Got Zero Questions on Agile in the new PMP Exam?

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

Really thanks Vijay for sharing the great news of passing the new PMP Exam in 2018. It is indeed an inspiring story as Vijay tried both the 5th and 6th PMBOK® Guide version during exam preparation and finally passed the new PMP Exam. It is intrigued to find out that Vijay didn’t get many questions on the new topics added in PMBOK® Guide 6 and even have NO question on Agile. Here are the lessons learned:

Wanted to share my “Ordeal” while I was perusing my PMP certification.

I decided to get PMP certification in Jan 2018 and after 35 Hours of training, I started with PMBOK® Guide 5th version reading, knowing that in March 2018 the exam would change and might not be able to get quality exam preparation materials for 6th version. I took risk and started preparing for 5th version PMP Exam by spending 5-6 hours daily reading and preparing notes.

Completed reading in 3-4 weeks and scheduled exam on March 22nd which gave me 3 weeks’ time to do mock tests. Initially I did some 2 tests and scored average and was not feeling good about it. Then I again went over the PMBOK® Guide and took tests again and scored again not good like 68-71 %. But since I had scheduled the PMP exam, I went over the exam book again, my notes, took notes on questions, elimination methods and tricks.

Finally, the day before the exam, heavy snow storm hit Eastern US cities. The exam centre cancelled my exam due to ‘Bad weather’ and gave me below options:

  • withdraw from application, which they refund my amount. But if I have to take exam, I will have fill out new application again
  • take exam with 6th version before June 24th and if I fail, I can take one more exam free of cost

Sure enough I went with 2nd option and started reading PMBOK® Guide 6th edition.

But this time, after scanning through quickly I realized the new PMBOK® Guide is more or less the same but except few changes in certain areas like procurement management, quality management, etc. Plus I couldn’t spend 5-6 hours reading daily as before, as I was busy with my work.

But still completed the book and preparing new study notes again.

Scheduled the PMP Exam on May 16th and went through Udemy’s 5 test package.

Though I could score 77 to 82% in all 4 tests I took, but the mock exams were more aligned to 5th edition PMBOK® Guide not the 6th edition.Anyways, I went through the newly added Agile part, role of the project manager, etc. from the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition.

When I went to the exam center, the staff there did not allow me to take the test because my name on the application form did not match my Government ID card.

After hour of arguing with test center staff and checking with PMI Customer Care, they said they could not do anything to entertain my request to change my name as per ID.

So, now rejected, frustrated, broke, disappointed – I basically gave up.

But since, I had to get exposure to the real PMP exam, I scheduled my exam again on June 5th. But this time, I didn’t get any time going through my notes, book or tests as my work got busier. And my 2 toddlers were extremely hyper. Basically, I went to the exam center without any preparation, but at least I would be able to get some exposure to real exam.

So, I took the exam as relaxed I could be – going through questions and submitting the answers with my best knowledge. For the first 20-30 questions, I was confident I could get the correct answer. But later in the exam, I was not sure whether I was doing right as the questions were getting more difficult. In the last 27 minutes, I had 70 questions more to go. I wanted to attempt all questions, so I basically ran through the questions and selected answers based on the first impression of which was the correct answer.

When there was only just 1 min 37 secs remaining, I thought I had enough, after finishing all the questions and without thinking much, I submitted my PMP Exam.

Then, it was the longest wait of my life…

The screen read “Pass” with ABOVE TARGET for all domains – I was confused, felt surreal, read the final page for 5 mins, making sure what I was reading the real thing.

I came out of the exam lab, the test center staff gave me printed paper with “Congratulation, Passed” with Above Target.

As I am writing this piece of lessons learned, I am still in confusion, not sure its correct/real as I still haven’t got my PMP certificate yet (I am still not sure as anything can happen!).

