Firstly, thanks for what you do, selflessly, for thousands of PMP aspirants, day in and day out. Your tips, blog and chapters made the entire 4 week preparation journey enjoyable. I managed to pass my PMP exam last week, on my first attempt.
I am happy to share my exam prep strategy. My preparation lasted exactly 4 weeks, from the Thanksgiving weekend to new year’s eve.
Set a date
I have heard somewhere that weight-loss programs are most successful around school reunions :-)..
The keyword I guess is MOTIVATION. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I set a date (12/30 ) thereby giving myself 30 days to prepare. And I promised myself NOT to reschedule, and am glad that I didn’t.
Preparation Material and Process
I focused on 2 main sources –
I started reading one chapter a day (not much) from the PMBOK. Once I hit Ch 4 (Integration Management), I started supplementing the PMBOK with your smartnotes, the blog posts.
Once the first pass was over (Day 13), I changed my tactics. I focused the next week and a half on doing 2 knowledge area chapters a day (Ch 4-13). This meant, that by Day-23 , I had had 3 cracks at the knowledge areas.
Starting with Day 24, I mixed and matched chapters, like doing Scope, Schedule, Cost and Risk on one day (all “Planning heavy” knowledge areas) and all execution chapters the next day (HR, Communication, Stakeholder etc).
For this 4th crack, I used only your PMESN notes [a 4th read of PMBOK was beyond my capability 😉 ]. And I coupled your notes with online tests. Starting Day 27, I started writing 4 hour tests online, and wrapped up my prep on Day 29 with a movie. I took the test on Day-30 and passed it.
What I did not do
I DID NOT memorize the ITTOs – I admit I tried doing that in the first week but it was hard and depressing since nothing was being retained. So, I decided to focus just on the outputs and tried to “visualize” some of the inputs.
I found myself increasingly getting more and more inputs right as I hit weeks 3 and 4. I still maintain that it is impossible to expect to remember all ITTOs purely through memory. Instead, you can try hard to reverse engineer process inputs by knowing the ouputs, and still get close to 80% right :).
Add-On material – I Googled and practiced Earned value and CPM problems.
That was it!
I studied for about 3 hours a day, early in the morning. Although hard initially (over the years, I have ceased to be a morning person). Once it got into my system, it became so much easier.
Thanks again for everything,
Nikhil Talgeri, PMP