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on May 4, 2012
I took the PMP on 5/4/2012 and passed in just under 3 hours utilizing this text exclusively.
I marked about 20 questiond for review - and the lion share of those were either "tricky" or required serious math.
I have 10+ years managing projects (no help on the PMP what-so-ever, in fact my experience was a liability) in IT departments in various companies and thus came to process with considerable bias, particularly because all of my project management experience is in the IT field. Below was my study plan:
Allocated 3 months for the effort - during those three months: Mon-Friday read for 45 minutes during my lunch hour. Sat & Sun read for two hours each day in 4 30 minute segments. Read cover to cover - slowly, seeking understanding and avoiding "passing words under my eyes" as we're all prone to do. Memorized the formulas and other data they indicated that should be memorized. Saved attempting the end of chapter questions until the final days of study. Then studied the answers I got wrong - this was VERY VALUABLE.
Thoughts on the text itself:
1. Not a boring read and actually held my attention. I enjoyed reading it and enjoyed LEARNING the information.
3. They take the time to explain WHY answers to questions are what they are, which for the PMP is invaluable because the test is all about application of knowledge and not memorization.

My best study tips for this exam:
1. Study for real. This isn't a Microsoft exam - it's a serious test of the application of knowledge.
2. The test IS NOT about the PMBok. Read it - don't memorize it. You don't need to.
3 Learn the SEQUENCE of the processes of what to do/when/why and what you should end up with when done and nothing the exam throws at you will trip you up.
4.PMP practice exams found on the WWW are useless. They vary wildly in content and teach you nothing. Worse - they may lull you into a false sense of exam familiarity. The real exam questions were nothing like samples I'd seen on the WWW.

Good luck, Mark Payne
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on December 4, 2011
I have had access to each edition of this book since the Fourth Edition, and essentialy every PMP prep book published since 2004. As someone who would absolutely know, I can tell you this is not only the best PMP book RMC has published thus far, but the best PMP prep guide on the market right now. And for me, it's not even close. Unlike the rest of the PMP guides out there, which simply present information from the PMBOK Guide in a slightly different format, Rita figures out ways to boil down critical exam concepts into real world applications and scenarios. Which makes Rita's book user-friendly, interactive, and valuable as a resource long after students pass the exam. People who teach PMP classes for a living or for their companies understand the true value of this book. I certainly do.

Regarding the previous review...Rita was admittedly a very direct person, whether she was teaching or writing or speaking. Anyone who ever met her knows this, and I had the pleasure of spending time with Rita on about a half-dozen occasions. Rita's co-author for this new edition (Laurie Diethelm) has made a wonderful effort to soften Rita's tone, which I admit was not for everyone. In fact, most (if not all) of the sections the previous reviewer refers to have been completely re-written. The result of Rita and Laurie's joint contributions is a great book--both in tone and content. Clearly this person is either reviewing a previous edition, or has another agenda (I am always wary of negative reviews that so specifically recommend other books...)

And finally, one caveat for people in the market for a PMP prep guide: in case you hadn't heard, nearly one-third of the PMP exam changed this past September. As far as I can tell, this book is the only one that has been updated so far. Do NOT buy any book that was published before June of 2011!
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on November 20, 2011
I passed PMP just by reading this book (6th edition of this book). Very nicely written with real world examples. This book alone is enough to pass the exam. Some people go through CDs, PMBOK guide, etc., however, I do not see any need for them.

Rita covers many things even the topics PMBOK guide doesn't cover. She also points out where you may lack experience/knowledge or where you may make mistakes/false assumptions, etc.

If you want to pass the exam first time, you may want to do the following:

Make sure that you read the book very thoroughly first time (do not skip or browse pages).
Complete every practice exam at the end of the chapter without looking at the answers. For better results, you may want to solve 10 questions at a time and verify your answers and Rita's explanation and move on to the next set of questions. This way, you get the command on the concepts and do the next related questions better. If you wait to verify the answers after all questions are done, you may have done many questions wrong because of a simple misunderstanding of a concept.

Book your exam two to three weeks in advance once you finish Risk Management chapter. You will still have Procurement management, etc. chapter but you will be able to finish the rest in time as you have more reasons to finish because of the added motivation booking the exam.

In the last two days before the exam, go back and review main concepts in each chapter just by browsing them and complete each review exam again without looking at the answers!

Make sure that you are able to finish 40 questions under 40 minutes!! The problem on the exam is not just not knowing the answers but to answer them in time. I had very tough time maintaining time and could not take a single break in my 4 hour exam.

