Just another LL: Passed PMP in my first attempt on 01-May-2012



C’mon, How many LL’s you would read?? . . . . .(Never mind. . . J).


I also did the same. Its time I give back what I have taken from this forum. The funny thing is, I used to think of what to write and how to write my LL on this site even before clearing my PMP Exam (That’s the confidence I had you know!! . . ).


I would be writing my LL more from my own experience/study plan’s perspective so that others who are planning to achieve this credential could draw analogies and baseline their study plan. And I would try to write in terms of bullet points to avoid long stories.


Websites visited / Study Material Used:


Websites visited Study Material Used
http://www.squidoo.com/PMP-Certification-Exam Rita Mulcahy – 6th Edition
http://www.squidoo.com/pass_pmp_exam PMBOK – 4th Edition
Notes by Rajesh Nair
http://www.pmexamacademy.com/ Raga’s 355 points
http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/pmp-exam-day-tips.html Full length sample exams provided by REP
  Free full length and other sample exams on net (details below)
  Different posts/LL by PMP achievers on PMZilla 


Sample Exams:


Free full length and other sample exams I tried
Sl. No. Date Exam Description Marks Scored
1 Jan-08-2012 A sample exam provided by REP - 1 200 Questions 70.60%
2 Apr-18-2012 http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmp-self-test/75-free-questions.htm 75 Questions 50.60%
3 Apr-18-2012 A sample exam provided by REP - 2 200 Questions 68.50%
4 Apr-22-2012 Head First PMP - pdf 200 Questions 76%
5 Apr-23-2012 Oliver Lehmann - pdf 175 Questions 70%
6 Apr-24-2012 http://www.edwelprograms.com/Free-PMP-Practice-Exam.aspx 200 Questions 75%
7 Apr-25-2012 http://www.simplilearn.com/slportal/login/login.do 200 Questions 70.29%
8 Apr-25-2012 http://www.preparepm.com/mock1.html  70 Questions 81%
9 Apr-26-2012 http://www.pmstudy.com/enroll.asp 200 Questions 71%
10 Apr-26-2012 http://www.preparepm.com/mock2.html  28 Questions 93%
11 Apr-26-2012 http://www.techfaq360.com/pmp/pmpmock.jsp?in=0&testno=1  200 Questions 81%
12 Apr-27-2012 http://www.passionatepm.com/free-pmp-exam-practice-test-questions 100 Questions 78%
13 Apr-28-2012 http://www.pm-prepare.com/sbmple/showQuestion.asp?donelist=0&focus=&value=&QSeq=26026&try=1&iLang=0 15 Questions Didn't note
14 Apr-28-2012 http://www.voightps.com/Default.asp Random Didn't note
15 Apr-29-2012 http://www.tutorialspoint.com/pmp-exams/pmp_mock_exams.htm Random Didn't note
16 Apr-29-2012 A sample exam provided by REP - 3 200 Questions 70.50%
17 Apr-29-2012 http://www.bestsamplequestions.com/pmp-sample-questions/pmp-sample-questions.html 160 Questions Didn't note



My Study Plan:


è Went through the PMP training during first week of Dec 2011. It gave a good insight into the process groups / knowledge areas and was successful in making me familiar with the Project Management vocabulary.

è Started my studies with Rita-6, went through page by page making sure I understood the things before I move on to any new topic.  

è Studied 1 – 2 Hours during Dec2011 and Jan2012. Had to halt my studies for some time (during Feb2012 and Mar2012) to catch up with some major project deliveries at my office.

è Resumed my studies during first week of Apr2012, could able to dedicate 4 – 5 hours each day for studies. This time it was the second pass through Rita’s book. Things were becoming clearer and I made sure I solved all the questions at the end of each chapter.

è Figured out some of the free full length and other sample exams and tried solving them. The details are given above. I did not try any of the paid simulation exams.

è My intention was to exercise my mind and body to sit for 4 hours (without break) without losing my concentration till the last minute. This could be best achieved by taking as many timed mock exams as possible.   

è Went through PMBOK during last two weeks, just a high level glance, but went through the ITTOs, Glossary and Appendix in detail.


On the Exam Day:


è Made sure I packed my PMI schedule notice, Prometric confirmation email, PAN Card, Passport and a water bottle

è In case you have chosen the morning slot, I suggest not to go to the exam without having your breakfast

è Reached exam center an hour before to avoid any last minute inconvenience that may come up (like finding the exam center, parking your vehicle, getting the initial formalities done like ID verification etc . . .)

è Locked all my things (like bag, jacket, watch, mobile, purse, hanky (yes, this too J), keys etc . .)

è Went inside the exam room and got a place of my choice since I was one of the first few to enter.

è During the first 15 minutes (demo) slot, went through the demo during first 3-4 mins, wrote down Project Mgmt process groups and knowledge areas mapping (table 3-1, Page no-43 in PMBOK 4th edition) during next 7-8 mins, and did a braindump of all the formulae on the paper (like CV, SV, CPI, SPI, TCPI, EAC, ETC, VAC, PTA, EMV, PERT estimate = (P+4M+O/6), Std Dev = (P-O/6), Variance = (P-O/6)^2 Total Comm channels = n(n-1)/2 etc . . .). This exercise took me complete 15 mins.

è Then came the first question, the exam has begun!! Started answering each question one at a time, not putting too many of them for later review. Quality Management section was the easiest as iam an ASQ CSSBB. Could able to complete 140 questions during first 3 hours and the rest during last one hour. Keeping my calm while answering during last one hour was the most challenging.(Let me reveal the secret now: I got 3 Ps and 2 MPs, could have been better right? )   


Some suggestions on Study Plan:


è Once you decide on getting PMP credential, don’t waste time on finding out things like (i)whether the certification is helpful or not (ii)what is its present market value (iii)how much more PMP holders are paid relative to others etc etc . . . You should be doing all this before deciding to pursue it. And after all, it’s a new learning (which is worth acquiring).

