PMP Lessons Learned: Writing Mock Exams is Crucial

PMP mock exams are an integral part for every PMP Aspirants to be fully prepared for the PMP Exam. A recent PMP, Tina, shares her lessons learned and study plan for her PMP Exam.

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

Tina has just been PMP® certified with 3 Proficient and 2 Moderately Proficient. She spent more time on writing practice / mock  Exam than reading PMBOK® Guide / Rita’s PMP® Book. She also demonstrated that if Aspirants score low on the first few mock Exam, there is no reason to worry as practice makes perfect. She encourages fellow aspirants to continue working on mock exam papers and, more importantly, understand why getting those answer wrong.

Tina Thought Writing Mock Exam is Important for Passing the Exam

Below is the detailed lessons learned by Tina who have recently passed the PMP® Exam in the first attempt:

Here is how I prepared for my PMP®:

  1. Rita’s PMP® Book
  2. PMBOK® Guide 5th edition
  3. This website for the sample exams

Rita’s was very helpful. It wasn’t as dry as the PMBOK® Guide. I completed Rita in about a week. Then, I started the PMBOK® Guide as a reference, comparing it with the information in Rita’s. Both those books took me about 2 weeks.

I spent my 3rd week taking sample tests. The sample tests were very helpful!

Initially, I scored in the 60s in my first two tests. That got me scared and I thought I might not be able to pass the exam. But going over the sample tests, checking the questions that I got wrong, understanding and comprehending what I did wrong really helped me.

Here are my sample test scores:

  • Oliver Lehman (75 Q): 64% (this was the first test I took after studying Rita and PMBOK® Guide)
  • Oliver Lehman (175 Q): 68%
  • HeadFirst Mock Exam : 73%
  • Edwel Mock Exam: 80%
  • Simplilearn Free Mock (200Q): 73%
  • PM Exam Simulator 30Q exams (free 7-day trial):
    • Exam-1: 63%
    • Exam-2: 68%
    • Exam-3:82%

As you can see, I didn’t score too high in my sample tests. But, going through each question and figuring out why I got the answer wrong really helped me. It changed how I looked and comprehended the question and answers.

After studying for 3-4 weeks, I finally took my Exam. It was tough, but doable. 75% of all the questions I answered, I wasn’t even sure I would get it right. I’ve seen many people say this. But studying pays off! If you know your concepts, you will end up choosing the right answer! Almost all the questions were situational.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying that the questions were very lengthy. I didn’t experience that. They were the same length as the questions I saw in HeadFirst, Simplilearn etc. After taking the exam, I don’t feel you have to memorize the ITTO. If you understand the overall process, you will do fine.

It took me 3 hours 20 minutes to finish the exam. The rest of the 40 minutes, I spend reviewing my marked questions. This was surprising as I usually finished my sample tests in about 2 – 2.5 hours.

Here are my results:

  • Initiation: Moderately Proficient
  • Planning: Proficient
  • Executing: Moderately Proficient
  • Monitoring and Controlling: Proficient
  • Closing: Moderately Proficient

Thank you Edward for this website. The comments from other PMP® exam writers, your blog and advice are one of the reasons I was able to clear this exam!


Thanks again Tina for showing Aspirants that writing mock exams are an important process for the exam preparation project.

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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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