Costina Barbu – Don’t shy from investing in PMP study resources

pmp-lessons-learned-costina-barbuShiv, Just wanted to share with you I passed my exam today. Thank you for your materials and questions and moral support!
costina pmp lessons learned

Here’re the PMP Study Resources I used

– (paid) HEAD FIRST – a nice relaxed and comprehensive option to walk one through the curriculum (includes chapter end questions & a mock exam)
– (paid) Grey Campus (via Udemy) as intro course – nice and crisp video sessions.
– (free with PMI Membership) PMBOK – dry, but helpful. Referred to it for clarifications during my studies.


– (free) PMZILLA forums – awesome for clarifying answers to tough questions (sometimes it is not enough to be told that the right answer is option a, but helps to understand the reasoning behind)
– (paid) BRAINBOK Explorer – for getting familiar with ITTOs.
– (paid) PMZILLA practice questions from Kapadia
– (paid) PMP Exam Prep Questions : 400Qs Based on Rita Mulcahy from Wisdompearls
– (free) Lehman 75 free questions

Android apps

– (Paid) pocketprep – good questions, very clear and cool explanations for all choices. Nicely grouped, too (ie. if Juran was the right answer, they also give you the related theories and what each one stands for). I went through it during comute, and often took screenshots so I can review my weak points.
– (paid) PMP Exam by Oliver Lehmann – good questions, but abandoned it due to its not being particularly strong on clarifications

Mock exams

– (paid) PMStudy 4 exams pack – very good questions
– (free & paid) BrainBok also has very tough mock exams and prompt support. Worked best with Firefox for me.
– (free) PMZest  – only took their free test, but it was good quality
– (free) Free PMP Exam Simulator  (the questions were not too easy, not too tough)

What did not help much

Online practice material
Identifying quality practice material was more challenging than I had expected. It often implies testing out produts at your own cost and time. This can be very frustrating with an examination coming up. I tried products from providers where the questions were formulated in such bad English, that I could no longer trust the correctness of the answers. For some I got my money back, but the time one loses does not return.

I studied alongside work, so that meant late evenings and sacrificed weekends. Under these conditions, I did not appreciate anyone wasting my time on bad products.


– (paid) Q & A’s for the PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition, Anbari, Frank T. – too easy and clarifications not that great
– (paid) PMP® Examination Practice Questions for the The PMBOK® Guide, 5th edition. Whitaker, Sean – big disappointment – parts of questions missing, parts of answers missing, it has errors and unfinished sentences – overall just a bad draft.

I did not shy away from using paid sources (although I did avoid the overly expensive Rita simulator). That is because I was looking for the tough questions that would make the exam look easy. And these I found worth paying for.

If I had to do it all over again in a more focused way, I would just stick to HEAD FIRST, PMBOK, mock exams (pmstudy & Brainbok) and the pocketprep app.

Hope this helps, best wishes to those who are preparing for their exams!

Costina Barbu, PMP

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