I have just passed the PMI-PBA exam on the first attempt. Please find below my lessons learned for the next exam takers.
Training materials, in the order of relevance
- BA Practice Guide (read it 2 times in detail) and PMBOK 5th edition, from PMI (read some knowledge areas, like Integration, Scope, Stakeholders – all in detail, Time, Quality, Communication, Risk – only the tools and techniques, it is enough for the exam);
- Online course from iZenBridge, all the videos and presentations, including all the tests, by domain or the two 200 questions assessments tests;
- Watermark PMI-PBA Certification Study Guide, bought from Amazon (47 USD), it follows the tasks from the PMI Examination Content Outline, it contains 10 questions/domain and a 100 questions assessment test. It contains a 5 days trial access to their tests bank (about 800 questions), with simulation tests of 25 questions/domain or assessment tests of 200 questions. It is a good resource to use at the end of the study;
- Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep, for review and testing for the PMI knowledge areas (I have it from my PMP certification study);
- Business Analysis Techniques - 72 Essential Tools for Success – for the Needs Assessment techniques that are not explained in the BA Practice Guide (e.g. CATWOE, BCG Matrix, Ansoff Matrix), but I didn’t get any questions about that on the exam.
- 12 weeks, about 200 hours of study, about 300 pages of hand notes;
- Read BA Practice Guide (including the glossary) in parallel with the online course from iZenBridge and with Watermark Study Guide, domain by domain, writing hand notes of relevant details, take tests by domain, passing two times;
- Read PMBOK and Rita in parallel (only the knowledge areas mentioned above), review my hand notes from my previous PMP certification study, taking the tests from Rita for each studied knowledge areas;
- In the last three weeks, take the 3 x 200 questions assessment tests and review all my notes.
- iZenBridge tests by domain (50 questions/domain), taken two times;
- iZenBridge 200 questions assessment tests (scores 163/200 and 159/200);
- Watermark tests – 30 tests by domain of 25 questions/test and 200 questions assessment test (score 166/200);
- Analyze all the results, taking some notes about the correct and wrong answers for each test, which will double your time and effort spent with these tests.
- The exam is difficult, most of the questions are situational, as expected. They are not wordy, most of them of maximum 3 lines;
- The questions are tricky and the options are not as obvious as expected, sometimes it is very difficult to identify the right answer, several questions seemed to have all the 4 options as correct ones!
- Honestly the questions looked tougher than those from the assessment tests, sometimes the options were very well chosen, in order to stretch your mind at maximum! In my opinion the exam was more difficult than the PMP certification exam I have passed few years ago, it could be possible that you cannot anticipate the final exam result by the quality of your answers;
- There are also about 20-30 questions pretty easy, the questions are short and the answer is obvious;
- You should expect tough questions from the first one, the first 20 questions look very difficult, or it is just your anxiety that decreases in time.
Above Target for the overall exam, and Above Target for each of the 5 domains. PMI also provided some more details on myPMI page from PMI.org.
I hope my lessons learned will help the future test takers, at least until PMI decides to update the PMBOK and BA Practice Guide, at the end of 2017.