PMP and CAPM Exam Prep Simplified!

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Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog

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Dear Readers:

  1. If you have any general comments, suggestions or feedback on this blog, then please use the Post a Comment link to post your comments. I'm open to all constructive feedback.

  2. If you are looking for PMP exam resources, then there are tons of them on this blog. You just need to explore a bit. A good starting point is the Directory of *Best* PMP Exam Resources on the Web page.

  3. If you have any general question on PMP certification, then I suggest that you read my PMP FAQs page first. I've put months of effort in compiling these questions and answers. In most cases, PMP aspirants find their answers there.

  4. If you have a question specific to the PMP exam course content or general questions on project management, then I suggest that you post it on my new forum PM Hangout. You can also post it on my Study Notes page. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I'll try my best to address your questions.

  5. If you passed the PMP exam and feel that this blog contributed to your success in any way, then please share your joy and success story on PM Hangout and Collection of PMP Exam Lessons Learned page. Being part of your success is the biggest reward I can hope to get from my effort. It's the whole reason this blog exists.

  6. If you have personal questions, which cannot be posted on this blog or in the forum, then you can contact me. I'll be glad to help you. Usually I respond within 24 hours.

  7. You can also Connect with me on Linked In, Follow me on Twitter and Join my Facebook Fan Page.
Thanks for your support.

Last Update:


  1. Harwinder,

    I came across your website on the PMP Certification Google Group when I was preparing for the PMP certification exam. You really have a lot of useful information on your blog and the PMP Mock Exam Questions sources you have listed was very helpful in my preparation (I took and passed on June 24th !!).

    Just wanted to convey my thanks for the putting together the information.

    Nara Acharya

  2. Hello Nara,

    Congratulations on passing the exam. Thanks for your encouraging feedback. I'm glad that I could be of help to you.

    All the best for your future.

  3. Dear Harwinder,

    I am bit concerned about your blog. Why you are not allowing to copy any sentence from your blog.? sometime we may need to copy some lines or text for googling.


  4. Dear Anonymous,

    I hear you and I understand your pain. However, there's an important reason behind disabling copy action. For now, I plan to keep the restriction but may open it in future.

    If you need any specific information from this blog for your exam preparation, please send me an email and I'll mail it to you.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  5. Anand Deshpande, Pasadena CAJuly 26, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    Hi Harwinder,

    I passed the PMP examination today. I would like to thank you for this great blog resource. I visited your blog and got all the information needed for the PMP exam. Great job.

    Thanks once again,
    Anand D.

  6. Hi Anand,

    Congratulations ! It feels great to know that I could play a small part in your success.

    Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

    All the best.

  7. Hi Harwinder,

    I have passed the PMP last week - first attempt. But there is not much of a LL's that i can pass on as I had studied only Rita and PMBOK. The only other aid that I had taken was PMP Fastrack 6.0, i have read the Rita thoroughly once and had done the chapters that I had scored low on my first attempt a second time. I had gone through the PMBOK once, and had marked the key points using highlighter. I went thought the marked points in my second run that's all.

    Guess I was lucky to get through, the biggest aid I had was the clarifications I got from pmp-cert-online-study-group on google and on the deepfriedbrain blogspot, most of the doubts I got were resolved here. I would like to thank you and Fai for all the help and advise you have given me.

    Many thanks and Regards,
    Ajay Nayak Palimarkar

  8. I also passed the exam a few days ago - many thanks for taking the time to develop & maintain this blog. It was very helpful. Lance.

  9. Kuldeep Singh SolankiOctober 2, 2009 at 12:05 AM

    Dear Harwinder, I would like to comment you one thing, best things don't need any improvements. You are GEM for PMP aspirants. Either in blogs or in groups or in forums. You are every where. Good luck.

    You have done BESSSSSTTTTT job.

  10. Hello Ajay and Lance,

    Congratulations. Thanks for giving me some credit for your success. But, of course it was your hard work and skills that got you there!

    All the best for your future endeavors.

