AS I'VE BASICALLY FALLEN INTO a black hole, albeit a blissful one, I figured now's as good a time as any to send a status report back to Earth. Seven Saturdays ago, I joined _atrese, _remain_, and _urti_ in a weekly study group to prepare for the ever-ethereal, ever-nebulous, ever-controversial Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam.
Some employers think the certification is trash. Others won't even talk to you unless you have it. So, for once again in my life, I'm playing the paper game and erring on the side of killing trees. (That is, I'll take the paper for $500, Alex.)
After weeks of Pareto charts, Ishikawa diagrams, Earned Value Analysis, Delphi techniques, and critical paths, on Thursday, after work, I sat for the 4-hour, 200 question exam and...
I shared the news with the other members of my study group this Saturday over sushi, and I won't stop until we're all certified! Promise.
If you happened to arrive at this entry via a Google search for how to pass the exam, here are some tips:
1) Create a study group. To say the PMBOK is dry is a gross understatement. Having a group of compadres with which to chew the chapters of rice cake made them much more palatable.
2) Teach it to someone else. I've always found that the best way for me to learn material is by teaching it to someone else. We covered two PMBOK chapters per week. On a rotating basis, one of us led teaching each chapter to the rest of the group.
3) Buy Rita Mulcahey's PMP Exam Study Prep, Fifth Edition. Everyone I spoke to who passed the test swore by this book. I'm gonna swear by it, too. About 15 - 20% of the test covers material not in PMBOK, and Rita's book is the most comprehensive source of material not covered in PMBOK. Also, her practice tests most closely resembled the types of questions on the exam. When I was scoring 80% or higher on the practice tests, I scheduled to take the actual test.
4) Take the day off on test day. Either take it on a weekend, or take the day off from work. I underestimated what it was like to sit for a 4-hour exam after a full day's work. It took me about 3 hours to finish, but the last half-hour was grueling. In hindsight, I wish I'd had a fresh mind.
5) Memorize all 44 processes inside and out. I did not take the time to learn every input, output, tool, and technique, however. I did take the time to memorize the recurring ones - Work Breakdown Structure, Risk Register, the various quality, cost, and schedule techniques, etc.
And if you have any questions about the exam, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm here to help!
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED #43: Become PMP Certified