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Episode 225: Lessons Learned from The PMI-ACP® Exam (Part 2) (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for The PMI-ACP Exam:

Episode 225: Lessons Learned from The PMI-ACP Exam (Part 2) (Free)This is part 2 of our interview with Kevin Reilly and how he prepared for and then also passed the PMI Agile-Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam. Hearing him speak is a great reminder for us all that having a plan and sticking to it as we prepare is paramount in our exam preparation. But almost more importantly, hearing someone else talk about how they managed to pass their exam serves as a boost for all of us who are also on the path of becoming PMI-ACP certified. (Disclaimer: Kevin Reilly works as a contractor for OSP International LLC, who produce both The PM Podcast and The Agile PrepCast).

As you know, the rules of all PMI exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam. But we can discuss his overall experience, general thoughts on the process and his recommendations to you.

During the interview you will hear us make several references to The Agile PrepCast. So if you yourself are interested in becoming PMI-ACP certified, then sign up to The Agile PrepCast newsletter at and be among the first to prepare for your exam using our new sister podcast. We’re furiously working to get it finished.


Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

This is part 2 of our interview with Kevin Reilly and how he prepared for and then successfully passed the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner exam. That’s the PMI ACPSM exam.
Hearing him speak is a great reminder for us all that having a plan and sticking to it as we prepare for exams is paramount for our exam preparation. But almost more important is hearing somebody else talk about how they managed to pass their exam. It serves as a boost for us all who are also on the path of becoming PMI-ACP certified. They are showing us the way and they are showing that we can actually do it ourselves.
So if you are yourself interested in becoming PMI-ACP certified, well then sign up to the Agile PrepCast™ newsletter at and be among the first to prepare for your exam using our newest sister Podcast, the Agile PrepCast™. We are still and furiously working to get it finished and out for you in 2012.
And now, enjoy Part 2 of the interview with Kevin.

Podcast Interview
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Kevin Reilly, PMP, Senior Project Management Training Consultant for KRPM Training Solutions.
Cornelius Fichtner: You know what, we’ve talked for half an hour about everything around the exam and we haven’t actually talked about how you prepared other than you know you’ve taken this online course here. So tell me a little bit more about that course. What was it like? Did you feel that it was worth the money that you paid for? Did it help you in preparing?
Kevin Reilly: Yeah! I used 3 different things to study for the PMI-ACP and I had 3 different books and I’m probably not going to mention specific companies here. But the one book that I had was went along with the two-day webinar or webcast. So it was a synchronous webinar where we had an instructor. It was on a Thursday and a Friday. We logged in and the instructor walked us through using WebEx, all of the PowerPoint slides for the particular PMI-ACP.
There was a workbook that went with that. And also a textbook or a study guide that followed that. And basically what they did is they went through how to pass the exam then they went through all of the different types of methods; also the Agile Manifesto and some of the basic principles behind Agile. And this particular company was very geared toward passing the exam. So their only goal was to pass the exam. There wasn’t any other superfluous information if you will about Agile Project Management.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right. They’re not going to teach how to manage an Agile project. They’re trying to teach you how do you pass the PMI-ACPSM exam.
Kevin Reilly: Exactly, exactly.
Cornelius Fichtner: Just as we do on the Agile PrepCast™, right?
Kevin Reilly: So the information was very succinct, very to the point. And for this particular one, it was 2 days, 8 hours a day, 16 hours. In addition to that, we had homework for another 3 hours and we had to take a final exam to come up to the 21 contact hours which was also 3 hours.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right! That is required because this is a distance learning company.
Kevin Reilly: Right.
Cornelius Fichtner: And because you are doing distance learning, they have to give you a final exam. That is mandatory. This is also something that I tell my students. Look, if you take an exam preparation course synchronous or asynchronous over the web and they just give you the certificate without testing you, the certificate isn’t worth the paper you are printing it out.
Kevin Reilly: Absolutely.
Cornelius Fichtner: Because it’s not valid. They have to test you before they give you that particular certificate. Alright!
Kevin Reilly: Right! And this particular course was very good. It was interactive. We were able to ask questions and we had a total of 12 people on it. So the size of it was perfect.
In addition, this company has some of the best simulators out there. They actually only had one simulated exam online which is the final. But in their book at the end of each chapter, they had questions. So it was very good. Again, we can’t stress enough as PMP and PMI-ACP instructors yourself and I Cornelius to take those exams. That’s going to make the difference no matter PMI® that you test.
Cornelius Fichtner: Definitely. Since you only had one online simulated exam, did you reach out and looked and purchased somebody else’s simulator and go with that?
Kevin Reilly:  I did, I did. That actually leads into the second resource that I was using.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.
Kevin Reilly: There’s another book that was created. It was actually created as a desk reference for Agile. So it had additional information in there. But it also had PMI-ACPSM exam prep.
So the book was set up kind of the same as the first company that I worked with that did the asynchronous webinar or the synchronous webinar rather. But this particular book was about 400 pages long. So it had a lot of information, had 25 questions at the end of each chapter which was very helpful and then had two 120-question final exams in the back. In addition to that, they have an online simulator that is basically 3 tests. They have a 40-question and 80-question and then a full 120-question test. But the nice thing about it is that the database, the data bank number of questions was a thousand questions. So even though you took the same exams, you had different questions. And if you had the same question, it kind of mixes it up where the answers were in a different order so you weren’t able to memorize. You really need to know the concepts.
So yes, an answer to your initial question, I did purchase another simulator and I think it’s important for people to do that because taking just one final exam in 120 questions is not going to be enough. Having said that, I don’t think you need to take 5, 6, 7, 8 exams, 200-question exams like you did for PMP exam prep. The same rules apply that you and I always tell our potential students about is if you’re taking a couple of exams in a row and you’re getting over 80, 85 percent, you are ready to take the PMI-ACP. But the number of exams to do that, you’re going to get to that point as long as you’ve done the basic studying within two to three exams.
Cornelius Fichtner: Any other study materials you used?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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