    Harwinder a.k.a. Brain Washer

  11. Dear Harwinder,

    There is another book on Project Management. Information Technology Project Management(The sixth edition) by Kathy Schwalbe's. Its great source for preparing PMP exam since adhere to PMBOK standard. I couldnt find nowhere listed in your site. Awaiting your comments.


  12. Dear Harwinder,

    I passed the PMP exam last weekend, and I want to thank you for this very helpful and informative site.
    Deepfriedbrain is a great resource!

  13. Hi Harwinder,

    I came across your site while researching the PMP qualification. I passed the PMP exam today and just wanted to say thanks for putting together such an excellent and interesting study resource. Your discussions on individual topics were particularly useful in reinforcing the knowledge i'd learned from the books and making me think about things.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    Best regards,


  14. Hello Mike,

    Congratulations on passing the exam. Thanks for your wonderful comments and encouragement. It makes it all worthwhile. I'm glad I could be of help.

    All the best.


  15. Hi Harwinder,

    I really thank you and your blog for being there to help me with queries and doubts.

    I also appreciate the level of personal support that you have provided over email and think that boosted my confidence to appear for the exam.

    I have been recommending this site to my friends ever since I learnt about it.

    Thanks once again.


  16. Hey Sunil,

    Anytime. Thanks for your comments. I posted a link to your lessons learned here:

    PMP Exam Lessons Learned by Sunil Bhatia

    All the best, mate.

  17. Hi Harwinder,

    I just start to prepare the PMP certificate test. During my search for the useful material, I came across one question: what is the difference between "PMBOK" and "PMBOK guide". Are they different books or they are the same? Thanks.

    David Shan

  18. Hello David,

    They are the same. "PMBOK Guide" is the proper name and "PMBOK" is just a convenient name.


  19. Hi Harwinder,

    My membership to PMI expires on 29th Feb'2010 while my exam limit is till 20th June 2010 (since i paid the exam fee on 21st June 2009).

    If i take the exam in March'10, and if i don't get my PMI membership extended after Feb'10, would i have to pay extra money to PMI ?

  20. Hello vj,

    No, you won't have to pay anything extra because you have already paid the exam fee. However, God forbid, if a person in your situation fails the exam, the person would not enjoy any discount on the reexamination fee.

    You can also confirm these points with PMI by writing to them at

    They usually take 3 business days to respond.

    All the best.

  21. Dear Harwinder,

    Today I joined your elite club. Just coming back home after completing the PMP exam successfully. The topics you covered in the blog were of immense help. Especially the one on PTA. I was not getting good resource on it. You have done great job and my sincere thanks for that.

    I read totally 3 books during my prepartion Rita Mulcahy, Kim Heldman, and Andy crowe. Here is my rating

    1. Kim heldman -- This is a great book as it follows a real life approach not PMBOK approach, it describes the real life scenarios.

    2. Rita Mulcahy : I used it to get mainly for solved problems.

    3. Andy crowe: This is also a good book but turns pale infront of 1 and 2.

    Also I practiced the online test at PM Study.



  22. Hello Sujeeth,

    Congratulations!! I'm really glad to hear that news. Welcome to the club.

    I measure the success of this site by comments like these. One such comment is worth a month of effort for me. Thanks for all the appreciation.

    When you are free, please take a few minutes to post your detailed lessons learned on the following page or simply email them to me:

    Collection of PMP Exam Lessons Learned

    All the best and keep in touch through LinkedIn or Twitter.

  23. Hi Harinder,
    Need a piece of advise on Audio lessions available, please suggest one such thing to listen whenever I am free. I found only one i.e Rita's abridged, any other ones as well with good content and authenticity and economical.

  24. Hello Chandra,

    Thanks for writing in.

    First, let me make it clear that you can't pass the PMP exam just by listening to prep material. You got to read as well. I'm quite sure that you understand this, but I still wanted to reiterate.

    1. Rita's abridged course is a sort of "detailed" overview of the PMP Exam. It in itself is not sufficient to pass the exam. It should be OK for what it promises to be. Just keep your expectations clear.

    2. Another option is PM Prepcast. The previous version of PM Prepcast used to be a 35 hour plus audio-only training program for PMP Exam. However, now it's a audio-video program, and a comprehensive course for the PMP exam that also gives your 35 contact hours for the exam. It does have several hours of audio-only material too. If you own an iPhone, Zune or any other smartphone or mp3 player that supports video, you can listen to just the audio and still learn a lot from it.

