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Vipul C.: Passed PMP Exam on 15 March 2011


Hello Everyone,

I am immensely happy and excited to announce that I passed the PMP exam on 15th March 2011. I would like to thank my family and friends for extensive support and guidance and online forums. I have studied very hard and achieved the three letters PMP to my name.

I would like to share my study process and lessons learned. Hope it will be helpful to all the PMP aspirants.

It all started last year Feb 2010 when I did a lot of research on internet and attended the 35 hrs Course. After the course I started to go through the HeadFirst (click HeadFirst to check price) book which we got as course material.

Next 6 months I was not that active and just went through HeadFirst when I got time. Also I didn’t want to Memorize or grasp things and appear for exam within few weeks or months after course but to understand the concepts, processes, ITTO very well and apply to daily job too. This was my approach and it helped me see improvements in my project & daily job.

My study process broke twice and it took me time to get discipline with hectic job schedule and personal responsibilities.
It was finally in October’10 timeframe I became serious and went through PMBOK first time. It was lot easier to read since I understood the concepts with the help of HeadFirst. I already had read HeadFirst almost thrice by now.

In Nov’10 started going through sample questions and found that I had many gaps in my knowledge and many terms seemed new to me. I got to know that HeadFirst and PMBOK is not enough and I need to refer Rita to cover my gaps as suggested by my friends and forums.

I prepared a detailed plan with daily planning of what I will do everyday with buffers and planned to appear somewhere in March’11. I went through Rita and PMBOK chapter by chapter along with chapter end questions. This approach was really useful and it helped me cover my gaps and understanding of processes. I repeated above step to make my understanding solid. I also made notes while this process for referring days before the exam.

By the time,
• I also prepared Braindumps (42 processes chart, All Formulas, HR Theories, Conflict sources and resolution techniques, Risk response strategies, PM Powers…).
• Since I felt confident while this process I fixed my date for 15th March 2011, One day before my birthday
• I visited the Exam site one month before to get comfortable with the route and examination site and procedures.
• I also joined online forums and yahoo groups, the Lessons learned and discussions were very useful. Thanks a lot and daily newsletters like Daily newsletters are great to learn and revise the topics.

Finally, I finished all my studies in around end of Jan’11 and started solving questions on internet & from my repository. This time it went very well and I can understand and solve most of the questions. For questions that went wrong, I referred to PMBOK or Rita for explanations.

Next, I started giving 4 hrs simulation exams. I wrote all the braindumps before starting the mock exam as if it’s real and tried reading and answering each question within 1 minute time frame. It really helped to simulate the exam scenario. I was able to finish exam in 3 to 3 and hrs hours.

I was scoring 80+ in all sample tests. HeadFirst are the easier ones and I scored 90+. Confidence was high and just needed to keep maintaining the momentum.

I stopped solving questions one week before and took one week leave from Office for preparation. Day before examination I just went through PMBOK, Rita Tricks of the trade and marked things to refer and my Notes. I also tried writing braindumps in minimal time everyday before I commence my studies.
Day before I had so much confidence that I felt I would surely pass But as usual I felt restless and couldn’t sleep for more then 2-3 hrs.

Exam Day
• Got up early, had heavy breakfast and didn’t refer to anything.
• I reached 1 hr before the exam time and the Exam centre was yet to open. I just had a walk around and relaxed.
• Sharp 8 AM exam centre was open. There were many GRE students and 2-3 for PMP.
• The security just checked 2 photo identities and didn’t ask for any confirmation from PMI since they had a list of exam takers for that day.
• We were allotted a locker and were asked to put everything into the locker.
• Instructions were given to us regarding max 5 breaks, cannot open locker during breaks, every time we take break need to do check-in procedure. If have drinks or Tiffin box then need to keep in allotted corner outside exam room so that we can have it during breaks.
• Had security check and check-in procedure before entering the exam terminal.
• They gave 4 sheets of paper and 2 pencils and gave instructions and to raise hand in case need help or want to take a break.
• Staff helped in starting the exam and making sure I start the exam in a minute.
• Next comes the 15 min tutorial. I went through the tutorial in 2 minutes and next 13 minutes I wrote all the braindumps into given paper sheets.
• Exam started and the initial questions took time to answer.
• I planned to take to break at 75 but since the Momentum was going good I continued and took a break at 125 by raising my hand.
• I continued and finished my first round by 3 hrs and 20 min with 25-30 questions for review.
• During review I didn’t changed more then 2 or 3 answers.
• Still had 10-15 min to finish hence started going through all the questions, in case.
• Exam was finished on 4 hrs and screen went white for some time! Next came the survey.
• Once finished the survey the screen went white again. This time I was really terrified to know the results. Then…
• Came the screen CONGRATULATIONS and I was so Happy and excited to see it. I starred at it for around a minute
• Unlocked the locker and gave back the locker key.
• Called my family and was very happy to talk with them. Their patience were really tested (I was completely dedicated to work and studies and didn’t happen to give much time to family for last many weeks). It was nice to pass one of the toughest exams. Now I can put PMP on my name?.
• Celebrated my Birthday next day with Family. It was a great achievement and my hard work paid off.

