Powerfool's PMP Journey

powerfoolpowerfool Senior MemberPosts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
I thought I would go ahead and start a thread documenting my progress with the PMP. It has been a long journey so far, and there is still plenty to go. Following is my background, as that is relevant for the PMP, as it has a daunting experience component:

- 13+ years of IT experience
- BS in Information Systems
- 11+ years in systems & network admin/engr experience
- Leading related projects for 8+ years
- Leading large enterprise projects for the past 5+ years
- Project include: Virtualization implementation, enterprise storage rollouts, CRM system upgrades, Exchange migrations, Enterprise-wide OS upgrades, Active Directory implementations and upgrades, enterprise wide packet analysis infrastructure rollouts with NetQoS/Network Instruments GigaStor and Gigamon GigaVUE data access network implementations, and more.

I originally started considering the PMP back in 2008, a year after completing my BS in Information Systems, which makes a big difference. If you have no BS/BA, or higher, you must have 7,500 hours of documented and verifiable project work over a three year (or longer period). If you have a BS/BA or higher, you must only document 4,500 hours documented and verifiable. So, I did have the experience necessary at that time and I sat a local PMP course for the required 35 contact hours required, as that is also required. In the end, I became frustrated with documenting my experience and never applied for eligibility to take the exam.

Last year (2011), I decided that I would give it another shot, as I had completed several technical certifications over the previous few years, including CISSP, CEH, CCNP Security, MCITP EA, and a few others. I felt that proving my project management capabilities, including the PMP credential, would be a great value for myself as I look to advance into either the most senior technical role(s) in a large IT organization, or begin moving into management. So, I purchased PM Prepcast, which I got for $100 and counts for the 35 contact hours. Then, I documented my experience (wasn't as bad as I thought, but still a tedious task). I applied to take the PMP and was approved in May 2011, which gives you one year to take the exam. As I had many other irons in the fire, I put off taking the exam, thinking I would schedule it within the last month of my eligibility, as I would have a few weeks off of school and only have work to worry about (for which I could take a week off to study). Just as I was preparing, my eligibility expired because I was mistaken when my eligibility began. I petitioned PMI and was granted a 90 days extension. So, I have until mid-August to sit the exam. So, now I begin my real preparations. My next step is to establish a date when I want to take the exam. I want to allow for an opportunity to re-test before my eligibility expires. PMI does not list a minimum amount of time you must wait between re-tests, but you only get three opportunities within an eligibility period. So, I imagine that if I leave myself a couple of weeks, that will suffice.

I currently have PMP Exam Prep, 7th Edition, by Rita Mulcahy, the Sybex PMP Study Guide by Kim Heldman, and the PMBOK (the official PMI resource). As it has the greatest reputation, I will be using the PMP Exam Prep as my main resource. I may also scheduler another class.

Until the next update.
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Comments

  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    So, it has been a crazy week with very little PMP study occurring. I think a read a couple pages of Rita's book. It is bound to be like this on a regular basis. This was the first week of the new semester at school, and I think I got off on the right track; I have a few responses to get done this weekend, but they will wait until the evening. At work, I made some substantial progress on some documentation.
    The wife has clinical duty on Saturday's for the next few weeks, so it is a perfect time for me to study. I started by taking my daily supplements (B-Complex 100, CDP Choline, and some Piracetem) and eating an adequate breakfast. Then, I decided that I will begin by watching some of the CBT Nuggets videos for the PMP. I will follow up by reading the corresponding chapters from Rita's and Kim's books.
    I kicked on the first video and decided that I needed to stop and write this post. The facilitator explains what a project is... and then he says that you can define many things as projects (true) but then takes the idea of getting to work in the morning as a project (false). The scenario that he describes does illustrate some common themes of project management, but getting to work in the morning is [usually] routine. Something like this is procedural and would be considered operational in nature, and not a project.
    So, what is a project?
    The PMI PMBOK 4th edition says that "a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result." Since driving to work is usually done several times each week and is not unique, it does not qualify. However, developing and implementing a plan to install [or upgrade] a system, like Exchange, is a project, because you won't routinely be doing this for the same stakeholders. The regular maintenance and daily operations of the system are not a project. In fact, if a standardized process is created for installing desktop systems is created, these new systems will not be projects, rather they will be operational procedures. Creating the process is a project, however.

    If I find another good point, I will stop by and provide another update.
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  • swildswild Posts: 828Member
    I had planned on getting this cert. One of my past jobs I managed several projects and could have probably had enough hours to qualify at the time. However, now it has been 3 years since I left that job and don't see myself doing project management in the future. I had to take the Project+ exam for WGU and I must admit that it was the worst thing I have ever had to study in my life. I couldn't have been more bored out of my mind. Now I doubt that I will ever attempt this cert unless my employer makes me and pays for it.

