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Santosh Korde: Passed PMP Sept. 12, 2010

I am quite pleased to share that I have passed PMP exam on 12/09/2010. To be frank I was quite tensed until I saw the “Congratulations” message on my screen.  Although I was confident of passing exam after answering 200 questions but I was not sure about outcome as those 4 hours is all together different ball game. I guess you are under tremendous pressure to clear exam because of fear of failure. Also when I was reviewing answers I changed 8-9 answer so that added bit pressure. I will explain later if this is correct approach or not in my case.

Here are my LLs:

For me it took more than 3 months of study. I am not big fan of stating how many hours I have spend every day. But it was average 2 hours daily. Weekends I was studying 7 hours but quality study time was just 5 hours or so as rest of the other time I was surfing internet or going out for some weekend activities. PMP preparation need not be always full fledged war but it should be focused and consistent. But I have to acknowledge that last month you have to be in full speed.
Although I have planned to take exam last year but I have postponed because of not finding enough time to prepare for exam. This May I have decided that until I apply for exam I am not going to start preparing genuinely. In May I have started reading PMBok and as I have expected it was quite dry to read. Same month I have ordered for PMP® Exam Prep, Sixth Edition by Rita Mulchay. I have read all chapters from Rita. Also solved all questions in the book religiously.
I think many people have objection about how talking is done in book but I guess everyone have their opinions. I liked overall approach of preparation. I was scoring just 60% to 70% average in Rita’s exercises. After I finish one reading, it was June end so I have applied for exam. Remember while applying application process needs lot project details information, so expect substantial amount of time recollecting old information and data. Immediately in 5 working days after applying I got approval for taking exam.
Immediately I set date for 12 Sep, to make sure that there is deadline. Then I have planned for detailed second revision of what I have read earlier and also make sure that I am using highlighter so that next reading it will help me focus on important points. In this phase I was consistently scoring 80% average. I would suggest if possible start taking your own notes, which helps a lot on day before exam as you can go through it and have confidence that you are not totally blank.

After finishing Rita by early Aug I have started solving online free exams. There are many questions available on internet. I think this was big trick as it sets the tone and perspective. Now I was scoring 80-85% in simple exams and Oliver Lehmann score was 70%. I have begun to focus on knowledge area where my score was poor. I reread only those knowledge areas where I was weak mainly it was integration and risk, procurement. Because of engineering background I was quite comfortable with PERT questions as I had studied that as subject. But for me in exam there were not many questions on this topic. Cost knowledge area
questions I could manage pretty well because of memorizing those formulas.
It is not very tough, go though Rita’s book she has simplified a lot. I think one needs to be careful about Risk and procurement as I think that have some challenging questions. Usually IT companies have CMM processes implemented and I happen to work on SixSsigma project so Quality questions were not that bad for me. Anyway last one week again I focused on Rita’s book as I was drained of solving exam questions everyday and gone through self prepared notes again.
Personally I did not memorize those ITTOs as I think if you understand topic then it should be sufficient. I think Rita’s chart is quite impressive. It helps a lot decipher information as what goes on and relate to our real life experience on projects.
What I could have done better:
-Solving more questions. It helps a lot as it sets tone of your preparation. It converges attention instead of way warding everywhere in the process if reading material.
-In July I took 8 days break from studies after restarting preparation I was thinking whether I read this or not.
– Initially when I have solved questions all choices used to look correct but later realized that my understanding of topic needed to be refined.
Exam day :
The PMP Exam day was rather challenging. Before exam day although I went to bed early 11AM, I could not sleep until 2 AM and my exam was scheduled for 8 AM. Somehow I got tense as I did not have taken any real exam in last few years. I would have loved to have sufficient sleep, otherwise it feels cranky. I set 8 AM as exam time as I don’t like to read on the exam day and usually I wake up early everyday for office.
I have arrived to the Prometric center around 7:30 AM. I had to put my
food/water and keys in locker and I had to empty my pockets as well. They gave me 4 sheets of special color scratch paper and 2 pcs of pencils. I had to sign a check in protocol as well which shows what time did I enter the exam room. I did take sweater with me as many people have suggested and I am thankful as it was really chilly out there.
I marked first 10 questions as I have previously observed that as in the
beginning we are not in exam mode so I used to make mistake. Usually after every 30 questions I used take deep breath and close eyes for 20 seconds as it relives little bit of pressure. Don’t think earlier questions be in present qiuestins while answering. Up to 140 questions I felt okay, but after that I became very tired. I was slowly gaining confidence that exam questions are not that bad and there is good chance that rest questions will be ok. I finished the next 35 questions and by that time it was almost 2.5 hours I have decided to take break for bathroom. I took only one break it was for 10 minutes, I ate cookies as well as I was feeling hungry. After coming back I solved rest 25 questions and by that it was 3 hours. I have decided to review all questions again. That was my
BIG mistake. To finish reviewing all 200 questions I have to complete 50
questions in 15 minutes so I started reading and changing answers. I believe first time I may have used 1 minute to arrive at answer, and now I was changing answer by spending just 20 secs. So after going through first 50 questions I have deiced that this strategy is not going to fly. So I changed course and focused only on calculation questions. After 3:45 minutes I decided to end exam as I feared I will change more answers.
Then I hit the “Finish Exam” button and closed my eyes. I waited for 15-20 seconds and it turned out that there are additional feedback questions aboutPrometric. I did not answer and hit the finish button. I was presented with my examination result with those magical words “Congratulations on passing the
PMP exam” I felt relived!
What I could have done better:
– Sleep better before exam.
– It is really important to pace exam as its 4 hour and you need to have
strategy I think I wandered. Spend average 1 min for 1 question and I think 2 hours and 30 minutes if you finish first round you are good.
– I think first guess on complex questions is usually correct so in second round just go and change answer left and right.
– Forget about all talks about those dummy 25 questions, give merit to all
questions and solve.

Last thing:
Even though certification process is rigorous and grueling but I feel that its worth as it puts many things in precise perspective. And thanks to and PMHUB yaho groups.

All the Best!!

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2 comments to Santosh Korde: Passed PMP Sept. 12, 2010