PMP Exam – A first hand experience

PMP Experience

Over past few years I have had privilege of training some of the excellent human beings. One of my students (Amit Suri) recently passed the exam. He shared his experiences. I believe it will help future PMP aspirants. Read on…

I would like to thank Mr. Praveen for his training and guidance; he is helping so many of us to achieve the target – PMP.
Also I can’t skip mentioning 2 of the sweetest, very helpful, cheerful and joyous persons – Mr. Sandeep Chhibber and Mr. Sagar Narang, who made my training experience a most memorable one. Thanks to both of you for providing all the necessary information and content. (Sagar our Beer and Ciggi get together is still due :p )
Before I start with exam strategy, I wud also like to thank my Fiancee who motivated me to go for this exam before our marriage which is due in next 2 weeks. It was a tough time for me at work ( due to 10 major project deliveries happening since June till Sep) with no leaves and weekends spent in arranging stuff for marriage and home. I tried to steal time whenever and wherever possible. But on a positive note hardly anyone would have enjoyed such a hectic courtship period !!!! …….lol
Believe me no matter how many mocks you do – The original exam is Big Boss of all and it actually tests your attitude, aptitude and capability to handle tense situations.
When I started exam first 7-8 questions occupied much of my time and i took around 15-17 min to complete it. There was a time when i was sure that I will run out of time and then i took a 2 min break and had a lot of water. I have slow reading so I was able to attempt 200th question at last one minute. I got no time to review the marked questions. To me Exam was lengthy as I didnt expect so much of Formula based questions (Network Diagrams, EMV, EVM, Risk – Probability and Impact). And out of these some were real Speed Breakers.
But on the other hand I think that my slow but accurate reading of question and problem definition helped me crack the answers well. There were good amount of questions on Project/Phase/Procurement Closure and while answering them I was thinking that I may not be correct – and believe me it gave me a fear that i may flunk in this process group.
And so were the results – I was rated Moderately Proficient in this Group but rest all the Process Group favored me with Proficient ranking.
Now Lets talk Y theory –
Many questions were very simple, direct and definition based.
A lot of ITTO – few direct and few indirect. I am bad in cramming and I will recommend that just think logically than cramming ITTO for different processes as you may get confused.
Some EVM questions were piece of cake.
When you get Network Diagram question create on the scratch paper provided and it will definitely repeat atleast once in different question.
During initial 15 min of tutorial i wrote all formulas as well as made the grid of Process Groups to Knowledge Areas mapping ( the very first sheet of all the processes provided in the folder kit during training). It helped me solving atleast 5 direct questions and was a quick reference also in terms of thinking about the ITTO for a specific process question.
Golden Rules – Make your Notes from day one just for the last 2 days revision, Do just one Mock test with Timer a day before to bring in confidence, and Sleep Well (Though I was under Insomnia  for 3 days/nights and bored of studies and office schedule so I had 6 Shots of Vodka before sleep – and ppl who dont drink – pls dont take sleeping pills :p rather watch a good movie or relax yourself with sporting activities)
Books Referred:
Head First PMP (1 time before Training and 1 time after Training)
PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy (2 times – 1 time thorough and 1 time broad overlook)
PMBOK ( Well I was not considering it as an option earlier as many of my pals have cleared without it but when i read it once it was an Eye Opener. So i read it 1 time thoroughly and then 1 time broad overlook of marked sections)
Mock Tests:
Rita Mulcahys PM FasTrack – (All Knowledge areas during each chapter study – 80 questions on an average per KA. And then Mock after completing course)
Headfirst 200 question Mock.
Scordo – Test 1 to 18 just 2 weeks before the exam so to concentrate on gaps and relate the missing info with PMBOK.
And reading Daily 5 questions and corresponding conversations of the active members of this group. :o)
Focus Area – Closing, Procurement, Risk.
Suggestion: Follow your rules and make your own strategy. Also dont panic even if you think that you will not be able to review the marked questions. Simply forget about review and try to complete the exam else the thought of no time for review will panic you.

February 2016 Update: PMI used to have a eReads section on their website. It had wealth of knowledge material. eReads had about 1000 free sample exam questions from Christopher Scordo. These questions were considered to be the Gold Standard for the Exam. Unfortunately PMI has taken off this section after January 2016. But, if you want, you can click here to buy Christopher Scordo’s PMP Practice Exams directly from his website. Before you buy, you can also look at my article that compares 6 popular PMP exam simulators to read more about Christopher Scordo’s simulator.

Praveen Malik, PMP is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 20+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor and Consultant. He regularly conducts Project Management workshops in India & abroad.

3 thoughts on “PMP Exam – A first hand experience

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