Here are my two cents:

  • Read, read, read the PMBOK® Guide… read to understand. Get the concepts in your head. There is NO point remembering sequence, tools and techniques for each process areas. Its impossible remember all of the 800 pages!
  • Take as many tests/mock exams as possible, don’t worry about results just go with it and your instinct, but be carefull in elimination methods.
  • PMP is all about scenario-based questions (not wordy questions , for that you have CAPM®). As I remember, I had at least 160 questions out of 200 like: what do you do, what do you do next and what do you do first. And 2-3 questions on calculations, 2 questions on CPM and network diagrams, and some more on direct risk and quality management.
  • Most scenario-based questions were around changes – scope, schedule and mainly communications management.
  • I am sure that, PMP questions are not meant to trick you – if they do, that will only be in subtle way and fair – unlike many of the mock test I have taken (I think many of them went overboard in framing questions).
  • The questions won’t be long and lengthy (at least not with what I got).
  • The question scenarios were just like: SH not happy , quality is not good, customer didn’t not accept, asking for change, team is not doing well, behind schedule, new PM, new SH, new Risks and ask you:
    • What should you do
    • What should do next
    • What should do first
  • I didn’t get single question on Agile, basic project, portfolio, program, PMO, life-cycle and PM plan (I guess).
  • For the 2nd reading, I devised something like this:
    • Areas you need to concentrate on documents – like Procurement, charter ,resources,part of quality, part of risks.
    • Areas you need to understand what tools and techniques used like – Quality, risks, communication, scope, SH.
    • Areas you need to concentrate on overall and decisions – like integration, time, cost, communications.
  • I didn’t read RITA’s PMP exam prep book, or for that matter anything but just PMBOK® Guide – but choice is up to you.
  • Lastly but may be most important of all – Go into exam as relaxed as you can be, like nothing to lose, but don’t be careless. There is very thin line between relaxing and careless – that means, you should know what answers you are selecting and why – ask yourself (if you have gone through PMBOK® Guide and handled projects or scenarios, your mind will most probably give you rational answers).

I am still waiting for my certificate, as I said anything can happen to me.

Best of luck to you all.

~ Vijay

Thanks Vijay for sharing this valuable PMP lessons learned for preparing for both the 5th and 6th PMBOK® Guide editions of the PMP Exam! For those who failed to get certified under the old PMP Exam, it is completely doable to pass the new PMP Exam with a good plan!

Wish you PMP success for the new PMP Exam!

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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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8 Responses

  1. midori says:

    I wonder if it is worth taking the PMI ACP?

    • Edward Chung says:

      I would say I never regret having taken the trouble to prepare and pass the PMI-ACP exam as this builds the foundational knowledge of Agile project management. But this is a personal value judgement that I would leave it to you to decide.

      Anyway, wish you PMI-ACP success!

  2. Baosha says:

    Hi, Edward,
    Is it considered enough to use Rita (9th version) only to prepare the PMP, 2019?
    I found there were not enough agile questions in Rita book. However, the examination has a kind of request in agile.

    • Edward Chung says:

      HI Baosha,

      I would say Rita alone is not enough. But you can actually prepare for the PMP Exam using Rita’s and make use of the free PMP exam questions as suggested in this website to help you fully prepared. Wish you PMP success!

  3. Ken says:

    Hi Edward, I just finished 6th edition PMBOK and about to hit the Agile book, then planning to take the exam in Jan/2019. My question is how do you define which type of PMP is the best fit for individual? I was planning on taking the PMP exam, but came across your site and noticed you and Michael both took PMI-ACP. If there is no different types of PMBOK to study for these 2 types, then is the difference between the two is difficulty level or personal preference. Lastly, since there are so many practice exam materials online, so please advise your recommendation. Udemy’s 5 test package? Or the free questionnaires suffice?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Ken,

      PMP and PMI-ACP are different certifications. The PMP Exam is about traditional and Agile project management while the PMI-ACP exam is about all sorts of Agile project management methodologies. For the PMP Exam, the PMBOK Guide is a must. But for the PMI-ACP Exam, there is no equivalent exam prep book as the PMBOK guide. So, if you have already studied the PMBOK Guide, I would highly recommend you to take the PMP Exam. Wish you PMP success!

  4. Michael Yang says:

    Hi, Edward. Just a quick question. I found that the discounted price (with coupon applied) for a PMI-ACP course including exam is USD795. In contrast, if I buy only the course without the exam voucher, the discounted price is USD200. Given the exam fee for PMI-ACP for non-PMI members is USD495, my total cost will only be USD200 + USD495 = USD695, i.e. USD100 less! According to what you know, am I right in my above observation? Or using GreyCampus’s exam voucher means the exam will be online and I can take it from home, while if I go the PMI way by myself I will have to book an exam session and sit for the exam in an exam site?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Yes, you are right. I am sure there are some curious bugs going on here. But as you said, I would recommend you to take the PMI-ACP Exam prep online course and register for the exam on PMI website directly. In case you are a PMI member, you will be able to even take the exam cheaper.

      Wish you PMI-ACP success!