luni, 9 octombrie 2017

Preparing for your PMP exam

If you are now preparing for the PMP exam, I would like to share with you some  tips & tricks for a better exam experience or address any concerns. 

How the exam goes
There are 200 questions in 4 hours, out of which 25 are not rated. Yet you do not know which ones are not rated so this does not matter. The passing score is around 60% so you need to get 110-120 questions right.

How are the questions
The first 100-120 questions are average / normal / simple. If you have studied, you should get them right. They are straight questions from the text book. Eg. in what knowledge area / process group you are, what to do in a basic situation, how to initiate / close. There is only one obvious right answer.
The next 50 questions start to get complex. They have more than one right / wrong answer and you need to choose the best one, you should make sure you realize first in what phase you are before choosing the answer, make sure you apply the correct formula.
30 -35 questions are difficult / strange where you are not sure what they are asking. These are the long text questions with a lot of wording.
Only 2 questions I couldn’t tell what they wanted from me, what were they referring to.

On most questions with your current project management experience, you should be able to choose the correct answer.
All questions can be related from the PMBOK. If one concept is not in the PMBOK than it probably is not on the exam.
The formulas are not the complicated ones, in general they refer to the EVM (the simple ones). I had twice the communications channels formula. Otherwise I had about 20 math questions.
I had only one network diagram and about 3-4 simple follow-up questions after it.
There were not too many questions asking what are the Inputs, Outputs, what comes next, what is the tool for some process (the memory type question), but rather logical and common sense questions.

How to learn
Learning from the PMBOK is almost impossible.
Rita is a very good book. Go through all of it, do all the exercises from the first time, but to not scribble on the book, rather do the exercises on a piece of paper. Also do the end chapter questions every time. It is the best way to memorize what you learn.
The hardest topics are chapters 3 and 4. Try not to over stress with them from the beginning, rather go through the core knowledge areas and get back to these at the end. They will make much more sense when you have did everything else once.
The procurement chapter is very vast in Rita. For this one, maybe it is faster to learn from the PMBOK.

How to prepare
The saying goes that you need to have 1000 practice questions before going to the exam. You have 400 in Rita, 200 free questions on I could share with you 200 more if you drop me an email. You can find more over here:
Start with Rita and These are 600+ questions = 12 hours of your life. Be careful some online questions are idiotic and can confuse you more than clarify.
Try to go through Rita at least twice. The saying goes that you should do it 3 times, but twice if you already have PM experience should be enough to pass the exam.

How is the exam in Bucharest
In the Romanian-American university basement. You are not allowed with any personal belongings in the test room. They provide you with pen / papers / calculator. You have a small locker room to store your phone / wallet. You are searched like in the airport, do not worry about this.
The room is very quiet. There are 30 computers but only 2-3 people taking various other test. There are sound proof headphones available. There is someone checking up on you every 10 minutes.
When you sit on the computer you start a 15 minutes simulation, after that the exam starts automatically.
I have used the first 15-20 minutes for memory dump (from minute 3 of the simulation). I have written down all processes and knowledge areas and formulas. This helps you in the tricky questions to make sure you are not tricked.
There is a jogging rhythm of 50 questions per hour. But the latter questions become more difficult so keep up, just short breaks if you need, it is easier in the beginning so try not to waste too much time. I had 15 minutes left in the end for checkup and I found out that I missed a question.
When you close the test, there is a small survey and then your result is displayed: Congratulations you have passed!

Break a leg!