PMP Journey

PMP Lessons

Hi All,

Before I start my LL, I would like to thank PMP Google Groups, Yahoo PMP Groups, my wife, my son and friends and families who encouraged me to achieve one of the best certifications in the world.

I have cleared my PMP certification on March 28th,2012 at Columbus, Oh, USA. That is one day before my birthday. It was my birthday gift , presented by myself.

Prometric exam center is very big, protected with full of cameras, Metal Detector, and routine check ups with staff.

My Lessons Learns are different from other PMP holders. Because, I have already cleared CAPM from PMI in Feb 2011. That means I have already gone thru the PMBOK, Head First and Rita at least once before my CAPM exam and solved 100s and 1,000s questions.

I have submitted my PMP application in Oct 2011 and got approved by PMI.  There was no immediate plan for me to give PMP but want to complete before June 2012.

Strategy/Commitment/Initiation:

Before my Family planned to go to India for Vacation for 2 months, I have decided to give my PMP in March and booked my exam date as March 26th 2012. I need to give my exam before they return to the USA in the 1st week of April.

Planning:I have taken Xerox of Feb, March calendar and created a study plan and used to track my progress and pinned my study plan to my wall.

Execution:I have started my serious preparation from Feb 8th and used to spend at least 2 – 4 hrs a day and 8 – 10 hrs on the weekend. At the same time, I bought “brainbok.com” Three months membership and used for ITTOs, Flashcards and Quiz.

Started with PMBOK – Read one chapter from PMBOK and refer Head First whenever required and give HF chapter questions ( At the same time I thought of going thru Cornelius Fichtner’s PM Prepcast, unfortunately, I felt like wasting my time,felt boring and stopped after 2 chapter video lessons ) . I tried my best to complete each chapter per day. But, I missed completing a chapter per day for some of the chapters.

I have decided to stop reading PMBOK after communication chapter on 18th and decided to move to Rita. ( 🙂 There was an approved change request from my side to update my plan for better results in the exam) Because, I thought that Rita will give me more information than PMBOK. But still I used to glance at different chapters in PMBOK.

Now, my updated plan is to read Rita chapters one by one and give chapter wise question from Rita PM FastTrack V7. I have followed the plan and completed all chapters and Chapter wise questions from Rita PM FastTrack V7 by March 10th except Risk and Procurement which I solved only chapter wise question at the end of the chapter. I have created my notes from the wrongly answered questions and their explanations.

Monitoring:Questions / Full Exams (Mock tests started on March 12th)

 1. SimpleLearn – Not really tough – 4 Hrs exam.
2. http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com – Felt very difficult and never felt that I heard some of the terminology used in the exam questions – 90 Questions.
3. http://www.edwel.com/ – 4 hrs exam
4. EPMC – Very Very lengthy questions. I could not complete all questions in 4 hrs.
5. BetterPM.com – 4 hrs exam
6. pmstudy.com – 4 hrs exam. Medium Difficult
7. Farndale’s PMP® and CAPM® – Around 200 Questions
8. Downloaded Free Andriod, iphone, ipad apps and solved all the questions.
I have been following question a day from EPMC. Their questions are very good.
9. Solved many short exams which are freely available online. You can check http://www.squidoo.com/pmp-certification-exam-free-sample-questions 
10. Searched with word PMP exam or free PMP exam questions in google and gave some short exams.
Change Request: Changed my exam date from 26th to 28th, took 3 days leave from 26th to 28th and was very serious to solve all type of questions from the below sites

4 days before the exam:

11. PMI.org -> eReads & Reference -> PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers, & Explanations by Christopher Scordo around 250 questions and Q & As for the PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition by Frank T. Anbari (ed) Project Management Institute © 2009– Around 175 Questions
12. Examcentral.net – Very good site – Solved 400 – 500 Questions
13. Brainbok Formula 50 Qs exam, solved many ITTO questions, I was really very good in solving ITTOs.
14. I have gone thru http://sridharpeddisetty.blogspot.com/2008/05/my-notes-on-pmp-formulas.html and http://sridharpeddisetty.blogspot.com/2008/05/my-notes-on-pmp.html & http://sridharpeddisetty.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-notes-on-pmbok-v4.html
15. http://www.deepfriedbrainproject.com/ – Lot of good material and explained lot of concepts with good examples.
16. Oliver Lehmann – 75 questions (online only)
Before 2 days. I have revised the PMBOK from the first page to Last page in 8 – 10 hrs time and revised Risk and Procurement from Rita.

I slept at 12: 30 AM on the day before the exam and woke up at 8 AM.

I have gone thru my notes and revised some concepts from HR, Communication, Procurement and all formulas.

My exam is at 12:30 PM. It is 20 mins drive from my place. I have reached Prometric at 12 PM, and before I enter into the hall opened my Head First PMP book, gone thru Network Diagram to understand Forward pass & backward pass calculations and glanced at EV formulas.Entered into Exam center and got a locker and kept everything inside. I have started my exam.

