If you take a look at my LinkedIn® profile, you’ll notice that I have earned the PMP, PgMP, PfMP, ITIL v3, CCNA, Security+, CISSP and several other professional certifications throughout my career, all because of professional boot camps. You could say I know a little something about how to pass a certification exam.
Certification exams are often extremely difficult and time-consuming. The PMP exam is a 200-question, four-hour exam. Sounds rough, but back when I took the CISSP, it was a six-hour, 250-question exam. Consider yourself lucky!
What I’m not ashamed to say is that I failed the PMP exam two times before I passed. I also failed the CISSP one time before I passed. That means I have the knowledge and experience to help you figure out what not to do and how to pass those exams.
The first time I took the PMP, I downloaded a video prep course, watched it one time and went to Dubai to take the exam. I paid the $500 exam fee, plus the airline ticket and hotel fees just to completely bomb it. Please don’t do this. It was a truly painful hit to my wallet and ego. I knew as soon as the test began that the material was way over my head. So, I essentially took the exam to get a feel for the difficulty.
The second time I took the PMP exam, I really studied. I purchased a dedicated preparation video, books, flash cards and a test simulator series, and I studied for three months. I read the required reading and watched the video series twice and completed enough practice exams to where I felt confident. Basically, I worked until I felt that I wasn’t going to gain any more knowledgeable about the subject.
Then I went to Stuttgart, Germany, on a work trip before traveling to Dubai to take the PMP exam again. I fought my way through that second-try PMP exam. After countless hours of studying and four hours taking the exam, I failed by two questions. I was absolutely bereft.
Do you know what it feels like to study for four months and take a four-hour exam only to fail it — again? It sucks.