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Catherine D’Amico-Maharaj: First PMP Exam LL – new exam October 2011

Lessons Learnt – PMP® exam
Place of Exam: Johannesburg, South Africa
Result: PASS

PMP® Exam Prep:

  • Took 3 month PMP Preparation course from PM-Ideas, a Registered Education Training Provider for the Project Management Institute (PMI). Course was very expensive, but provided:
    • Pre-assessment of eligibility of all candidates prior to course confirmation
    • Provision of CV templates, assistance with completion of CVs, quality check, online CV application to PMI®
    • 3 day Project Management Intermediate Course with integrated case study
    • 10 x 3 hour evening sessions covering 1 Knowledge Area per session
    • Case Study per Knowledge Area, which was individually assessed
    • 1 day Exam Preparation Session with a 1 hour examination, which is assessed and an individual report was provided
    • Assistance with all communication with PMI®
  • Booked my exam when the course was finished to set a milestone (very important for me to have a date to work towards)
  • Created a two month study schedule, based on a Knowledge Area focus (as opposed to Process Area, which may work for some)
  • Used two texts to study: PMBOK® and Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep. I had several others, but found that they confused my Knowledge Area approach. Would recommend Kim Heldman for anyone using a Process Area tact.
  • Rita’s book was invaluable – the PMBOK® alone does not provide enough detail to pass the exam.
  • After about 6 weeks of studying I started to do hundreds (probably thousands) of mock exam questions. All were based on the “old” exam-type questions, but this really starts to get your head around the semantics and scenario-type questions. I used the CD that came with the Kim Heldman book, as well as 500 questions that I got with my course. There are several online mock exams as well that I found helpful.

PMP® Exam:

  • As we are all made well aware, the Professional Responsibility domain has now been incorporated into the Process Areas, which eliminates the nice, obvious “do-the-right-thing” type of question. Means that now we need to think about the hard facts, as well as the soft logic that needs to be applied to the situation.
  • My questions were very wordy and it took me the whole 4 hours to write the exam. I usually finish these types of tests in half the allocated time, but at the 2 hour mark, I was exactly at Question 100.
  • Know your Input, T&T and Outputs! Not an option to think that logic will dictate if you have the processes memorised, which I first thought would be my approach – thank goodness I was advised otherwise.
  • PTA did show up on my exam
  • The majority of questions were not formula-type, which would have been nice, as I memorised all the formulas.
  • All in all, it was a fair exam, in terms of content, but it was quite difficult, and I would recommend at least 2 months of study.

Catherine D’Amico-Maharaj, PMP®

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10 comments to Catherine D’Amico-Maharaj: First PMP Exam LL – new exam October 2011

  • Abbas

    Thanks Maharaj.

  • neeluiyer

    Not got my results yet. Gave the exam on 4th from Bangalore India

  • Daya


  • Catherine Maharaj

    Thanks Daya…huge relief to put the studying behind me and move on! 🙂

  • Monique

    Congratulations to you, Catherine. You’ve done well.
    I’ve approached the exam 2 different times and did not pass. I’m still studying and will try to take it by February.

    Thanks for you LL.


  • Samuel Odemo

    Congratulations Catherine. How does it feel having PMP after your name now? I am happy for you.

  • Ramesh KV

    Congrats !!!

  • Catherine Maharaj

    Thanks Monique – good luck to you in February. At least you now know what to expect. 🙂

    @Samuel – thanks very much. Seeing those 3 letters after my name is so rewarding…and a huge relief!

    @Ramesh – thank you kindly…

  • Suki

    Hi Catherine…

    Congratulations! I passed my CAMP test on Sept. 14th this year and now planning to take the PMP exam before Christmas this year. I am also studying with Rita’s old material, meaning those that came out before the PMP exam changed in August 2011. Do you think that it’s possible to pass with them or do i need to purchase new, updated material?


  • Catherine Maharaj

    Hi Suki,

    Sorry about the delay – I only just checked the site today…I passed the new exam with Rita’s old material. I think that you’ll do fine with the old book.

    Best of luck, if you haven’t treid yet!