The night before the exam, take it easy!! You will be a PMP in no time!!! Good luck.
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on December 11, 2012
I started preparing for the PMP exam in Sept 2012 and used Rita's 7th edition to start with. She has missed several aspects and are promoting their own processes. After passing the PMP in Dec on the first try, if I had used Rita as a sole source, the i was guaranteed to have failed. There is a perception that Rita is the only way you can pass. I can surely say that is a false message.

Strategy is to use this as a initial starting point and focus on the PMBOK; the reading is fairly straightforward.

The exam is really tough and I do not recommend any one using PMP Prep as a basis for preparing. Farnedale is closer to the exam and does a great job in level setting the knowledge.

The book lacks a key aspect which is how each process areas flow into each other and the interactions. This is covered by PMBOK and i felt this was a real negative. Rita needs to stick with what is authorised methology vs trying to create her own.

Frankly, there are tonnes of folks selling courses and materials; each is trying to make a lot of money from students. This is also one of those. Avoid PMPFastrack software, in my humble opinion it is overrated and extremely expensive and not worth the grain it is being premiumed for. PMZilla site has good support of short notes and additional material key to succeeding.
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on February 9, 2012
I used this book along with offcourse PMBOK 4th edition to pass the PMP.
I have not compared how well other practitioners have updated their books but this book aligns with PMBOK4 very well. Here's my plan for 3 months- (hrs a week really depends on your existing knowledge and how much time you can give)

6 weeks: Rita + PMBOK. Do ALL her exercises. Do NOT skip anything. Create an excel with column for attempt #1 and a tab for each chapter
4 weeks: revision. Rita and all those points you marked as "imp", highlighted and you got wrong. In your excel note attempt #2 and go through her end-of-chapter exercises. The ones that you got wrong AGAIN are your weak points. Read again.
1 week: Go online and find some practice sites. I do not want to post any links lest it sounds as recommendations. But there are sites which offer free questions. Use them as practice. See what you miss and read PMBOK. That also gets you in the mode of sitting down non-stop for 50/100/150 questions gradually
1 week: take time OFF. Highly recommended. Take practice tests. Here i wish i had got some test simulators from Rita or someone else. I used one site which offered an exam mode and did 2-3 exams.

Schedule exam for a Monday.. so if you cannot take time off for a week, at the least give 2 tests on the weekend.

Finally, the exam:
- Rita says most exams can be done in 2.5 hrs. The online site, i used to wrap up in 2 hrs. The actual exam was tougher. I took 3.5 hrs. Maybe i spent more time on some questions. I do not think 2.5 hrs is possible unless you are already in a PMO role. But thats me.
- The online sites do not come close in terms of complexity. I scored 85% in 2 hrs time. NOW PMI does not give any %. Just below, at par or above proficient. (I got 3 above and 2 at par).
- So Rita's questions come close in complexity to the real exam but i definitely recommend some PMBOK4 updated exam packages

Pros:
- Lot of PMP insight about what is material and what is nice-to-have for the exam
- Excellent exercises. I think that saved my exam
- Spot on in telling that you should assume you are managing a large multi-team $$$ project. That itself will help you get some answers right.

Cons:
- She has missed some aspects of the PMBOK.. very very few but i uncovered some when i took some online practice. For example: she does not talk about 'quality' and 'grade' in Quality management. I had skimmed the PMBOK there so i just missed it. But an important point. And
- Some questions and her rationale of answers i just dont agree. That could be subjective but in my real life that would NOT fly. If you have managed projects, you will find a few of these.

Best of luck!!
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on October 31, 2011
I recently passed the PMP exam using only RMC materials (Rita's prep book, exam simulator and flashcards) and although the exam was difficult and stressful, I can say with 100% certainty that the RMC materials prepared me to pass. Every PMP at my company used RMC materials--some as far back as 10 years ago--and I don't know anyone at my firm who ever failed the exam. RMC has been doing this a long time, and their products are absolutely worth the premium price.

I found the book to be easy to follow and easy to break down into areas where I needed to concentrate the majority of my study. There is very little memorization involved. The book made all of the concepts understandable, and helped me figure out my gaps (where I needed to focus most of my study time). Overall, it was well written, suited my study plans and helped relieve most of my anxiety about taking the test.

In addition to the book, exam simulator and flashcards, I also ended up using the abridged audio CD version of the book (6th edition-- 7th wasn't available yet) as I got closer to my exam date. Although the audio version doesn't contain nearly the same amount of content as the paperback, it was a good review tool for me during my commute.

