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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