PMP my lesson

I cleared the exam in first attempt on 12th with 4Ps + 1 M.  

I started preparing for the exam with Rita. But it took me more than 2 months to finish 3 chapters in it. I then thought it is impossible to complete in my timeline and hence stopped my preparation. Then started with Head first because a colleague of mine suggested it. Head first was so easy to learn, initially I did not like such approach as it appeared like a book for dummies. But as I kept reading it, it used wonderful examples from real life simple projects that made me easily understand the concepts and also remember them using the examples. Thanks to Head first I finished my preparation in another 1 month. I am little different as I do not just read the book but try to understand as well. I cannot understand by just reading once. I try to remember and reiterate as I read. I also took notes of everything that I read from Head first in my own words.  Once I was done with head first I revised my notes multiple times until the entire understanding was drilled in my head. My notes now was my only source.

Till now I have not even toughed PMBOK. I had a copy but did not care to use it.  With this understanding, I took Christopher Scordo book of questions on PMP.  I answered all the questions. I consitently scored above 85% in all the 18 exams. Whenever I answered one question with some doubt, I will mark it and check the answers even if I got it right.  This way I added lot of understanding to my notes.

Once I was finished with all questions in Scordo, I took the exam in a weeks time. In that week as well I kept reading my notes to understand the concepts.

I see most success stories focusing on reading PMBOK minimum 2 times focusing all the words etc. But I have read it fully not even once, I only focused on causal study to understand the concepts using a book that suits me.

Here is my understanding of PMP exam based on the questions I faced,

1. Like any exam I believed that PMP was also designed for people to pass. I thought there should be some straight forward questions that we can answer with confidence.  I had around 60% of those in the exam. Again those appeared straight forward to me as I was very strong in my understanding of the processes.

2. I totally ignored all the warnings about reading the PMBOK definitions. I believed that the exam will only test my understanding of PM Process in PMBOK and not the words or exact definitions.  The exam was also same, almost all the questions I got tested only my understanding of PMBOK not how well I remembered the definitions.

3.  Regarding books neither Rita nor head first covers all the topics and subtopics in PMBOK.  They only help you to understand 80% of PMBOK. Head first in particular only focused on the basic framework of PM.  Hence when I started Scordo I observed lot of gaps in my understandings though I covered Head first page to page. Scondo had all its questions directly from PMBOK and also the explanations. Hence this gave me some light into PMBOK.

4. I love maths hence Earned value analysis was not at all difficult for me. But the questions I faced in PMP exam on such calculation based things were really tricky. They were nothing like any practice exam that I took.  Found them really interesting.

5. Within some 15 mins into the exam I was confident of clearing the exam. It appeared to me that I got most of the answers right initially and also was very pleased to see PMP questions not testing PMBOK words and definitions.

6. My only enemy now in the exam was time. In all the practice exams I finished 100 questions in little over 1 hour. But in real exam I took over 2 hours to finish the first 100. There were some questions on schedule management that required some time investment.

7. The next 100 I just rushed them as quick as possible. I skipped my break totally. If I was confident of answer in first reading then did not double check much. I just checked the other options to see if there was any twist or trap.

Inshort reading a book like Rita or Head first to understand the processes well and then closing the gaps by taking lot of questions should be good enough to crack PMP. 

Again my experience is different from normal people who believe in reading PMBOK cover to cover multiple times. I know that it is a waste of time for me as I do not have such power to remember definitions!

The purpose of my post is to give confidence booster to those who are like me, who can only understand concepts but cannot remember definitions. 

Congratulations !!! so overall how long did it take.. i am planning to take the exam end of jan and i have started preparing, is this realistic?

Overall I took over 8 months, but with lot of break. Break of over month without even reading anything.  Like I said whenever I read the head first book, I took notes. So revision required only reading my notes. Even if I took a long break, I could easily come back by means of my notes! If I remove the breaks then 3 months of preparation. But for the kind of preparation I had one can reach it in 2 months. 1 month to read Head first and 1 month to take Scondo questions and other practice exams to close the grap.

thank you, i will take your advise and plan it for 2- 3 months

many congratzzz...

i agree with you to clear concpet, but in exam many questios from PMBOK definitions and process sequence, how you handle such kind of situations

I did not see that many questions on definition (not even 1 I remember). May be I was lucky and the questions I got tested only concepts!  But concepts means it was testing in detail, like lot of what will you do next questions.  With just PMBOK knowledge, one cannot get them right. 

The point of my entire post is, if the goal is to crack the exam and one cannot remember definitions then following my steps will definitely help. Just be clear with concepts and entire PM process flow logic.

Thanks Krish

admin's picture

Very good LL thanks for sharing and Congratulations. 

I will advise everyone not to follow anyone’s study pattern. I have passed my PMP exam but I did not follow anyone’s study style because you don’t know their capability and how easy they understand the PMBOK book. You may understand some processes easily but other processes you may not understand in one attempt so you need to read it again and again until you understand it. You need to come up with your own study plan because you know what you can and cannot do and how much time you can spend every day. The only thing I will suggest practice and practice the mockup tests as much as you can after you read the materials