PMP Exam Lessons Learned by Jonathan Dacosta
The new PMP® Exam commences from 12 Jan 2016 well into 2017. Many Aspirants would worry about the “big changes” that are happening to the exam questions and would wonder if the prep resources (i.e. mock questions and exam prep books) are still relevant for the new PMP® Exam in 2017. Some of them are hesitate to take the new exam for the time being. Here is a piece of good news for them.
Fortunately, there are quite a few people who are brave enough to take the new exam and generous enough to share their lessons learned from preparing for the new exam on 20 Jan 2016. Jonathan Dacosta is one of them. Jonathan: thanks a lot for your invaluable contribution!
As you can read from this and other lessons learned from the new PMP® Exam, the changes are just not major ones. The good news is Aspirants can still rely on current books and mock exams to ace the new exam! It’s great to know that all the exam prep materials for the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition are still very relevant for your exam preparation.
Just note that there are more questions on Stakeholder Management, Communication Management and about the Project Charter.
Jonathan Dacosta Aced the PMP® Exam
Below is the sharing by Jonathan Dacosta who have recently passed the new exam:
I just passed the exam with 4 Proficient and 1 Moderately Proficient (Monitoring & Controlling) and it’s time for me to share my exam preparation, lessons learned and comments on the new exam to give back to the community that helped me for the past 3 months.
First thing first, English is not my mother language so that was an added difficulty for the exam because there were some unfamiliar terms to catch people that only memorize stuff. It should not be an issue if English is your first language. I would say there were 5-10 questions I had to “guess” the meaning of a word.
It all started in October when I subscribed to a 35 contact hour class with my local PMI chapter, they referenced a lot of stuff from PMBOK® Guide in their slides and all teachers had great credentials, it was not cheap but my job paid for it and it was well worth it.
For my personal preparation, I used:
- Headfirst PMP® book
- Rita’s PMP® book
- Rita’s FASTrack
- PDF version of the PMBOK® Guide (given free with PMI membership)
Mid-October to End-November
I read Headfirst in a 3 week span every week nights and completed all exercises, it’s a very good book to get started and understand the concepts, well worth the purchase. Once completed, I tried Headfirst mock exam without any studying or cheatsheet and finished with 76%.
Early December to Christmas break
I read Rita’s book from page to page without doing any exercises, taking time to really understand the concepts, the book is very well explained.
January 4th to January 11th
I went through Rita for a 2nd time, about 1-2 chapter/day and also doing the exercises at the end of each chapter. This is where it really began to click. I was getting between 70-80s on the exercises.
January 11th to January 19th
Final rush, I did a lot of mock exams. I pretty much went full time studying other than my actual job Mon/Fri 9-5.
Here are my scores if you want to compare:
- Headfirst: 76%, 1h40m (200 Q) – easier than exam
- Exam Central #1: 84%, 1h26m (200 Q) – easier than exam
- Exam Central #2: 89%, 1h10m (200 Q) – easier than exam
- FASTrack #1: 78%, 2h17m (200 Q) – somewhat easier than exam
- Super PMP®: 62%, 3h10m (200 Q) – a lot harder than exam (lenghty questions, my weakness)
- PM Exam simulator: 67%, 2h05m (170 Q) – about same level as exam
- Oliver Lehmann 75: 68%, 1h15m (75 Q) – harder than exam
- Edwel: 91%, 40m (75 Q) – a lot easier than exam
- Oliver Lehmann 175: 81%, 2h05m (175 Q) – somewhat harder than exam
[Further reading: A list of quality free mock exams]
Super PMP® and PM Exam Simulator shot my confidence down, Rita helped a lot understanding the process and “what to do next” or “typical PM behavior” but it felt like I had major gaps with basic knowledge questions. You can see the big step in my performance between these and Oliver Lehmann, I spent a lot of time filling gaps and understanding why I had something wrong. I also skimmed through the PMBOK® Guide and glossary quickly.
The final results I had on Oliver Lehmann tests gave me my confidence back and I was ready for the exam.
THE ACTUAL EXAM
I personally had a LOT more questions than I expected on stakeholder and communication. It didn’t feel like anything was new or unknown, just more questions. I also had a lot of questions on the before/during/after project charter. It makes sense considering the new tasks added. You guys should definitely spend more time on Stakeholder Management and Communication Management chapters and business case/project charter prior taking the exam.
Other than that, nothing special, I could not tell what were the extra 25 questions and the hardest questions for me were the “what would the PM do next” with 2-3 good answers, there were a couple of these!!
Fun story: I got a question I was not sure of the answer and the question right after had the answer word for word in the first sentence 🙂
I finished in approx. 3h20m and marked approx. 40 questions.
I also suggest using Edward’s website for the notes, they helped me a lot filling the knowledge gaps.
Good luck to all of you !!
As shared by Jonathan, there is actually little or no “new” knowledge required for the new PMP® Exam. The new exam has just shifted a bit of focus to Stakeholder Management, Communication Management and Project Charter, which are top three most important tasks project managers need to know more as found out from PMI’s Role Delineation Study (RDS) in 2015.
Thanks again Jonathan.
[Newly added: another Lessons Learned for the New PMP® Exam states that some updated exam prep book is almost identical to the original edition which indicates that the new exam is very much like the original one based on PMBOK® Guide 5th edition.]