My PMP exam preparation: Lesson learned

I passed the PMP exam some weeks ago and now that I’ve more spare time I wonder share with you my experience.

First of all a little review about PMP exam:

  1. you must collect 35 cont hours
  2. you must have worked for many hours in all project phases (you can find the right requirement in PMP’s site)
  3. you must apply for the exam filling in many information including the experience above
  4. wait for PMI reply
  5. your submission could be accepted or could be extracted for audit
  6. (collect required audit documentation)
  7. pay for the exam
  8. receive the application code
  9. go to Prometric site and schedule your exam

My PMP preparation

I prepared it in 4,5 months studying it during lunch breaks, evenings and WEs.
I started studying using the PMBOK 5th and I read halfway through it.
In order to collect the 35 contact hours there are many courses but in Italy they cost a lot (1200-2500€).
In addition many of them require to take 5-6 days of vacation in order to attend them.
Browsing I found this course: pmp precast
It is very cheaper and in addition you can follow the course everywhere!!!
I spent many hours listening to the podcast (video) while I was driving to work.
Another great pro is that you can restudy something if you needed it.
This course not only explains the pmbook chapters but it also explains many other management topics like Net Present Value (NPV) or Agile (It wasn’t included in PMBOK 5th).
That is why I decided to give up the PMBOK.

Everyone suggests to plan the exam in advance and use this date as a motivational aim but if you have to collect the 35 contact hours you must complete the course before applying. My suggestion is to apply to PMI (without planning the exam) as soon as you complete the course.
PMI takes 7-15 days to reply to your application (In my case I remember something about 8 days)

After the application, while I was waiting for the PMI answer I continued studying reading this great book:
PMP® Exam Simplified: Updated for 2016 Exam
PMP Exam Simplified

This book not only helps you preparing the exam but it helps you understanding all project processes.
The PMBOK and PMPrepcast analyze the project flow decomposing it in Knowledge Areas:

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • ect.

The prep book instead, follows the project flow decomposing it in Process Groups:

  • Initializing
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring & Controlling
  • Closing

This way is esiest because it is the right sequence of steps that a project goes through.

While I was studying this book the cheat sheet created by Riccardo Vergas helped me a lot, everytime I needed to receck the whole processes flow.

As soon as I finished studying this book, I planned the exam 2 weeks later.
I used these 15 days doing many tests using the pmp prepcast simulator (included in my course).

How long does it take to get it?

As I said It takes me 4,5 months. Here how much I studied:
1,5 – 2h everyday (listening to prepcasts while I was driving and watching them during lunch breaks)
4-5h on saturday and sunday

How many quiz did I do?

I did all quizzes inside the prep book and I did 3 full exams (2 of them doing 200 questions without stopping).
My suggestion is to do at least 2 exams without distraction in order to simulate the exam experience. You’ve got to answer to 200 questions in 4 hours (50 questions/h).
It is very important that you calibrate your speed. I startart with 40 questions7h and I improved to 60 question/h at the first 2 hours reducing it to 50 after 3 hours…
In case the question/description was too long I started reading the last sentence/question because sometimes the context described doesn’t matter.

How was my exam?

The exam is an experience exam, so all quizzes done helped me to understand the matter, but even if you are goot at memorize; you can’t hope to find the same questions during the real exam.

Language Aid Experience?

I’m Italian so I’m not a native english speaker. Even though I studied using English books or video I requested the language aid in Italian.
During the exam the screen is splitted horizontally, on the top the english question and on the bottom the italian translation.
I’ve alsways started reading the english version but after 3 hours when my mind wasn’t so fresh 🙂 the italian version was useful to understand the context of the question.
Language Aid is free so my suggestion is to request it even if your english is very good.


40 days after I had passed the exam I received “paper” certification

Informazioni su Andrea Regoli

Project Manager .Net Developer WPF WP7 Asp.Net c# javascript ajax SQL sharepoint
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