5 Above Targets in PMP Exam: The Top 7 Tips


PMP Exam Experience Sharing

I recently got the exciting news from Angelo Supe who passed the PMP® Exam recently with not only Above Target in overall but also Above Target in every domain — that’s the perfect score. Below is the insider’s tips:

I wanted to start by saying huge thank-you for your blog, which I read from “cover to cover” – from how to complete the application form, to the success stories of PMP®’s who also leveraged your articles, to the actual comments section.

I passed the exam on October 11th, and received an ‘Above Target’ mark for all five domains (which I honestly didn’t expect). I’m writing to share how I prepared for the exam.

  1. Trust in your learning and exam-taking strategy. I know that I don’t want to keep information in my brain for so long, so I wrote my exam a month after PMI approved my application. With the number of free resources online (tutorial, mock exams, tips, etc.), I also chose not enroll in a review class. During the actual exam, I took a washroom break, as I know that I need a breather within a four-hour test. Standing up and going outside for a couple of minutes allowed me to refocus and to have a renewed enthusiasm and stamina in reading and answering the questions.
  2. Memorize the key concepts. This includes the 47 processes and the formulas that Edward has put together for our convenience. ITTO’s are also must-know – however, I didn’t memorize them, since it is a lot. I only memorized the unique ones, and understood instead the relationship of the input and output (e.g., how an output of one process becomes an input to the next process).
  3. Read *and understand* the PMBOK® Guide and the Glossary at least once. This is self-explanatory. The glossary is extremely helpful, especially when differentiating concepts that may appear to be similar (e.g., corrective vs preventive action, facilitated workshop vs focus group, resource histogram vs resource calendar, seven basic quality tools, etc.).
  4. Don’t be discouraged if you score low in mock exams. I was averaging 60-70% in the online mock exams that I took, which was below the recommended 80% in some online sites. I admit that this shattered my confidence at the beginning, but I decided to not get affected. I took this as a challenge and answered more mock questions. The more I did them, the more I became familiar with the question style – which leads me to my next two points.
  5. Don’t expect definition-type of questions. You need to go beyond the definition, and need to be able to apply the concepts. There will be many situation-based questions, where all four choices would appear to be correct. You need to think critically to be able to select the best answer. The greatest challenge for me was when to escalate and when to resolve issues in your capacity as a PM. How did I overcome this challenge? Answer more mock questions!
  6. Read the questions carefully. Be careful with words like ‘except,’ ‘all,’ or ‘not,’ as they may totally need a different answer. As well, many questions are wordy but don’t really contribute to the question. Usually, the last sentence has the question, so that should give you a clue when finding the ‘real’ question in a block of words.
  7. Get enough sleep and eat well before the exam. Focus and presence of mind are key to taking an exam this long, so you want to be physically sound on this day. For four hours, do not think of anything else but the exam in front of you. Lastly, say a little prayer before and after the exam.

Hope I was able to share something valuable to the PMP® hopefuls.

Thanks Angelo for sharing the details of the PMP® Exam journey. I especially agree that Aspirants should not be discouraged by initially low scores from mock exams. One needs time to get used to the format of the exam. With enough practice, we all will see results!

Wish you PMP® success!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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2 Responses

  1. Iftekhar Khan says:

    Hi Edward,
    I have read your notes, I am a bit nervous too and I have 30 days to sit for the exam , work is absolutely busy but cannot change the exam dates , if possible can you suggest a strategy for this 30 days what and how to master so I can pass the exam. I will really appreciate your help.

    Thank you

April 9, 2014