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The PMI-ACP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try, Iteration 2 (Test Prep series) Paperback – February 15, 2016
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For the PMI-ACP test, I narrowed down my choices between this Andy Crowe book and the equivalent from the Rita Mulcahy Companies, authored by Mike Griffiths. I landed with this Crowe book based on cost, size and perceived difficulty of the PMI-ACP exam vs. the PMP exam.
This was the only book I used to study for the PMI-ACP exam, and I did great. However, I mostly attribute this to the following:
1. The PMI-ACP exam is MUCH easier than the PMP exam
2. Real-world Agile experience is very helpful in passing the PMI-ACP exam, where it provides very little help in passing the PMP exam
3. The PMI-ACP exam asks many more basic questions that can be reflexively answered by knowing definitions alone, vs. the PMP exam, which has many more long-form, theory-based contextual questions
4. PMI-ACP exam has NO math, NO formulas and NO calculations – the PMP does
This Andy Crowe book did exactly what is promised – it helped me pass on my first try…which should earn it a higher rating. Why can’t I give it more than three stars? Because it has some deficiencies that need to be addressed, which are:
1. Compared to what the Rita Mulcahy book offered me for the PMP exam, this book offers only basic context help understand WHAT the exam is looking for. The Mulcahy PMP book I used was littered with references to traps to avoid, what the exam asks for, how to attack the exam, etc…This book offers only basics scattered throughout, and a basic section at the end for exam strategy
2. It only has two 100 question tests at the end (more on that below), and NO after-chapter quizzes that ask about the content I had just completed. This was a wonderful feature of the Mulcahy PMP exam prep book, and this book sorely needs it
3. The free InSite week-long on-line test access is VERY weak. It seems little though was given to how users would actually use the test. What do I mean? It appears powerful at first – it offers an option to select the # of questions to select, and sets a timer based on the questions chosen – but after selecting a test with 40 questions, finishing it, then starting up another test with 35 questions, I found close to half of the questions were repeats from the earlier test. I setup a 3rd test, and found very few unique new questions to answer. It is like there is only one 100 question test, and all questions were pulled from it. How disappointing.
4. This book is in need of another pass by an editor. It has basic spelling mistakes throughout (things a simple spell check or a single-pass reading session would catch), too much white space bordering each page, and some oddly-placed words that seemed to have been missed from the draft copies to the final version (see “Timeboxing” in the Glossary – you’ll see what I mean).
5. An extension of #4 above, but deserving of a separate mention – Sample Test 1 has 100 questions, numbered 1-100, and the equivalent answers, numbers 1-100 in the answer section, BUT…Sample Test 2 has 101 questions, numbered 100-200, and only 100 answers in the answer section, numbered 101-200. Why give 101 questions but only 100 answers? Question 100 doesn’t exist in the answer section…again, where is the editor on this?
6. This might have been a vagary related to my test, but based on my testing experience this book lacks sufficient detail or attention to Lean and XP, and this book does not cover nearly thoroughly enough the following areas – all of which I had three or more questions on in the exam, and felt a little lost based on what this book taught me:
a. Rolling-Wave Planning
b. Continuous Integration (this was ALL OVER the test)
c. Value Stream Mapping
d. Test Driven Development (my exam asked for lots of detail here, and my studies using only this book didn’t prepare me adequately for them)
e. Risk (my exam was littered with questions about this)
f. Pareto (this was a TOTAL surprise to me)
However, even with the above criticisms, this was a concise book, and I crushed the test using only it, and about 150 notecards I created based on the book. The Glossary was very helpful, and the sample tests did a good job prepping me for the actual test. Plus, at the time I bought it on Amazon, it was $40 cheaper than the Griffith’s version that probably had much more content. That mattered to me.
So, I give it three stars.
Thoughts? Am I overly critical?
If you really want to practice Agile concepts to prepare for the exam use the Andy Crowe material. Also, the online exam is very beneficial. I do agree with a previous post that there could be additional questions added. However, if you understand why your answers were right / wrong you will be prepared for the exam.
I did review the Mike Griffiths book TOC and reviews. It appears it is also a great resource and probably has more material than this book. If you are not on a shoe string budget, I can see why people may purchase both.
My primary Agile experience is from a product owner perspective and I have very limited experience with software development. If I can pass using the Andy Crowe material, most people should be able to. I read the book twice, took the practice tests five times, and took the online practice exam five times (3 week easy paced prep time).
Here's the deal: if you want 1 source that will expose you to all things Agile and prepare you for the tricky exam, get this book. Crowe hits the major topics, goes deep where you need it, and gives practice tests and exam tips to top it off. His style is clear, easy-to-follow, and effective. It worked for me - as I said: I passed! Also, I recommend the book for colleagues who want a quick exposure to agile - who want to understand the history, current practices, and techniques.
I found the questions to be a mixture of basic definitions to concepts. Most questions seem short and do not mirror actual exam questions. I passed the exam but I would not recommend this guide.