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Jiri Khun: My PMP Exam Lessons Learned 5.1.2011

Jiri Khun

Preparation for the exam

On Wednesday, 5.1.2011 after several months of study I successfully passed my PMP certification.  I would like to summarize my lessons learned from my preparation beginning my preparation and finishing with written exam.

Everything started in the middle of 2009 when I and several colleagues started with discussion about PMP certification. Few weeks later I officially applied for the exam, successfully went through the PMI audit and I started with study. In the middle of 2010 I attended four training workshops; after that I wanted to continue just with literature.

There are lots of available books for PMP certification preparation. Also, possibilities for training are also satisfactory. Because time is always limited, I did not want to read every available book on the market. All books are very similar so if you use just one together with PMBOK, it shall be enough for you. I decided for following combination:

  • Project Management Body of Knowledge – it is simply the base and you must have it
  • Rita Mulcahy – PMP Exam Prep + PM Fastrack software

My study plan was set in following order: 1) Read PMP Exam Prep as the first;   2) Study PMBOK   3) Very carefully study PMP Exam Prep  4) Test yourself, test yourself, test yourself,…  My advice: do not start with PMBOK; it is too complicated for beginning.

Shortly before Exam I could say that I am sufficiently prepared for the exam. Except PMBOK and Rita I used following resources for testing. I had about 84% average result from these tests.

1. PM Fastrack

2. PMStudy

3. Amir Rafidi blog

4. PMP Bank

5. Oliver Lehmann




During the day of exam – 5.1.2011

On the day of exam I came to the testing center in Prague, Czech Republic – about 30 minutes before planned start. The test is fully realized on computer and there are maximum 3 people in the room. It is luck that the center is situated on a quiet place so there is no traffic noise from the street.  Before I entered the testing room, I had to leave all my stuff in the second room (I had to show my pockets that they are empty and I have no crib… I also prepared small snack and bottle of Coke for all planned pauses.

You have 4 hours to answer 200 questions. It sounds like easy task to do it – do not underestimate it. It is really not easy to concentrate the whole time. Before my test started, I had 15 minutes for software introduction.  Thanks to knowledge of PM Fastrack I was familiar with this version in a few minutes – so my exam could start.

I decided to make a short pause after 50, 100 and 150th question.  When I got 50 questions answered I postponed the first break so my first pause was when I had 70 questions completed. During exam I drank coke, I did several breathing exercises and I could continue with exam. I really cannot imagine doing the whole test without these pauses (another applicant near me went through the whole test without break). Another breaks I had after 120th and 175th question. So after 3 short breaks I needed to finish last 25 questions and some marked revisions. Finally I answered the last, 200th question. I had 9 questions marked for later revision. After short check I changed the answer to one question and after 3 hours and 15 minutes from start I finished the test.

I need to fill also short questionnaire about testing center and about 5 minutes later I saw results of my exam. I was very happy when I saw the word “Congratulations”. I had following result:

Initiation – Proficient

Planning – Proficient

Executing – Moderately Proficient

Monitoring and Controlling – Proficient

Closing – Proficient

Professional and Social Responsibility – Below Profecient

Lessons Learned and my Recommendation

  • Do not underestimate the exam. Comparing with available tests on internet or comparing with PM Fastrack it is more difficult. If your successfulness from tests mentioned above is about 70%, you will have a problem in real exam.
  • Stay motivated! Subordinate to passing the exam everything
  • Use only 2 study books for studying. PMPBOK is a base; as second choose one of following source:
  • PMP Exam Prep – from my point of view it is really good book. Thank you Rita!
  • How To Pass on Your First Try – several applicants recommended this book in their Lessons Learned
  • Head First PMP: A Bran- Friendly Guide to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam – another very good ranked book.
  • Test yourself, test yourself, test yourself – you can read theory from books but it is sufficient for CAPM exam. PMP exam is based on situational questions – so you need to test yourself. You can find hundreds of questions on internet – unfortunately very often in bad quality.  If you are able to detect the bad quality, you are prepared for exam!

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7 comments to Jiri Khun: My PMP Exam Lessons Learned 5.1.2011

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PMP® Exam Tips, pmhub. pmhub said: First 2011 PMP is Jiri from Prague […]

  • Thanks for you reflections on the PMP Exam. Here at DePaul University in Chicago, we provide exam prep classes to area residents preparing to take the exam. I’ve posted your tips on our Facebook and Twitter pages in hopes that our followers will benefit from your experiences.

  • […] Jiri Khun: My PMP Exam Lessons Learned 5.1.2011 ( […]

  • V.S.Madhusudhana.Rao

    Thank you all for the excellent contributions which was instrumental in passing
    my PMP. Passed My PMP on 8/02/2011.

  • Sam Jazmiller

    I will prove that PMP Exam is scam. If you read PMBOK from a technical eye; you will find many tasks and chapters are made in repititve way; for example; Analog estim and parametric are both rooted to use historical data. also some stirring and pre-meditated mix between project phases and perfomrance domains; it reveal that writers of PMBOK have no technical their history all of them; they are not engineers; therefore they made it up to their limited understanding; however; they added alot of confusion to make it look sophisticated; and unscuccessfully hide the lack of technical knowledge. From here you may easily conclude why PMBOK insists that technical knowledge is not needed to be a project manager. But in real life; a project manager will be a lost duck and turn into a ping-pong ball by his team if he did not have that technical knowledge. If you are not an Arch or a civil Engineer, you will never perform in a construction project; and the same goes for every other field in life. Another thing if you plan to take the PMP exam and ur name was Mohammed or anything close; you will never pass; to prove it take statistics and see; and to prove it further; the PMI designed Exam centers NEVER to give you detailed result of every question in order you never know they failed on racist basis. Otherwise what is the harm of giving you every question so that you can at least know where you went wrong? instead; PMI will only give a pass or fail with breif on area where you failed to hide the sham…these prove that PMI kidnapped project managment business by spending alot of money on marketing…and sadly; many people fall for it.

  • I agree, the exam is a scam, I thought I passed it and it was not the case. they need to at least tell you a score to see which areas you are in need of improvement otherwise how is one supposed to study for it. PMI only wants you to take those expensive classes so you can “pass” the exam. not everyone has that money sitting there for a certification that does not really use the pmp knowledge to do a project management job. Been working in project management for years and the ‘knowledge’ is not even applied and the projects are running just fine.

  • Folks, in support of the two colleagues above who say the PMP is a scam, I have benchmarked some 39 of the major project management credentials against the US Professional Engineer (PE) license (which is a legitimate, professional level credential) as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour” rule to give us a true zero point.

    And as you can see, at BEST, the PMP is an upper entry level credential. Certainly a far cry from being a truly “professional” level credential as the name implies. Even worse are the popular PRINCE2 and ITIL credentials. Those are, IMPO, even WORSE scams than is the PMP.

    Many of the large professional organizations offering project management credentials are located in the USA. They are subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Affairs regulations on “truth in advertising”. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:
    -Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
    -Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
    -Advertisements cannot be unfair.

    And I believe that in the UK and EU there are similar “consumer protection” laws in place?

    Given that these credentials have become defacto “licenses to practice” doesn’t it seem reasonable that practitioners have a right to expect that ALL these organizations should be required to prove the claims they are making with their advertising? That they have a moral and ethical as well as legal obligation to state clearly and unequivocally what their credentials do and do NOT validate?

    Give the idea some thought…..

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia