Sunday, June 8, 2008

PMP Lessons Learned

I passed my PMP Certification on June 7! I was proficient in 3 sections, and moderately proficient in 3 sections.

There was an one question that had me completely stumped. I was shown a PDM and asked which of 4 nodes had "bipert float". I had no idea, and just guessed based on which node looked the least like the other three. Google was of no help once I got home, and I'm reasonably sure that this is a test question that contained a typo of some sort.

Studying Recommendations
I took my practice exams from perceived lowest quality to highest quality. Earlier exams used primarily to identify studying points and gauge rough readiness level. Later exams were used as a last chance to reschedule before 48 hour threshold. I found many overviews and study guides online of varying quality, and it was useful for me to read all of them. Each one presented the material differently, giving me more opportunities to truly understand the material rather than memorizing the words. I also found that each study guide took 15 minutes to an hour to read, which was the right good block of time to set aside in a single session.

When reading a study guide or taking a mock exam, it is vital to take notes on which questions or topics are giving you trouble. Once I am done with a mock exam, or immediately when I encounter confusion in a study guide, I would check my books and search online for the answer. Searching online would frequently lead me to additional resources.

  • Some people passed the test without this, but I needed it to brush up on ITTO and Process Groups.
  • While you do not need to memorize the ITTO, it will be easier if you know the following things to quickly rule out choices
    • Whether something is in the ITTO (i.e. Project Status Report)
    • Whether an input or output looks out of place
    • Whether steps are being done out of order
Head First PMP (Andrew Stellman, Jennifer Greene)
  • I recommend browsing through the PMBoK, and then starting with this. Read the PMBoK as quickly as possible to get an overview, and then start with Head First PMP.
PMP Exam Study Guide (Kim Heldman)
  • I recommend others to read Head First PMP before this, unlike myself.
  • I saved this practice exam for last. It is included on the CD, and the interactive, computer-based format of the exam helps to familiarize you for the real thing. The questions were also of good quality.
Oliver Lehmann free sample exams (online 75 question and downloadable 175 question)
  • These were good exams.
TutorialsPoint free sample exams (2x 200 question)
  • I did not like these exams as much as Oliver Lehmann, Head First, or the one included in the Kim Heldman book, but they were good starting points.
Head First PMP free sample exam
  • I liked this one a lot. I agree with some of the other reviews, that suggest that the questions on this exam might be a bit easier than an actual exam. This was my last paper based sample exam.
Unknown PowerPoint:
Preplogic free 15 min study guide
  • I recommend this after reading at least one book.
  • Another good overview
Rita Mulcahy
  • I saw the many warnings of the material, and a cursory browsing of the free material suggested that this was the case.
  • The primary complaint of the material is that her phrasing and word choice does not match the real exam very closely, and that many people find her layout and explanations confusing as a result.
  • Most of the material I had to pay to see, and I was not lacking in free resources.

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