    If you haven't achieved your 35 Contact Hours, then it would be good investment.

    3. You can try this list of audio books on Amazon:

    Audio Books for PMP Exam Preparation

    4. If you own an iPhone, author Roger Chou has an audio book app for the iPhone.

    Those are all the recommendations I have. Honestly, I haven't explored this area much. But, it's a great suggestion and I'll explore this further.

    Good luck.

  25. Dear Harwinder,

    Can we print your blog articles...?
    Is there any option in the page part from File->Print?

  26. Hello Goodfellas,

    Yes, feel free to print the articles, but for personal use only (not for reproduction or commercial purposes).

    The only other option to print is using the "Bookmark and Share" tool, which can be found at the end of each article. Make sure you are on an individual article page (not on the home page). Locate the "Bookmark and Share" link, and simply hover the mouse over it. It will bring up a small pop-up window. You will see a Print option in that window. But, from my experience, it works pretty much the same as File->Print. It prints the entire screen, including the headers, footers and side bars.

    I'll try to explore a better Print option and post an update here soon.


  27. @ Goodfellas:

    You asked for it, you got it. Read this post:

    Deep Fried Brain - Just the Way You Like It !

    Let me know whether it meets your purpose.


  28. yess...!! Its meet the purpose. That is a great option you set up for your readers.. Thanks a ton Harwinder..! And special thanks for giving credit.

  29. Hello Harwinder,

    I'm starting my pmp study and have to say this is an excellent resource site on many levels and extremely helpful reviews. Thank you for what you have put together.

    I was wondering if you have ever reviewed or sampled the course?

    Secondly, Is it too much to get 2 exam prep books from different authors? I'm inbetween the Andy Crowe (pass on 1st try) and Rita's pmp exam prep book, although heard that exam prep is a bit negative and tends to keep the subject complicated?


  30. Hello John,

    Thanks for your wonderful comments.

    I've not reviewed and have no feedback on them. I just visited their site and it seems their packages start at $195. You can get PM Prepcast (for 35 Contact Hours) + a good exam prep Guide + couple of paid exams from in that same amount.

    Regarding the study guides, it's true that Rita's book has a negative tone, but if you can overlook that part, it's a good book. I personally prefer Rita's book, but Andy Crowe's book is also well regarded. It's hard to tell which will suit your taste better.

    You can get a free preview of Andy's book on Google Books. It may help you make up your mind.

    If you can afford, you can go for both. You can use one as your primary guide, and keep the other for reference.

    Let me know if you have more questions. Good luck.


  31. Just to let you know that does not work anymore it sounds strange.
    Anyway works

  32. @Anonymous,

    I had the redirection from to setup, and it had been working. However, it seems it got turned off on its own. I turned it back on and it is working now.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comment and bring this issue to my notice. I really appreciate it.

  33. It has become a habit to visit your blog daily. I love the way you write things.... in btw you are a very good writer.

  34. a question
    Dear friends

    I got this problem.If we ,at the real pmp exam , mark some question with selecting their related answers,but in reviewing forgetting to delete marked tick in the question:
    Are these questions be calculated ,or not?

    In last exam I marked about 30 question but after review I forgot to remove tick of mark .

    Best thanks

  35. Hello Salza,

    I've answered this question on the following page:

    Are questions marked for review counted?


  36. I finally cleared my PMP on 23 Mar 2010.

    I would like to share a few lessons learnt, Hope the below points will help all aspiring PMP’s to clear in 1st shot.

    Books referred:
    1. Head First PMP: Amazing book that can clear your basic concepts, there mode of explaining is just unbelievable, it is like reading a story book,
    2. PMBOK: 4th edition: Once we get the momentum, we can slowly start reading the PMBOK and get acquainted with all the fundamentals and logic
    Remember …no matter how many books u read, if you do not read & understand PMBOK (the mother of all bibles), your chances of passing the exam are very less.

