PMP Training the Week Before The Exam:
- How did you cope with your stress? What “mental vacation” techniques did you use?
- What would you recommend to new project manager candidates? (e.g., work hard one more day or rest and relax the day before your exam day?)
- What did you plan to do the day before the exam?
- How was the testing environment: Was it easy to access? How did you go there? Any surprise or unexpected situations?
- What average time did you spend on each question?
- How many questions did you set for review during your PMP training sessions?
- What problems did you encounter? Did you run out of time?
- What could have you have done or not done to perform better on the PMP exam day?
We share below some featured stories – Thanks to Alumni for their contributions !
Make sure you do not stay up the entire night studying until the last minute. Your brain will be working overload for 4 hours straight—possibly without a break. So you will need to be fresh. If you can, take off at least 2 days before the test so you can be laser focused on the material and review, review, review.
You need to know those inputs, outputs, tools and techniques like the back of your hand. Make sure you memorize those perfectly.
If you are a coffee or a coke drinker, see if you can get by with a 5 Hour Energy drink. Nothing is worse than taking a 10 minute break during the test because you have to use the restroom. And it WILL take that long, because you have to check in and check out, show your empty pockets, show them your ID, etc. It’s a process, and it’s wasted time. You are allowed to jot down notes during the test, so when they are going through the preliminary stuff at the beginning of the exam, do a “brain dump” and write all of your I/O’s on the sheet of paper. If they offer you a calculator, take it! Good luck!
I found the 200 question exam simulators that PMCAMPUS.com provided to be extremely helpful in my preparation for the exam. To study under pressure (time) and train yourself to focus completely on questions before moving on was a key skill to develop if you want to pass the exam. As much as the concepts are important, so is performing under pressure. You have to learn to be comfortable with the pace of the exam (marathon) and pace yourself as you progress through the exam. The questions are very tricky and require that you pay close attention to the scenarios presented to you.
I went through all the practice exams that PMCAMPUS.com offered, sometimes multiple times. I tested my knowledge but I also tested my patience. I got better and more comfortable the more times I went through it. These practice exams helped me get comfortable for the actual PMP exam environment.
I had not sat for exams for over 10 years. Facing 4 hours rigor to sit and concentrate was making me more nervous than anything else. PM Campus study notes technique assisted me with the course. 1 week before the exam due date, I finally took the 3 sample exam test. It helped me identify few errors in my technique and the main was that I was over analyzing the questions. It really helped to have those sample exams to go through for me to achieve my PMP certification.
MY EXAM DAY
The day of the exam I showed up at the testing center nervous and set to work. I found that the most effective way to take the exam is to take a first pass through all the questions answering those that you can immediately and returning to those that were more difficult. One of the things you have to remember is that questions you encounter later in the exam will prompt you to remember things you needed for those hard questions you saw earlier.
I only took two passes through the exam after which I realized I wasn’t going to come up with any more answers. At that point I sat there with my finger hovering over the button to submit my exam for grading. Should I look at my answers one more time?
I bit he bullet, pushed the button and waited for the screen to refresh with my results. When the results were displayed I only partially suppressed a shout. I passed but had not done as well as I would have liked on the Initiation process questions. Needless to say I was extremely happy with the outcome.
Having waited this long to get certified it was a triumph to see the results. Since being certified of have continued to progress in my career and have held positions as a SVP Director of Project Management and Global Program Manager. Maintaining my certification continues to open opportunities.
KNOWLEDGE IS KEY
Here is a breakdown of the test and the study materials I used:
1.)That test is definitely a challenge, not because the material is hard to understand per say, but it’s like 200 paragraph type questions. I maybe had 20-30 questions that were only a couple of sentences. So by question #81, my head started to hurt. It stinks, and there is no way around it but to know the material. There is no “what is the definition of….” . It’s mainly scenarios and you pick the best answer based on your knowledge. The last 20 or so questions, I was scrambling for time. So I literally had to skim the question and pick on my first instinct.
I used 4 main things:
a.) the Class notes from PMCampus.com and all the practice tests/quizzes/lessons.
b.) The PMBOK…I would always skim it after reading through the PMCampus notes. It’s like reading a dictionary. Booooring!
c.) There are PMP apps available for your phone. Download them, so when you have a few spare minutes in the drive-through window at McDonald’s, just go through some notes.
d.) Flashcards that I made from index cards helped. There are many processes with more than about 500 inputs, outputs, and tools & techniques that you basically have to memorize. You need to know these for the test. They’ll give you some long question, and say, “Bob is in this process…as a PM what should he do next?” and there will be a list of four inputs…but they’ll be inputs to different processes. So you have to know the right one.
MY PMP TEST PREP
My test preparation was done over the course of 3 to 4 months. It started with one of those free sample tests which jarred me into reality; passing this test is not easy, and I need to take my preparation seriously. Because I believe in-person/on-site training sessions do not have enduring benefit, I wanted to self-prepare for the PMP exam. Based on this first epiphany, I spent time researching self-preparation websites that can help me, and found PMCAMPUS.
The incremental and progressive learning approach fit very well with how I learn. Although I did much better with my next full practice exam, it was necessary for me to drill, and drill, and drill.
Between the training regimen from PMCAMPUS, and my heavily noted and dog-eared copy of PMBOK, I did quite well with my last 2 full practice exams. My confidence was strong enough to schedule the exam. Up to the day before, I continued drilling and practicing. Test day followed a good night’s sleep.
10+ years later, and as a PMP, my career is doing great!