PMP Exam Lessons Learned (Nov 2015)


PMP Exam Experience Sharing

A recent PMP® ‘graduate’ who passed the exam on 12 Nov 2015 shared the following lessons learned. The recent PMP® requested to have his name withheld for personal privacy reasons but his sharing is very useful.

I learnt from his lessons learned that Aspirants should be prepared for extremely hard questions on your set of exam!

Thank you for a great website. I passed my PMP® Exam (in USA) yesterday. Compared to PMP®, ITIL® Foundation Exam (passed 2 years ago) was a cake walk. ITIL® Foundation was pretty easy. Here is my experience:

PMP® test was TOUGHEST OF THE TOUGHEST set I got (After my Sec+). May be others got easy set but mine was tough. At home when I practiced I took break every 50 questions and assumed I could do the same on real test. The very first question bowled me over – it was a very sharp curve ball. It took me real 5 minutes to understand what it was asking. From then on I felt more miserable since the questions were getting pretty tough. I began marking the questions for review. By the time I reached the 100th question I felt sure I would fail and there was no point in marking the questions – for two reasons:

  1. There would not be any time left to review
  2. I was going to fail anyway. 🙂

I could not get up from my chair for a single second. I had about 10 questions on CPI and SPI and other cost calculations. I had like 5 to 10 on communication channels (calculate # of channels given the people and calculate people given the # channels too). The majority of the questions were on “What would the project manager do NEXT?”, “Who/what should the project manager consult FIRST?”, “What is the next step?”. Second majority was the risk area. I was stupefied about the number of questions on risk. I expected many on scope or quality but I got very few.

I did the brain dump, I wrote formulas on the scrape paper during the 15 minute tutorial time at the beginning of the PMP® Exam (note: not allowed now) but with all this, time was tight to the last second. When I started I had plenty of time but when I completed the 200th question, I had 2 minutes left and 20 questions to review. My heart was pounding and my head started reeling imagining that I had to prepare again for four months to retake test — For this attempt I started preparation in July and took test in November 2015. I prayed to God that somehow I get lucky and pass. I clicked the “Finish” button and lo and behold I got “MP” and the screen said “Congratulations!” Wow, wow, wow, wow!!

I practiced all the suggested Mock Exam questions, some from exam prep books, and the final line to cross was Oliver Lehman’s which I attempted full on the day prior to test. I got 70% only on Oliver Lehman. I went ahead and took the test anyway. BTW I never read the Rita book. I asked a colleague to lend it to me but he refused. So I had no way to even see the book.

My feeling – do not depend TOO MUCH on PMBOK® Guide. Common sense and understanding of the concepts is very important.

In my very own PMP® Exam, I got ten to twenty very difficult questions at the beginning of the exam but the questions become much easier later on. However, seems this is not always the case. The lessons learned here pointed out the possibility a set of very difficult questions for the exam. The good news is that PMI would make adjustment to the passing score based on the difficulty level of the set of exam questions — however, think of the stress involved during the exam ……

Aspirants, do prepared for the toughest exam but learn to relax if you get one. You may be able to pass the exam just like this case!

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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1 Response

  1. PMP aspirant says:

    PMP exam is changing in January 2016.
    I wanted to write PMP exam seven years ago, paid the fee but it was impossible for me to prepare due to my traveling consulting job. I was determined to take the exam before April 2016 and now I have to wait and see what the changes are going to be.