Passed PMP on first trial - Lessons learnt

Dear Friends,

At last, after so much waiting, I got certified, yes I am PMP now.

It all started one year back, I got PMI membership and then I applied for certification. After application I was not able to study for the exam due to busy day to day schedule. I am an Electrical engineer, working with multinational chemical company in India; I spent most of the time of my career in projects. I was preparing whenever I get time but not confident enough for giving exam. I spend many man-hours searching net and getting information, material, questions etc. I downloaded whatever I thought useful for the exam and for understanding. My PMI membership was already expired and application was about to expire, at that time I realized and started to prepare seriously. Finally I scheduled my exam on 3rd May 2010, the day when I became 'PMP'

During this one year, after reading PMBOK twice, I started searching free sample question from net. I started keeping all records. At the end I realized I solved more than 2000 question (all free, easily available on net...and I was consistently scoring above 75%, except one or two tests where I score 60%). More precisely, I attempted 2823 questions and weighted average score was 79.79%. I made program in excel which helped me in tracking scores. I had not opted for any on line full length practice questions.

I used PMBOK as primary resource and then totally relied on this practice question and answers and various forums. I learnt and improved myself answering questions.

With due respect of all project management books, believe it or not, my personal experience says PMBOK is enough for passing and probably scoring well in exam, provided you learn and understand each and every word of PMBOK and you have enough practical experience which you stated during application. Treat each and every sentence as one question, try to form questions from lines, between lines, try to form question where your understanding is not so good and get the answer from PMBOK itself. I had many ITTO related question in exam, mainly on TT, some direct and some situational based but if you understand each ITTO, to answer these type of question is easy. It is not required to memorize ITTO but it is certainly required to understand each of them for why they are there as ITTO.

There is no intension here to criticize any project management book intended for PMP exam. I am also not saying one should not use it. I am only saying PMBOK is enough if you have good project management experience and your soft skills are matching with what is required for PMP exam. It might not be true for everybody.

Questions posted here in pmzilla and various other forums, discussions and lesson learned helped me lot understanding type of questions and difficulty level. I believe difficulty level was not there as compared to sample questions posted in various forums. I have read each and every topic and each and every post of pmzilla forum. I felt this is best forum amongst many other available on net.

I took six days leave from office (in last 20 days) just to prepare and get confidence. On previous day of exam, I read entire PMBOK once. It took 13-14 hours. On exam day, I went through ITTOs once. I made one summary sheet in excel about ITTO for all processes, which I was visualizing during exam and getting my answers right. I am not saying this is perfect technique, but at least it worked for me. I also went through all the required formulas which I got from one file which I downloaded from some site. I memorized all formulas. I forgot the site address at this moment. But my exam experience says, all EVM related question was based on PMBOK only, I was very confident about EVM questions, but they were very few....hardly 3 to 4.

I reached to exam center one and half hour early. The facilitator offered me if I am ready to start the exam earlier than scheduled time and I opted for it. I finished exam in 3.15 hours, took 5 minute rest and then went through many of 'marked for review' questions. I changed answers of 25 to 30% questions during review. I submitted the test with 3 second remaining. After submitting, my heart bit started going up. Meanwhile exam asked me to fill feedback form about examination etc. which I filled just to relieve tension. I knew that I performed well, but you never know what you interpreted about the question and what question actually means. I closed my eyes for two minutes and when I opened my eyes, it was good satisfactory ‘congratulations’ message. Though the proficiency levels were not matching with my expectation, at the end I realized that’s what I am capable of for that particular set of questions and there is opportunity of improvement. I am not perfect.

I will not comment on question was easy or hard, because it is purely perception based. Though I found very few questions for which you can directly answer without thinking. 75 to 80% questions required thinking before answering. More than 50% were lengthy (3-5 line question) and out of than more than 90% required reading of entire question. (I learned in some of comments that for lengthy question, read only last lines which contains question).


So my request to future PMPs is understand PMBOK thoroughly, take help of any project management book if you feel it will add value or you are not scoring well in practice tests or to boost your confidence, share knowledge with your colleagues, read pmzilla postings and last but not the least, search for as many question as possible, one can go for online question banks too which are good paid resources.

You can reach to me for any help through this forum or at my personal ID I will try to share what ever information I have and which doesn't violate any code of conduct or patent right. 



Pradeep Sodha, PMP

The PMP Guru's picture

Thanks Pradeep Sodha,

Excellent Lesson Learned.

Congratulations... Please stop Writing :)

I didn't got the meaning of ......."Please stop Writing." Would you please through more light on it?

The PMP Guru's picture

Sorry Man, Really Sorry for the confusion.

I forgot to put "STOP"..

A single word can make such a huge mis-understanding.

My Apologize...


"Please Don't Stop Writing"


Kind regards,

The PMP Guru

Thanks for clarification.


I have not received any comment from you, which you generally give immediately. Didn't you like the LL?

Pradeep Sodha

There is a lot you that said boss and thanks for clarifying that point of lengthy scenarios which hav a single line as a question at the end.Normally that is done to build confusion but most of the time these scenarios giv us a glue of the correct answer.

Thanx boss