    Exams referred on the net:
    Head first 200 questions
    PMSTUDY 1, 2, 3, 4: 200 questions each.

    Web Sites referred for information: : Many Thanks to Harwinder for sharing valuable info to aspiring PMP members.
    Frankly speaking I cleared my understanding on certain topics like WPI /WPM, TCPI etc from the articles posted at this site.

    Before the exam:

    Your brain is like a 2 compartment water filter, you fill water on the top and you have to wait for sometime till the water gets filtered and collected in lower compartment.
    If you pour more water in upper compartment even after it is full, it will spill out and be wasted. 
    Hence do not load your brain too much, let it get absorbed and sort of get indexed in your brain for easy retrieval.

    A day before the exam, close all your PMP books and preparation material & do not read anything and sleep well for 8 hours, this will relax your brain and you feel your body has become very light. Watch a movie, go out for ice cream, call your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/fiancée and talk about your glory old good days, does do anything but do not study. Just relax your mind & body.

    Next morning after a good night sleep, give a quick run thru the KA and process groups and formulas and ITTOS.
    Preferably plan your exam in the 2nd half of the day, so that you have enough time to eat your breakfast well, avoid morning rush and reach your examination center 1 hour ahead.

    Do carry something to eat as your body will need energy during the 4 hour exam. Carry an apple, some sandwiches, groundnuts, dark chocolate, energy drinks, and h2O bottle :)
    These foods are quick to eat and give you energy. Drink lots of water as the AC inside feel may make you feel dehydrated.

    During the exam, take a break every hour for 5 – 8 min, go out of the examination room, eat something, charge your energy and be back.

    Exam Preparation:
    It took me exactly 2 months devoting 2 hrs everyday (1 hour in morning and 1 hour in evening) and spending close to 14 hrs on Saturday and Sunday.
    Morning time is the best to study as your brain is active and comprehends the logic and material what you read.
    Start with Head FIRST PMP book and then once the momentum builds up and your confidence grows, increase your study time.

    Tools used:
    Nothing like excel document to help you store all the notes you make. You can have a worksheet for KA, formulas, ITTOS, Notes for each process etc...
    It is Very easy to refer and all the material at one place.

    During the exam:
    Skip & Keep marking all lengthy questions, calculation questions on CPI, SPI, TCPI etc, you can revisit them after you have answered all the easy and one liner questions.
    Some of the lengthy questions are just to confuse you, just see the last line and the answers you will get a hint what the question is all about.
    Don’t get scared by some 25 odd questions that you encounter & have never seen or heard in your life… these are just for survey purpose, just give an educated guess and select the answer and mark it & keep moving on.
    You can revisit all the marked questions in the end if you have time and using reasoning and practical approach …answer all of them.

    Always Think positive … think good …good will happen. :)
    Cheers and wish you all the best.
    Thanks for taking out your valuable time and reading thru my lesson learnt post.

  37. Hello Deepak,

    Congratulations. It feels great to know that I could play a small part in your success.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and lessons learned.

    Good luck to you.

  38. Thanks for the website. even though I did not actively use it for studying, it kept me encouraged!
    Here are some of my lessons learned:
    okay fellows, I passed my PMP on the first try today!
    I will share with you my experience, but please, this is for reference only. Do what you think is best. DO NOT DO what I did. But based on my experience, I can provide certain recommendations:

    -->Became PMI member and downloaded PMBOK pdf; great idea because you can perform searches very easily.

    --> Bought HeadFirst and Rita

    --> Some chapters I read in HeadFirst, others I read in Rita. If I found that Rita was too confusing, I would put the book down and read it from HeadFirstt, then go back to Rita.

    I did not even finish reading either of the books. I thought the exam was tomorrow and I still had 4 knowledge areas to cover! Luckily, I called Prometric about something and they said your exam is in a few hours and I said, you got to be kidding me!! By God, the Exam was in a few hours! Now I was panicked.

    Anyways, i took 45min, read the risk chapter from Rita and drive to the exam center. I got about 50 min earlier, so I sat in the car and reviewed Rita's end of chapter questions on Risk. With 10 min remaining, I packed up and went up to the Exam center.

