Monday, March 30, 2009

My PMP exam

I don't know why I didn't blog about it before, so here is the story:

I passed the exam with success about a year ago (March 2008). The preparation process took me about 2 to 3 months. I can't say that it was very intensive, but I had a pretty solid plan and schedule and invested not less then an hour every day (with some very rare exceptions).

The whole exam-time starting from entering testing facilities and finishing with printed and stamped results took me around 2.15 hrs. PMI doesn't disclose the scores now (at least they did not that time), but gives you rating (below proficient, moderate proficient and proficient) for each of knowledge areas (plus professional responsibility). I've screwed up on one, everything else was rated as proficient.

Speaking about the preparation process. I've used three books, Andy Crowe's one, PMP Head First, and Rita's. I also have used a bunch of notes and spent a lot of time on solving exams. I believe I've solved more then 1,000 questions, plus the ones which come with every book. I didn't like Rita's book at all. This is no way one can use it to learn something. She is bringing complexities to the things that should be easy and intuitive to any manager. I didn't like her practice questions as well. She make them extremely weird and they are far from what you'll get.

PMP Head First book is very nice to read and understand. I believe that this is a best starters book, but you'll need something to add to it for details. This one book might be not enough. The questions which are in the book are simple, the "last exam" questions which come as download are very good.

Crowe's book is the best one to use with PMP Head First. The questions are good. The material is good. The way of depicting information is good. Overall, this is the best book. The questions are good for concept, but not complex enough to rely for passing an exam.

As for the sample questions, the best are PM Studies and Oliver Lehmann's. The downloadable PMP Head First are also very good. Andy Crowe book questions are good as well.

No surprises, although I had a few questions with English words I wasn't aware of. They were tough even to guess. English is not my native language and I speak three languages actually (Russian, Ukrainian and English). I didn't placed a request for translation (they gave me this option during the exam scheduling) because the translations will use different terminology and they are more confusing then helpful.

As far as I remember I didn't have any network diagram question at all. But I had a bunch of EV calculations. A lot of people are receiving NPV v. EPV question nowadays. I did, too.

No surprises at the test site. I was passing in Glendale, CA (LA county). They have a lock box for you, but they are very strict and force to take off even watches. They gave a simple calculator, although the program has a Calculator button on screen and you can use it as well. The class is not that noisy, but it really interrupts you when somebody new is coming into the class to take a seat. They have a video and audio recording of that quality that they hear even when you start writing on the scratch paper.

Basically, that's all I can remember. ;) Feel free to ask me more questions, but I can't disclose the actual questions (and no PMP should).