The PMP Exam - My Lesson Learned

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PMP Exam – My Lesson Learned
My preparation for this exam have started last year, but as a manager in IT, I had to use other materials and books from last 10 years that helped me in project management. In this document, I describe my preparation for the exam, the exam day and other material that I used for my self-actualization. I hope I can help you and Good Luck !!

Specific for exam
Books
1) PMBOK (English and Portuguese version) 2) PMP Exam Prep (Rita Mulcahy). I recommend you to play the Rita’s Process Game (it’s in the photo above). 3) PMP Study Guide (Kim Heldman – Portuguese Version) 4) The AMA Handbook for Management 5) PM Processess Posters – www.true-solutions.com 6) Project Management (Dinsmore – Portuguese Version) 7) CD Fasttrack (I used in my friend’s computer.)

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Sites
During the preparation I was a user of some sites and all of them are free. But, if you want to pay or buy something it’s your call. URL Summary http://www.voightps.de/Free_PMP_Ex Excelent. You get 10 random questions everytime you enter the am.asp site. My suggestion is: in all work days, make 10 questions (or more). In one month you’ll have done 220 questions. http://www.crosswindpm.com/ Sign up for the Tip-of-The-Day. Excelent. http://www.pmexam.com/14.html Sign up or visit this site every day. One question by day (the answer is below the question) and some PM concepts. There is some games such as crosswords, word search and word scramble. These games are good to memorize concepts. http://www.maxwideman.com/ Good glossary. There is a lot of other usefull things. http://www.pmpbest.com Good site. Try to find trandumper software. It’s a freeware with capacity to generate questions from text files. Excelent. And, at end of test you can save your errors. Good for review. http://www.docstoc.com Site contains a lot of models in Project Management and you can visualize before the download. http://groups.yahoo.com Groups – PMP-AJITHN, PMPBEST, PMPEXAMFORUM. I try to answer some questions and help people. It was a very good experience. I joined in some PMI chapters that are in Yahoo groups, but in this case, these groups are Brazilian groups and use portuguese only. http://www.pmi.org There is a lot of information, good online store. http://www.headfirstlabs.com/PMP/free A very good exam. Save it and try to answer the question by the _exam/HeadFirstPMP_PracticePMPEx end of your preparation. am.pdf http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmpself-test/75-free-questions.htm http://www.oliverlehmann.com/content s/freedownloads/175_PMP_Sample_Questio ns.pdf http://www.download.com/PMPSLAP/3000-2051_410777055.html?tag=lst2&cdlPid=10777056 Self assessment in PMI Exam. Good. Important: there is a timer to solve the questions in a certain period of time. A very good exam. Save it and try to answer the question by the end of your preparation.

Freeware. An excellent software to install in your PC, that makes tests over PM Groups, PM Processs by Knowledge Area and yours ITTO. Tou can find it in www.download.com, search for PMP (in tool bar) and select PMP SLAP 1.

I’ve tried a lot of sites on the internet, but I selected the sites above because there was a lot of out-ofdate sites. It was very difficult to find good preparation exams for free.

My Preparation
Despite of the books that I mention in this document, I did my preparation course in Brazil at Dinsmore Associates (PMI REP), this course took 80 good hours. Excellent in content, because covered 98% of the exam.

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During my preparation I did 11 200-question tests and some tests by Knowledge Area. My final score considering all tests was 78,2% (below by Knowledge Area). My target was 75% or above. In my last 5 tests I’ve scored above 77%.

During the tests, something that I’ve learned is to make it in the same condition (4 hours) and time. Then: 1) I programmed to take 2 breaks during the exam (good advice from Dinsmore Associates that suggest one for each hour). 2) During the first minutes I wrote down my memory list (formulas and sigma values) 3) A time table to manage the time (see below). 4) After each test, I’ve check my errors, computed data for statistics and written down notes about my mistakes. It’s very important redo the question and try to see in which perspective you have to find the right /best answer. Doing this sort of things (like as a ritual) I improved my confidence to make the exam.
Start ____: ____ Time 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 Minutes Pend End ___ : ___ Pend Ac List of Question

Time: Clock time Minutes: diference between time and last time registered Pend: amount of questions pending

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Pend Ac – number of question pending at this round. List of question – pending question number (accelerate the searching) For each test that I’ve done, I did this time table. You have to solve 200 questions in 4 hours, that means for each 10 questions you need 12 minutes. My target was always 9 minutes. For each 10 questions in site http://www.voightps.de/Free_PMP_Exam.asp, I trained to attain 9 minutes (a lot) and score at least 8. My average was 03:15 in 11 tests that I’ve done (near to my target). This control over time it’s very important (instructors from Dinsmore Associated said and in Rita Mulchay book have the same note). I thing that I did was reread the recommendations for Exam Day 2 days before the exam. It was important (from Dinsmore Associates notes and Rita Mulcahy book) for me, because something that was written in Rita Mulcahy’s book happened to me. Amazing.

