my Lord, Jesus Christ for answering my desperate prayers in passing this exam. I put in the labor and He saw me through.