    I always thought that it was interesting how they define a project and am curious how long after deployment it is still considered a project and when it crosses over into maintenance. We have a program at my office that was deployed a few months ago and there have been several changes implemented to fix bugs and increase functionality that wasn't originally planed (scope creep). Now a two month project has extended to 6 months, wilt much of an end in sight, since the project lead got canned and the person taking over has zero PM experience.

    In my current job, I'm not a PM but I coordinate multiple projects that are performed by outside vendors, i.e. new Ethernet runs, conference room installations, cellular antenna repeater, etc. Does that count towards the requisite hours?
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Exactly

    That's where the closure process comes into play. Hand off can mean short term support, as long as that time has been captured in the scope document/project plan. One project I was engaged in actually developed the processes that put into motion the true operation piece. It was part of a phase, but I never saw the whole project plan as a whole.

    It's funny when you start getting into the processes. Some items you are like I know that, others make a lot of sense and wish you had used them and others just seem unrealistic.

    Overall that methodology is a great one to manage by IMO. I look forward to discussing PMI processes with you. I have read 5 books cover to cover not to mention the PMBOK V4 4 times lol.

    Later today after cleaning this **** up :), and labbing MS project I am going to read the Risk Management piece of the PMBOK. I believe it's like 50+ pages so it's not that bad and it's like reading your favorite book I can almost repeat word for word parts of the PMBOK. Scary
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    swild, you don't have to be project manager for your hours worked on a project to count. You just have to document it and figure out which phase your hours would be involved.
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  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Alright, this has been a complete bust for me. I haven't studied for the PMP since my last post. I have been super busy with work (working additional proposal beyond my daily client duties) and school. Plus, I realized that my exam date coincided with my kids' first day of school. So, I rescheduled last night (for a cost of $70), and now I take the exam on the 10th in the afternoon. This is probably better timing, but I still don't know if I will get to study any. I saw erpadmin's thread and that is encouraging. I didn't realize that Skillsoft counted. If I have to reapply, I will go that route, as I can still do the student membership (which was news to me), and my employer offers access to Skillsoft. We'll see.
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  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    I am so glad someone else is using the Kim Heldman PMP study guide also.

    I didn't realize that it would be that beneficial to get any membership with PMI, including student until I read one of the reviews for Kim Heldman's book. He had quoted Kim in her introductory section. When I did the math, it made sense to just to do that, as I had never seen anyone from here write about that (and I see I'm not the only one).

    In any event, best of luck in your studies...I will be following this thread also.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Most project managers by trade that I have engaged with are members of PMI, this is common practice and knowledge among the PM world.

    Of course these are actual Project Managers who manage the iron triangle and the other 3 common constraints. I felt it was worth becoming a PMI member since adopting the framework into my management style. The biggest advantages to becoming a member is the networking and events that you are able to attend or at least made aware of. I've attended several events and it has been a great experience. Networking with real project managers, not ones just by title has been an awesome experience!
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    N2,

    I look forward to visiting the NYC chapter in September. My biggest challenge will be to get to work early enough so that I can leave early without being charged time. It's funny because I would expect NYC to charge membership dues (even for students) but if you're a student member, it's free...and the benefits are the same as if I paid the $30, or whatever it was. They meet at Microsoft, curious enough, in Manhattan.

    The other alternative would be in my own home state of NJ, but not only do they charge, but they're about 30-45 minutes from the job....as opposed to Manhattan...20-30 minutes by train--5-20 minutes driving. (Unless you get a $16 groupon deal to park in Manhattan...(plus $12 for toll) no one drives to Manhattan....cars and Manhattan don't mix.
  • petedudepetedude Posts: 1,510Member
    The Heldman book rocks. I actually used her Sybex PMP book to study for my Project+!! Hers is one of the few PM books that are less likely to put people to sleep.
    Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
    --Will Rogers
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    Did you read her Project+ book? Even for me, that was pretty bad...but I didn't know about that IT Project Start to Finish book...in fact, I just NOW heard about that Joseph guy.

    Having said that, I'm willing to give Kim H. a chance on PMP because she's the "devil I know..."
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    @ ERP

    I'm excited about your journey along with Powerfool. Both you guys will do great I have no doubts about that. i'm in transition yet once again into another position, this one service management by nature. So the PMP does me very little at this point. That's to bad honestly I really wanted to get back into projectized work, that's not going to happen now. This is a full blown operation that is STRUGGLING and will require early wins and process improvement.

