See? Look what happens when you study really hard and use your resources — it finally paid off.
I took the test on Saturday and I felt relieved that I passed the test and my PMI membership should be coming in the mail in the next few weeks. Sunday, I felt like I got hit by a train because of all the late nights of studying and researching even though I know I have to wake up at 5:30 to start the work day. I guess you could say that I was retrograding on my sleep.
For those who want to know my strategy for passing the CAPM exam, here is what I did:
1) As soon as I finished my classes and earned my minimum 23 education hours in Project Management, I applied through the PMI website and applied to take the exam.
2) When scheduling for the exam, try to do it about a month after you take your classes so whatever you’re studying for during the month is pretty much review. I was thinking about taking the exam in December but instead I decided the sooner I take and pass my test, the better. Also, I tend to get paranoid about overstudying.
3) My study tools was Rita Mulcahy’s book and Brainbok.com. I thought the quizzes were the most help. I did buy the Brainbok study materials.
4) Everyone said to memorize the ITTOs but with Brainbok, I didn’t think I had to. I think after quizzing myself (on Brainbok), I felt that each output that becomes an input to another process made sense. Or why organizational process assets is an input to one process but not another.
5) I think you should memorize were the equations but there were surprisingly not a lot of math problems.
6) During the week, I studied about 2 hours a day and on the weekends, as much as I can.
7) I Googled “CAPM practice exams”, “free CAPM practice exams”, etc. It was a little frustrating that a lot of the practice exams varied in difficulty. I couldn’t figure out the feel if the real exam was going to be easy or very difficult. I had some results from practice exams that made me feel better and other results that got me discouraged to the point if I should really reschedule my exam. I guess practicing as many exam problems would give one more confidence on the day of the exam.
8) Don’t study AT ALL on the night before exam. I’m sure glad I did. Friday afternoon, I drove to Irvine from San Diego. The testing facility was the closest one that was open on the weekends. I was anticipating on the Friday afternoon traffic but being aware of being stuck in traffic didn’t make me feel less frazzled. Friday night, I stayed over at a friend’s place and just ate and watched “How I Met Your Mother” on Hulu instead of studying.
9) On exam day, I brought a couple granola bars, water, and juice. I had three hours to take the exam and I took 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes.
10) I smiled when I felt being under pressure. It works and relieves my test nerves.
It’s been a long time since I taken any form of test so coming up with test taking strategies were pretty hard. I went on LinkedIn, joining Project Management groups and CAPM groups reading their discussions and their advice.
See? Look what happens you use your resources. Without LinkedIn, I don’t think I would have known about Rita Mulcahy’s book and Brainbok. Reading through threads on LinkedIn, I found links to free practice exams and advice on career transitioning to Project Management with a CAPM. I may have gotten my credential, but I still feel I have to work for it to get to where I want to be.
The following day, I thought about volunteer opportunities in Project Management with non-profits and organizations. You see, I’ve been working in biotech for a long time as a Lab Associate. With the skills I learned on the way, I thought maybe moving in Project Management in the biotechnology, healthcare, or technology industry made to most sense with what I want to do next. But the problem was that most of my work was in the lab such as process development and projects and I was looking for more versatility and doing something bigger. If I want to move on to bigger things, maybe volunteering on the side as a Project Coordinator or Lead would be a good way to show that I have interacted with my team and my community on different levels. Plus earning hours towards your PMP doesn’t hurt either :-).
(Hopefully, I hear from Engineers without Borders!)