PMP Lessons Learned: Passed the PMP Exam the 2nd Try

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

More good news are coming. Djordje Poznanovic passed the PMP Exam recently, below is the lessons learned from the PMP Exam preparation:

My desire to attain the PMP certificate began in 2019 where I commenced my studies exactly on November 1st of that year. During this time I read the PMBOK® Guide, Rita’s exam prep 9th Edition as well as Edward’s site. The exam was set for 19th December 2019, and I failed, really badly actually.

Months passed, Covid-19 struck and I had more time than usual so I decided to take up the challenge of doing this exam again, thankfully the second time around I passed so I would like to share my experience as well as what proved most beneficial to me to be successful the second time around.

First off, let me start with my mistakes in the approach I made. Namely, during my first attempt, even though I put in the hours and effort I did not know some terms, so the first piece of advice is know your terms. This is where the material from Edward’s site was very useful, the – PMP Study Notes 1 – Terms & Concepts. I thought I knew things but was unpleasantly surprised that my perception of something was completely different from fact, so the weak areas basically for me were the concepts I understood vaguely. Understand them thoroughly. Secondly, read the relevant material with understanding. My biggest mistake, definitely, was to learn things by heart and this is what the PMP exam is NOT about. They want to give you functional knowledge which you may apply in real life situations and knowing only the definitions of something will not cut it, because the questions can be so nuanced and answering them without thinking about them first opposed to giving automatic replies may lead you to give incorrect answers. Thirdly, practice exam questions as much as you can. Again, Edward’s free exam recommendations are excellent however I paid for some 1,400 questions and this definitely gave me that extra edge. Why, well first you experience the real thing, when you get the answer wrong you can find your weak spots and focus on them more, also sitting for 4 hours for anything is mentally gruelling, it’s like running a marathon, at some point you will feel fatigue and just want to get it over and done with, which is a trap and therefore the exam prep simulations can help you overcome these mental obstacles. It’s like with physical training, you cannot expect to lift 100Kg bench press on the first try so you train and train, in this particular instance you practice and practice until perfect. Summary of what to focus on:

  • Know your terms;
  • Study the PMBOK® Guide, Rita’s book, you tube tutorials (specifically Ricardo Vargas process explanations) Edward’s web site all in unison.
  • Practice, practice, practice. I’m not the type of person that can do things successfully without effort so for me the exam simulations were of extreme help however somebody may only need the free exam simulations listed on Edward’s web site, it all depends on your capabilities;
  • Go to your local PMI chapters, attend all the exam prep lectures, they were free and very useful

Last thing, my first attempt was at an exam center, the second time around was at home. I will not delve into details however both are equally stringent and do not expect that if you do the exam at home it will be any easier because either way you are constantly monitored and any improper act will not be tolerated. Exam questions can be difficult, they can really test your understanding and, as mentioned, can become nuanced where all 4 answers are legit but you need to pick the first one in line that is correct. I have not experienced long questions with multiple paragraphs however I did experience having a short question keep me on edge taking up my time just as a long one would.

I apologise if my writing may seem disparaging to some, I just wanted to send out my feedback about the whole experience, because for me personally it wasn’t easy, I studied a lot and wanted to be successful by all means. If you put your mind to do this, just do it, do not look back, focus, visualize and use the resources out there that have been provided to us, for free, by considerate individuals like Edward Chung. DO NOT learn by heart but truly understand what you read and listen.


I studied in total for 3.5-4 months and well over the recommended 200 hrs. Again, this is all subjective, I’m sure some people can do this with 100 hours, or less, of study but I’m just not one of those people. In the end I was ecstatic that all my effort were not in vain and I’m enthusiastic to study more.

Good luck to all and a big thank you to Edward for this fantastic web site, which I will use again once I start studying for PMI-ACP®.

~ Djordje Poznanovic, PMP

Thanks Djordje 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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