Highly recommend!
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on August 12, 2011
First of all, this book is not really by Rita since she passed away on May 15, 2010. It is basically Rita's last edition with some additional material by Laurie Diethelm.

I just received the book and I am not yet certain how much new material has been added since the last edition (which I also purchased), but based upon the information at pmi.org, it doesn't sound like a significant amount of material has changed. So, I would recommend people considering this book to also consider the 6th, less expensive, edition.

That said, if it is at least as good as the sixth edition, it is well worth the cost. Rita's book is, as far as I can tell, the best PMP prep book available. However, I'm a little bit annoyed by the fact that it is not obvious on Amazon that the book is not by Rita herself. It sort of reminds me of the late Robert Ludlum's books (written, obviously, by someone else) and recent books 'by' Tom Clancy which are also written by another writer. Let the buyer beware.
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on September 1, 2012
After deciding to get my PMP certification, I spent time reviewing the Certification process and coming-up with an attack plan. I gave myself a year from start-to-finish (from filling out the application to passing the test). I started in August of 2011.

The process to get to the point of scheduling my exam took more energy than I had thought it would. Documenting my Projects, completing the Application, taking/documenting my Professional hours and becoming a local chapter PMP member seemed a bit grueling---but that is what was needed, so I did it. At the end of December of 2011, my PMP Application was formally accepted and I was now in a position to schedule my Test. Phew! I had until December of 2012 to pass the Test (within 3 try's).

I gave myself 8 weeks to study for the PMP---and scheduled the test for April 2012---which would give me some breathing room around the Holidays. But then work/life got in the way and it was March before I knew it and I had yet to open a book! I rescheduled for June---and then rescheduled for August. I remade the committement to finishing (I only had until December to pass) and blocked off July and August as Study months.

But what/how to Study? Before scheduling my Test (the first time), I read lots of reviews/searched many sites and finally settled on Rita Mulcahy's Prep Book/FastTrack Testbank. My plan was to complete Rita's book, read the PMBOK and then take 3 simulated Tests (Full, 4 hour long, 200 questions) using the FastTrack Software. I decided that I was going to spend at least 1-2 hours a night and every weekend studying. Additionally, if it was harder than I anticipated, I would take off Mondays over the 2 months and use those as extra study days.

What actually happened was that it was harder than I thought it was going to be to study, grasp and memorize all of the information. (Which surprised me because I have a graduate degree and have been a Project Manager on multi-million dollar Projects for a fortune 500 company for 5 years. Go figure!) After the first week I kicked-in my backup Monday's and truly cleared my calendar for the full 2 months as much as possible---declining social events was a pain, but getting time from work was difficult with my current Project, but I had too or I knew I wouldn't pass.

2 weeks into my Studying of Rita's book, I knew I had to do something different---the book format and amount of information was overwhelming me. I went back to the web for more research to find another Approach and/or Study Materials.

My first thought was to just bite-the-bullet and take a Prep Course (my company paid for all of my cost up to this point, but I knew they wouldn't pay for a Prep Course.) I found several 3-5 day, Instructor lead Prep Courses offered within 4 hours of me. I debated taking a weeks vacation and immersing myself in the material for a week. A quick calculation put the cost at about $2,500 when I factored in course & hotel---commuting wasn't an option because the courses were from 8am to 6 pm with some forms of homework. Setting aside the cost (which is no small amount) I had family and work committements that would suffer (and mentally distract me) if I went this route. I decided this wasn't the plan for me. I would choose a self-study course and if I didn't pass the first time I would re-evaluate a formal Prep course.

After ruling out the formal prep course (at least for the first round of Testing), I focused on finding other study materials that might work better for me. (I was still at somewhat of a loss because I am typically a self guided, book/manual focused learner.) I decided I would get the 2nd option from my previous materials review--Andy Crowe's PMP Package (Book, Flash Cards, CD's and some Web Based Study Materials). I'm was well into week 3 when the study materials arrived. I opened the book and---Deja Vu. A bit easier for me to read/understand compared to Rita's but maybe it was just because I had already studied that material in Rita's book? Now what? I looked over the other material in Crowe's Package and found a 6 month on-line Access Key to their web site "Intuit"---can't hurt to try it...

And there was the answer for me! On Andy Crowe's web site ("Intuit") there was an entire Self Guided, Video based presentation that mirrored/supplemented his book AND offered an on-line Test Bank. The entire presentation was long---50+ hours, I think, but it covered every facet of the PMBOK and was broken into manageable sections. Additionally, the material was presented in a very interesting/engaging format (well, as interesting as this material can be). I completed each section, read the book and then took the 20 question test from the book for each chapter. I was starting to feel like I could really do this!

