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Passed PMP on 21st Day!! First attempt..

Passing PMP - My Story..

I’ve had colleagues, relatives and friends who have been so scared of taking PMP test for ages, I know a guy who is trying to be PMP for last 5 years, however, does not have courage to sit for the exam till now..
Whats so scary about PMP exam?
I guess with methodical planning, we all can pass with proficient ranking in all knowledge areas :)
Before we get into how I prepared for the exam – here is some background information about myself –
I’ve been managing projects from last few years – total 16+ years of experience; have been part of dynamic companies like Microsoft, Techmahindra and Sapient etc.
I took a 4-day PMP prep class on 23rd Feb 2012 till 26th Feb 2012.

My leanings To crack PMP Examination


Once you have eligibility criteria fulfilled (experience and the PDUs), there are 3 main steps:

1. Apply for PMP exam 
 Apply for PMP exam at PMI site ( I was a PMI member before and hence saved time to get the PMI member). PMI has an audit process and your application can come in the audit – I was fortunate that it did not. However a tip  for all the people out there  - Please ensure that any referral you write should be correct and if required you should be able to get in touch with him/her (for proofs in case your application is selected for audit)
2. Select Prometric center and Day of exam
After applying for PMP exam, I used to check my email every hour – we all do that anyways.. Finally got a breath when the approval came after 2 days. Once I received the approval email from PMI, I logged in and paid the PMP fee online as per instructions.After the successful transaction, I could choose a Prometric center – Since I live in NCR area the only choice we have is Gurgaon center at Sohna Road. Selected that and the earliest date ( Kept my numerological auspicious no combination J and selected  21st March 2012)
3. Study as per Plan
Once all formalities are in place and a date, I had to ensure that I pass the exam, so sat with all my thought process to make a study plan.  Few things are essential: 
Read PMBOK at least 2 times – There are key terms which you should be familiar of – even the way words have been used can change the meaning of the whole question, It helps if you’ve read PMBOK and can correlate. 
Read Rita/Head first/ any other PMP supplement book – This helps clearing the thought process, establishing your PM experience with Knowledge areas and process groups and relating the key concepts along with PMBOK way of thinking. 
Attempt  As many mock questions sets as you can – This is the most important of all and needs to be done in order to understand the question type, PMI philosophy and on top of all getting a confidence in your thinking.

Once I got a handle on what all needs to be done – I had only 14 days left to prepare for the exam, I ensured that I do mock test (at least 50 questions) every day.   And re – read whatever answer  I was getting wrong.  However - This is interesting:  All the mock exams which are out there on the web may not have good question, to top it – the questions are not complete and to add to confusion – the answers are wrong J.. other interesting phenomena which I noticed was that most of these free mock exams have same questions (incomplete, wrong and copied)  So don’t lose heart if you do not understand the question or do not understand the answer. Go back and read PMBOK, relate to your experience as PM and through the questions in open forums to get the correct answer.  There are many people out there who can help!!
  
The Exam (PMP - Prometric center at Sohna Road Gurgaon):
Finally, the D day came.. and I arrived at the Prometric center.
The Sohna road Prometric - location wise no problem finding the place. It had a separate area where you can study if have reached early.
In my case I reached at 11.30am wherein my exam was planned at 2pm. The Prometric staff gave me a choice to either start my exam early or if I want I can study.
I chose to sit for the exam.  Did a mistake of not bringing any eatable with me, It’s a 4 hour long exam and you do feel hunger strike in middle ( I do when I have to think a lot).  The prometric staff helped me with the place of seating ( it’s like your office cubes just the separation walls are higher , however since the capacity is quite high ( I guess more than 20 people approx.) and people are giving different exams like nursing, executive etc. – expect noise. In my case there was constant keyboard hammering noise (I guess 3 atleast people were giving typing speed test ). This is not to scare you off – just to give the perspective so that you are prepared.  I was allowed to take 4 breaks, however I utilised only 2 ( the clock keep on ticking even if you are on break – so you need to decide as how much time do you need for breaks to focus better)
Finally after revisions and marking question and re-reading question I clicked on submit button and prayed.  But no results – The screen went blank.. I was in shock – how can this happen – have I lost all my answers? What next?? Do I re-sit for exam ??? another 4 hours????  But then the co-ordinator at prometric helped me – that was a survey screen (phew). After survey I prayed (again) and clicked submit.....
Saw  the keyword “Congratulations” and I felt the utter joy of passing the so called PMP exam!!
What a feeling!! :) 

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