PMP Lessons Learned: Be Mentally Prepared for the Tough Exam

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

Another piece of in-depth PMP Exam lessons learned is received which means that another PMP is born! Congratulations Alex Lee. The lessons learned by Alex Lee on this PMP Exam prep project is detailed below:

I am a father of 2 girls and have decided to study for PMP, which I regret not have done it earlier before they were born 🙂 Studying while kids are demanding was really quite harsh but it was not impossible, see, Edward and I had both made it, so you don’t have an excuse 🙂

I’ve benefited a lot from Edward’s page during my preparation of PMP and I hope this short passage can contribute back a bit. I have taken the course around the end of 2018/early 2019 and enrolled the test in Feb 2019, the exam took place at Jan 2020.


In preparing the exam, I’ve followed the following plans and prepared for 8 weeks, 2-3 hours a day consistently.

  • Mental: Be prepared that you are going to take a tough exam, just like you are going to take HKCEE/DSE (opps, my age) . [editor’s note: HKCEE/DSE are public exams for students in Hong Kong] 
  • Exam time: Schedule a time where you are absolutely free from office work, i.e. you foresee there are not much OT and not a busy season at your work. It is best to schedule and prepare the exam right after you are done with the course so you have a fresh memory to the materials. (not like me as I do spend some effort to pick up what I’ve learned like 10 months ago)
  • Notes: Do a quick scan of the notes that you’ve taken during the study (either a virtual or physical course) by topics and gain some memory back, after studying each knowledge area, do some practice questions so you can get a feeling of what types of question will be asked in the exam.
  • Practice questions: Do some practice questions after you had a quick scan of notes from each knowledge area, the main purpose of this is to help you familiarize what types of questions are being asked during exam so you can be more focused on what needs to pay attention to when you study the Rita book 🙂 I would say spend 30-50 questions on each knowledge will give you a pretty decent exposure on what is required. My passing rate at this stage is around 60% correct on those questions.
  • Rita: Notes are often to brief for exam preparation while the PMBOK® Guide is too theoretical. I have learned from my fellows that Rita was a good book to help in terms of exam preparation. The book’s structure is by knowledge area, explaining key terms and concepts and most importantly, it did mention some exam tactics from each knowledge area. After each knowledge area, it also provides 30-40 of practice question, hopefully it will help you to gain around 70% of correctness in these questions.
  • Mock Test: Be sure you have simulated the exam before you go in, i.e. you have to complete at least 1 full 200 questions mock test in 4 hours, so you can get an idea on your exam rhythm, and decide when to take a break and for how long.
  • Study notes: I was planning to do this one but eventually I gave up due to time constraint, everyone has their style of revising, so if study notes is good for you, go ahead 🙂

On the day of exam

  • Relax
  • Go to the test center earlier to get yourself mentally ready
  • I also did a quick scan of the whole Rita book on each knowledge area to help reinforce the keywords and concepts. Some people might not agree with this but do whatever fits your style on the exam date.
  • Write down all the formulae needed at the first 5 mins
  • During the exam: Get a plan before you go to the exam. My plan was to go through the 200 questions at once, marked the questions which I had doubt, then go for a toilet break for 10 mins. After the break and refreshing mind, reviewed the marked question, then if I have time, review the unmarked questions.

Material that I’ve used


Here’s the outcome of my exam results, I’d say also need some luck but it should be good if you have got enough practice questions to get a pass 🙂

Good luck folks and Be confident to conquer it!

~ Alex Lee, PMP

Thanks Alex Lee for the PMP Exam lessons learned!

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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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