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tennis16: CAPM LL, May 2013, Passed 1st Try, Study 3 weeks only!

Before we get started, let me get this straight….
I personally read a lot of LLs prior to the exam and I know what it is like for others. I hope this will be one of the most effective LL that you will ever seen because frankly it works for me and I think it will work for others who want to pass the CAPM exam and nothing more. Most important part is to get yourself comfortable in passing the exam. Doing anything extra is a waste of time in our busy life. Hope you guys like it!

*23 Contact Hours Requirement*
Andy Crowe, Insite by Velociteach, $69 for one week access
http://insite.velociteach.com/pass_capm_4th.aspx

*Preparation Materials*
(1) CAPM Exam Prep (Second Edition) by Rita Mulcahy, $57.73 (on sale, original price is $90.65)
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1932735 … UTF8&psc=1
(2) PMStudy.com Online Exam Prep that includes 4 full simulated practice test, exam guides, and chapter tests, $104.99 for 20 days access
http://www.pmstudy.com/enroll.asp#CAPM
(3) JimBOK, FREE thanks to Jim and PMHub.

*Overall strategy*
I have only spent “3 weeks” of my time to get my CAPM certification. Again, the idea is to do the “bare minimum”, if you will, to get the CAPM exam. Just FYI, of course I did way better than bare minimum to pass, but you get the idea. A lot of people over-prepared and ended up wasting time. I am not a big fan of that.

*Week 1*
Finished the online course by Velociteach. In fact, I skimmed through it very briefly. Just click and skip, did not pay attention much. At the end just get the few chapter-end questions right, and you will get the 23 contact hours. This works for me. Remember TIME is key. So finish this course cheap and fast, satisfy the contact hour requirement. Next step is to become a PMI member and apply for the exam. Note that I have not scheduled my exam yet at this point, but I made myself eligible to do so, this will take a few days.

*Week 2*
Read Rita Mulcahy book in depth. Remember, CAPM is all about ITTO, general process and knowledge area. Nothing more than that. Do not memorize all ITTO. You don’t need to. Trust me on this. Just read the book once, understand what leads to what. Understand the main picture, the overall flow, and you will be fine. Having said that, you do need to memorize all formula of earned value calculation and communication channel. This is the easiest mark you can get on exam. Just plug in like junior school math.

*Week 3*
I used PMStudy for full-length test, and chapter test (80+ questions by knowledge area). I thought it will be nice to do questions by chapter first, then do the full length test at the end. I think this method works well for me. However, watch out! Watch out for PMStudy, and a lot of other exam preps out there too. Remember CAPM is only about ITTO and whatever is on the PMBOK guide. There is no situational questions like PMP does. However, PMStudy failed by mixing PMP style questions into CAPM exam prep. Thus, don’t get frustrated if you are not doing too well on the practice tests. They are not exactly like those in the real CAPM exam (will explain more later). Watch out for that. Other than that, the chapter guides by PMStudy are all right. It did provide some extra insights and pick up some stuff that Rita’s book does not mention but is required on the exam. I would say Rita’s book provides 95% of the exam stuff.

On Wednesday of the week, I finished the PMStudy exam prep and felt like I was ready for the exam. At this point, I then scheduled the CAPM exam on Friday morning. For the rest of the preparation, I re-read Rita’s book one more time. This time I focus on picking up stuff that I was not too clear on. Understand why this and that is this and that. Why this is input to this, and what tool and technique, etc. I then spend the last day before exam reading JimBOK guide. I found it alright. Nothing too spectacular. And remember, watch out again, as this is written for PMP mostly. CAPM you only need to focus on ITTO/Process/Knowledge area. Jim provided a VERY USEFUL table that summarizes all ITTO in few pages in color. If I were to recommend one thing that you must have studied for CAPM, it will be it. If I were to start again, or even for my future PMP, I would read that every night. You don’t have to hardcore memorize it, just read it over and over, try to understand, eventually you will pick it up. Remember, you don’t have to know all ITTO off your heart. The exam is multiple choices questions. It will just draw upon your memory and will ring your bell during exam.

*Exam Day*
Arrived 30 minutes as required. Spent less than a minute braindump all EV formula, which are only a handful of them. Skipped the tutorial, it is a waste of time. This is where the real test begins. I want to reitereate this, the real test is much simpler than PMStudy. Pretty much like Rita’s book style of question. On PMStudy, you will see a lot of questions asking you the negative, ie Which of the following are….EXCEPT…..? On the real exam, you will see a lot of positive question instead, ie. Which of the following is?. This is a big difference. Since positive question you can get it right and done in significantly less time without needing to read the whole question for the most part. Also, I got asked the same question 3 times in different questions and slightly different wordings. Very easy. For the most part, most questions are pretty straight forward on ITTO. Again, credit to Jim, that ITTO summary is very handful. I spent one hour doing all 150 questions. Then I spent another 30 mins to double check every one of them. Once this is done, you are asked to do a quick survey about the exam. Finish that, click a button, within few seconds a Congratulations will pop up! I know I will pass, because the questions are so easy and straightforward. I hope you guys will find the same. You will then see a score breakdown (proficient/moderately proficient/below proficient) for each knowledge area. Who cares?! As long as you pass and become a CAPM, I would care less.

**Final Notes, VERY IMPORTANT!**
BrainBOK - ITTO, Exams, Flashcards, Quizzes, Formulas and more

Do not read the PMBok guide. It is a waste of money and waste of time.
Read Rita’s book at least twice. This is all you need. Trust me on this. It tells you exactly what you need to know for CAPM exam. The terms, explanations, etc.
Do not rote memorize all ITTO in a hardcore way. As I mentioned earlier, print the ITTO summary by Jim, read it again and again. You will get the picture eventually after a few times.
Base you study mainly on Rita’s book. It is ENOUGH for you to pass the CAPM exam.
Do not spend too much money on all kind of stuff, like flashcard, online exam prep that requires a lot of money. Pick one or two. For sure you need some questions to practice. But don’t fall into the trap of purchasing more and more. Again, you want to pass, not to score prefect. Don’t waste time and money and overkill this exam.

Good Luck to everyone! Any questions or feedback, welcome to comment below!

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BrainBOK - ITTO, Exams, Flashcards, Quizzes, Formulas and more

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1 comment to tennis16: CAPM LL, May 2013, Passed 1st Try, Study 3 weeks only!

  • Rich

    Great! Thanks for the advice tennis16. How do I go about getting a copy of the JimBOK guide? Thanks in advance