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How to Clear the PMP Online Exam?

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PMP Online Exam

I was preparing for the PMP exam from Jan 20 which was scheduled for 3rd April exam. Due to the lockdown, I got an option to change and reschedule it to 4th May. (This was all before Prothoughts refresher class). Post Prothoughts refresher class on 11th-12th April, I was confident about studying but skeptical about the exam happening on 4th May due to the extended lockdown. So I applied for a refund on 15th April. The next day, got to know about the PMP online proctored exam. Due to timely advice, shifted to online examination mode and cancelled my refund request.

On that day I had 19 days in hand for exams. (Yes, I know you are doing risk analysis now and considering me a Fool). I still believed that it was not impossible but I being lazy, wasted 2 more days in planning how to start. Was not able to match my belief, my enthusiasm with my planning. So just thought of studying 1 chapter a day anyhow and kept revising this plan (Rolling wave planning). I started studying on the 18th of April. So only 17 days effectively (Fast Tracking).

What was the Plan for the PMP Online Exam?

On Paper, the plan was simple “A chapter a day, keeps anxiety away. Looked workable as it was leaving 4 days of revision in the end. By the way, when I started, everything felt very new except my Rita Mulcahy book. My old study memory was gone. (No analogous estimation, no lessons learned) Maybe Corona effect. So this time to negate that effect, I went old school and started making notes (I did not do it earlier, told you I am lazy).

Moreover, till 1st weekend, the plan was working well. 1 chapter a day, notes were in good shape, mind was happy. What else I can ask? Then comes the unidentified risk event “Weekend”. You lose your daily routine and suddenly you are binge-watching, sleeping thinking the whole week you had a hectic office and study session, so let’s just take a rest. I practically did not study for 2 days. (told you about being Lazy and you can add procrastinator too)

But I took this setback positively and started the next week with more determination and energy. After that, I was on track for the remaining planned course and completed all chapters on Sunday morning 3rd May. Now effectively I had 30 hours for revision and mock tests. In the starting, I had planned to give at least 4 mock exams but eventually gave only 1 on Sunday. ProThoughts mock test scored a mediocre 135. Ok, now the confidence went for the toss. But had no other option. Had to hatch a 24-hour plan to clear PMP. Became filmy at this time and believed in 3 idiots’ dialogue “KABIL BANO, KAMYABI TOH..…” So stopped solving any mock tests or questions and went straight into Hyper mode of revisiting Rita’s book and fine-tuning my notes. Believe me, this was the best decision I made in the whole PMP exam preparation.

Finally, I just said to be positive and started the exam.

Pre-Exam Preparations for Online Proctoring?

1. Test your laptop with Webcam 3 days in advance for compatibility issues. (Preventive Action)

2. Use your laptop as admin access is required for giving certain permissions. Thank god I used a personal laptop. Test software passed on my office laptop too but on exam day it asked for firewall permission which was not asked earlier in test mode. So, do not take risks with an office laptop if admin access is not there. (Identify risk and mitigate)

3. Clear your desk and adjoining walls of any kind of informative info. Also, make your room exam hall. (EEF)

4. You can keep only your Laptop, water bottle, and personal ID on your desk. No paper, pen, or any other electronic device is allowed.

5. They have options like an online worksheet, calculator, highlighter, etc. available

When is Exam Time?

1. LOGIN 30 min. before exam time.

2. There are certain steps you need to perform before actually starting the exam.

3. They will ask you to provide your own picture, ID, and room pictures. Upload from your mobile everything. (Do not worry everything is self-guided and you would have done it earlier while testing your system)

4. Wait for 5-10 min. for verification of upload. Your screen will change and it will ask to put away your mobile and start the exam.

5. The system will give the option to read a small interactive guide on tools available for giving online exams. So, do not skip that.

6. Once you start the PMP exam and in between if you face any error or your screen shows some error, DO NOT PANIC. Go to the chat box and just type your issue. They will respond immediately. This happened to me and had to restart the test on the provided instructions. Additionally, no time was lost and they awarded full-time once I restarted. Thus, the frightening part was that it happened in the very 1st question.

7. Most important question “Can we take a break(s)?” – YES, PMI has stipulated a 10-minute bio break after 2 hours. I got the option to take a break after the 89th question when it was just 1 hour 35 minutes in the exam (strange!) Very Important that before taking a break, review all the attempted questions and submit them. You cannot review them again.

8. During the break you can go out of your room, eat, and even study. (Did I mention that during the exam keep your room locked, If any third-party intrusion, they will kill your exam)

9. PMI proctor continuously monitors you from a Webcam and mic. I got a chat prompt in between exams asking me not to read exam questions loud (to concentrate I was reading out loud). Oh! That just killed the momentum and I had to consciously take care of one more thing during an exam. It reduced my speed and I completed 2 min before 4 hrs. So no review time left. Practice this while giving Mock tests and build your speed accordingly.

10. One more important point. You cannot stand or roam around in the room during the exam. You need to be seated all the time where they can see you else Kill.

What are the On-Day Exam Questions?

1. Why I said revising Rita’s book in the last 24 hrs was the best decision as all the questions were concept-based.

2. The more you know the concepts of any topic, the easier it will be to answer.

3. The majority were situational-based questions

4. 2-3 simple EVM questions to provide just analysis based on the info provided. No EVM calculation question. I did not use a Calculator at all. (By the way online calculator is available)

5. Single PERT question. The creation of a chart and determining the CP was a requirement.

6. Most questions on CCB

7. Many questions seemed repeatable in different languages and some changed options

8. There were no ITTO questions. Yes, surprisingly there were none.

9. Most questions ended with “What should Project Manager do, best choice for Project Manager or What he had done earlier to prevent this”

10. PMI sometimes gave synonyms as options. It becomes easier to identify and eliminate such options. Eg: ” Cause & Effect and Ishikawa both are given as answer options”

Conclusion

You can see that I adopted a very agile approach and that turned out successful for me. In real life also, I have seen more success in shorter-duration, fast-tracked projects. So the motto is to find the right approach to take this exam. Once in rhythm nobody can stop you. For me, there was no past example or reference of the PMP online exam available to ask or learn from. Which I guess benefited me (no luggage) and I designed my path here. Maybe it was luck, Maybe 1st mover advantage, or Maybe PMI lowered their passing criteria or maybe Hard work. It clicked.

A big thanks to the ProThoughts team for overall training and after-training support on the refresher course and online Mock test.

ALL THE BEST GUYS!

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