    I got done in 3hrs. I had marked about 15 questions. I reviewed them and changed only a few. I decided to do a full review, since I had about 45min. Started the full review, but after about 18 questions, decided that is was a futile excerise, since your brain is now tired and more exhausted you could make more mistakes. I hit the End Exam button.
    The computer sat there for at least a min with a blank screen, churning away; I thought darn this Microsoft thing, looks like PC is stuck. But no, it was just crunching away, and finally told me that I passed! woohoo.

    So, again , do not do what I did.

    Recommendation? Buy both books. If you are able to score over 85% in the end of chapter questions in Rita on your first try , you are in good shape.

    If a chapter/topic is very new to you, use HeadFirst, then follow it up with Rita.
    HeadFirst makes it easy, while Rita is very detailed to the point. I would say use both!
    And lastly, DO THE RITA PROCESS CHART EXERCISE. Trust me it helps.

    Good luck.

  39. Hi Harwinder,

    I passed the PMP exam on april 15, 2010. Here is my story

    Hi Everyone

    I passed the exam on last thursday (april 15, 2010). I am extremely happy and excited to add those 3 letters to my name. I have studied hard and achieved this. Thanks to all my friends who supported me and cornelius, without the prepcast it would not have been possible.

    I decided to go for the certification on November 2009 and did lot of search online and checked with friends. I finalized on using Prepcast, Andy Crowe's book along with PMBoK.

    I tried to start with PMBoK first, during December 2009, but it was not progressing well. I purchased prepcast in the first week of Jan 2010 and devised a plan. I heared the prepcast and would read the related topic in Andy's book and then in PMBoK. I completed the first cycle by Feb end. And from march started taking practice tests. I purchased exam simulators and took all the free simulated tests. based on the scores i would study the weak areas once again in andy & Prepcast & PMBoK. From jan 2010, till april 14, i listened to prepcast daily.

    I visited the this helped me in understanding some of the areas, especially the article on PTA. It explained it clearly, i was confident of taking any questions on PTA formulas after that.

    I was scoring in the range of 85-90 in all the sample tests, and full mock exams i took. I took atleast 6 full mock exams. It gave me lot of confidence.

    I also joined pmhub, the discussions there were pretty useful. From there i came to know about JIMBoK. Its a great set of articles by Jim Owens and its an excellent material for final day review. On the day prior to the exam, i went through all the ITTOs, Formulas, Theories and JIMBOk. It took the whole day. Actually i bough Flashcards for final review, but never find the time to use it. To be more precise i have forgotten that i had purchased flashcards

    On the day of the exam,

    1. Everything i brought, including my hand towel, keys, pens, etc, i was asked to keep in locker.
    2. I was not allowed to open the locker during exam time and i was asked to place the food items on a table outside the testing area.
    3. The center told me that there is a limit of 5 breaks that i can take, in my exam time.
    4. Every time you take a break, you need to do the entire check-in procedure again. it took time.
    5. You need to click the start within one min, to start the tutorial, otherwise the exam will end.
    6. Once started you have 15 mins time to go through the tutorial. during which i have written down all the formulas, in the yellow sheets given to me. But actually i never referred to that sheet during exam.
    7. I took 2 breaks one after first 100 questions and one after next 100 question. Then i reviewed marked questions, then i reviewed all the 200 questions.
    8. I was not able to find out which are the 25 non-scoring questions, except for a 2/3 questions all looked relevant to me
    9. I had very few formula based questions, even that too were too simple that you do not need a calculator
    10. They gave a physical calculator, as the online one was having some issue.

    11. i clicked the END EXAM exactly after 3 hours from the starting time. And the screen went white immediately. I got terrified. I called the center person immediately. But before she come, some progress bar appeared on screen and then came a 9 question survey.

    12. I was afraid to skip the survey and thought they might not give me good score ( ) if i did not give them good rating, so i choose Very satisfied for all the questions, quickly, then again the screen went blank and same progress bar appeared.

    13. Then the "congratulations" came on screen, i was soooooooooo relieved.

    As i said i am extremely happy to do this. I hope my experience will be useful to someone who reads it.

