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How I cleared my PMP with Above Target?


I passed my PMP exam on the 13th of June, with “Above Target”, at Prometric’s Mumbai Test center. The exam was not very tough, and the 200 questions were manageable in the stipulated duration of 4 hours.

General Exam Overview (My experience):

• Continuing its obsession with Change Control, the exam had nearly 10-12 questions related to Change Control. So, it is essential to thoroughly revise the concepts on Perform Integrated Change Control Process.
• Expect questions on Contract types.
• Expect a couple of questions on the network diagram. This will be a time consuming one, with a lot of verbose in the question, from which you would need to construct the diagram and arrive at the answers, Example: Find the float of XYZ activity once you create the network diagram. Such questions are best left to be answered at the end. When you see network diagram questions, mark it and move on.
• Expect questions on Earned Value management. Those should be pretty straightforward, like finding the SPI, CPI, EAC, etc., given the values for PV, EV, AC, etc.
• Knowing the difference between Manage Quality and Control Quality will help you get 3-4 questions right. Remember:
• Manage Quality: Process Focused (Are correct processes followed to build the product?)
• Control Quality: Product Focused (Is the correct product being built as per the requirement specifications?)
• Expect questions on Stakeholder types. Know the definitions of Supportive, Leading, Neutral, Resistant stakeholders. Example: Resistant ones are those who do not want the project to succeed.
• Know how to engage Powerful and/or Interested stakeholders.
• Powerful Stakeholders: Keep them satisfied
• Powerful Stakeholders: Keep them informed
• Expect intermittent situational questions

Your day to day preparation strategy:

• Advisable to read Rita Mulcahy Exam Prep once, its language is easy and concepts well explained.
• Post that, you can go through the PMBOK Guide once, to cement your knowledge. The PMBOK guide is available as a free pdf download, once you become a PMI member.
• 2-3 hours of daily study for about 2-3 months, is sufficient to go through the study material.

Strategy in the run up to the exams:

If you have earned your contact hours from ProThoughts solutions, their training material will come extremely handy, 2-3 days prior to the exams. In these days, skim through them as quick refreshers.

ProThoughts provides the following useful training material:

• Handout booklet, detailing all the processes, ITTOs, explanations, activity references etc.

• A mind maps booklet, extremely useful as all the processes are explained in a quick to understand Mind Map fashion.

• Flashcards – Your pocket guide, it’s your travel companion, kind of, so if you are in a bus, or travelling somewhere, the flashcards are handy.

But then, as mentioned, 2-3 days in the run up to the exams skim through the above material, it will be more than beneficial, and help in quick revision.

Besides this, ProThoughts also provides 4 online mock exams, with good quality questions. A consistent score of 70-75 % indicates you are ready for the actual exam.

On the exam day:

• Reach the exam venue well before time. So, if it is scheduled at say 8.00 AM, be at the venue before 7.30 AM.

• Nothing is allowed inside the exam hall, not even water bottles, eatables, handkerchiefs, wallets. Only your ID card is allowed.

• You will be frisked thoroughly from head to toe, before entering the exam hall. Your socks, collars, pockets will be checked for emptiness.

• In case you get your bags, books, stationary etc., you will need to deposit everything in a locker that the test center guys will provide.

During the exam:

• Read the questions carefully. Watch out for distractors, and unnecessary information. The question may contain a lot of verbose, you need to focus only on the relevant information.

• Do not spend more than necessary time on one question. Mark it and move on, to revisit it later.

• Keep track of the time, watch your speed. 4 hours is just sufficient for 200 questions.

• Attempt all the complex questions on network diagrams at the end.

• At the end of 4 hours, you will be asked a quick survey about the Test Center and its feedback. It is optional. Post the survey, the message, “Congratulations!” will appear on the screen (hopefully).

Lastly, besides your own dedication towards the study and sincere efforts, a good REP for the initial contact hours required for the exam will lay a good foundation on which you can capitalize upon. ProThoughts Solutions, in my case


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