Its long story but I hope all PMP aspirants would benefit from my experience & mistakes I have done. I have some tips for the aspirants whom I think would be very useful in preparations.

My Study Material
• HeadFirst – Very useful to understand the concepts, especially for beginners
• Rita Book – for details and fill the gaps in understanding
• PMBOK – A must and read at least twice. Once before the exam.
• Kim Heldman (Chapter end questions only)
• Sample Questions from Internet, forums…

Useful Tips
• PMBOK is the Key But never read PMBOK first. Refer to HeadFirst to begin.
HeadFirst is for beginners and the concepts are explained very well and easy to read with Visuals. If possible go through HeadFirst before attending the course.
• Know the Page 42 and 43 of PMBOK very well. Glossary is important to read.
• No Need to memorize ITTO’S if you understand the concepts and can relate the processes it would be much easier, like follow this technique
[Direct & Manage Project Execution]->Deliverables -> [Quality Control]->Validate deliverables->[Verify Scope]->Accepted Deliverables ->[Close Project or Phase]->Final product, Service or result to Customer.
• Understand the Cost formulas and Critical path from HeadFirst as it makes them much easier then it looks.
• Have a detailed plan with Milestones and Buffers and stick to it. Commitment is very important. Plan to read at least 2 hrs everyday. Never take a long break or it becomes difficult to come back on track. Planning is very important and revise your plan as you progress.
• Follow the technique of chapter by chapter reading of Rita book (or any of your choice) and PMBOK.
• Register to forums and read Lessons learned and read tricky questions.
• Don’t leave anything for end or postpone it, if cannot understand any concept or stuck somewhere then understand it at the same point of time. Take help of internet or friends for better understanding.
• Procurement Knowledge area and Professional and Social responsibility is very well explained in Rita Book. Rita process chart and process game is a MUST.
• Solve at least 5 online simulation question sets. Be prepare for Noise during exam, guy next to me started fan in his cubicle which made lot of noise. Headphones are available in case needed.
• Solve at least 3000+ questions that cover all types of questions.
• Exam questions are not wordy (max 3 lines) but tough and different then sample questions and really tests your understanding.
• Register for PMP exam ASAP. The format is going to change in Aug 2011. Your choice of exam slot may not be available due to rush.
• Last but not the least write your lessons learned and share your knowledge.

All the best …

Thanks & Best Regards
Vipul C, PMP

Study Materials: click HeadFirstRita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Book

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5 comments to Vipul C.: Passed PMP Exam on 15 March 2011

  • Nandakumar

    Great!!! Thank you very much for sharing the process of PMP exam. could you share with us the online simulation test sites names?

  • Sonal Shah

    Congrats! Excellent LL. Thanks for Sharing your experience & belated Happy Birthday.
    Surely it would benefit in my preparations.

  • Vishal Dalvi

    Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing!!! Strike up the band!!!

  • Nabi

    Congratulations Vipul. Thanks for the detailed LL. I like the fact that you have applied the concepts in your Projects and saw improvement.

  • Ron

    I passed my PMP yesterday. I am typing from my Phone while I take care of my boys so I will keep it brief. Attended a 14 week study group, which met for an hour every week. Spent 3 months studying from Rita’s off and on, and while I was flying for work. Tried to read the PMBOK but gave up after a few chapters. Completed a few online training sessions to get my 35 hrs. Took 3 days off work and studied from Rita’s , 8 hrs each day. Arrived 2 hrs early for the exam. Didn’t do a meaningful brain dump because I didn’t see the point. Completed the exam in 3 hrs and left because I was famished.

    Passed on first try. Exam was moderately challenging. I almost feel that people might be overstudying. IMO if you do Rita’s book and Fast track exam simulation and you are score in the 80s , you are good to go. Just my opinion though.