    I have two weeks to ramp up for this position (I'm technically unemployeed for 2 weeks). It's been ITIL for the high level best practices and Kepner and Tregoe for the more granular incident and problem management processes.
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    N2,

    I'll be honest with you...Project Management would have been something I would have never bothered with 10 years. However...9 years is when I got into ERP work and I saw all the PM methodology that took place. This was when IBM was really starting to get strong on the services side, and I was like "Man, I really like this s--t..." However, I didn't want to put in any work, so it went to the wayside....until I came to my new job. That by itself didn't do it for me...though it would be part of a number of catalysts that would make me want to put in some work. Between my readings and participation on TE, seeing a number of colleagues call themselves "project managers" yet can't spell process groups, or even "lessons learned..." I just thought to myself "I can do this s--t, and not even that, I can do this s--t better."

    In any event, you sound like you're working your way up on your own path...every man's path is different and sounds likes yours will be one that will take you to where you want to go/where you need to be. Things have fallen into place for me to finally get into the PMP...I'm hoping to knock out these Skillsoft courses so that I can get my 35 hours....then I have to tally up my project management work and make sure I have my 4500 hours (which I'm sure I do) across the process groups. That I think is the easy part, but I want to knock out the education requirement first.

    One last note...I was very proud to see your name in the PMI registry with your CAPM and RMP certs...your name was the only one I could think of to see who should I look up. I'm kinda glad that thing exists so that people can't fake the funk. Here's hoping to my name ending up there. :)
  • ZorodzaiZorodzai ■■■■■■■□□□ Posts: 346Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I'm following this thread with some interest......
    I am currently trying to get myself sorted out so I can complete my CAPM by end of 2012. I attended a distance learning course with the university of South Africa and really enjoyed it (I only did it because I felt the need to figure out this whole 'project management' thing)

    Unisa Online - College of Science, Engineering and Technology

    I liked the set book (Kathy Schwalbe. Managing Information Technology Projects, 6th edition, Cengage Learning, ISBN-10: 0-324-78855-X, ISBN-13:978-0-324-78855-6. 2010) though I'm not sure if it's adequate for the CAPM.

    I'm hoping the course will count towards the educational requirements for CAPM otherwise I will have to document my project work (I mainly work as an implementer on client sites though I have had some exposure to other phases of the PM cycle). Once I get my CAPM I can hopefully work my way up the PM chain and get assigned more responsibilities so I qualify to write the PMP.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,170Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I have been silently following your thread with interest as well... just wanted to wish you luck. This is one of those "near adjacency" areas for me that I might choose to pursue in the next year or so, depending on time and future direction. I probably have the project hours already if I take the time to go back to my last couple employers and tally it all up.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCSA 7, learning Ansible
    Future: RHCE? VCAP6.5-DCD?
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    @Erp

    The term Project Manager has been whored out beyond belief. It disgust me when I see a "PM" manage contracts solely or just do scheduling. I knew of one who literally did updates from a Excel sheet on a shared drive and provide a monthly update meeting, that was it!

    I stuck with the CAPM because I can honestly say that is the level I am at. Can I pass the PMP, no question about it, I could blow it away now. I have been reading project management material for over 6 months and I nailed the RMP when I took the exam. I just don't think I could be an effective PM unless I learned under someone who has skills in that area. Until I am AT LEAST managing the iron triangle I refuse to sit for the PMP. Like you mentioned earlier though we all have different experiences and goals. Paths that will lead us to where we want to go and I know you will get there. I just don't feel like it makes sense for me to get the PMP. The RMP made a lot of sense for me. My mentor at my last job taught me a lot about risk and how to manage it. I will be going back to the same company to work with him in a new role, but still focusing on the same principals. One of these days I would love to transition into a PM or BA role, but for now my path is service management, which is fine with me. You know the old saying, "management is management is management".

    BTW I agree about the register, it's a great tool to use. Thanks for the kind words I appreciate the support. You and PF will be in there soon enough!
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    One of my kids is starting middle school this year and they have small learning communities that have a different way of teaching. She is in the project-based learning community. It is almost a montessori-style setup they have time allocated for different classes, but they are unstructured and they work in teams on projects that are cross-disciplinary. They invite different folks to come in and do a Q&A... so, I may do that sometime this year.

    I got to reading a little bit yesterday and had planned it tonight, but I have been on a emergency phone call for work for hours now....
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  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Powerfool it's a journey not sprint treat it as such. You'll do just fine!
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    Powerfool it's a journey not sprint treat it as such. You'll do just fine!

