PMP Exam Lessons Learned by Papin Tatiotsop (New PMP Exam 2016)


PMP Exam Experience Sharing

Another great lessons learned for the new PMP® Exam (effective from 12 Jan 2016) from Papin Tatiotsop who passed the exam on 21 Jan 2016. Thanks a lot for Tati’s invaluable contribution which would help fellow Aspirants a lot!

Again, we can learn from this lessons learned that ‘the new PMP® exam is just “More Shaken than Hurt”‘ meaning that it is basically the same exam based on PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition with things re-organized (shaken up) a bit. Aspirants are safe to take the dive into your certification now!

Papin Tatiotsop Passed the Exam with 3 Months’ Preparation

Below is the sharing by Tati who have recently passed the new exam:

I passed my exam on January 21, at first try. Thank you for all.

I started my preparation in October, Rita book 8th Edition was like the Bible for me, so I read it cover to cover. Then, in November I registered and fixed an exam date (January 4, 2016). In November I got Rita Book 8th edition updated (No difference with the previous).

Then I purchase the PMStudy (very helpful), but only 4 mock exams, so I quickly exhausted the 4 exams, and was in the need of more mock exams to assess my pedigree…… I bought PM Exam Simulator, guest what???? Waoooh!!!! I have practiced, practiced and practiced many mock exams.

I noticed I was only getting 75-80%, and I was having gaps in Quality Management and Human Resource Management. And my Executing process group was not showing good enough. I postponed the exam to Jan 21.

My advise to fellow aspirants is to divide the preparation into 3 parts:

  1. Exam prep training (i.e. the 35th contact hours).
  2. Read exam prep books and go through chapter exercise (Knowledge Group wise). Rita’s book is fantastic for that.
  3. Practice mock exams as many as you can. Put yourself in all sort of conditions before exams. Make sure you assess yourself on all sort of situation during exam.

How often can you go to washroom in 4 hours stressed exam??? How do you catch up the wasted time when you are on question130 while you are supposed to be on Q138??? how do you avoid panic???……………………….The secret is Practice.

Good luck to all Aspirants.

Tati is kind enough to answer other exam prep related questions to describe the journey in more details:

  • How’s Rita’s Book updated edition compared with the original edition?

Rita’s book 8th Ed = 8th Ed updated. And of course, if someone is buying for the first time he/she should go for the 8th Edition Updated. I got the two books, fortunately for me, I had already swallowed the first book cover to cover. So, going thru the second book lightly, I could not find any difference in the content of the courses. There are some minor differences on very few questions at the end of some chapters ( I will give more precision later).

My Advice: If you already have Rita’s Book 8th Ed, just keep it, it will be enough for your preparation.

  • Top 3 types (e.g. situational, ITTO, calculation, tricky, etc.) and topics (stakeholder, integration, risk management, etc.) of questions did you find on your real PMP® exam?

The ITTO questions I got in the real exam was really different of what I was facing during my preparation with PM Exam Simulator. Example: They will not give a list of process inputs and ask you to choose the missing one among a list. Rather, they will ask you something like “A stakeholder is complaining that he is not receiving updates. What should the PM check first?” etc… So, more and more questions are becoming situational, which is good for experienced PMs as well as those that understood the concepts. Also, there were many question oriented on Project Charter in the exam.

My advice: Less experienced PMs should read Rita’s book cover to cover, and make sure they understand it very well, especially the “Trick of the trade”. End of chapter questions are very important in Rita book. (I don’t know of other providers, but I can confirm Rita is Good). The PMBOK® Guide is also important, but……. anyway, make sure you capture or print the ITTOs of the 10 knowledge areas in the PMBOK® Guide. Keep the PMBOK® Guide Glossary close to your hand.

  • How are the mock exams compared to the real exam? Are they easier, on par or more difficult? Which one is better: PM Study or PM Exam Simulator?

Mock exams are important towards the end of the Exam preparation. I think that my real Exam was tougher than all the mock exams I have faced before, but if I had not prepared through Mock exam, I would have surely failed. I will suggest that mock exam providers should also place tougher questions at the beginning of the exam (the first 10 questions). Just imagine you facing challenges on the first 10 questions during the real exam!!!!! This can destabilize the whole knowledge you had in mind. I think, people should take this as part of the preparation. It is too easy to be thinking on Question 8 while you are already on Question 20.

  • How are your actual results compared to the mock exam results?

I so much prepared that I was expecting at least 2 Proficients, but I ended with 4 MP and 1 P. Anyway, the most important thing was to pass. During the exam, especially at the beginning, I thought I might fail if the time continues going faster (I mean if I continue answering slowly).

  • Your special exam taking tips for Aspirants.

For Aspirants, I can only say that tips for passing is in 80/20. (80% before the exam, and 20% during the exam). The secret is Preparation, Practice, Practice, and Practice.

Include the practice of: How long you can resist to a toilet request? How can you catch up the time? When you are only on Q 35 while you are suppose to be on Q 43?…

The exam taker must know how many minutes remain when he is on Question x, with y marked questions.

Some questions are very long, and can take up to 4 minutes to read and understand. How do you handle those questions? I will first read the last sentence, which is the real question, and most of the time, it is not related to the text.

If you see a Precedence Diagramming Method table, don’t start drawing the network diagram until you read the question. Sometime the question is just “If Activity F is on Critical Path, what is its Float?”. All activities on critical path have the float of Zero, right??? You gain this through preparation, and PM Exam Simulator, and other simulator providers are there for that.

  • Your actual exam taking experience.

Taking the exam is a very good experience. When you pass it, you feel like there is no project that can be complex enough to challenge you anymore, no matter how tough stakeholders are, and how tight the schedule is.

Thanks again Tati. Wish all 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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April 9, 2014