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SMALL-TOWN SECRETS: 3 Case Studies to Pass PMP Exam in 1st Attempt

Published on Tue 3, 2020
SMALL-TOWN SECRETS: 3 Case Studies to Pass PMP Exam in 1st Attempt

It is cliché to mention that PMP is the most dominant and appreciated certification in the project management domain. It is also cliché to say that PMP is a tough nut to crack. Taking it a step further, it will be a cliché to say that training is an essential part of PMP exam preparation. However, what will you do if your PMP training did not go as you would have expected, or if you do not have a training provider in your location that provides the quality that you need? How should you prepare so that you could still clear the PMP certification in the first attempt? To answer the question, we present to you three case studies for passing the PMP exam in the 1st attempt.


Case Study 1

Christopher Webb: A Test Oriented Preparation



Base scenario

Christopher Webb took the PMP certification examination in mid-2018. He was working full time at the moment and preparing for the examination while working was a challenge for him. He figured that he could dedicate a maximum of 2 hours a day for preparation which he believed was not enough. The very first question was to decide on a training model. This was actually not a difficult decision for Christopher. He knew he had limited time and in no way could have dedicated 4 complete days. So, Christopher chose a self-study module.


Christopher spread his preparation over 5 months though he believed that if one dedicates a little more than 3 -4 hours in a day one would be in a position to take the test in 3 to 4 months. The first phase was learning, where he majorly synced learning from three sources.

i. PMBOK guide

ii. PMP Exam Prep by Rita

iii. Certification Planner’s study material.

He moved iteratively with each lesson and took any chapter end quiz or exercise that he could get his hands on. Christopher mentions that he ended up reading PMBOK twice before he felt confident about taking up simulation exams.

In the second phase of his preparation, Christopher paid more attention to taking up simulation exams. He started with the practice exams provided by CP. Did all the 5 five of them. He also took Dan Ryan 200, Oliver Lehmann 200 along with a bunch of others.

His strategy was simple; pay attention to the incorrect answers. Christopher mentions that his notes came handy in doing so. While his score was relatively low in the first couple of simulation examinations, it improved over time.

The Exam:

Christopher mentions that during his examinations he got a lot of scenario-based questions and a lot of them were from change management, conflict management, resource management, etc. With ample simulation practice, he was able to complete the exam in roughly 3 hours and had time to review his answers.


He suggests that exam takers should read PMBOK first and prepare summaries or notes.

Clearing the PMP exam required a lot of efforts but he believes it was worth.


Case Study 2

Tamara Whitney: A Target Based Learning