    Yeah, but distance athletes turn it up at the end ;)

    I originally did my 35 hours at a traditional training facility in 2007 or 2008... believe me, I haven't been rushing this. :)
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  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    So, I got in some reading on organizational structure and the project management process. I really like the discussion about functional vs. projectized organizations, and matrix organizations. I tried to figure out where my organization lies and I am leaning towards projectized. It was difficult because we have "two bosses" but it isn't divided between project manager and functional manager... it is a program manager and a career manager. I think projectized organizations are typically consulting shops. We work on projects and either need to find another project or another employer when the project is complete.

    I am going to try and do a little more reading tonight, and then I have to get onto my last individual paper for this semester (2.5 weeks left!).
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  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    In a nutshell...

    Functional organizations have the standard, typical hierarchy in which there are functional managers. When there is a big project, a project manager can be anyone among the ranks but then there is little control. (As I'm in gubment...I work in here....the PM is usually a manager so that there can be some semblence of authority...in other places, the PM can be a peon....but then this guy/gal has to resort to bribery to get stuff done...sad but true.)

    Projectized Orgs are where the PM is always in charge. When a project is over, you could be working in another team, on another project with a different PM. If a project fails...it's the PM's --- on the line.

    Matrix (I won't get into strong, weak, balanced) is just a combination of the two. When there's a project, the resource reports to both the PM and the functional area manager. There are degrees...but that's pretty much what strong, weak and balanced are.

    This was just more Project+ stuff...almost makes me wish I listened to eMes and gone for PMP...but there was no way...I would have graduated WGU a lot later than expected.
  • universalfrostuniversalfrost Posts: 247Member
    uhhhh ok!

    that is less than 1% of 1% of the actual material.... know what the major differences are in func/porjectized/matrix also know the differences between a coordinator and an expeditor... that might show up on 1 or 2 questions...

    sounds like you really really need to study!
    "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (when all else fails play dead) -Red Green
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Well, I am waiting on my results... I took the exam on Friday. I studied earned value heavily, which paid off... I am thinking somewhere between 5-8% of all of my questions were in that subject area. Also, network diagrams for critical path... another decent single area for questions. I didn't get my results following the exam and the test center said that they had been having that issue with all exams that day. They provided a ticket number for me to call Prometric.

    I called Prometric and they said that they would be unable to provide the results and that I would have to wait on PMI. I called PMI and they said that it could take up to 10 business days for Prometric to send them the results for them to pass along... So, bottom line, Prometric has the results (as the proctor said the exam was successfully submitted for scoring), but they won't provide them to me now.

    A buddy of mine has taken the PMP at least six times (two separate eligibility periods) and he said he has always received his results immediately and then had an email waiting from PMI just to rub it in.
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  • universalfrostuniversalfrost Posts: 247Member
    that sucks!

    i got mine right away (even after a power outage restarted my machine on question 184ish)... was the best feeling to see the congrats you passed message. PMI was really quick to update their site with my status as well.

    let us know how it turns out....
    "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (when all else fails play dead) -Red Green
  • QuantumstateQuantumstate Posts: 192Member
    Ooo I don't see how he can pass studying like that. I sure hope he does though.
  • QuantumstateQuantumstate Posts: 192Member
    Yeah, no reply so he failed.

    Gotta put in those weeks of study.
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    That is snipe if I ever saw one. As I said, PMI said up to ten (10) business days... that is two weeks. Today is the fourth business day.

    Personally, I didn't put in as much time as I would have liked, but it was take the exam or forfeit the opportunity. I stated all of this already so it isn't as if you have uncovered any sort of mystery. This forum exists for increasing the value we all experience in the process... maybe you should consider that before you post.

    Welcome to board.
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  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    PF, I wouldn't be surprised if you passed, though I know you would state if you failed...

    I'm curious, how did this test compare to your time taking the CISSP? (And before people decide to get cute...I'm not asking about content comparison....)

    Did you find prepping for both to be similar? How was your comfort level with taking the PMP vs. the same with the CISSP? Plus anything else you may want to add....

    Since you have experience with two long and hard exams, I figure your insight might help others who may want both at some point (maybe even me.)
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Posts: 1,623Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Well, the CISSP was a job requirement... I was hired with the contingency that I would complete it within six months. I had both the Shon Harris book and the Official (ISC)2 CBK. I did some self-study for it, mildly, and then went to a boot camp. Was one of the official (ISC)2 courses offered by a third-party with additional evening review and a sixth review day and the exam was proctored the following day.

