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Jim-BC: Passed PMP on Aug 13 2009 (updated 8/21)

Hi Everyone. I passed the PMP exam today and I want to share my lessons learned.

Total Study Time : about 2 months – Maybe less than 100 hours.I took my PMP training to get the contact hours in Apr 2008 and started the application in Aug 2008. Due to extremely busy work and personal life (who isn’t?), I kept postponing my exam date and really didn’t have any time to study. Since the Aug is a real deadline for me otherwise I have to reapply , I started to put a little time at night to study in July and took a few days off in August to prepare. 


PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition
I scanned this entire book at the last day. I read some chapters of 3rd edition long time ago and remembered it was very dry so I decided not to read this book this time. However, I found out the book is quite well written this time. It did have lot of charts and example to explain the thoery.

Overall: optional. Good for review.

Rita Mulcahy – PMP Exam Prep
First of all , I agreed with another LL in July. I don’t like the tone Rita put this book like “You will fail the exam if you don’t know ” or “You will miss a few questions if no real world expediences”. It is ok to repeat a few time but she did this too much. On the other side, I didn’t feel the Rita’s process chart is very useful. It just added something extra to memorize. I didn’t do the games but I did took most the questions after each chapter. The questions will really help you to recall the chapters. I will say skip all the PM stories in this book otherwise you may only remember those stories. 

I was surprised this books didn’t cover ALL the meterial mentioned in PMBOOK on the last day. It made me a little nervous . However, I believe the book alone can make you pass the exam .The questions are close. The Rita’s questions are more wordy. In each chapter, there are a few questions which didn’t make sense and won’t show up on the exam. Generally I can score 70~80% after reading.

Overall : recommended. 

1. PMP head first free 200 questions. I feel these questions are closest to the real exam. They are even better than Rita’s questions. I scored 75% in this one.
2. Oliver’s 175 questions. I took the exam 2 days before the exam and only scored 65%. It made me very nervous so I started to read the PMBOOK. I feel the level of Oliver maybe too hard. He added some questions from other PM boook which are not necessary. Sometimes he 
picked a few words from PM book and made a question which may not fit the real work exam. so don’t let this exam beat you down.

The Exam Itself

I arrived 30 minutes earlier and they let me started right away. I didn’t dump the formulas . I think I know the calculation portion pretty well. 
After about 30 questions I know I will pass. The real exam is not so wordy . The funny thing is sometimes you can tell some questions are not real ones. These kind of questions mentioned some thing you never heard and they even have grammar errors. I marked about 50 questions and went through them again . It took me about 2.5 hours (I didn’t review the questions unmarked) and I decided to end the exam. I was very nervous at the last moment because the score didn’t show up immediately. I had to do the survey first. and then the congratulations showed up.

Generally the exam is not very hard. The EV questions are simple so I even didn’t use the calculator. If you prepare well and you will pass. There is no need to memorize the TT and I/O. I feel the exam question was written in a way even you are allowed to read the books, you won’t get it right without proper understanding. so it is better the understand the concept instead of remember them. 

eg. What’s the different between quality assurance and quality control? If you can not even get this right, you may need to review the books again. 

ok, I need to have a break now. In short, my LL is to don’t over study but also ensure don’t underestimate it. The PMP knowledge is really help in real life work so it is better to master the art.

A Busy PMP

Added second part: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:26 pm in PMP LL in PMHUB I read the PMP heads up (for PMbok 3rd edition) long time ago . I have both Rita 5th and 6th version. The reason is I was too busy so I don’t have time to read Rita’s 5th so I purchased 6th version to make sure I can pass. Generally, I think you can pass with the books for the 3rd edition. There are not big difference for these two editions. I think lots exam questions still use the old terms .eg . Scope definition instead of define scope. There are no different for these two.

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2 comments to Jim-BC: Passed PMP on Aug 13 2009 (updated 8/21)

  • centrino

    Hello Jim, thanks for your LL.
    One question : as you read some material before June 30 2009, did you buy the new revisions of the books related to the PMBOK 4 Edition ?

    thanks !

  • Alexius Emejom

    Thanks Jim for your LL. I sure will take your advise not to be too anxious before my exam this month end.