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Yay. Passed PMP exam in my first attempt with proficieny in all areas.
Honestly when i was writing the exam, i was not sure if i would even clear the exam. For a lot of questions it seemed to me, there were more than 2 correct answers. With my 2 year old hyperactive toddler, the exam preparation was not easy. Thanks to my husband for putting up with me over the past few months.
Exam Experience: I had scheduled the exam for 11.30 a.m today. Reached about 10.45 a.m. Was allowed to take the exam right away. I did create a braindump, during the first 15 min tutorial time. But i did not refer it a lot when i was actually writing the exam. It took me over 1 hr for the first 50 questions. After that i hurried up and finished answering rest of the questions in 3 hrs. I had marked up a lot of questions for review. In the last hour, i went over the questions i had marked up for review. I did not take any break during the exam. Once the exam ended, breathlessly waited for the result. Was relieved to find out that i passed.
Exam Preparation and application part: First let me go over what i didnt do right.
I started my exam prep around July of this year, I signed up with skillsoft for pmp education hours. With my toddler it was not possible to open up the computer to watch the tutorials, when he was awake. Added to that we have ubuntu operating system in our laptop, and skillsoft did not work on that platform. Also it did not work on kindle as well. I wish i had signed up for PM prepcast, which would have been much easier to listen to on my smartphone/kindle. Honestly i felt skillsoft to be very dry and did not learn a whole lot from the 35 contact hrs.
Once i finished my 35 hours, i kept postponing my application for over 2 months worrying what would happen if i my application got picked up for an audit. After i submitted my application, i received an email in a few days from PMI that they could not understand from my job decription if i had performed Project management related job functions. I work in the clinical trial industry and had described my job description using PMI terms. eg: instead of saying received sign offs from committee members wrote something like received sign offs from stakeholders etc.
My application got approved, but got picked up for audit. I had to get all the workexperience verified which took a little while. So finally submitted all the verifications in late oct and my application was cleared.
I scheduled the exam almost 6 weeks later since i had gone through a lot of hiccups during the application process, i wanted to clear the exam for sure.
Exam Prep: Tried to read PMBOK while i was doing my skillsoft contact hours. Was extremely depressed and felt i never could clear the exam. So finally got headfirst pmp and that really helped me understand the basics. Understood a lot of confusing concepts through deepfriedbrain posts by Harvinder.(Harvinder should seriously consider writing a book. From the posts, it looks like you enjoyed writing them and helping others understand things).Then i read Rita and then finally Pmbok. Took a few free online sample exams. Looked up for more tips on pmzilla. Was scoring around 75% on the exams. Was making a lot of silly mistakes. I revised the ITTOs of all the processes a lot of times. Since i was quite thorough with the ITTOs, felt i could answer a lot of questions without thinking too much.
My 2 cents: Submit ur PMP application immediately after completing your 35 hours of education. Provide only 4500 hrs of experience and if possible only current experience since u dont have to follow up with all the previous employers for verification in case application gets picked up for audit. I found getting my application verified through my current employer a lot easier.
Start out your preparation with a book that is easy to understand like headfirst pmp. Schedule the exam in 4 to 6 weeks from the time ur application is approved since it forces you to study. I felt i should have preponed my exam i was bored with studying during the last couple of weeks.
Wishing you all the very best on your PMP journey