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A. Mani: Passed PMP exam Feb 18

I am happy to inform that I have cleared PMP yesterday 18-Feb-2011. I was a silent observer of this forum. So it is my responsibility to give back my experience for future PMP aspirants.
It is a long story however the details might be useful it will be helpful for those just starting in this journey to PMP Exam.
Materials I have used
1. PMBOK 4 (Read three times)
2. HeadFirst PMP (Very nice book to understand the basics)
3. Andy Crowe (Coming with one week access to Velociteach which is really excellent)
4. PMRoadTrip(Just quick glance)
My Preparation
Actually I started by October 2010, I was in low speed at initial.
Read the HeadFirst, answered the question on every chapter. Applied for PMP by December first week, Same time started reading PMBOK also, Now Iam able to understand some concepts and bought Andy Crowe book. It is really nice book explained the concepts at basic level. Finally decided to stick on only Andy and HeadFirst.
By the second week of Jan 2011, I took a gamble; even before taking any sample test I scheduled my exam on Feb 18, Basically after scheduling my exam only I started reading seriously.
I have one month and I started taking mock exams.I am shocked with my score, it was between 50 – 60% only. I read PMBOK again and again with glossary, underlined the important points. Draw my own diagrams.
Until first week of this month, Feb I revised Andy PMBOK & HeadFirst. I have taken the Mock exams listed below
1. Head First
2. PMStudy free exam Â
3. Oliver Lehmann
4. Techfaq
5. Andy velociteach
7. Simplilearn
At all the mock exams my score were between 60-75% only. I was frustrated not even getting 80%, so thinking of rescheduling exam, but my mind is not accepting to change the schedule. Last week before the exam I revised 6-7 hours every day,
Corrected all mistakes from the Mock exam. To avoid confusion I stopped taking mock test before a week of exam. My exam was scheduled on Feb. 18 afternoon.
So I stopped my preparation exactly Feb 17 evening. Just gave rest to my mind for several hours. I did not think of anything, did only my regular activities. Don’t want to get confused anything at the last last minutes. On the night of the 17th I planned to take full rest, however my mind was restless and feared about exam, I have invested so much of money, efforts and I was still doubtful whether I can pass the PMP exam.
Slept only for 3 hours, On Exam day, I got a remainder call from PMI Prometric center. So I departed from mome by 11:15. My exam center is at Nungambakkam, Chennai, India. Reached the center by 11.45, and center manager asked if want to take exam they can arrange it immediately, said ok. They gave locker key asked me to put all my things. If you have eatables, drinks and snacks, you should not put that into your locker. During exam time they will not allow you to open locker. They gave separate open table where you can keep your snacks. So I kept my snacks there.
They gave one rules sheet to read. It is prometric rules. They checked me fully. Even I need to take out cloth out my pocket. Even they checked me with metal detector. I did not expect this much of security check. They accepted my driving license as id Proof.
I entered exam hall with following items
1. Four Yellow color sheets stapled
2. Two pencils
3. One eraser
4. Locker key
5. My id proof
6. Ear Plug
A guy came with me and opened the exam screen. I had ear plug due to typing sound of some GRE candidates, I started with a self-explanatory tutorial contains 9 pages, Completed the tutorial in 3 minutes,
Wrote PMBOK 42 page and formulas in the work sheets.
The started the exam
1. I do see real good quality of questions. The exam questions are of higher standard when comparing to the free mock exam I have taken
2. I got many questions on quality, risk, procurement
3. I read many people’s lessons learned like most of the questions are one-liner and formula questions are simple. In my case both are false. I got around 50 paragraph question and no straight forward math questions, I need to mix 2 or 3
formulas to get the answer
4. I got few questions with diagram on time management, however they are simple
5. 80-90 questions are very straight forward. So make use of this question to pass the exam. I mean if you read the PMBOK guide 2 or 3 times you can answer this
6. 30-40 questions are really tough. Even after using elimination strategy, I can eliminate only 2 options. Remaining 2 or very close, like one is 90% and other 100%. We need to select the best. Sometimes I got continuously 4-5 questions
like this so I got frustrated. So every time I feel like this just take deep breathing closed my eyes for 2 minutes
7. I took 4 breaks totally, first after completing 70,120, 170 and before
8. I marked around 30 questions
9. completed the exam in 3 hours, started reviewing the marked questions, and changed few.
Completed all before 30 minutes
Want to revisit all the questions. But my heart saying not to do this. So decided to end the exam, clicked the end exam blank white screen for 2 minutes.
I know center survey will come, to avoid tension. I read slowly and answered allthe questions. And click end. Again 2 minutes white screen. What a painful minutes. Saw the monitor without any expression
. Oh boy! Mission accomplished…  saw the Magic Word CONGRATS, you will receive certificate in 4 weeks. What great moments. Hard work pays many sleepless nights and tension. I had many technical certifications. But PMP is most challenging one which will test your hard work and patience. I got MP in all the areas. I do not care PASS is a PASS, I am PMP now.
1. Do not read too many books. 1 or 2 is sufficient. But PMBOK is mandatory, in my exam only 5-10 questions out of PMBOK.
2. Don’t take all the FREE mock exams in the net. Take only quality mock exams.
Some of the mock exam are not up to PMI standard and confuse your preparation,
example. In one mock exam I see options like A & B, all the above like that while the real exam will not
3. Read the options from the bottom. Read the questions 2-3 times even if it is
4. Don’t mark too many questions
5. Try to utilize the full time of exam, at least 3 and half an hour
6. Be prepared for paragraphs questions
7. Many questions will try to trick you. So be careful before answering. Don’t focus on just one word in a paragraph and answer. They may be telling several things in the paragraph. But question may be different. Take only relevant information for the question.
8. Many questions are like scenario based. So think like Project Manager in applying PMBOK
9. Take regular break. We have enough time
10. I did not have good sleep, While going to exams due to stress, I broke road traffic rule and paid fine. And worst, the  drink I took in the break period was an expired one.
All affected my exams, basically my concentration. So try to reduce stress as much as possible. Be cool
11. Stop your preparation one day before the exam. Allow your mind to rest. And stop taking mock exam one week before youtr exam. If you get low score in your mock exam, do not worry too much, the real exam is totally different than the free mock exam.
12. Every time you take break you need to under go all the security process again.
13. I am not good in memorization. So I did not memorize ITTO. Anyway this is not needed  I do get questions on ITTO. But it’s straight forward.
14. Overall, The Exam is not tough. If you have good understanding you can easily clear.
In closing, a mesage for PMP aspirants, I sincerely hope you will also get the same enjoyment in your journey as I have in mine.

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4 comments to A. Mani: Passed PMP exam Feb 18