PMP Myths Busted
This is my first post in PMZilla. Have been following the posts and learning in the process. But, some of the PMP exam posts are more unnerving than being constructive. So based my recent successful PMP experience, I want to bust a few myths for the benefit of PMP aspirants. Again, this is my opinion and lets have a constructive discussion to benefit the group at large. Remember, you should take control of PMP and not let PMP take control of you.
Myth 1 : PMP exam is very challenging – the exam is at the most tricky. Most of the questions are straightforward. A bunch of easy questions as well. While I agree the exam is not easy, it is not very difficult either. It is just tricky. That is where your knowledge of concepts will come handy
Myth 2 : You need to review PMBOK – in my preparation, I may have referred to PMBOK once or twice. PMBOK is very dense and not an ideal study companion. All my study was based on Rita(2005, fifth edition). Rita is an easy read and helps your understand the concepts. After studying Rita completely (Once only), I prepared my own notes based on Rita. This helped tremendously since my notes was limited to 50 pages! It had all the relevant information but not lengthy – perfect companion for quick reviews! But, that edition of Rita was missing key elements such as Identify Stakeholder, Collect Requirements process. This gap was realized / bridged by referring to PMBOK chart on page 43.
Myth 3 : Memorize ITTO – there is no need to memorize ITTOs. You will have to understand how things flow. This is where the chart of page 43 in PMBOK comes handy. As long as you understand the purpose of each of the processes, you should be good. This will make it more logical for you to understand ITTOs.
Myth 4 : You need to score at least 80% on practice exams – you do not need to score 80% in the practice exams. The exams on PMStudy are closest to the real exam. But, not as tricky. As long as you are scoring above 70% and reviewing both correct (you may have guessed!) and wrong answers, you are well placed. Don’t waste time on other exams unless you just want to build your confidence.
Myth 5 : You need to prepare for months – my friend and I studied together. We both have very busy jobs. So the only time available was evenings. We used to meet 3 times a week to review Rita. Usually, one chapter during one session and the problems. The exercises at the end of the chapter are very important to solve. Usually a day after every session, I used to create notes for the chapter when the knowledge was fresh. From start to finish, it was less than 2 months and the exam was done.
Myth 6 : Memorize formulas and concepts – you don’t need to memorize anything including formulas for PMP. If you are memorizing, you definitely do not understand the concepts. And, that will be your downfall in the exam when tricky questions are posed.
Remember, nobody cares what proficiency you got on the exam. What matters is whether you passed or not. You have a life outside PMP. And, that is more important! And for the record, I got 3 proficient and 3 moderately proficient on the exam.
Finally some preparation tips –
1. After every exercise or practice test, review both correct and wrong answers to get a better understanding of concepts
2. Create your own notes from the material you are using – this will serve as a quick reference guide and you will never have to go back to the original material
3. Update the notes with the gaps you find during practice tests and when reviewing other materials - this will make the notes very comprehensive
4. Know the chart of page 43 of PMBOK cold – you should know the sequence of the process and purpose, this will automatically help you understand ITTO
5. Complete the 4 exams from PMStudy – if time permits, other exam sources
6. Find a study partner to discuss questions
7. Set an exam date after the weekend to give you additional time to prepare and go fresh to the test - the exam date will motivate you as well!
8. Have a study plan and stick to it – do not allow many days of inactivity as you will forget concepts
And some exam tips –
1. Review all questions before submitting – this will help you catch any potential errors; budget at least 45 minutes for this activity
2. Read the question twice – this will help you catch any subtle statements which change the question completely
3. Understand the core problem in the question - PMI wants you to usually address the root cause
4. Manage you time effectively to ensure that there is 30 – 45 minutes for final review
Good luck and go conquer PMP!!!