Project Management (5 Days)

This blog post is part of a series where I chronicle my advancement through WGU’s Bachelor of Science, Business – Information Technology Management degree. It includes detailed reports on my study methods and strategies as well as occasional tips and tricks. To see all entries in this series, click the “WGU” link under “Categories” on the left sidebar (bottom of the page if viewing on mobile).

This was the most difficult class up to this point – even rivaling Business Law. Now, I should say that it wasn’t hard because of the content but because of the resources. Unfortunately the cohort videos for this course just aren’t very helpful. In studying for this course, I had to do something that I only do as a last resort: read the book. And the book is dry.

I had a very difficult time getting my head “in the game” with this course. In fact, Days 2 and 3 were really tough. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t focus enough to read the seemingly endless text. When Day 4 rolled around, I decided I needed to put my blinders on and just power through whatever mental block was preventing me from studying. I did so, and put in some very long hours.

Day 1:

  1. Downloaded the cohort videos (if you need to know how to download audio from AdobeConnect, you can find out here)
  2. Downloaded the “Topic of the Week” supplemental videos
  3. Converted the audio from .FLV to .MP3 using VLC
  4. Uploaded the MP3’s to Overcast
  5. Created a study schedule for myself
  6. Downloaded the recommended flashcards
    1. Once again, I am breaking my rule about “always” creating my own flashcards
  7. Listened to all of the Cohort audio
  8. Attempted to take the Pre Assessment

After Pre-assessment #1 (Aborted):

Unfortunately the cohorts are not very helpful in preparing for the PA. After listening to all of the cohort audio, as well as some of the supplemental lectures, I attempted to take the PA. I got about 5 – 6 questions in and realized that I didn’t know what I was doing. Feeling a bit frustrated, I cancelled the attempt, and went back to the drawing board.

Day 2: (1) Created a new study schedule, (2) Read and took the quizzes on Unit 2

Day 3: (1) Read and took the quizzes on Unit 6

Day 4-5: (1) Read and took the quizzes on Units 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 , (2) Took the Pre Assessment, (3) Studied on weak topics, (4) Scheduled the OA

After Pre-assessment #2 (Exemplary):

Day 4-5 was a very long day for me. I studied about 80% of the book from 10:00PM to 5:00AM, and then I took the PA at about 5:00AM. Despite struggling to keep my eyes open, and having to reread some questions three or four times, I passed the OA.

For the PA, you need to understand what the various documents are for. You also need to know the terms that describe how a Project Manager assesses various status indicators. Make sure you can read and understand the illustrated workflows when it comes to WBS, network diagrams, Gantt charts, and PERT charts – and that you can identify critical paths in such diagrams.

The PA sticks pretty closely to the book. I took all of the module and unit quizzes, and I never scored lower than 70% (most of the time it was > 85%), and I did pretty well on the PA.

Day 5: (1) Studied on weak topics, (2) Took the OA

After the Objective Assessment (Competent):

I did not feel like the PA was wholly indicative of the scope and difficulty level of the OA. The OA asked questions that were not covered in the chapter/unit quizzes or in the PA, however those issues seemed to be limited to a reasonable subset of questions. Most questions were very familiar and I felt confident towards the end of the OA that I had probably done well.

 

9 thoughts on “Project Management (5 Days)”

  1. just has a look at your post…thanks! questions: why did you choose to go out of order? did you read the book or merely take the quizzes and “study” the correct given answers? I’m not looking to get through this class in 5 days but am trying to get done by the end of the month and am just starting to read unit 8 so trying to figure out the best approach to ensure all the reading stuck in my brain….I should note that in order to get through the reading and not get frustrated by not doing well on the unit tests I have chosen to not take them until after all reading is completed

    Reply
    • Hey M,

      Well, as for going out of order: when I realized that I actually had to read the book, I made a spreadsheet table showing each unit, the associated modules, and the pages for each module. Basically I was comparing the unit lengths. I then created a study plan focused on having two units with an even(ish) amount of content for each day. I believe that “Day 1” was Units 2 and 6, “Day 2” was Units 3, 4, and 5, and “Day 3” was Units 7 and 8. That may not be exact, but you get the idea.

      Yes, I actually read the book. If I recall correctly there are quizzes for the individual modules as well as quizzes for the larger units. I did all of the quizzes, but only after having read the part of the book that the quiz pertained to.

      The quizzes were really what helped me to internalize the content. I *did* make some flashcards for this class, but I never ended up using them.

      I hope this is helpful! If you have any more questions, let me know. Good luck!

      Chad

      Reply
  2. Thanks chad.
    Yes, I’ve been doing the quizzes as well but I’m a very slow reader so getting through the material was slow going (not to mention being distracted with work/holidays :))
    finally finished reading all the materials yesterday and now plan on going back through and taking all of the end of unit tests. I did the little mini quizzes that are inter-mixed with the chapters but not the end of module or end of unit tests after doing the first one or two because I didn’t do all that great and felt like it would discourage me and make me spend too much time trying to relearn what I had read (also should mention I have a terrible issue with retaining what I read). Anyway….Just wanting to get through this class. I feel like I had been led to believe this was an “easy one” and while I’m certainly not finding the material hard, there is A LOT of material.
    For the final assessment can you tell me how much of the formulas you need to know as far as the whole CPI, TCPI (hopefully you remember what I’m talking about) – it all more or less falls under the EVA topic.
    do you have to know all the formulas or just the concepts of what each represent (i.e., how you’re doing with costs vs. how you’re doing with time)?

    Reply
    • Hey M,

      I also have problems retaining what I read. I felt that the inter-chapter quizzes really helped with that though. Hopefully they’re helping you as well.

      Based on my experience (and remember that there’s a large pool of questions, so my experience and yours could be quite different) there *were* some questions that dealt with the actual formulas, but just knowing what the acronyms stood for, and what the formula outputs represented seemed sufficient.

      If that’s a weak spot for you, I would probably suggest putting together some dummy figures, and working through each of the formulas a few times so that you can say, “Okay, formula calculates , based on and . I would use it if I need to know

      Hopefully that makes sense.

      Take care,
      Chad

      Reply
  3. Chad, Thank you for this! I found a study guide in the COS, and after spending 5 hours yesterday reviewing older cohorts and not finding that helpful, I’m now working my way through the guide, which I have on Google Drive here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pxSYsBeYOgeNoBUC6xdMKDfCBYM42yZeTysHGjGrVQE/edit#gid=0

    I took a quick look at the PA, and once I finish this guide I’m going to go back and take it and see how I score, then study from there. Based on your experience with the course, what do you think of this plan?

    I am glad that the majority of the concepts in this course are not new to me. I’m hoping to finish this week, but I also want to make sure I really know the material well as it is very useful for projects at work!

    Reply
  4. Hi Libby,

    I think your approach is pretty solid, especially since you have some experience in this area already. I was pretty disappointed with the cohorts as well. I know that WGU is changing up some of their courses – hopefully they’ll take the opportunity to redo the cohorts for this course.

    Thanks
    Chad

    Reply
    • Thank you! The cohort videos I watched were older; I found some last night that looked like they would be better but I didn’t bother watching them. I like my current plan better. Good luck with your coursework!

      Reply

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