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John Varghes: Passed PMP October 10, 2009 on my 1st try

I am extremely happy to say that I passed the exam on my 1st try.

PMBOK 4th Ed
PMP Exam Prep (Rita 6th Ed.)
PMP Exam Success Series: Exam Simulation Booklet (Crosswind)
The PMP Exam (A, Crowe 3rd Ed.)

I read the PMBOK three times from cover to cover. I also read Rita’s book three times, the first time doing all the chapter tests. I also reviewed the incorrect answers and focused on those sections carefully on my second and third reads. I also took the chapter tests on the weaker topics multiple times.
Besides that I made a copy of pg 43 from PMBOK and memorized it, also each Knowledge Area’s chart from the PMBOK so I can get a better handle on the ITTO’s. Along with Rita’s chapter tests I was also taking the chapter tests from Crosswind, alternatively, for example chapter 5 Scope Management in PMBOK, I would take the same topic’s chapter test in both Rita and Crosswind.

I also have to say researching on the LL’s from pmhub helped me out tremendously, I read on a fellow member’s post that to use a brain dump strategy right after you start the tutorial at the test site. I took this method and I added my own twist, I practiced the brain dump and I timed myself, each time I did one I tried to keep it under 15 minutes. Since the tutorial is only for 15 minutes.
My brain dump consisted of the entire KA and PG grouping from PG. 43, all of the formulas that Rita mentions in her book, all of the estimate ranges CPI/SPI interpretations and Sigmas. The best time I scored was 12:30 Min. which was the day before the test. This preparation method helped me greatly since I am a very nervous test taker, and I didn’t want to have a brain freeze at the test site.

Practice 4 hour exams, I took the crosswind’s test and Andy Crowe’s both has its benefits. Try taking these tests as often as you can, lock yourself in a room and simulate the test. This by far is the most important advice I have to give, the simulation is key. Crowe’s book says that you need to score over 90% to feel confident, which I don’t think is hard to accomplish if you retake the test and correct your mistakes. Crosswind test is the closest when it comes to the real test, I would focus on this test and get used reading long questions, and detailed choices. If you can score over 90% in both books you are set.

Focus on Quality, Risk and Procurement ITTO’s. Also focus on contract types and know its advantages. It is covered in Rita’s. Study the differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Practice the mathematical formulas, do not assume all the items will be given for a formula.
I did not memorize all the ITTO’s just tried to visualize how they all integrate with each other.

Day before the test:
Call or workout the logistics of getting to your test site, I found out in the evening news the day before my test, that there were numerous subway construction work going on, and majority of the subway lines were affected. You “DO NOT” want any surprises on the day of your exam, so research and plan ahead on your route to the test site. I would recommend going there a week before so you can get a feel for the commute.

Day of the test:
Get there early, I got there about an hour early and I was allowed to take the test 30 mins prior to my scheduled start time. Remember the test site is not only for PMP exam’s they will have other folks in there, so plan for it. I had to wait in line to check in, so arrive early to the site. Again I have to thank another member from the PMHUB site who in his LL posted, that you should ask for ear plugs. My test site had noise reducing headphones which were excellent, if they do not have them, ask for earplugs.
I was a nervous wreck when I sat down, but due to the fact that I practiced my brain dumps, I was able to pull through when I started the tutorial. The exam started and I was freaking out since I didn’t recognize the first few questions. Another recommendation from a PMHUB LL was to mark for review anything that you are not sure of, or if you are re-reading the question over and over. I followed that strategy, also as Rita mentions in her book, “DO NOT” let the exam control you. Be in control of the exam, do not be pressured, be focused and maintain your concentration. I finished the test at 3:15 mins, and spent the 30 Mins reviewing the questions. I was shocked at how many questions I had answered incorrectly because I was panicking in the beginning of the test. With 15mins left I clicked on End Exam and the survey started. I was exhilarated when the “CONGRATULATIONS” came on the screen.

Do not underestimate this exam, by far this is the most difficult test I have taken in my professional career. In my opinion, the test is similar to running. Just like when you are starting your run, you are not in rhythm, your breathing is not right, and your muscles starts hurting, but once your body warms up you are set to go and can run comfortably. The test is very similar to this in my opinion, it starts off rocky but once you steady yourself and don’t get intimated and taken off-course you will be fine.

I want to thank everyone who posted their LL’s on this forum, it helped me tremendously in my preparation. I want to thank my wife for supporting me in the project and putting up with me. I want to warn everyone that this test’s preparation takes a toll on your social life and your personal life. Be prepared to sacrifice having a good time to earn these three treasured letters.. PMP

Thanks again to all and cheers.
John Varghes


3 comments to John Varghes: Passed PMP October 10, 2009 on my 1st try