PMP passed - 30 days preparation - Fait accompli!!
Hello All, I'm glad to share that I got through the exam today.
I would like to share few pointers that might be of help to those who are on the race yet.
Firstly, biggest myths -
1. Exam is 'tough' - It actually isn't. Much better and easier than what I had thought it would be. Maybe I inferred it that way. The questions were mostly situational and mostly doable.
2. Takes a lot of time to read and cover the topics - No, if planned well, it can be easily done in a short period.
Here is my journey -
2011 April - started thinking about doing PMP and added that to my 2011 goal list.
2011 April - Went through the eligibility, application process and understood them. Also I did the 40 hour contact classes in the same month. I felt it was all cool.
2011 May - Bought Rita's book and quickly went through a few chapters, then took a break - various professional and personal responsibilities. I did not try to remember, but was casually going through the book.
2011 August - I had completely forgotten about this already
2011 September - Realized that this is still on the 2011 list and started thinking about it whether to do this year or next. Then, paid the membership fee and did the application. Mine did not get through the audit luckily and so no hassles.
2011 October - Did not start reading yet. Personal promotion on the way and was bit tensed and busy. After receiving the cute little bundle of joy, I decided to do the exam this year.
2011 November - Early November, I booked the exam and started collecting the study materials. PMZilla was of big help and cheers to the adminstrators and site owners. I tried putting forth a project plan and wasted a few days in doing one, but then I realized that it was too late to that.
I started reading through the Rita's book chapterwise.
My work kept me mostly busy and I did not have enough time to spend on this. It was infact all time high with lot of problems. I had to communicate with stakeholders around the globe and work in 24X7 setup (90% of the time is spent in communication - how true, I'd wonder!)
2011 December - Started with Rita more seriously from the beginning.
I had Rita, PMBOK, Rajesh Nair's notes and sample Q&A in hand. Exam date was set and the clock started ticking.
Strategy - I knew I can't use a FS relationship here reading all materials one after another, so I decided to fasttrack. Also I did a bottum-up planning for the whole month and zeroed in on a plan. The whole of Christmas week until the exam are holidays and I decided to make the most of them.
I had split the work into 4 tasks -
1. Memorize ITTO and Formulae
2. Read and understand the concepts from Rita's book
3. Read through the PMBOK
4. Practice Mock exams
I started off well actually. I started with memorizing the ITTO and Formulae from day 1 and also reading through Rita's book in parallel. After a while, I started getting a good grip on the ITTO and formulae, but felt that I was lagging on Rita's book. I stopped reading the Rita's book and started with PMBOK. Most of the terms were familiar to me since I had all the ITTO in the surface of my brain already. PMBOK is vague and very concise. I stopped that after a couple of days and felt Rita's book was better.
Rajesh Nair's notes came in handy and I started reading every bit of it. It was damn useful and after 20 days, I was able to remember all the ITTO + EVM + EMV formulae + I had gone through the Rajesh Nair's spreadsheet fully. Until Christmas, I was trying to practice wrting the ITTO + formulae (braindump) in less than 20 minutes, but my average time was 40 mins. Also I quickly glanced through the PMBOK once.
Last week was grueling, but this was the only week that went on as I originally planned. I started practicing the mock tests (two a day) and then read through and weak areas. I practiced over 2000 questions that week and think that helped me a lot to understand various aspects. When I read PMBOK, I could connect the dots easily as I already knew the ITTO by heart.
Last day before the exam, I stopped with all the mock tests. Took the Rita's book again and went through all the chapters (quick review). There is a slight tone of negativity in her book which I did not quite like. There is a difference between saying "You're going to fall down. Walk straight" and "Walk straight and you will not fall down". I prefer the latter always but the book was in the former tone. Anyways, Rita and team had done a spectacular job in putting things in perspective. I knew I was ready and I was waiting to see what PMI was wanting to test out. Also I went through Raga's 355 points. It made total sense.
On the day of the exam, I revised the glossary and terms at the appendix of PMBOK.
Heavy rains and on the way, I couldn't resist picking up a fight with a rushing cab driver who almost hit me. I had to make a complaint to the cab services company and all that since I thought allowing such reckless drivers to drive is not particularly safe for fellow citizens. Peace of mind - what was that now?
Started off the exam, completed all of them with just 15 minutes more. Quick review, and saw the congratulations screen. Moderately Proficient for Initiating and Closing of them and Proficient for rest. I was expecting to see proficient for all of them.
Mistakes I made -
1. I read, re-read and tried to understand each and every word of every question. First 100 questions took like 150 mins . Many say that they are extremely wordy and could easily buy you in. Maybe I over did it. I took a break after that. Did the rest in the remaining time. The questions are situational and sometimes wordy too. But not all.
2. Last 100 questions were answered in a hurry and so I had to skip the tricky ones for review. Apparently review time was very less.
3. As someone said, first 100 were bit wordy and tricky and the complexity decreases as we move on. I think that is true and I should have made use of that opportunity well.
Things I think I did well -
1. Final week intensive preparation.
2. Memorize the ITTO - There were many questions from ITTO in my view. Not to be underevaluated. Memorizing also helped me to get a solid understanding of processes.
3. Took control over exam. I was not tensed as I had practiced many 4 hour exams in the last week.
4. Belief that I can do it. Below are my recent favorites which reassures the human ability.
# Impossible is nothing
(Admin - Please remove the external links if they are not adhering to the forum rules. Just posting them for a bit of motivation for fellow aspirants :))
I would like to thank all who took time to post the lessons learnt after completing the exam. It actually helps. I was referring to this of late - http://www.pmzilla.com/passed-pmp-19-dec03911-find-ll - quite nicely summarized. Also, special thanks to Rajesh Nair and Raga's 355 points. I think I made a good use of them. It takes a big heart to share something thas was a result of hard work and that'll actually benefit others.
I will be happy to help on any queries. Please do not ask for any copyrighted materials and I cannot share them. I bet you will agree with me once you complete reading all the chapters.
This is not a technical certification that can be passed with mock exams. Solid understanding is needed and you may choose any book / method to get that. Good luck all!