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I've been a PM for 10 years, mostly in the IT industry, managing network deployments, data center upgrades etc. For the past 18 months I've been a PM for ERP software implementations. I started some light exam prep about 6 months ago, but didn't create a true study plan until ~7 weeks from my exam date.

  • I took the exam on 7/30 online, using PearsonVue's remote proctored software.

  • You should perform their System Check a week or more before your exam to ensure that the software works as intended.

  • Ensure that you have a valid (non-expired) ID before checking in for the exam.

  • Prior to the exam start you will have to take photos of your exam space (facing the computer, behind your seat, and to either side). This is to verify that you don't have reference material visible and that you are alone in the room.

  • Your exam proctor will communicate with you via a chat window. They will be listening to your computer mic, and watching you via your webcam for the entire exam. On a few occasions they sent me a message not to cover my mouth with my had while testing.

Exam Results:

  • Initiating – Target
  • Planning – Above Target
  • Executing – Target
  • Monitoring & Controlling – Above Target
  • Closing – Above Target

Note – At the end of the exam, when you submit/end the test, you will see a brief loading/spinning icon before being presented with a generic "Congratulations! You're earned your PMP…" so you will know within moments whether you passed or failed. The detailed performance report will then be emailed and made available on your PMI Dashboard ~3 days after the exam.

Prep

  • 35 Contact Hours

    • LinkedIn Learning – Sandra Mitchell – Cert Prep: Project Management Professional (PMP)
      • Completed this course 3 months prior to Exam date
  • Books/Resources

    • Rita Mulachy's PMP Exam Prep, 9th Edition
  • Courses

  • Udemy – Joseph Phillips – PMP Exam Cram Session- PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition

    • Reviewed this over the course of a week,two weeks prior to exam date, leaving one week until exam
  • Exam Simulators

    • PM Prepcast (Exam Simulator-only for $140)
      • Performed one full exam one month prior to exam date for a baseline/gaps assessment
      • Performed several "Learning Quizzes" in the weeks leading up to exam. These are a great way to get test practice and build knowledge
      • I was scoring between 65% and 85% in my week leading up to the Exam, which wasn't very encouraging, but it turns out that this simulator is generally more difficult than the actual exam (which is great in hindsight, but stressful during my prep!)
    • PMP Exam Mentor – Android App
      • Performed practice tests and exams while on-the go in the 2 weeks leading up to exam to maintain exposure to content and keep it fresh

Testing strategy

  • 1) For questions you are uncertain on, select the best answer, then mark questions for review and move on rather than spending too much time
    • a. Better to have an answer to every question than run out of time
    • b. It's also possible that an upcoming question will provide clarity on a prior question
    • c. You get time after the first 90 questions to review marked questions (this does keep the clock running)
  • 2) After the first 90 questions you get the option to take a 10-minute break, or keep going (the 10 minute break doesn't count against test time, the clock pauses)

    • a. IF YOU NEED TO LEAVE THE ROOM, notify your proctor via the chat feature!
      • i. I left the room to use the restroom, and my proctor CALLED MY PHONE and asked where I went, and told me to get back into the room!
  • 3) Notes on the PersonVue exam software

    • a. The little overlay that shows your webcam view and has buttons for "chat" and "white board" sometimes gets stuck, and you cannot move it (this happened to me and it was obstructing the text of a question)
      • i. Was able to resolve it by selecting an answer, or clicking to the next question, then returning to the prior question. I could then drag the overlay window around
    • b. The "Highlight" and "Strikethrough" features didn't work for me, so I couldn't highlight or strike questions
    • c. The "Comment" option worked, but the keyboard input was delays by about .5 seconds, making it slow and hard to type effectively
    • d. The whiteboard tool is very clunky. It's like MS Paint and hard to draw with. i. I did use this to draw a critical path diagram to calculate the duration of a critical path
    • e. The calculator tool works OK, and I only used it 2 or 3 times

Exam Content

  • 1. High-level take-aways
    • a. Don't spend much (ANY?) time on memorizing Process ITTOs (inputs, tools, techniques & outputs)
    • b. Don't spend much time on memorizing every formula
    • c. Key areas are
      • i. Risk Mgmt/Planning
      • ii. Stakeholders Engagement
      • iii. Communications Plan
      • iv. Resource Mgmt (Vendor/Procurement/Contractor Mgmt)
      • v. Integrated Change Control
  • 2. Most prevalent topics
    • a. Integrated Change Control
      • i. Whenever a scope change occurs in a scenario, think "Change Control Board (CCB)" or getting "approval", issuing a "change request" or updating the "change log"
    • b. Risk Management / Plan Risk Management
      • i. Many questions around updating the risk register
    • c. Stakeholder engagement
      • i. Many questions on handling disengaged stakeholders
      • ii. Several questions on how to modify the communications plan to better engage stakeholders
    • d. Communications Management Plan
  • 3. Secondary topics
    • a. Cost Performance Index (CPI) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI) – "Bigger is better"
      • i. Know that SPI <1 is behind schedule, >1 is ahead of schedule
        • 1) i.e. SPI of .86 is behind schedule, 1 is ON schedule, 1.2 is ahead of schedule
          • ii. Know that CPI <is over budget, >1 is under budget
          • i.e. CPI of .86 is over budget, 1 is ON budget, 1.2 is under budget
    • b. 1 question Critical path
      • i. Know how to draw network diagram and identify critical path and duration
        • c. 1 question on calculating EAC
        • d. 1 question on calculating variance
          • i. Example – project budget is 200,000, 35% of work is complete, 120,000 spent so far
        • e. Schedule compression methods (Crash vs Fast Track especially)
        • f. Functional Manager authority
        • g. Project Manager Authority (defined in Project Charter)
        • h. PM communication methods

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