Shiv, I passed my PMP exam recently, and here are a few myths I’d like to burst and also share few tips from my PMP exam experience.
Myth #1: PMP Exam is tough.
PMP exam is not as tough as most people perceive it to be.
PMP is identical to the quarterly exams during schooling – I did my schooling in India and I understand other countries have the mid-term exam after 6 months from the beginning of the academic year. Quarterly exams are conducted every 3 months. There are 7 subjects in all. And by the first quarter, we would complete 5 chapters in each subject. Isn’t it? That makes it 35 chapters in all. But, for PMP we have only 13 chapters!
Fact: The difference is the cost of PMP exam and that is where fear lies for many people. “If I failed I’ll lose $500+!”
Myth #2: It is difficult to write an exam for 4 hours without break.
Writing an exam with high levels of concentration for 4 hours is hard. It needs a lot of practice. If we can chat over an IM with spouse or client for 4 hours and answer their queries, I believe, we can sit for 4 hours to write PMP exam.
Do you feel it is difficult to sit for 4hrs at a stretch?
The strategy is to practice. If you can take 4hr mock tests you will get to do ‘dry run’ of the real exam. You can then see how you want to approach the exam in order to answer more questions in the stiupated 4 hours of the exam.
My PMP Exam Tips
My thoughts even as I came out of the examination hall were –
1) It is PMBOK, PMBOK, PMBOK all the way – no second thought. No other resource.
2) Study PMI Code of ethics first and just before the exam. This helps align yourself with the PMI philosophy.
3) As you read PMBOK, carefully note down all –
- Bulleted points,
- Understand the data flow diagrams
Prepare charts for Project Charter, WBS Dictionary, Activity attributes, Issue log, RACI chart, Risk Register, Stakeholder register, etc. These activities and diagrams in PMBOK help us remember important points.
Note: From the second reading onwards, it is advisable to go by process group-wise instead of reading from start to end. For example, read Initiating process group comprising of preparing project charter and identifying stakeholders, and continue with other 4 PGs.
There is value in Rita’s,
- Initiating and executing process groups,
- Quality knowledge area,
- Procurement area
—> Steps 3 & 4 should ideally take 13 days x #days per chapter, (13 is the total number of chapters in PMBOK).
The good thing about Scordo and Aileen Ellis’ books is that they go by PMBOK.
6) Now take 1 or 2 mock exams to assess where we are. Please don’t waste time on too many mock tests at this point. You can do it during few days before the exam.
7) Identify weaknesses and work on them – REPEAT. Notice how the questions are framed and study accordingly. For example, one could frame multiple questions from a single paragraph under Mitigate in Risk Responses process.
Caution: Mock exams could dent confidence. One of the mock exams that I attempted one week prior to taking the exam, I had a lot of problems and I could attempt only 157 questions in 4 hours! So, not all mock exams are really good. Bottomline – don’t let mock test results bother you too much, the actual test may be very different.
9) Take heart when you see questions from unknown topics on the exam – they might be experimental questions that are not graded. But treat all questions with equal respect!
10) Work hard and you would not need luck!
Out of the many resources that I used, problems on network diagrams by Rita and Aileen Ellis helped me. Also, Aileen Ellis’ book on EVM helped. And finally, Scordo’s question bank is very good.
When you are unclear about a topic, you may wish to watch iZenBridge’s videos – they help.
Hope you have got few pointers from my PMP exam experience.
I wish you good luck,
Murali Mohan Narayanabhatla, PMP
Murali is an M. Tech in C. S. E. with over 17.5 years of IT experience working mostly on Microsoft Technologies using C, C++, VC++, C#, WinForms, ASP .NET MVC, Entity Framework, etc.
Connect with Murali Mohan Narayanabhatla on LinkedIn, here.