By the end of week 5 I had completed the on-line course and had read Crowe's book. I had also listened to the CD's---not very deep, but good context setting. I tried the flash cards but not much value to me.

At this point, I had 3 weeks until my Test. I decided I was going to take three, 200 question/4 hour practice tests from the Intuit site----one every Monday. I would take the test (using the full 4 hours) and then review each answer---which was a great feature of the test bank in that it explained the right answer/told you why the other answers weren't correct. Unfortunately, to review all the questions/answers took my another 2-3 hours. A full day committement. Two weeks later, I had scored a 75% and then an 82%. Sweet! I'm feeling really good (dare I jinx myself and say Prepared?)

On my last 'Study Monday', I decided to use Rita's FastTrack test bank---still taking the full test/studying the answers. Ugh: a 65% on the test! What the %^%}?!? The questions seemed a lot harder than Crowe's. Time to Panic! My test was Friday of that week (yesterday actually). I was worried that I didn't have much buffer between passing (61%) and my Studying. Now what? I decided to take off an extra day from work and take one last test from Rita's FastTrack, review the answers and then close the books. On Thursday I got a 74%. Closer. More buffer, but still not a lot of 'wiggle room'---especially If I'm stressed or the real test is harder....at this point, time was up and after a good nights sleep (sleeping pills did the trick!), I was off to my 9:00am PMP exam. (After doing a 'dry run' to find the location earlier in the week.)

I arrived an hour early (just in case!), and did a last minute review of the 42 processes and the dozen formulas. After checking in (I was assigned a locker/given a key, ID checked, an inspection of my pockets and a quick metal detector sweep), I sat in front of a monitor that had my Name/Test ready for me (my test site apparently offers all kinds of other test---there were two people taking CPA exams and someone taking an electrical test that I spoke too.) I started the tutorial and quickly made my way through it because I had read that I could use the 'extra' time to write down the information I wanted to make sure I didn't forget (or misremember) during the stress of testing. I'm glad I did! I was more nervous than I thought I would be and I had a hard time jotting it all down. [The tutorial was 15 minutes---it took my 5 minutes to get through it and then I took 10 minutes to write down the 42 processes (in Knowledge/Process grid) as well as all of the EV formulas.]

The test was hard, no doubt about it: But I passed! Let me say that again: I'm officially a PMP!

As for the Test: The first 3 questions I didn't know the answer---but I at least I knew the concepts. I forced myself to mark an answer and move on. The level of questions were more similar to Rita than Crowe's. Drat. That meant I had 'less buffer' if I believed my Prep test results. I focused on my Test Taking Strategy (answer every question, complete all questions in 3 hours--or less, take a 10 minute break and then review as many questions as possible). During my Prep Tests, I had run into the situation several times where I was feeling good about the testing but then I would come across a whole group of questions that I was unsure of the answers. As I chugged through the test I was feeling good---at least about getting enough questions right that I was passing, but I kept waiting for that group of question that would throw me off. I'm happy to say, I didn't run across that group during the test! In retrospect, there were about 5 questions where I didn't know the concepts---let alone the answer. I made educated guesses on those questions. The rest of the questions were very reflective of the testing questions from both Rita & Crowe---but I give Rita more credit on accuracy of Test questions. It took me longer to get through the actual test than it had during my Prep test. I could make it through all 200 questions in about 2 hours during my prior testing---it took a full three hours on the actual test.

Bottom line: I spent a lot more time persuing my PMP than I first estimated I would need---in both completing the Application and Studying for the Exam. As for Study Materials: (1) Studying on Crowe's web site tutorial is my number one recommendation---again, for my learning style (2) Both books (Rita & Crowe's) were about equal for what they offered me in way of breaking down the PMBOK (3) Rita's FastTrack Test bank was more indicative of the level/style of questions. ***Good Luck***
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on November 23, 2011
I am currently studying for the PMP exam and this book is really helping me understand Project Management so much better than the PMBok. I would still recommend you also read the PMBok before taking the exam, but this book is so practical and provides so many exercises and exam questions that it is really worthy the buy. I am planning to undertake the exam in March and I feel this book is helping me a lot.
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on September 21, 2011
This has been my primary source for PMP certification. PMBOK 4th edition is not complete for the exam. It lacks a lot of "real world" tips and hints. Rita's book is a perfect companion to PMBOK, besides her PM Fastrack.
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