Passed PMP Exam the Second Try: from Below Target to Above Target

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

Karthikeyan B failed the PMP® Exam the first try. Not being discouraged, Karthikeyan re-studied for the exam for an extra 2 months. He passed the exam with “Above Target” the second try!

I first received his email telling me his sad news:

Recently I noticed your website and really helping me a lot. Thanks for your wonderful material preparation for this website.

I attended my exam on 26th Dec’17 and could not clear in the first attempt and again booked my second attempt on 5th Feb’18 so I am seeking your guidance whether I can go through PMBOK® Guide /Rita once again and take list of Mock test which you suggested . also I am practicing by taking exam in Rita Fast track by knowledge area and referring the PMOK /Rita whether I have a knowledge gap.

I immediately replied him, encouraging him to keep on studying and have confidence in himself:

Thanks for your email. I am sorry you did not make it the first try. But you are much closer to getting PMP® certified now than ever. Just keep on trying.

I agree with you that you may go through Rita once again as the exam results indicate that you are now very familiar with PMI’s way of thinking. Reading Rita’s book will help a lot. I encourage you to write your own study notes / summary after reading each chapter. That will help hardening the things you have read. Then please try as many mock tests as needed until you have got to the 65%+ performance in more than 2 consecutive exams and you are ready to go!

Don’t lose your heart. You still have plenty of time. Try hard and can’t wait to hear your good news!

I am so glad that I received his good news several days ago:

Greetings for the day!!!

Today I have cleared my PMP® exam in the second attempt with all your guidance and support.

Your words and advice encouraged me to clear this PMP® exam else I would have left idea to prepare for my second attempt. Thanks for all your support and your tips and 47 confusing topics helped me a lot to understand in depth.

I could have cleared my first attempt itself if I would have referred your website and tips.

And below is his PMP® Exam lesson learned on how to come back the second try:

Learning from Mistake

I failed in the first attempt :

  • Initiation: Needs Improvement Planning: Target Executing: Target M&C: Below Target Closing: Below Target

I read PMBOK® Guide 2 times and Rita around 3 times and could not clear in the first attempt, below I have listed my learning for your quick understanding and I spend almost a month to re-read the PMBOK® Guide twice

Used Rita Fast track Process Group wise mock test, Edward 47 PMP® Easily Confused Terms w/w In-depth Explanation is really Eye opening to clarify a lot of doubts. I would like to especially thank Edward who is helping for our community without any benefits and his materials were used as a ” keynote” before going for the exam which helped me to solve many of questions in PMP® exam. Also, his positive note and guidance gave me confidrnce to appear for my second attempt with a positive result.

Second Attempt Result :

  • Initiation: Above Target, Planning: Target, Executing: Above Target, M&C: Below Target Closing: Target
  • Overall Score: Above Target

Key Tips

  • Missed to understand the detailed linkage between one process to another process (Practice multiple questions by Process Group Wise).
  • In T&T Understand the application rather than the purpose (Ask question to yourself why I/P is required for the particular process and how it is converted into O/ P, Example: Work Performance data -> Work Performance Information –> Work Performance Report ).
  • Take at least one Biobreak to relax which will enable you to think faster / fresh ( In My 1st attempt most of the questions were easy and one-line questions whereas in 2 nd attempt most of the questions were minimum 3 to 4 line questions which were challengeable to me, I took one break in my second attempt and felt the difference –> Please take at least one break after crossing 40% of your questions).
  • Take lots of practice tests which is in our PMP® Online Study Exam.(I have practiced around 7000 questions from various sources)
  • Do study with full concentration and interest even it is 30mins per day.
  • Understand the mistake and don’t repeat the mistake (Identify the real root cause of your mistake either Knowledge gap in PMBOK® Guide (OR) Understanding issue due to language issue (OR) missing to catch keyword in the question (or) hurry to answer the question rather than clear understanding what was asked –> Hope these are all the major RC for most of the mistake which I faced
  • Some key terms synonyms should be prepared /remembered like Problem-solving à Confronting à Collaborating are same meaning
  • Practice 4 hours continuous exam at least couple of times before appearing for final PMP® exam
  • Ensure you are recalling all the topics before going for exam ( Prepare Continously before going for the exam else we tend to forget as we are human)
  • Please Make a note of all your Mistakes and key points of each and every topic which you learned (Hope this will help you to recap what you learned before PMP® exam–> People can remember 10% what they read and 90% when you practice what you read by Edgar Dale

Hope this L&L will help who are preparing for PMP® exam and wish you all the best for all of you to clear your exam in your first try

Thanks Karthikeyan for sharing his PMP® lessons learned! You are a great teacher for those who cannot pass the first try. Karthikeyan demonstrated failing the first try is nothing to fear, and that with persistence, everyone will be able to come back!

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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6 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Hi Edward,
    Thank you very much all these material, really helpful. Unfortunately yesterday I failed for the 2nd time in the PMP exam. So far I have studied around 250hrs. I read the PMBOK twice and Andy Crowe´s book several times, watched videos from Joseph Phillips at Udemy platform and I had around 70% in mock exams. Examining my flaws, I think that I cannot connect the Domain Tasks with the PMBOK content. We as PMP aspirants we must connect them to perfom well in the exam. Please, can you suggest a reference material to fulfill this gap?



    • Sorry to hear that, but you still have another chance of passing. Just work on more mock exam questions until you have reached the 75-80% level.

      For the reference materials, I have no idea indeed. Do other readers of this blog have suggestions? Thanks!

  2. Chris Brown says:

    Hi Edward

    I just wanted to pass along I passed the exam yesterday with 4 Above Target and 1 Target. I used your site extensively as part of my prep and want to say THANK YOU!

  3. Girija Gowri says:

    Hi Edward,

    I have passed my PMP certification today in the first attempt !!!

    I have done 2 months of self-study with PMBOK, Rita mulcahy book, and your website resources, and thanks for the immense service !!!