Shiv, I knew this was not enough to pass the exam on my first attempt, but I planned a non traditional path to PMP success. I will start after application acceptance in order to focus on the specifics of the journey.
After the application was accepted I scheduled my exam date 3 months out to make sure I had enough time to plan. Prior to application acceptance I took a course through Syracuse University to obtain the 35 credit hours. I knew this exposure was not enough for the exam but it did give me an introduction to the terminology.
I started the true exam prep on June 01 2015. I created a plan in MS project that involved using the PM PrepCast followed by reading Rita’s book, Headfirst PMP and then the corresponding chapter in PMBOK. I continued that routine everyday 7 days a week until I was complete with all resources.
I finished after July 4th weekend. At that time, I started Prepcast Simulator and at the same time I read all of Shiv’s articles and started reading Andy Crowes book just to confirm I understood the terms completely. There were some areas that I had trouble (ie Time Management) but it made sense.
After passing the first 3 practice exams, I rescheduled the exam from 21 Aug to 6 Aug because I did not want to wait to take the exam and risk forgetting the material. I took 5 full length exams from the simulator, Andy Crowe’s full exam and Head First full exam for a total of 7. I scored 80 or above on 5 of them and in the 70 percentile for the other 2 practice exams.
The final week, I continued to write my brain dump and review. Shiv’s brain dump was really helpful, but I already had one that was good for me I just used it to add additional terms that might help.
On the day of exam
I was scheduled to take the exam at 5:00p.m., but when I arrived at 8:00a.m. to check in, the proctor explained that I could come in anytime to take the exam. I decided to return at 12:00p.m.
I was fortunate because the main test room was full and the proctor decided to put me in a side room alone. It was the only room they had and it was probably rare for that to happen so I would say don’t plan on it – it just worked out for me.
Don’t forget to read the questions all the way. I spent 10-15 mins creating a complex network diagram to only find out at the end the question asked for the float of the critical path – which is zero. That was time that I could have used to review. I only had 5 mins to review my questions and I marked several for review.
In the end I had 3 Ps for I,E,MC – MP for P and BP for C. I was surprised because I thought I understood Closing very well. In the end I am happy its over and grateful to everyone that helped. I hope this help someone else.
Stay focused and resilient and it can happen for you.
Wayne Dunlap, PMP
A note from Shiv: Wayne is probably the only one I know that advanced the exam date, and then the slot as well! 🙂 It also shows the confidence he had in his preparation. About the incident where Wayne spent 10-15 mins only to find that it was not necessary – I want to add a note that might help you.
One can divide PMP exam questions into about 13 different categories. If you are able to identify the ‘type’ of question quickly and then apply specific strategy to it you can save several seconds per question. And with 200 questions this amounts to quite a bit of time saved, may be 13-16 mins (at <5sec/question) – which can be utilized for review of answers, or tackling tough questions towards the end. You can learn about these categories from one of my books in ‘PMP Last Mile’ series titled ‘The Super Guide to PMP Question Types’.