About the exam:I have dumped page 43 PMBOK in my booklet which was provided by Prometric with 3 pencils, noted down all formulas and any other concepts which I thought important.

  1. I did not see lengthy questions.
  2. Only 1 or 2 questions are very strange; I never came across those questions in my entire preparation. Those may be dummy questions
  3. Not many questions on math.

I am not sure how others were able to complete exam in 2 or 3 hrs and reviewed their answers.

Here, is my progress:

Question Numbers Time Taken
42 60 mins
100 120 mins (2 hrs)
@110 Taken break, and had my break fast bar
145 3 hrs
200 3 hrs 50 mins

There was only 3 or 4 unanswered questions and marked couple of them. I just answered and reviewed those questions and submitted my exam just 53 secs before my end time.

Participated in their survey and click on the Next/End.

Lot of tension at the movement and was thinking “what should I do If I fail in my exam?” and took my ID card and decided to leave from my place before I see my results.

But here you go….

BOOOM……!!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS ………Finally that’s what everyone wants.

Suggestion: (This is my personal suggestion. Some people may like it or may not like )
1. Commit yourself. If you are not taking PMP training or PMP Bootcamp, make sure that you have reasonable target. Don’t set your target like “Need to give exam in 1 month or 2 months ” unless you are really spending extraordinary effort on your preparation Or If you have too much experience in the project management + able to spend extraordinary effort on your preparation.
2. Allocate Time for your preparation and join in yahoo, google groups (Yahoo: PMPExamForum,pmpbest , Google: PMP Cert Online Study Group, try to participate in the groups and ask questions and answer question ) 
3. Read Head First PMP if you think it is difficult for you to understand the PMBOK.
Read the PMBOK and Read Rita/Andy (based on your preference, Some people like Andy, some like Rita) at least twice Or thrice.
4. Solve Rita &  Andy’s questions behind the chapters ( if you have this book,  Or borrow if you can )  (  Opinion: Highly Recommend )
5. If you get a chance try to solve all questions from PM FastTrack V7/V6. It has 1,400 + questions. (  Opinion: Highly Recommend )
6. Prepare notes while preparation Or some important notes can be found in explanation from answer key.
7. If you are PMI member, make use of safari books.
– PMP: Project Management Professional Study Guide, Fifth Edition by Kim Heldman
– Q & As for the PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition by Frank T. Anbari (ed) Project Management Institute
– PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers, & Explanations by Christopher Scordo
8.Try to solve examcentral.net questins – 1,000 Qs
9.Try to purchase http://www.brainbok.com service if you think you need it. Read, http://www.deepfriedbrainproject.com/, There is lot useful material available. Most of the free questions found in this website.
10. There are 1,000s of questions freely available. Please do a google search with word PMP exam or free PMP exam.
11. If you have a smart phone, ipad.. download all free apps and solve question, just give it a try.
12. Learn from your mistakes while giving mock exams/sample questions/Answer Key and try your best not to make the same mistake.
 Finally Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price  Vince Lombardi 
Note: PMI is charging $70 for postponing the exam from April 1st 2012, So make sure that you plan and fix your exam. 
 Best of luck to all my friends who are planning for PMP and CAPM exams.

 I have prepared some PMP notes , I will update in my website soon.

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CAPM Journey

First of all, I thank my wife who is pregnant and doesn’t take much help during my exam preparation.Without her support, I must have not achieved this certification.

I need to thank my friend Soumen Saha, PMP, who is my inspiration to do this certification.Thanks to yahoo groups and friends.

I have decided to write PMP in June 2010, became a PMI member and fortunately changed the company. I thought of going for CAPM even though I can write PMP. I have gotten my 35 contact hours from Proxalt.com.

Review on ProXalt: This is the cheapest way to get 35 contact hours. First you need to go thru their chapter wise presentation and try to understand and then there is an exam after each chapter with an approximately 15 questions. They will give you 3 chances to clear each chapter.

They give you on the fly explanation on the each chapter, and that explanation doesn’t help you pass the exam. Before, you attempt chapter wise exam; you need to study respective chapter from PMBOK and then attempt. There are fare chances that you can clear an exam very easily.

I got my 35 contact hrs in Aug and immediately I submitted my CAPM application to PMI and got approved after 4th day. I have selected my exam date in Nov and postponed to December, Jan, and finally to Feb 21st. On Friday, 18th I got a confirmation mail from Prometric said that my exam is confirmed on 23rd. I really got so much angry on PMI for changing my date from 21st to 24th.

I spoke to customer care and did not work well. They told that the center is closed due to president day, and other people said that due to systems up-gradation. I don’t like 24th because I need to apply for 2 day leave one before the exam and one on exam day and at the same time I don’t want to tell my managers that I am writing exam and want to keep it as surprise. Finally, I decided to give my exam on Feb 24th because there are no more dates until March.