The Exam Day
For me, it’s better to make the exam during evenings and it’s better you to choose your time. In the morning, I relax, did something that wasn’t related to the exam and read only 2 things that I cannot remember (quality management). Then I went to Prometric site, arrived one hour earlier in order to avoid problems with traffic. São Paulo (Brazil) has a terrible traffic. I have enough time to read a newspaper. Then, at 12:45 p.m. I started the exam. In the first minutes you can learn how to use the software, then use the left time to write down everything you remember (15 minutes) and my timetable. The software Fast Track that comes with Rita Mulcahy Book (try version) is very similar. Prometric center provides pens, pencils and some papers. The calculator was a program that prometric software runs (there is a button to get the calculator for each question). Then I’ve started the exam. The first question filled all the screen, it was HUGE, oh my god !. Skipped the first one and the second too. Then skipped the third for the same reason, skipped the fourth too. Then a wave of easy questions came and I could breath. The first 10 questions tooke me 5 minutes, but 4 pendings. According to my schedule I would take my first break between question 70 and 80 and the second at end of the exam (back to solve only the pending questions).My first break was at question 80, with 10 pending questions and some enough time to solve them. I ate an energetic bar, drunk water and came back, six minutes after and restarted . During my preparation, I’ve learned how to see when I was tired (this is important too) so I could now when I needed to take a break. When I was at question 165, I took the second break. At this time, I had only 12 pending questions and enough time to finish the exam. I finished the 200 questions in 3 hours and had 15 pending questions to solve. I solved these questions and I noticed that I had 40 minutes until the end. Then I started a crazy review that I’ve never made before, I started to count the easy questions. I counted 150 questions and 75 of them were easy (or ok for me). I was very confident that I would pass on the exam. Then, after quit the exam, I was waiting for the result, and some Prometric research appears. Ok. Some questions answered to Prometric. Again, some seconds waiting for the result, then I passed.

The Exam
Distribution of questions by knowledge area was ok. In terms of difficulty, the PMP exam was medium / high (from 0 to 10 – 7). Comparing the questions and reading carefully the PMBOK book, I think I could solve around 120 questions. About 15 questions you have to memorize ITTO. The other 80 questions: - 2 or 3 I’ve never read anything like during my studies

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3 were about “Delegating”, that was not covered by PMBOK, Mulcahy and Heldman books (and others). But, I was tracking and paying attention in some groups and I’ve time to prepare myself. Around 75 questions, a lot of situational questions and others dealing with some aspects of integration, costs, human resources, quality and procurement that you can find in Mulcahy/Heldman books.

Other books
According to the photo above, in my career other books helped a lot.

English Books
Title Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business IT Project Management: On Track from Start to Finish Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data The Principles of Project Management (Collected Handbooks from the Project Management Institute) Summary Marianne Broadbent. Focusing in process to manage IT

Joseph Phillips. Focusing in project management in IT Wayne Eckerson. Helps in how to measure and demonstrate KPI’s Stephen Few. Helps in manipulate information to give to the top management area (there is another focus linked to Data Warehouse product related, but it’s a good book). John R. Adams. It’s nice for some specific items of PMBOK covering Organizational Structure, Time management (of manager), Stress Management, HR Management and Procurement Management). It’s a PMI Edition. John Schuyler. During my own accessment, I’ve noticed some problems to deal and manage risks, and then I bought this book, that helped me a lot. It’s a PMI Edition. CMMI® describes the best practices for the development and maintenance of products and services across their entire lifecycle. Scott Adams. It’s fun. To relax.

Risk and Decision Analysis in Projects (Cases in project and program management series) CMMI(R): Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement The Dilbert Principle

Portuguese Books
Title (English) The Goal Death march Sarbanes-Oxley IT Compliance Using Open Source Tools Introduction to Itil Summary Eliyahu Goldratt. Generally speaking, Problem Solving Edward Yourdon. Helps managing problems in software projects Christian B Lahti and Roderick Peterson. Again, procedures and standards in IT. Helps in organize and manage IT

There are some other books, I don’t know if there is a translation to English, but essentially helped me with Project / IT Management.

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Description: I describe my preparation for the PMP exam, the exam day and other material that I used for my self-actualization. I hope I can help you and Good Luck !!
Claudio Oliveira Claudio Oliveira
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