Finally finished off with my PMP exam, and was happy to see congratulations flash on the screen! For those who are going to attempt it soon, here's my lessons learned and hope it helps.
- Read PMBOK once
- Read PMBOK again
- Attended mandatory 35 PDU course at Bangalore PMI Chapter. Having a live teacher to explain concepts helped. Here I learned Rita Mulchay is also a good book to read.
- Read Rita Mulcahy and PMBOK side by side. One chapter Rita, then PMBOK and then Rita's chapter practice tests.
- Attempted tests but was getting around 73% in the tough tests like Oliver Lehmann.
- Went over Rita M & PMBOK last time only to skim over and make notes. I made notes on Formulae, 9 by 5 table and ITTO and Rita's process chart for planning which she said is good to remember. When I made notes on ITTO I left out the OPA, EEF and things like OPA updates in the the inputs and outputs and concentrated on the unique things for each process.
- I did not cram the ITTO, its too much to remember but by the end after going through it so many times and making notes, I had a good idea about them.
- My entire study consisted of about an hour to two hours on weekdays for about 6 months.
- When I was finally giving exams I was getting about 77% in the tough one (oliver lehmnann) and 80-90% (headfirst, rita) on the easy ones.
- PMBOK was very ..dry with all the ITTO tables. Rita was much more interesting and I felt like Im really learning. Instead of directly giving ITTO tables she suggests we think and come up with answers. So definitely worth a read. And there are several topics like how to select a project and HR theories which are not given in PMBOK. However I did not read any other book because I think that would have been an overkill and would have led to confusion, Instead concentrated on knowing these 2 well.
- In real life I had more experience in executing and less in the other areas. Especially initiating and closing. So it was necessary for me to put in the time to go over the material properly. One has to know the PMI terms and way of doing things. Even on the parts I was well versed in, there were several things I came to know - like one should use meetings for risks rather than status. And we used to have these long boring go around the room status meetings at work- and these are a waste of time as per Rita! I wish my then Project manager had taken PMP! :)
- I couldnt attempt as many tests as I had planned. There is so much free stuff available on the net that one can never feel like one has done enough! I rescheduled my exam once. But then one can never be perfectly ready. So I let go , and went ahead with the test. Ensured I got a good nights sleep before the exam.
On the day of the exam
- Wished I had carried a jacket - it was cold with the AC.
- Wrote down 9 by 5 table, formulae and Ritas planning chart on the scratch paper provided by Prometric.
- 200 questions is tiring!!! I took breaks like this to ensure I remain fresh
@50 questions - streched at my desk
@100 - came out of the test center and nibbled at biscuits, drank water etc
@150 questions - streched at my desk
@200 - came out of the test center and nibbled at biscuits, drank water etc
- Finished 200 questions in 2 hrs along with the breaks and spent the next hour revisiting each question. Was out by 3 hrs.
- I seemed to get more questions on risk management (ITTO) , contracts, conflict management and quality control ( control charts etc). There were several questions on ITTO. And one question from Rita's process chart for planning . And the earned value questions were very direct and simple. I preferred these over the social responsibiltiy questions...those are so vague I started thinking I must not be very ethical! :)
I got a result like this : PASS
and proficient (above avg) in planning, executing, monitoring & closing
and moderately proficient (avg) in initiating, closing & professional & social responsiblity
Well I was hoping to get above avg in every area- but too bad! Now just happy to have it out of the way and be able to put PMP next to my name :)
All the best to all you people preparing ! Good luck!