è Read the posts from folks who have cleared their PMP in their second attempt. The LLs from them would be more valuable than the ones from first timers J. Who else could speak best about the failure than the person who has failed himself? Watch out for too much time spent on reading /blogs/posts/LLs on too many PMP forums. 

è Though you could refer any no. of books to improve your Project Management Knowledge, PMBOK 4th edition and Rita-6 should be good enough to pass the PMP exam and of course to gain substantial knowledge on project management. Don’t get confused browsing/figuring out all the available books or going through multiple books and getting lost midway.

è Have a regular study rhythm not to lose focus of your aim, You might not get a good confidence until you finish reading PMBOK/Rita-6th edition atleast once.

è Understand all the concepts thoroughly during your first pass, understanding the approach/attitude you need to answer the situational questions or questions having multiple correct answers. In most cases, you should select the option that has the FIRST thing you do in the given situation or the BEST thing (isn’t it simple J)

è PMBOK page no 9, 43, 73, 104, 131, 167, 191, 217, 244, 274, 314, Appendix F, Appendix G, Glossary (Common Acronyms, Definitions) are the MUST READ.

è Whenever you take any mock exam, spend time understanding the questions you answered wrong (why), then read the relevant sections if required like Leadership styles, EVM, Contract types, Risk response strategies, Quality tools, Communication methods etc . . .

è Always measure how you are performing/scoring as you take mock exams. Remember, if you cannot measure, you cannot improve (Six Sigma principle). Likewise, if you cannot plan effectively, you cannot execute efficiently (Project Management principle).

è Take 4-5 days off before your exam day if you are a working professional. Last 1-2 days could be better spent just going through Raga’s 355 points (its like reading answers to 355 important PMP questions) and going through Rajesh Nair’s notes (its PMBOK in a nutshell)

è Avoid taking any mock exam during the last day of your preparation. Just in case if you score less, it might take your confidence down, though you have prepared well.

è Study as if you are studying to become a better project manager than to just pass an exam. This is the key to get the approach/attitude required to correctly answer most of the PMP questions.                     


Some suggestions for the Exam Day:


è Keep the bag ready (with PMI schedule notice, Prometric confirmation email, PAN Card/Passport) a day or two before the Exam day. Why take a chance on the obvious things?

è RELAX, Wouldn’t you be happy on the day you are going to become PMP Certified? When you have prepared well, only good things could happen.

è You might have practiced many mock exams at your home locking yourself inside your study room in a comfortable chair/posture. While the fact that you would be inside an exam hall with many other (unfamiliar) aspirants is something that you should quickly get accustomed to.   

è Remember, no matter how many mock exams you have tried, this is the exam that’s going to get you the PMP credential. Go for it with confidence.

è Take each question in isolation, when you are reading a question on your computer screen, it should just be the question and the most appropriate answer that you should concentrate/think of.  

è Don’t allow the fact that you would know your result instantly at the end of the exam make you nervous during the exam. Its not the time to do “Will I pass/won’t I” analysis while answering questions. Thinking/worrying too much about whether you are going to get the screen that says “CONGRATULATIONS” or the one that says otherwise (I don’t know how exactly the other screen looks like J) might not allow you to put your 100% during the exam.

è Since one cannot firmly say that the pass percentage is 61%, better not to rely too much on that number. I suggest you target achieving more than 70% in each process group. And not to forget, you would fail the exam if you get ‘Below Proficient’ in more than one process group.


That’s about it. Imagine your family/friends/colleagues coming to you and congratulating you on your achievement and let that serve as a motivator. Else, you could also think of the fee you have to pay (to re-appear for the exam if you fail) as a motivator to prepare well. Sometimes, the fear of loss is a better motivator than the pleasure of gain J. I would like to thank the almighty, my family and friends for encouraging me and supporting me during my endeavor. How can I forget thanking my wife who used to come into my study room only to serve a cup of coffee/juice or a fruit bowl? She always seemed interested in the no. of questions left in my mock exam to estimate (ETC ) the time I would come out of the study room J.


Thanks for patiently going through my post. I hope it was of some help to you. I also wish all the aspirants good luck. I would be more than happy to see your replies to my post or to answer your queries. Thanks again and my best wishes to all .

 this's surely one of the best PMP LLs I've ever come across..esp. your suggestions for the exam day..just too good a motivator.. 




Hi Diba,

My pleasure, Thanks for your words.

Hi Manu,

Nice post. Congrats on passing PMP.

Could you tell me where can I find these Raga's 355 points on the site you mentioned?

Searched that site but could not find it.


Hi Tushar,

Thanks. You could find Raga's 355 points at the link below.


 I will be following you this Sunday at 12:30...

Congrats on your success and truely valuable LL shared. Can you please let us know where can we find Raga’s 355 points?

Hi Abu,

Thank you. Please visit http://pmzilla.com/raga039s-355-points to find Raga's 355 points.

I truly appreciate your lessons learn expereince, this is really helpfull information for anyone who wants to sit for PMP exam. Good luck for your future carrier and god bless you for such wonderfull comments 

Thanks for your appreciation sgadewar, glad to know that its helpful. And thanks for your good wishes !! 

So educative!. Nice one!!. 

 Exactly in next 12 Hrs I would be in prometric centre for exam, this LL has motivated me to be confident.


Hi nvkvani, i know iam late in asking, how did the exam go? 

Hmm . . .Thanks uglory !

 Dear Friend,

          Congrats and thanks for sharing LL.