Ayman Haidar, PMP – Don’t leave gap between study and exam date






Hello PMP Aspirants,

I am very happy to share with you that I have passed my PMP exam on 20/8 05:00 PM! And boy it was a moment!!. I scored Proficient in Initiating, Planning, and Monitoring & Controlling. Moderately Proficient in Executing & closing.

PMP- PMESN Ayman HaidarI will walk you through my experience, first what resources and then how I used them.

My PMP Study resources

I have selected and stuck to multiple resources from the abundant resources available around. This is very important. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time switching between resources every now and then. Furthermore, what you need to do is to look at each resource and assess if this resource’s contents fits your needs & learning style.

1. PMP PMBOK guide, obviously! I joined PMI as a member & acquired my licensed PMBOK copy.

2. Rita-PMP® Exam Prep 8th Edition – Rita Mulcahy. Available in many book stores and online.

3. PMP Exam PrepCast Videos of Cornelius Fichtner. Available through the Project-management-prepcast website.

4. PMP Exam PrepCast Exam simulator. Included with the above package.

5. PM Exam Smart Notes of Shiv Shenoy. Available on PM Exam Smart Notes website for free.

6. PM Exam Last Mile Books. Same source as in the previous point.

7. Every other day, I’d spend around 15 minutes on the PMP war, answering random questions about the exam and earning badges. This is very beneficial especially in the beginning where the concepts are new to you & the questions make you think about the choices provided. Doing this over time, thinking about multiple choice questions, will help you develop a skill to decipher the PMP questions.

My study approach

How did I prepare for the exam, you now ask? I’ve tried many ways. But I only found one way that worked when it got serious, that is when I scheduled my exam to be within 1 month from the scheduling date. Of course, I didn’t do so until I have finished the 1st round of my studies, after around a two months in a relaxed pace.

The first round was as follows:

Using the PMBOK guide hand in hand with the PrepCast videos, I’d play the video clip, set the playing speed to x1.5, and follow along in the PMBOK pausing whenever necessary, taking notes on the printed version of the PMBOK guide. Some information you will definitely record from the videos and you will not find in the PMBOK, because the PMBOK is written in very dry way. The videos will enrich the PMBOK contents and support it with industry-related examples.

At every module end, I did the self-assessment and scored in the 70’s.

The second round was as follows:

The PMBOK guide (again) along with Rita’s prep book. The reading was focused primarily on the latter; the PMBOK was just to structure the knowledge as per the standard. You see, although the contents in both resources are identical, Rita’s book presents the contents in a very easy to read approach, which may cause confusion when compared to the PMBOK guide. That’s why it’s very important to use both hand in hand.

At the end of every knowledge area, I’d test my understanding. Not only did I practice exam questions from Rita’s book, but I also utilized the exam simulator to select the subject knowledge area & create a quiz. My score went up to be above 80’s, consistently.

By the time the two rounds were complete, I had two weeks left before the exam. During these two weeks, I would take mock exams of 100 and 200 questions in which I scored above 80 using the Exam Simulator and Shiv’s ‘PMP Last Mile’ books. In total, I have solved more than 2500 exam questions from all sources.

I also had practiced my dump sheet many times which basically consisted of Table 3-1 in page 61 of the PMBOK guide as well as the exam formulas consisting of 18 formulas. It took me 12 minutes to complete. Those 12 minutes I utilized from the tutorial before the exam 4-hour counter starts.

Here are my exam tips

– Start testing your understanding as early as possible by answering questions

– Devour free PM Exam Smart Notes of Shiv Shenoy. They’re brief yet comprehensive. Don’t confine your studies to them, rather use them to establish the basics.

– Don’t memorize the Inputs-Tools & Techniques- Outputs, rather understand their relationship with each other, and what each one of them is used for and what its contents are.

– You may utilize mobile apps for practicing PMP exam questions such as PocketPrep (PMP), alongwith exam sample questions from Shiv Shenoy on Facebook page

– Schedule your exam as soon as you can and give yourself time to prepare well

– Visit the exam office a week before, get in and ask the testing center staff any questions you have. This will put you at ease at the day of the exam.

– Don’t leave too much time between your final studies & the exam date. You need to manage your progress carefully against the exam date. You need the information in your mind as fresh as possible.

– Create patterns during your studies to help you memorize the things you need to. For example, I found the pattern 7-6-6-4-3-6-3-7-3-4 (written vertically) to validate the number of processes in each knowledge area. This is much easier to recall the process chart in page-25 from PMBOK-6 to remember processes. [Shiv: This part is updated to refer to PMBOK-6 process chart]

Wishing you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Ayman Haidar, PMP

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