PMP Exam Lessons Learned by Mark Chropufka (Dec 2015)

PMP Exam Experience Sharing by Rameshwar Khenat

Mark Chropufka passed the PMP® Certification Exam in Dec 2015. Mark tried a lot of mock quizzes and exams and reviewed every single wrong answers to really understand the “why”.

Mark’s Exam Lessons learned

For me, my preparation began with taking a 4 day Learning Tree course on preparing for the PMP® exam. The material was difficult to digest in the four days and I managed to skim the PMBOK® Guide, but didn’t really have an understanding of the material until much later.

My first recommendation is to read each chapter of the PMBOK® Guide, take notes, do practice questions after each chapter using the Q&A’s for the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition. After completing questions quizzes, I would review incorrect answers, take notes and understand why I got them wrong.

Second, I found the following supplemental materials to include in my reading along side the PMBOK® Guide:

  1. Edward Chung’s PMP® journey 
    The website is an excellent resource for notes, lessons learned and provided links to many “free” sample PMP® test questions. I personally benchmarked my results to gauge my preparation.
  2. EDWEL programs
    provides a free E-Book and practice exam and offers very tough questions. This is a great supplement and it is free.
  3. Access YouTube Videos on PMP® and I found the following excellent:
    • Corneilus Fichtner
      Has some great exam tips and sample questions
    • SirGanttAlot
      Videos are excellent for understanding and tackling Critical Path and EVM questions.
    • Richard Kraneis
      Richard provides great tips for preparation and overall methodology for studying and taking notes on your practice tests.

Third, I took a countless number of quizzes and more importantly probably a dozen full length practice exams. However, taking the exams is only half the battle, I reviewed incorrect answers by taking screen shots of the questions, pasting them into a Word document and writing notes to help me understand the concept of the question. I even did this with some of the questions that I marked and managed to answer correctly to ensure I understood the “Why”. My results on some of these exams are below and I ordered chronologically from earliest to latest and only used first exam results; didn’t take same test twice:

  1. Exam Central Exams – Great site for FREE!
    • Exam #1 : 10/29/15 12:15 PM – 81%
    • Exam #2 : 11/10/15 4:32 PM – 82%
    • Exam #3 : 12/01/15 12:29 PM – 84%
  2. PMP®Study -77%
  3. HeadFirst – 83%
  4. IzenBridge – 70% – Very good and free!
  5. PMP® Exam Simulator Paid – I took Exam 1 and then worked backwards Exam 2
    • Exam 1 (85%)
    • Exam 2 (91%)
    • Exam 3
    • Exam 4
    • Exam 5 (86%)
    • Exam 6 (80%)
    • Exam 7 (80%)
    • Exam 8 (76%)
    • Exam 9 (ITTO Questions only) (71%)
  6. I used iPhone and iPad study apps to do exam questions and review test concepts, as well as, watch YouTube videos.
  7. Free apps I used were:
    • PMP® Test Prep,
    • PMP®ro – (there is a paid version),
    • PMP®Qiz,
    • Free PMP®Mock and PMP® exam Prep both by Ashita Jadhav,
    • PMSheet (has a 47 process mapping game where you have 5 minutes to match process to appropriate area in the process grid and
    • PMP® Formulas – has a great overview and explanation of different formulas broken down by each chapter.
  8. Key for me was to not get discouraged if I didn’t do well on practice exams and take a break if I was feeling frustrated. Usually by the next day I felt better and was ready to go at it again. Key is to remember to get your mistakes and missteps out of the way BEFORE the exam.
  9. The day before the exam, do not do any practice tests; just light review. Make sure you get a good night sleep, eat breakfast and have your coffee. Make sure you get your bathroom break in before you start your exam at the test center so you know where the bathroom is and reduce the need to use it until later in the exam. I was able to wait until the last half hour and then had to take a bathroom break, but I was very calm throughout the exam and this was because I was adequately prepared!
  10. Final note, I managed to have a lot of time left over in my practice exams, but on the real exam, I only had 20 minutes as my pace was slower for the actual exam. I was moving at a steady, relaxed pace, but reviewing more on the real exam then the practice ones. Doing the practice exams helped me gauge a more comfortable pace, so I would advise doing as many as one can from different sources.

All the best,
Mark Chropufka

To Mark: Thanks a lot for your detailed and insightful sharing on your exam journey!

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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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