If you are interested in achieving your on PMP certification I can tell you how I prepared for and passed my PMP exam on the first attempt.
First, while I passed the PMP on my first exam attempt, this was not the first time I desired and performed some work to attain the PMP certification. The first attempt was aborted due to being overwhelmed at work and with a heavy duty commute.
I purchased the PM Prepcast two times. The first time more than two years before my eventual taking the exam and then the updated version for my actual attempt. At $179 it accomplishes the contract hours required in order to take the exam as well as is a great way to learn and study for the PMP.
You are required to have three years experience as a project manager before you can take the PMP exam. I have about 10 years experience as a PM so that required was easily satisfied. If you don’t have the required experience you can use the PM Prepcast to study and take the CAPM certification.
My approach was to watch the prepcast videos and pausing frequently to take detailed notes. I also followed the instructor’s recommendation to watch the first video lecture for each section first and then watch them again with the rest of the video lectures for each segment. This really helps with multiple exposures to the content.
There is some memorization required for formulas and when you use the formulas; however, this is pretty minimal if you have gone through a college level mathematics course.
Before taking the exam I studied my detailed notes by just reading them and finally, I attempted (but did not finish) just watching the prepcast video lectures as a review before taking the exam.
I also purchased the Exam Simulator and went through as many questions as I could. This was good preparation for the exam.
I had purchased (twice) different versions of Ritas PMP Prep book, but I found the attitude in the writing really put me off.
In any case, with a few months of dedicated time to study for the exam I was with the above preparations able to take and pass the exam – on the first attempt.
Some NOTES: There are additional costs of becoming a member of PMI and the cost of taking the actual exam that need to be considered. The application process (filling in your experience as a PM) can be quite lengthy and overlapping experience does not count extra toward your 3 years experience. Schedule your exam in advance as I bungled this a bit and didn’t schedule until I felt ready to take the exam. This resulted in some more time before actually attaining my PMP certification that was actually required.