Monday, October 23, 2017

Tips to pass Project Management Professional (PMP) on first attempt

I had passed my Project Management Professional (PMP) exam on my first attempt.

It was not an easy journey as I had really spent the whole of 2 months studying really hard. Apart from stepping out of my house to go to work, I basically spend my weekdays studying 2 - 3 hours per day and 8 - 10 hours per day on weekend for the whole of 2 months before the exam.

My study methods:
1) I did not study the official PMBOK book as it was too dry and boring.
2) I did not buy any of the PMP online practice questions.
3) I started of by reading Head First PMP book. This book is very interesting and easy to read. You will be surprise by the amount of pictures the authors used in the book. The last time you read a book with this amount of pictures should be when you are less than 6 years old.
4) Once I completed Head First PMP book, the next book I read was Rita PMP Exam Prep. Although both the book content are based on the official PMBOK guide book, however, the way it present to the reader is very different. It is like learning the same kungfu from 2 different Masters.
5) After reading each chapter, I will make my own notes and copy out all the important points in each chapter. Thus, once I finished reading that chapter from the book, I will not flip back to those pages anymore as it should be captured in my own notes. So, I will flip my notes instead.
6) Memorize the PMP Process Table.

My Tips:
1) You need to have the mindset to unlearn in order to learn, especially if you are a very experience Project Manager.

There are many ways/methods to get things done. In corporate world, you have been using Method A in your day to day work. But in the PMBOK world, Method B is the recommended best practice. Thus, in order to pass the exam, you will need to choose Method B instead of Method A.

To pass the exam, you will need to play the game and rules set by PMBOK.
2) Understand the logic behind each processes instead of memorize it blindly.
Try to explain your understanding of each process to your friends/family/colleague. If they are able to understand you and you are able to answer their query, you are on the right track.
3) Memorizing the PMP Process Table is a must. If you don't, it is like going to the warzone without taking your guns. 
Do not stress yourself by memorizing the whole PMP Process Table in 1 day.
Break it down into diff stages and memorize it over a spread of 7 days.
For example:
Day 1: Complete steps 1 to 4
Day 2 - 3: Complete steps 1 to 7
Day 4 - 5: Complete steps 1 to 9
Day 6 - 7: Complete steps 1 to 11
Practice makes perfect: Once you are done with the 11 steps, it is a must to at least write out the PMP Process Table at least once everyday till the day you are going to take your exam. You should not take more than 5 mins to write out the whole PMP Process Table (I will tell you why as you read on Tips 6)
My way of memorizing it are as below:
Step 1) Draw 5 Vertical lines + 9 Horizontal lines on a blank piece of A4 size paper
Step 2) Write down the portion highlighted in Purple
Step 3) Write down the portion highlighted in Green
Step 4) Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you are able to memorize it 100% correctly
Step 5) Write down the portion highlight in Orange
Step 6) Write down the portion highlight in Red
Step 7) Repeat steps 1 to 6 until you are able to memorize it 70% correctly
Step 8) Write down the portion highlight in Yellow
Step 9) Repeat steps 1 to 8 until you are able to memorize it 70% correctly
Step 10) Write down the portion highlight in Pink
Step 11) Repeat steps 1 to 10 until you are able to memorize it 90% correctly
4) Write out the whole PMP Process Table on the paper given in the exam before you start answering your 1st exam question. This will be your best "Google map" for you to navigate through your exam questions.
I would rather you to spend 5 mins of your exam time to do so than to keep thinking of the PMP Process Table whenever you need to answer questions on this.
5) Do all the MCQs questions found in the Head First PMP book & Rita PMP Exam Prep.
Do not be afraid if you answer wrongly. Try to catch and understand the way / style of how each questions was asked. The MCQs style in the book is very similar to the PMP exam.
NO, none of the questions from the 2 books appeared in my PMP exam if you are thinking about this.  


6) Do not expect there is only 1 correct answer in each question. All the answers listed in the question can be correct. You will need to choose the best answer among all the correct answer. So make sure you read ALL the answers in each question carefully before you select your final answer.

7) You need to answer 200 multiple choice questions (MCQ) in 4 hours for the PMP exam. So, you need to pace yourself to make sure that you are on track to answering 50 MCQs per 1 hour. I recommend you to take a 5mins toilet break at least once you completed 100MCQs. This is to let your brain have a quick "reboot" as answering the questions require a lot of brain energy.

0:05 - Completed writing the PMP Process Table on the given blank paper
1:00 - Completed at least 50 MCQs
1:55 - Completed at least 100 MCQs
2:00 - Completed your toilet break
2:55 - Completed your 150 MCQs
3:50 - Completed your 200 MCQs
Last 10mins - Make sure you have answered all the exam questions. Go back to those unanswered questions  

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