My journey to PMP began in July 2013 when I obtained my 35 contact hours. The original intention was to write my exam shortly afterwards. However, I had just started writing papers for another professional qualification in addition to other factors which made it impossible for me to write my exams then.
Finally, in January 2016 I completed my other professional exam and was then ready to start the process of writing my PMP exam. I submitted my PMP application on the 4th February 2016 and on the 9th of February, I got a mail from PMI approving my application and allowing me to continue with selecting my PMP examination date. I chose 4th June 2016 (4 months away) in order to have enough time and because I felt I was used to writing exams in June because of my other professional examination.
I soon realized I had forgotten most of what I had learned since 2013 and I also did not have enough time to cover all the required reading on my own with work and all. I could see that I needed a refresher class and would appreciate the brainstorming opportunity provided by being in a classroom environment.
I registered with Ciel Consulting 5-weekend days class for May 2016 with Obalim Esedebe. This meant that the day the classes ended I had exactly one week to sit for my exam. I also barely had time to read and got only 3 days off work to prepare.
I sat for my exam on the 4th of June 2016 at JKK House, Ilupeju. I was sick on the day and finished my exam in 3 hours and left the hall. I wasn't sure how I felt about the exam but I was optimistic. I knew it was either I felt the exam was easier than I expected or I underestimated the exam because I just finished writing my other professional qualification which is deemed to be tougher.
I got my result 6 working days later. I failed!
I applied to resit my examination on the 19th of July 2016 and chose 5th November 2016 (4 months away again!). This time around, I tried to use every spare moment reading and also got 3 days off work to prepare (which I spent reviewing all the practice exams in Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep & focusing on Executing and Monitoring and Controlling Process Groups which were my weak areas in the first exam). This gave me a deeper understanding of what was required from me in each of the questions. I sat for my re-exam on the 5th of November 2016 at JKK House, Ilupeju. I wrote out my brain dump: Process Groups and Knowledge Areas matrix as well as formulas before I began and finished my exam in 3 hours 15 minutes and spent another 15 minutes reviewing my answers and then left the hall before I started second guessing my answers. I felt more confident than my first sitting but still panicked a little when I got a reminder from PMI that my exam eligibility period was going to end in February 2017.
I got my result 6 working days later again. I passed with 5 MP's!
What I did differently: I did not underestimate the exam the second time around. I felt I needed to hear, read and have PMP around me all the time. So I bought Rita Mulcahy's Hot Topics Audio Flashcards for passing the PMP and CAPM Exams CD which I would listen to while going to and returning from work. I also realized a major weak area for me was ITTO's. So I bought Cornelius Fichtner's ITTO Memory Jogger eBook as well as Fahad Usmani's PM Study Circle PMP Question Bank.
Besides reading the PMBOK, the free tools I used were:
PM Study Circle 400 PMP Exam Sample Questions https://pmstudycircle.com/pmp-question-bank/
Cornelius Fichtner’s/OSP International LLC Free PMP Exam Sample Questions http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com/
Exam Central’s PMP Exam Questions http://www.examcentral.net/pmp/pmp-exam-questions
Oliver Lehmann 75 and 175 Prep Questions http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmp-self-test/75-free-questions.htm
Praveen Malik/Gumroad’s PMP Formulas Pocket Guide (very handy for complex Earned Value Formulas)
I also joined “I want to be a PMP” group on LinkedIn and signed up with Passionate Project Management for daily PMP Question-of-the-Day for community support.
Don’t jump from a 5 Day Class to the examination hall. The class would provide you with a good foundation but you still need to read a lot on your own!
Don’t underestimate the exam!
Take your time answering your questions correctly. However, if you are finished with your exam, feel free to submit and don’t begin to second guess your answers.
If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again!