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Hmohareb: CAPM Passed! Detailed LLs

Please note that the content of this post was written on the day I completed the exam. Sorry for posting it a while later, I was on a vacation
So today I successfully completed a 5 week journey & passed the CAPM exam from the first try!

Following is detailed, & hopefully useful walkthrough on how to PASS the CAPM exam from the first try in only 5 WEEKS!

A little background before I go into details. I’m a business commerce graduate with a concentration in operations management & statistics. As a result, I was briefly introduced to PMI & the PMBOK throughout some of the courses I completed while at university, so I had some very basic PM knowledge going into this journey.

Back to the walkthrough:

The following were my resources for study material (I will mention when & how much I used each later, this is just a list):
0) PMBOK, As a PMI member you get a free copy of the PMBOK. I strongly urge you to become a member of PMI to obtain discounts on books & exam fees.
1) Rita Mulcahy’s CAPM exam prep book : Price: $57
2) JimBOK – very useful resource for the PMHUB community provided by Jim Owens. Did I mention it’s FREE! (Note from PMHUB admin: based on PMBOK 4 – not to be used as reference anymore)
3) BrainBOK premium plan :BrainBOK - ITTO, Exams, Flashcards, Quizzes, Formulas and more
4) Pm PrepCast: Price: $129.99 –

Total cost (of studying material ONLY): 57+30+130 = $217

Exam resources:

5) (This is really a one-stop-shop for numerous sample exam & other exam resources).

Week 1(July 2-8): This is gonna be the longest part as I explain how i divided my studying time.

The plan was to study 3-6 hours (3-4 hours reading & 2 hours practicing ITTOs) for 6 days a week & take a day off.

I started with Rita’s book, along side the PMBOK. My main focus was on Rita’s book & referred to the PMBOK for ITTOs that were not thoroughly covered in Rita’s book. A technique I used that turned out to be VERY useful was getting an A3 sheet of paper & spreading out the 42 processes in small boxes with rows being the process groups & knowledge areas as columns. As I progressed from one process to another I wrote down the ITTOs of each. That really helped in remembering the ITTOs and visually seeing how all the processes are connected to each other. It does get messy which is ok as long as you can read your own handwriting!  .

After completing each chapter (Which normally took two days of studying), I read the corresponding JIMBOK pdf document for that chapter. Also I took around 2 hours each day using the BrainBOK to test my knowledge of the ITTOs & process flow while having dinner or watching tv, so it isn’t really studying time but was still useful.

By the end of the week I was up to chapter 5 in the PMBOK.

Week 2 (July 9-15):

If you noticed I have not mentioned anything about the PrepCast thus far & that will be the case until week 4. As for the rest it’s the same action plan as week 1, using the same resources: Rita’s book, PMBOK, JIMBOK & BrainBOK.
BrainBOK - ITTO, Exams, Flashcards, Quizzes, Formulas and more

By the end of the week I was up to chapter 8 in the PMBOK.

Week 3 (July 16-22):

Again same action plan as weeks 1 & 2.

By the end of the week I was up to chapter 11 in the PMBOK. It get’s interesting next week!

Week 4 (July 23-29):

Finished the entire first read from all those resources by July 24th. The A3 sheet I mentioned above was complete & looked like the craziest mind map you have ever seen , yet still readable. The rest of the week I spent most of my time using the BrainBOK & watching episodes from the PrepCast (finally!) only for the topics I was confused about after reading all the other stuff. All the PrepCast was really used for in this exam preparation, in my case ONLY, was as a review resource for topics I did not understand. i have to say though, it is an invaluable, standalone resource to prepare for the CAPM or PMP certifications, but as you have noticed I already had 4 other primary studying resources.

By the end of the week I had completed a full review of all the material again.

TIP: You can think of this as having two options of resources to prepare for the exam

Option 1 (If you prefer reading) : Rita’s Book, PMBOK, JIMBOK & BrainBOK.BrainBOK - ITTO, Exams, Flashcards, Quizzes, Formulas and more

Option 2 (If you prefer learning visually or on the go): PM PrepCast & BrainBOK.

Week 5 (July 30- Aug 7):

This is the ONLY week I studied/took practice exams for all 7 days (3-4 hours each day).

I started the week with 25-50 question exams for the first two days,followed by 50-100 question exams for the next two days. Then, for the following 3 days I did a complete CAPM sample exam each day. All the scores were 80%+ so I felt confident about my progress. (p.s. all the exam resources were from the one mentioned above)

Tip: Start the timed practice exams on the same time-of-the-day as your scheduled exam. For example if your real exam is scheduled to start at 11am, take the practice exams at 11am as well. It mentally prepares you, especially if you are a nervous test taker.

EXAM DAY Aug 8th:

I got 8.5 hours of sleep the night before & woke up before the alarm (Yep, I’m a nervous test taker lol). I spent two hours, after waking up, looking over the A3 sheet with the processes I had made. After that I watched some tv for an hour, got ready & arrived at the testing centre half an hour before my scheduled exam time.

Everything went smooth, I was checked in & started my exam.

TIPS regarding the exam:

* You DO NOT have to memorize the ITTOS! (The A3 Sheet technique I spoke about earlier was very helpful in visualizing & making sense of why each ITTO was where it is)
* You DO have to memorize the processes though, as well as know to which knowledge area & process group each belongs (I suggest you write them down in the brain dump).
* Try to make your first run of the entire exam in an hour tops, even if you mark most of them. I found this very helpful as the “myth” that some questions are answered later through other questions was very true in my case. I can recall at least 10 questions whose answers were clearly outlined in later questions.

I hope this was helpful to all you CAPM aspirants . This is probably the longest LL anyone has posted here on PMHUB, so if you managed to read it all the way to the end then the CAPM exam should be a breeze for you.

Thank you PMHUB for aiding in the creation of such a helpful community for project management! #

See you all in 3 years for my PMP LL post!

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