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Gurpuneet Kaur Sethi: Passed PMP on 28-May-2010

I am glad to share with you all that I cleared the PMP certification exam in my first attempt on the 28th-May-2010. It’s a great sense of satisfaction and achievement, to add the three words “PMP” behind my name.
I would like to share my experiences for the PMP exam preparation.

Books I used -:
1. PMP® Exam Prep – Sixth Edition Developed by Rita Mulcahy
2. PMBOK Guide-Fourth Edition
I completed 3-4 revisions of these two books inside out.
Head First PMP – O’Reilly – I did download the free downloads from Found the docs fairly simple to read, so decided not to buy it and just stuck to the above books.

Study time : 4 months, spent the last 2 weeks taking mock tests. Made notes for each questions, I got wrong in the mock test and read the notes before the exam.
However would advice PMP aspirants to start taking mock tests much earlier, in fact after the first round of revision to help you understand your knowledge gaps.

Free Mock Tests I used:
1. – fairly easy questions. Ideal for your first 4 hrs mock test.
2. – set of 10 Questions. I solved them daily during my lunch break. The questions are mostly picked from PMBOK and are a great way to learn the exact definition of terms.
3. … =1&iLang=0
4. … stions.htm – free set of 75 Q & 175 Q. Tough ones
5. – very good practice questions
7. Tech faq360

Mock Tests I purchased –
1. – Test 1 is free, I bought Test 2 & 3 – real good practice questions, more or less similar to the real exam question pattern.
2. PM FASTrack by Rita Mulcahy – Questions are very long and wordy, are of good practice since they are based chapter wise too.
Blogs I referred -:
1. … 06fabafc21. The Lessons learnt especially were of great help. A BIG Thank you to all the contributors.
2. – Excellent explanation for certain PMP exam related concepts.

I did NOT memorize the ITTO, however made notes and simple abbreviations of them and read them daily so that they registered in my mind. I DID memorize the Rita process chart, it was of great help during the exam.
I did practice & rehearse sitting for the mock test without taking any break in between. This was just to ensure I finish the actual test on time and tune my body for the 4 hours exercise. Also want to mention that, I timed and practiced the quick notes I planned to write down during the 15 min training time of the actual exam. While I was studying and taking up mock test, I personally felt the following areas to be very tricky / tough to handle questions – Project closure, Communication management chapter, PM ethics, Project life cycle, project, program & portfolio management..

I took the PMP exam in London, was an hour and half commute to the test center, so left early with light breakfast for the 12.30 PM exam. I was assigned a locked and was asked to keep the eatables on top of the locker, in case I come out during the exam breaks. I was asked not to take my watch and hand towel. They do provide tissue if you need them .

After checking all the appropriate proof of identity I was assigned a seat. The screen read my name and I clicked on the ‘OK’ button to start the PMP user interface training. Click the ‘OK’ button within a minute of being seated, session does expire.
As suggested by everyone in the blogs, I made use of the 15 min training to note down all the ITTO abbreviations, Rita process chart, formulas and other quick notes I had prepared. These notes actually helped me clear of my mind and referred to them while questions came up. The headset provided was of great help, since some body in my exam room was typing very fast (rather banging the keyboard), making it very noisy.

The first 50 questions were really tricky. There was also a time where I was so tensed that I kept reading the questions and answer again and again not to miss out on any important word on the screen. The network diagram Questions and few calculation questions did take me a long time. The first 100 questions took me almost 2hrs and 15 minutes < , however the remaining 100 questions were fairly straight forward, and I had nothing to mark for review in the last 60 questions. Every time I got a weird and tough question I set my mind to choose the best answer by eliminating mechanism, with a thought that this could be one of the 25 non evaluation questions. Anyways I could not make out any of the non evaluation questions; all seemed related to the PMBOK guide. I completed the exam in 3 hrs and 45 min with only 15 min to look at the marked questions. While reviewing the questions, I realized I had marked few questions which were very straight forward. This actually helped me eliminate lot of ambiguous questions with more confidence. I did not take any break during the 4 hrs exam, just stuck to the seat. And after 4 hrs the blank screen got me even more tensed, then displayed the survey and yet another blank screen and finally the “Congratulation ….. “ message. It feels great at the end of the 4 hours. Some Quick tips :
• Focus on the chapter 1 & 2 in the PMBOK guide, the various terms and diagrams too.
• Know how to interpret the EVM values, i.e what each value indicates about the project status. Also be familiar when to use the different EAC formulas.
• Risk and communication management concepts put together in questions do make it more challenging.
• Memorize the HR conflict resolution techniques, and know the examples for each.
• Study the Quality management tools and techniques. Since the same tools are used in 3 quality processes, know how to differentiate between their usage in each quality management processes.
• I had a lot of questions on risk and procurement management.

The exam covered the entire PMBOK, and really focuses on real time experience of how you actually follow/implement the PMBOK knowledge.
Good Luck to all aspirants.

Gurpuneet Kaur Sethi, PMP

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3 comments to Gurpuneet Kaur Sethi: Passed PMP on 28-May-2010

  • Manish Gupta

    Thanks Gurpuneet, that would be very helpful to prepare for PMP exam. I am planning to take this exam in next one months time.


  • Sundari Mohanram

    Hi Gurpuneet,
    I am planning to get my pmp certification
    & any advise to get started would be greatly appreciated.
    If you could help me that would be wonderful.
    Sundari Mohanram

  • Mukund Gorla

    Hearty Congratulations !!!