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Sunish Chabba: CAPM exam Lessons Learned

Sat May 14, 2011 7:14 am

I guess it is about time I put in my 2 cents of CAPM wisdom. When I went through a post on “Lessons Learned” last month on, at that time somewhere deep down, I will post my experience soon. Today, I cleared CAPM and I’m sharing my strategy and “Lessons Learned” in this post in the hope of helping CAPM/PMP aspirants out there.

Lesson 1: So, you’ve decided to appear for CAPM/PMP examination, your application is approved and you’ve a full one year to pick a date. Go set your exam date right away. Whether you chose a date after 2 or 3 months is entirely your choice, but do pick a date. If you’ve a deadline in front, you’ll strive hard to meet it.Lesson 2: Make a study plan. If you want to take any formal/prep course, it is your wish but do yourself a favor and start devoting atleast 1-2 hours daily. Pick your books, follow atleast two as it’ll make sure that you don’t miss a concept not present in either of the one. I followed “Head First PMP” and “The PMP exam: How to pass on your first try”. But you may want to go for the books written by “Rita Mulcahy” as well.Lesson 3: Do study PMBOK guide. I didn’t follow it once and it was a mistake. You may not like it at first go but you can finish “Head First” and then come to this book. When I was giving practice tests, I found that few concepts were missing from the books I followed and they were present in PMBOK.Lesson 4: If you still don’t want to follow PMBOK, you can go with “Q&A’s for the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition by Frank T. Anbari”, it is a book published by PMI and you may want to start testing yourself along with your study plan. I used to mark every incorrect MCQ in a separate notebook, write down the key concepts it is based on and it was my quick refresher on the day before the exam. I reiterate that analyzing all incorrect questions will help you reap rich dividends.Lesson 5: The basic difference between CAPM & PMP is that the former is 100% PMBOK and the latter is 60-70%. Also, CAPM will grill you on ITTOs much more than PMP. So, you should make effort in understanding ITTOs. I purchased eFlashcards course by Cornelius Fichtner and though I couldn’t go through all flashcards (Read: terrified by their sheer number) but I did make an effort to go through ITTOs flashcards (they total to 167 in his course).Lesson 6: When you start giving practice tests, try and understand the question at first, map it to the Knowledge Area and think of the answer without looking at the options. It’ll help you in a gaining an edge where speed is concerned. I still remember that I scored 40% in my first practice test but during the course of preparation, I started completing the exam in an hour with decent score of 80%+. Today, in the real exam, I completed it in around 55 minutes.Lesson 7: I was lucky to get hold of JIMBOK on, they are concise notes from PMBOK guide and I owe one part of my success to them. Search for JIMBOK in “”.

Lesson 8: Focus on Quality & Risk Management’s tools and techniques. Make a note of all graphs, EV formulas, CPM etc. Get a good hang of them.

Lesson 9: During the exam you must read each question carefully and make a note of words such as ‘except’ etc. Also if you find absolutes in the answers, weigh other option carefully e.g. if one of the answer choice to a question is “All Processes need to be followed in every project”, take a look at other options as well. This option is most likely not the answer.

Lesson 10: Do not put a gap in your preparation. Start diligently, don’t lose your focus, nail this exam at fist go.

Best of luck to all aspirants.

Sunish Chabba, CAPM

CAPM Lessons Learned

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4 comments to Sunish Chabba: CAPM exam Lessons Learned

  • Congratulations. I am also preparing for the CAPM. Can you please specify what practice tests you took and what were your scores on that.
    Thank you.

  • Amrita

    Congratulations buddy !! I am thinking of taking this course. Can you just let me know how much minimum time would be required to prepare for this test ?

  • @Sampath, I tool Oliver Lehmann’s, Head First, Q&A’s for the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition by Frank T. Anbari, Andy Crowe’s PMP prep and host of other available free or in trial version. I got less scores earlier but then moved on to score around 90-95% with decent speed.

    @Amrita, well, it depends on your preparation. Ideally it shouldn’t take you more than 2 months.