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CAPM feedback

edited March 2021 in PM Certifications

Delighted to have passed CAPM last Friday.

Many thanks to and for the invaluable support. Here's my feedback on the study and exam.

  1. Read the CAPM Exam Handbook and specifically the Exam Policies & Procedures contained before you do anything. Confirms you are examined on the PMBOK material only.

  2. Read and re-read PMBOK, one chapter every day. Read the appendices and the glossary. When you finish, start again.

  3. As you read, understand and learn how the ITTO’s flow between processes. Just bear in mind the logic emerges as you go along. Definition of “learn” to follow.

  4. After one reading of PMBOK, start doing exam tests. At least 20-50 question every day and as many full tests in exam conditions once a week. Prepares you for the exam and points you to knowledge gaps. In the end its about filling those gaps one by one. I kept totals as I went along and ended up doing 1300+ questions and scored 80%+.

  5. No question in my mind but the questions/CAPM test on are a very close match to real exam and beats all other offerings. I did a lot of test PMP exams too but be careful not to assume that doing harder questions means you can answer easier CAPM questions. I reckon I cracked the most complicated PMP critical path, EMV, PM theory questions and none came up. Closest was an embarrassingly easy EV = a, PV = b, AC = c ..... what is SPI?

  6. I studied on and off for over 6 months (got a job in between) which is a lot but to my mind the CAPM exam is not difficult. 80%+ questions required you to spot the correct ITTO from four. So its not about learning the ITTOs by heart (even if you end up doing so anyway) its about being able to place them. For example, be able to place “Decomposition” as an TT of “Define Activities”, rather than being able to recite all “Define Activities” TTs from memory. is brilliant for this.

  7. 3 weeks before your exam, talk yourself through one process group every morning. I chose “hooks” like rolling wave, parametric, make-or-buy to jog my memory of other ITTOs. If you’re struggling , start with the outputs and work back. Most outputs are logical and most ITTs are logical requirements to achieve those outputs.

  8. Everyone says do a Brain Dump. I did but never used it. However it does give you focus and the simple act may well help you answer. Add a Brain Dump to your daily ritual so you can do it in 5 mins.

  9. There are many forums for PM but to my mind is best. Use this if you don’t understand critical path or EMV or PTA ...

  10. Exam itself went fine. All the feedback I read suggested you could be done inside 2 hours. I took 2.5 hours so I think this is a matter of taste. Mine is to give every question 1 minute. That allows you to read and re-read. Even the blindingly obvious can elude you in exam situations. Leave 30 minutes to review marked questions. I had about 20 marked but only changed a couple on second viewing. Also practice using the keyboard calculator on your PC rather than the handheld. No calculators allowed in exam.

  11. The exam centre was fine. I booked my exam for 9am and arrived 825am and was able to start immediately rather than wait in line. However one big warning: bring ear plugs and the best you can buy. With 30 minutes left a guy started an exam next to me and he typed loudly and furiously. I could not concentrate and would hate to have been under pressure on this exam. I asked him to type quietly and he ignored me. Exam centre staff said they’d pass my concerns on. Enough said.

That’s it. All the best, Sean.


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