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Taking the PMP Exam - Part 6 - Downloading the PMBOK

Switching to a Windows-based computer cleared up my edit problem. Now let's start from the start. It is my hypothesis that you can pass the PMP exam with only experience and a careful reading of the Guide to the PMBOK. So, throwing experience out of the window for a moment, let's take a look at the Guide to the PMBOK. I'll be going through it chapter by chapter and hopefully compiling study guides along the way, but knowing what the PMBOK is and what it isn't is a good first step.

The current version of the Guide to the PMBOK is the "third edition". This supercedes the 2000 version. I'm not sure in practice whether the differences are anything but semantic, but since the PMBOK is nothing if not a taxonomy, it is very important that for a test on this taxonomy that you are looking at the right version. Let's look at what the Preface says to get an idea of what is new and different:

Thirteen changes are called out. Several are not particularly relevant, but some items give clues about what to look for:

4. The number of processes increased from 39 to 44. Seven processes were added, two processes were deleted, and 13 processes were renamed for a net gain of five new processes.

Translation: Throw out any study guide based on the 2000 PMBOK if it has you memorizing the processes. Whatever mnemonic it has you babbling will be wrong.

8. The project management processes were mapped to show process integration. and:
12. Process flow diagrams have been aded to Chaters 4 through 12 to provide added support to the integration of processes.

Translation: Pay attention to integration, or at least know what they mean by it. Flow and integration are the order of the day. This sets the stage for moving to the introduction which I'll post next time.

  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 12 - The PMP Examination Specification
  • Taking the PMP Exam N*ked - Part 0
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Appendix B - Contract Types
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Appendix A -Exam Guides
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 9 - Areas of Expertise
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 8 - What is Project Management
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 7 - PMBOK Introduction and What is a Project
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 4 - Customer Satisfaction
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 2 - Joining PMI
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 1 - Getting Started

  • Comments (1)


    There's some memory work slogging ahead!

    You need to memorize a grid with the 5 process groups across the top and the 12 knowledge areas down the side. You'll see it on page 70 (table 3-45). Don't just memorize the process names, memorize the numbers in parentheses, too.

    You have 4 hours to write the exam. When you enter the exam room you will be given several sheets of paper. After you get to your test desk, you will perform what almost everyone calls "the brain dump." Part of that will be writing the grid on one of those sheets of paper (there will be other things you will want to write, too, but we'll address those later). This will serve to calm you down (all exams are stressful, some more than others). And remember: the time you spend writing down the areas is not part of the 4-hours.

    In addition, on more than one occasion, the questions were worded in such a way that I found it useful to look at the grid I had written just to help me focus on the knowledge area being tested.

    FWIW, I was only able to remember 38 of the 39 but that definitely helped.

    While it may very well be true that some can pass the exam with just a concerted effort studying the PMP Guide, different people have different learning approaches. For me, the structured approach of classes worked best -- it also meant that I was able to earn the 35 "contact hours" of training that are required before writing the exam.

    I have probably said this before: the PMP exam covers areas that are _just_ outside the materials covered in the PMBOK Guide (but are in the PMBOK). If you want to stick to "book learning" then you might want to consider two additional purchases. Rita Mulcahy had a good review book for the previous exam and I see no reason why her book for the current exam wouldn't be just as good. It's available from Amazon and eBay. In fact, even if you take a course, Rita's book would be a good addition.

    There's another book of questions that I also found useful. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the book right now so that will have to wait for another comment from me.

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