Books and other reference:

1. PMBOK – 2 times and studies some of the chapters more than twice.
2. Rita – 1 time just like that and skipped 2 or 3 lessons because Rita was not covered well and before one month I have gone thru only Rita, and gone thru page by page and answered all questions from HFP and Rita.
3. Head First PMP, Once and was referring whenever I need to understand with examples.
4. I have taken Printout of all Knowledge Area wise ITTO printout and started understanding how I can understand and remember ITTO. I was able to remember some of the ITTOs, but not all. It is very difficult to remember all ITTO.
5. Printed out Page 43 which was prepared in Proxalt.com with colors and pinned at my study table.
6. Wherever I get a chance to solve a question, I did it.
7. I used to read at least 1 or 2 hours every day (Definitely not continuously on everyday, I did it only after Aug) and used to read on the weekends if it works. I am a family person and I was for long weekends.

I have used www.brainbok.com and it is helpful.

8. I convert my ITTOs understanding into short script on each chapter and used to explain to my wife. This helped me to remember most of the ITTOs.

5 days before:

1. I bought “http://www.pmexampreparation.com/” CAPM 5 day license cost $30.

Pros:

This is very good product, and my CAPM exam looks like “www.pmexampreparation.com” exam simulation. They have 700 + question. I was writing Process Group, chapter wise exams, they have 3 full exams with difficult, medium and easy.

I bought this simulation because I don’t know how are CAPM questions, but solved so many PMP questions, and I know the difficultly. This simulation really helped a lot before my exam.

Cons:

1. I saw some of the questions are wrongly framed.
2. Some of the questions are not having reference Answers.
3. There are just providing PMBOK page number for explanation as Answer. This really doesn’t help me much as per my understanding. I would expect they need to explain why the answer is correct like “PM FASTrack”.
4. I thought that I can write Full Exams day before my exam. Website was working fine until Feb 22nd midnight. I woke up on Feb 23rd, and I thought let’s start the Full exam.

DAM ! Website was down, and it said that domain was sold to some other person. I thought that I am done and definitely I would fail CAPM exam. I called their customer care and no response. Luckily, Ihad mail reply to one my feedbacks, and sent a mail and the problem was resolved in 1 hr time. I was very happy that movement.

We really should not worry about small mistakes. I have provided my feedback with them whenever I come across these types of questions. Hope they will correct it.

2. Pmstudy.com, CAPM free exam ( http://www.pmstudy.com/enroll.asp#CAPM )
3. http://www.pm-abc.com/Free_Simulated_Test.asp
4. I have answered all 150 + questions from PMFasTrack “Framework and PM Processes”.

One day before:

1. I have written difficult and medium from http://www.pmexampreparation.com and got 80 + % and 70 % respectively, reviewed my answers and learned new things.
2. ITTOs understanding.
3. Slept at 1 AM. Most People told that we needed to go to bed early day before the exam. Somehow, I was reviewing some of the topics.

On the Exam day:

My exam is at 1 PM and it is just 5 mins drive from my Home.

Woke up at 8 AM, and glanced at ITTOs, reviewed my notes and gone thru http://www.brainbok.com at least for 1 – 2 hrs.

I had my lunch and reached prometric center at 12: 30 PM and prometric center has only 4 seats and has a glass wall and can be seen from both sides.

I have shown my Driving License, Credit Card and my passport. She took my sign on Exam terms and conditions.

I was inside the room before 1 PM. She said BEST OF LUCK and left my place. Everyone was telling that we would get 3 papers and pencils. Unfortunately, I got one erasable pad, issue paper and erasable marker. I was disappointed how I can enter all Formulas and Page 43. Somehow, I have written Page 43 and Formulas. Entering Page 43 will really help you during answering some of the questions. I never used other side of the erasable sheet before if I turn whatever written will be erased. Whenever I was solving MATH exams, I used only 2 “ x 3 “ space.

Exam:

1. Exam was not really touch. After writing a couple of question, I thought that I would definitely pass. After 100th question, I was thinking 50 – 50 %, and I took a break at 2 hrs for 5 mins.
2. When I was writing last 30 questions, I thought that would pass.
3. Completed exam in 2: 30 mins (I know that I was not really very fast), and I was taking my own time answering some of the questions. I reviewed all my marked and answered my unanswered questions and changed answers and realized that I made the mistake after I came home.

I clicked on END EXAM when time was 2 mins 40 sec left. I answered their survey, SCREEN WENT blank, finally; I saw “congratulations”.

I checked my chapter wise proficient, and I was very happy that I am proficient in some of the tough area like COST, TIME, Quality, Procurement, HR, and Risk etc.

Hooray ! I am CAPM certified. I turned my head and said, I did it with  exam in-charge.

Suggestion:

1. If you are writing CAPM, try to understand ITTOs, remember and you should be strong in basics.
2. Read Head First PMP first and then PMBOK and solve the question from HFP and Rita questions.
3. Learn from Lessons/Failures. Whenever you write exam / answer any question and prepare notes on important points.I have created for some of the chapters and used it day before an exam and before going to exam.
4. If you are writing CAPM, you don’t really require reading Rita more than once.
5. Join in Yahoo groups like PMPExamForum,pmpbest and PMHub etc.
6. Register for Question In Inbox “http://www.effectivepmc.com“.

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