Advice on Passing the PMP
Everyone who passes the PMP has a story and advice on their methods and preparation on passing the PMP test.
Jeffrey Holt, PMP has kindly submitted his advice. Jeffrey gives my PMP 47 processes spreadsheet and YouTube videos some credit on helping him prepare for the test. But ultimately, it was Jeffrey’s persistence that helped him pass the test.
Below, is Jeffrey’s PMP advice from a comment he left on my blog as a customer. Thanks Jeffrey.
Jeffrey Holt, PMP
A week ago, I passed my PMP exam using some tactics that some have described as a bit unorthodox. I’ve been asked by a couple of folks to summarize my approach and perhaps pass along advice to those preparing for the exam.
My Tools for Passing the PMP
1. Online PMP Prep course from RMC to fulfill the 35 credits required by PMI.
2. A variety of YouTube videos created by Richard Kraneis to help fill in gaps.
3. iPhone app called PMP Trainer – originally written in German but awkwardly translated into English.
Passing the PMP is like a Full Time Job
For starters, treat this like your full time job while you’re studying. It’s not something to take lightly and will require you to concentrate. While your required credits may be coming from an actual classroom or another online vendor, follow their information fully and carefully. It will help you learn the material, but you will also learn a great deal about yourself and how you learn. Keep in mind that you need to find the tools that work for you. If something just doesn’t resonate with you, keep searching through the additional materials that are available on the internet or various apps.
Richard Kraneis on YouTube and his 47 Processes Spreadsheet
I used the Kraneis videos to help fill in places where I was having difficulty grasping the material supplied from my online course. Specifically, the ‘47’ video that maps out the way to memorize the 47 processes, the brain dump tips, and the “I Knew I Would Pass” video were all of great help.
PMP Trainer iPhone App
When I bought the iPhone app, I didn’t realize that it had been written overseas. Some of the questions made perfect sense in English, but others required me to really study the question to figure out what they were asking. That would become an important tip when I finally sat for the exam.
Wait Until You are Ready to Take the PMP Exam
Finally, if possible – wait until you think you’re ready to take the exam. Yes, you need to have a timeline but if it is someone else’s timeline you need to be in full agreement with that schedule.
Requirement 1. Take the practice exams and study those questions that are giving you trouble. In the three weeks leading up to the exam, I took two full 200 question practice exams from RMC and a couple of 100 question exams (on the RMC software you can actually start the practice exam and then end it early and have it scored). The day before the exam I took one last 100 question set to practice what I called my “Confidence Game” which I’ll describe in a moment.
Requirement 2. Practice your brain dump before each practice exam. Once you get to this point, you’ll know which topics are likely going to be the more difficult for you. Formulas and standard deviations come easily to me so they were less of an issue, but Maslow – McGregor – Heuristics and some of the Quality Management processes were things that I really had to study.
Requirement 3. Study your test results, realize your shortcomings and adapt the process of test-taking. This is what led to my Confidence Game.
The Element of Chance in Passing the PMP
Note that even when you are well prepared for the PMP exam, there is an element of chance to the process. You may draw questions that play well to your strengths, or may draw questions that highlight your learning gaps. If you do not pass the exam on the first attempt, do not despair. Learn from the process and move forward.
My practice exam results varied from 68% up to 83%, but one of the things that I noticed was that when I started missing questions there would frequently be several in a row that I missed. I realized that the first one was throwing me off and created a bit of doubt even before I saw the next question. I had one practice exam where I missed 9 questions in a row, and that is no way to pass the exam.
The PMP Confidence Game
Since I have always hated big tests, I started playing a mental game with myself to treat this as a series of much smaller quizzes rather than a big exam. I also started tracking on the practice exams whether this was a question where I was confident of the answer (write the question number down in the left column) or something where I was less confident of the answer (the question number gets written in the right column). Eventually I knew that I was scoring around 85% on the questions with a high degree of confidence, and around 55-60% on the questions where I was less confident of the answer.
Jeffrey’s PMP Exam Management Plan
By the time I got to the exam, I had an Exam Management Plan (yes, you can smile at that term), that said I would treat this as eight consecutive quizzes of 25 questions each, and that my goal was to have confidently answered at least 15 of the 25 questions in each quiz. If I didn’t, I would stop at that point and go back to the less confident answers so I could work through them. There were two times that I needed to go back and review some of those questions before proceeding to the next set of 25.
Yes, the process took more time. I actually finished the exam with less than five minutes remaining. But I knew going forward with additional questions that my mind was clear and that I had answered questions to the best of my ability. By the end of the exam, all 200 question numbers were listed out in one of two columns.
Jeffrey Holt’s PMP Test Advice
The study methods, tools and tips that work for you will be different. You will have mastery of topics that gave me difficulty, and you may struggle with things came easily to me. Keep a clear mind and focus on the goal of passing your exam. Celebrate your success, and take your spouse out to enjoy some comfort food when you’re done.
Jeffrey Holt, PMP
Thanks to Jeffrey Holt, PMP
Jeffrey, thanks for sharing your success story on passing the PMP. I think your PMP Exam Management Plan was especially useful. Breaking the PMP test into 25 question parts may make it easier for PMP test takers to take the test.
I especially liked your advice on taking out your spouse or a loved one after passing the PMP test. That is perhaps the best advice of all.