Shiv, I cleared my PMP exam on 25th Feb on my 1st Attempt.
My preparation time – 90 days.
Training (& 35hr contact education requirement from PMI)
Instead of classroom training I went for Online training. My benefits were that of studying in chunks irrespective of the location and duration. I could always go back and forth and relearn difficult concepts. I went with PM PrepCast by Cornelius Fichtner.
Mock Exam resources
I was selective here as I did not want to get overwhelmed. Here are two that I selected –
My study approach
1) For procrastinators like me, paying the exam fee was one way to get committed to exam preparation.
2) I would say decide on a study strategy & STICK to it. Don’t add any more resources to your list especially when you are very close to the exam date. I did the opposite & wasted some money & time on this.
3) Instead of a class tutorial which lasts for only 4 days go for an online Tutorial. I selected PM PrepCast by Cornelius Fichtner along with their Exam Simulator (suggested by Shiv from PMExamSmartNotes) for my preparation & it was worth the money spent. You get a 1 year access, videos can be downloaded on your Android/iDevice, you get 35hr contact hours as well as PDUs. Very good contents & keeps you engrossed due to Cornelius’s unique delivery style.
4) Get rid of productivity killers. Analyzed my daily time spend & found out WhatsApp & facebook were taking up some of my productive hours. I immediately removed those apps from phone.
5) My Study Strategy – Followed Shiv Shenoy’s study tip of taking 1 process at a time and going through 2 to 3 fixed resources on that process.
I began my studies focusing on 1 process a day starting with listening to PM PrepCast videos while driving to & from work (please be careful if you yourself are driving and trying to look at the video – I would say please avoid this).
Later in the day if I got any free time I would read Head first book then PMBOK followed by Rita Mulcahy’s PM Exam Prep – simultaneously taking down notes on my laptop. I found that taking notes is very good practice – it helps you understand the content better. After completing a Knowledge Area I used to take chapter-wise mock test from all the above books to know my weakest areas.
After working only on the weakest areas I used to take up the chapter-wise test on PMP Exam Simulator.
6) Once I finished all the knowledge areas, I revised my notes 2 to 3 times and took few more 4-hour full-length tests. After getting more than 80% consistently I stopped taking more tests (this was 2 days before my exam) and started working on my ITTOs using lots of abbreviations & mnemonics.
7) Post-it notes on my walls & self made flash cards also aided me in my studies.
Day of the exam
On the day of the exam I reached the Prometric center 1 hour before my scheduled time. Took around 45 minutes for doing all the security checks. The exam center was very thorough in their checks and provided earplugs, calculator, enough blank pages & pencils.
I used to complete my mock tests in less than 3 hours but I finished the actual exam in the last minute. This was due to the pressure of the exam.
If possible take a 1 week leave from work before the exam. This will help you to focus completely on your preparation.
I wish all the best for all the PMP aspirants,
Rohan Halwalkar, PMP