Category - Pmpexam

27.06 20120

Game Day

By: michelemuse Categories:PMP Exam

My PMP Exam Experience:  Part III When the PMP exam day arrived, as I drove to the testing center, I was mentally reviewing my “brain dump” and hoping that my preparation would pay off.  I somewhat wished that I had just a little more time to prepare -–to order and review Rita Mulcahy’s preparation materials.  I had read online that Rita’s materials and tests were among the best, but my allotted preparation time was up so I went ahead to test in early May 2012. At the center, I was asked to check in, along with the other test-taking hopefuls --- those testing for the GMAT, the GRE, the Teacher Certification Exam,  and many other professional and academic exams.  The testing center was very professional and thorough.  My ID was double-checked to insure that it matched my registration papers.  Personal items had to be deposited into the provided lockers, including hats and watches.  I waited in the lobby until my name was called, and then I moved back to another area.  In this area, I waited again to be fingerprinted, and I was asked to show that my pockets were empty.  I was handed several sheets of blank blue paper and a pencil. Finally, I was allowed to move into the exam room.  I had 15 minutes to go through a computer tutorial.  I used about 10 of those to write my “brain dump” on the blue pieces of paper.  The tutorial time ticked down, and then the four-hour exam began.  As I read the first question, it seemed different than all my preparation, so I took my best shot and moved on.  Each question and answer (200 in total) was a full computer screen.  I felt pressed for time; however, in reality, I finished in about three hours and took 45 minutes to review my answers for the first half of the test.  When the time ticked down to about 10 minutes remaining, I held my breath and pressed submit.  Much to my ecstatic relief a message popped up something to the effect: “Congratulations! You have passed the PMP Exam.”        

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27.06 20120

To Be Prepared Is Half the Victory

By: michelemuse Categories:PMP Exam

My PMP Exam Experience:  Part II In preparation to take the PMP exam, I took Global Knowledge’s PMP Boot Camp class in April 2012.  The class was costly, but it provided plenty of study materials for my endeavor… PMBOK, PMP Study Guide (2 volumes), a large stack of flash cards, two “brain dump” sheets, a large poster of the flow of the 42 processes, 5 process groups and 9 knowledge areas and last, but certainly not least, an experienced PMP instructor to help guide the way. During the four day course, the class took a self guided pre-test and then studied each of the 9 knowledge areas and took an individual test over each of the areas and then a post-test.  These tests primarily tested knowledge of the PMI inputs, tools and techniques and outputs.  For the most part, the questions were a fairly direct testing of understanding of the material.  It was a tremendous amount of material…so much material that each of the sections generally has its own course in Project Management academic programs. During the course, I marked up my provided study guides with notes and highlights.  After the course, I reviewed the highlighted material and took my own notes from the material.  I periodically reviewed the flash cards for each section as I studied that section.  As I made my way through the guides, I retook each practice exam looking to increase my score each time.  I tried to make use of the layering effect of learning, so I reviewed my notes from the study guides once more before the exam, bringing me up to a three-touch total for the material. I began practicing writing the “brain dump” sheets from memory.  When you enter the PMP exam room, you are given blank sheets of paper.  After entering the testing room and before starting the computer portion of the exam, it is recommended that you “dump your brain” of any of the tedious formulas and material.   This allows you to focus on answering the questions rather than remembering the formulas and tedious materials. After completing my study of the guides, I looked to practice more with the online test simulator to which Global Knowledge provided access for practice tests.  Unfortunately, the simulator was only available to PC users.  Since I have a Mac, I looked online to see what other resources were available to me.  I found the free PMP Certification Preparation Online Test with 75 sample questions on Oliver Lehmann’s website.  Fortunately for me, when I took this sample test, I realized that the nature of these questions was very different than the study guide tests that I had been taking.  Oliver’s questions were more situational and used applied knowledge.  This sample test helped me to see that I had a gap in knowledge and test taking experience that I needed to close quickly. At this point, I was short on time, but I went back and read through the PMBOK twice; the first time highlighting, the second time reviewing only highlighted material.  This helped me locate some the deficits in knowledge that I had.  Secondly, since the risk and quality areas give a lot of people trouble, I used The PMP Exam:  How to Pass on Your First Try by Andy Crowe, PMP to address concept issues and help give me more of a strategic view of the test verses the tactical one that I had previously.  I continued to practice writing my tactical “brain dump” sheets for the exam from memory and waited for the exam day.  

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27.06 20120

To Test or Not to Test

By: michelemuse Categories:PMP Exam

Before becoming a PMP, I spent a bit of time pondering a few questions:  (1) Should I take the PMP exam?  (2) How should I prepare for the exam? (3) What will it be like taking the exam?  I have written a three-part post answering those questions from my personal experience.  I hope you find my experience helpful to you. My PMP Exam Experience:  Part I The PMP exam … it is a rite of passage for a career in project management.  It is a test of fire for those who accept the challenge.  It is a challenging exam for most.  As my son’s elementary teacher says, “a test is challenging, not hard; a person’s head is hard; exams are challenging.”  I am excited to say that I recently passed the PMP in May 2012, and I find myself anxious to share my experience with others.  It was a challenging endeavor. The exam seems to create much anxiety in the project community.  The test is not intended solely for the academic – being a good test taker won’t necessarily ensure passing the test.  The exam is not intended solely for the highly experienced project manager—years of experience do not necessarily ensure clearing the exam.  A successful exam taker must have a toolkit of academic knowledge to understand the vocabulary and concepts that are being tested and the experience to apply the toolkit to the situational nature of the exam. We, project managers, attempt to mitigate the uncertainty of the exam and the risk of failure by preparing thoroughly…project managers hate failure!  Project managers know how important planning is to any endeavor.  The exam must be approached like a project—you must identify the specifications --- the information you need to know for the exam; identify the time frame—the amount of time that you have to study; and define your budget –- the amount of money that you have to spend on boot camps, study books and aids and exam question simulators.

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