Passed PMP on 7/29/10

I wanted to share my lessons learned with this group since I had visited this site more frequently than most. I hope that the following information may help others in their pursuit for obtaining the PMP.

I achieved the PMP certification on 7/29/10 after many delays and several nights of studying.

Duration = 4 months of studying with the last month about every night 1-2 hours and weekend 4-6 hours.

Materials Used:

1.       PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition – I read this once.

2.       PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition by Rita Mulcahy – I read this book once and referred back to it several times for clarification of concepts.

3.       Hot Topics PMP Exam Flashcards Sixth Edition – I would listen to these CD’s to and from work since I have a 45 minute commute. I also put them on my iPhone to listen to them when I was away from the car or house.

4.       The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try by Andy Crowe – I read this book twice and watched all the free online lessons for each knowledge area. This book was the most helpful in understanding all the processes and knowledge areas.

5.       HeadFirst PMP free downloads – I read the Excerpt of the Critical Path Drill two times.

6.       PMZilla for lessons learned and formula chart – This was great to have all the formulas in a single location.

7.       Deep Fried Brain was an excellent source for helping me to understand concepts that I could not understand from the other material. Harwinder does a great job with these topics in the form of blog items that are both fun and well written.

8.       PMPHub was a good source for more lessons learned.

If I had to do this all over again, I would have read Andy’s book first (once). Next the PMBOK, followed by Rita’s book and then one more round of Andy’s book again.

Practice Exams:

1.       I did all the practice chapter questions and the end of each chapter in both Andy and Rita’s. I was scoring around 70% - 85%.

2.       200 question final exam in Andy’s book and scored 86%.

3.       HeadFirst 200 question exam that you can get for free from the link above. I scored 80%.

I wish that I would have had more time to study and to take more practice exams, but I needed to get this test completed by the end of July.



I am a very nervous test taker, so you can only imagine how I felt the night before. Try not to think about the test and spend the night doing something you like or that is at least relaxing. 

I arrived at the test center 30 minutes prior to my exam time. I checked in the front desk and provided the Prometric staff with my driver’s license and an ATM card as my two forms of ID that are required for verification. I was then instructed to put all my belongings into a locker. The locker had a pad lock on it, so I felt comfortable leaving my wallet, keys, cell phone, etc in it. Before entering the room before the actual exam rooms, I was asked to show that my pockets were empty by pulling out the front ones. I was then taken into the area before the actual exam rooms. I had to sign-in with someone there. I was given two pencils and around 3-5 sheets of pink paper (stapled together) to take with me into the exam room. I was escorted to a small test booth that had cubical walls on both sides of me with a computer in it. I was asked to verify that my name was correct on the monitor screen and was told that I would have 15 minutes to complete the tutorial before the exam would begin. I went through the tutorial in about 5 minutes and then spent the rest of the time performing my “brain dump.” This consisted of Page 43 of the PMBOK (Process Chart) and formulas (EVM, PERT, EMV, Communications Channels, Standard Deviation, and Float). I referred to these for about 10-20 questions on the exam so I feel it was of benefit. If anything it was my security blanket.

The exam started. The first 50 questions went well. Around the 50th question, I started to have some questions that were not familiar to me. It helped me to continue to take deep breaths and try to stay focused. It is good not to let a question stay in your mind during the exam. If you are not familiar with the topic, I would suggest making a best guest, mark it and move on. You can always come back around the second pass to think about the question more if you have time left. Around the 75th question, several other people came into the test room for their test. This was a bit distracting and I would advise you to stay focused as you cannot expect the test center to be very quite. They did have headsets that could help with the noise factor. I was starting to fall behind on my time around the 150th question. By then I had marked around 10-15 question for review. I finished the question with around 15 minutes left. I reviewed as many questions as I could from the ones that I marked. Around 30 seconds left and I decided to just finish the exam. The screen went white and I was then prompted to fill out a survey. If I had not read others lessons learned to inform me to this, I would have thought the system had crashed. After filling out the survey, the screen went white again for about 5-10 seconds. I closed my eyes and prayed to God that I would have succeeded. The screen came up and said CONGRATULATIONS on passing the PMP. I was so excited that I started to get all teary. I had put so much into this test and it was one of the most challenging exams that I had taken, both mentally and physically.

I look forward to building on what I have learned from this experience and becoming a greater Project Manager.

chowdary2104's picture

Congratulations and excellent LL.

Thanks for sharing your experience. You LL matches max of PMPs' LL.

Wish you all the best.

Lakshmi VR Chowdary A, PMP

Thank you Lakshmi!  The timing of this certification was the most I could hope for.  I did review your spreadsheet as  well and apologize for neglecting to put that in my Materials section.  I printed it out and carried it with me as well.  This is a very good tool and can only image the time it took to document this.  I am glad to see that PMZilla has added it to their site.

Jason Nutt, PMP

hi Jason,

Thank you so much, for drafting such a wonderful description and detailed ellaboration of your plan, and how it all went. Really this would be a wonderful resource for any new comer as a jump start , to get there faster.

I wish i would do so, myprayers, S. Bala


Hi Jason,

Excellent LL and your overall experience. I really liked the exam center details you have mentioned. This is certainly one of the best LL I've come across.


I like the way you explained every thing and it's a really good help for all of us those who are taking preparation for the exam. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.



Can you remember how many direct ITTO quetions you saw on the exam.

Good question.  I would be guessing on direct ITTO questions, so this information would not be of much assistance.  I can tell you that I knew more of the Inputs and Outputs than all the TT for each process.  I spend the last week or two really trying to understand how each process interacted with each other.  I feel that that is more important than memorizing the ITTO's.

Congratulations jason, very elabortive LL.

Can you please post your results by process group if possible.

Thank you,


Without this information in front of me, here is what I remember.  Below Proficient in Initiation and Moderately Proficient in all other areas.

Congrats ..
Thanks for sharing your exp..