    As far as my comfort with the material on the CISSP, I felt pretty good going in. As a matter of fact, for the Networking domain, I did no pre-reading and I skipped the entire day in the boot camp as I couldn't sleep the night before so I stayed up to study and then ended up sleeping the whole day. When I took the CISSP, it was still paper based (it has only been computer-based since the beginning of the year) and it took me three hours to get through all of the questions in the booklet, circling the answers as I went along. My intent was to take a restroom and stretch break at the three hour mark and then go through the entire exam again, skipping the obvious ones, and then fill in the bubbles. I waited about 15 minutes and decided to start filling in my bubbles and completed that within an hour (that was the most tedious thing I have ever done, btw... sitting for an hour and transposing answers). After I was done, I decided just to turn it in instead of taking a break.

    The PMP really is a different animal. I think it deserves the same respect of preparation as the CISSP. If you have focused on much of the content throughout your career, you can probably get by with some quick self-study and/or a week in the classroom. However, if you have just touched on the various pieces throughout your career, you definitely need to focus more on it. I much preferred taking this exam on a computer... and it took me three hours to get through it. If I would have had to have transposed answers... that would have been the end of it. The security of the Prometric facilities that proctor these exams (and also FAA, IRS, and GRE exams) is certainly a different experience from what I am used to for Microsoft exams. Honestly, I could have searched for other materials to prepare and used some of them at lunch and even run through applying things to my current work project. I feel really bad about not taking it seriously. I think there is a minor chance that I passed, but I am leaning the other way. With the CISSP, I didn't feel like I could gauge it one way or the other, though I wasn't biting my nails waiting for the results as I finished it within two months of starting my job.

    If I don't get the good news, I am putting it off until the beginning of next year. I still have one semester left for the MS program and I don't think I can get enough time in for both unless I were to take time off of work to study... which isn't going to happen. If I have to give it another go, I will sit through a week long course, too. Also, I will likely get a study group together beforehand. I sat through one in 2007 and just couldn't get my head into the application process.

    I think it is just as they say... if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Every time I turned around, I had some higher priority item come up. I planned on taking all day Thursday before the exam to study and then Friday morning to review a few things with some good coffee. Work happened and I only had half a day Thursday and no time Friday.

    This definitely wasn't one of my finer moments. That being said, I did spend a lot of time going over the big picture and then I focused on a few areas. I think I feel really good about those areas and look forward to seeing my results on those sections. The other thing that got me is I didn't realize that you had to pass X of Y sections (I don't even know how they breakdown the sections, if it is my project process groups or what). If I would have known, I would have picked a few domains and really focused on them. I would think that there is a way to "hack" your study plan to get through it the most effective way. At least I have witnessed the exam, now. Once I get my results, I will formulate a new plan, if necessary.
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  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    Thank you for a thoughtful response. I wish for a successful outcome and I can relate to wanting to take an exam just to get it out of the way or merely to get a feel. I already have a plan of attack for how I'm going to tackle this exam which I will detail in my own thread. (I'm just waiting to finally get rid of the last 8 hours of Skillsoft that I have left...hoping to be done by tomorrow if not Saturday.

    I'm personally confident that once I start reading Heldman's book that I will have at the very least a foundation of what I'm going to need. I might dive into the Rita/Andy combo, but if anything I may get Andy just to get exam-like questions.
  • universalfrostuniversalfrost Posts: 247Member
    erpadmin wrote: »
    Thank you for a thoughtful response. I wish for a successful outcome and I can relate to wanting to take an exam just to get it out of the way or merely to get a feel. I already have a plan of attack for how I'm going to tackle this exam which I will detail in my own thread. (I'm just waiting to finally get rid of the last 8 hours of Skillsoft that I have left...hoping to be done by tomorrow if not Saturday.

    I'm personally confident that once I start reading Heldman's book that I will have at the very least a foundation of what I'm going to need. I might dive into the Rita/Andy combo, but if anything I may get Andy just to get exam-like questions.


    erpadmin.... how many times have i said that rita's questions are similiar in nature to the wording / criteria of the actual exam????

    Andy has the clearer writing strategy, while Rita explains the hows and whys. No clue on the heldman book, it didnt come up as one of the top books in my search for PMP material, but andy and rita did. if you dont know the processes (and the reasoning for their order, especially in the planning group) then you will fail.... also EV, PERT etc... are a must....

    this test normally takes 3-6 months of hard prep for... some have taken it after 2 weeks and passed, but most take on average 4 months... This is not a technical test, this is a test that gives you multiple correct answers and you have to get the more correct one based upon minute details in the question.. a word or two can put you in a whole different process group and then you are SOL if you miss that small detail...... very tricky exam, that is why such a low passing score and such a high failure rate! best way to put it is that it test both what you know and how to implement your knowledge (based upon the PMBok).
    "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (when all else fails play dead) -Red Green
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