    All the best to all aspirants, dont worry, the exam is not as tough as people make you believe it to be.


  40. Hello Prasannaa,

    Congratulations. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned and tips.

    I'm really glad that I could be some help to you.

    I've posted your comments here to give them more visibility.

    Good luck to you.

  41. Harwinder - I passed my exam on 5/7/10. I've managed a fair number projects in the last 13 years and this was my first attempt at taking the exam. My lone resources were the PMBOK guide and Rita's 4th edition; however, your site was a lifesaver for some of the harder to understand PMI concepts. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  42. Hello Hank,

    Congratulations for passing the exam and thanks a lot for a great compliment.

    Keep in touch through Linked In / Twitter.

    I wish you all the best.

  43. Hi All,

    I cleared PMP last week on 4th May2010. It's like a journey after which you undoubtedly feel delighted and extremely happy. I will keep my lesson learned succinct. if any one needs any further information email me

    I started my preparation around Jan end. And planned to give the exam in March End. but then hectic schedule and loads of work make me to postpone it for a month.

    I started with PMBOK and then read Rita. Then I took pm precast for 35 PDU course.
    - PMBOK is really the bible as everyone acknowledges here.
    -Rita is good for questions. I wish i had taken the fast track too.
    - Prep cast makes u understand things in a simple manner.
    So after I got a feel of what was happening in this whole 9x5 matrix then again went back PMBOK and just reread that again and again till the time i felt confident about this.

    I took all the free available tests: head first, pm study, TechFaq, Oliver etc.
    Paid ones I went for pmstudy. But to my despair the real questions were not at all close to them. I am saying this because all the people who took pmstudy said that they got questions which were very close to pmstudy which is why i was very excited when i was scoring around 90% in their paid exams. But what i found that all their questions are primarily just copy paste from PMBOK's statements but real exam will never do this.

    So essentially I got the overall understanding in simple terms from Rita, prep cast and then read PMBOK to the extent so that i can understand most of its content and language.
    Apart from all these three Harwinder's blog is one of the best resource to read and get a grasp of some of the most complex topics like configuration mgmt. So Harwinder thanks a ton for this valuable information.

    Best of luck to all of you. Keep up the hard work.


  44. Syed Khuram RizviJune 8, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Lessons Learned from my PMP exam prep.
    I started preparing on April 29th, took the exam on May 29th, and saw those four letter “PASS” word after 4 hours of grueling exam at Prometric Ctr.
    The books I used were:
    1. Head First PMP
    2. PMBOK guide 4th Edition
    3. I guess if you are already in project management, all you need is these two books. Additional study material tends to confuse more since they all have different method of teaching.
    I had dedicated 4-6 hours of daily study time for 30 days straight. My study plan was pretty aggressive but I wanted to hit it hard and get over with it. With material as dry as PMBOK’s is, I had no intention to ruin another single day glued to my desk than be outside – those of you who have been to Virginia Summers would know what I’m talking about. Below was my study plan.

    A. BRUTE FORCING IT IN MY BRAINS (First 12 days)
    In this phase, I followed Table 3-1 of PMBOK top-down. I read one knowledge area daily first from PMBOK, half of which did not make much sense and then re-read from Head First at night which helped stuff getting drilled in. This was my schedule during this phase.
    Breakfast (6-8AM) – Read a full knowledge area (one chapter) from PMBOK.
    Lunch (1-2PM) – Finish what was remaining from the PMBOK chapter. Aghhhh…
    Dinner (8-12 midnight) – ‘Or should I say after dinner’ – re-read the chapter from Head First.

    B. GETTING FAMILIAR (Next 6 days)
    In this phase, I re-read the whole PMBOK following Table 3-1 from left to right from process group to process group starting from Initiating to Closing. By the end of this phase, my opinion about PMBOK had changed considerably. I had started to appreciate the depth of material and how professionally it was organized. Chapter 3 provides a good roadmap. Study it carefully and use it to follow the rest of PMBOK.
    COOL DOWN (2 days)
    In the cool down phase, I went through the PMBOK randomly, browsed through glossary section of PMBOK, did some online in-depth research on WBS, PERT, TQM, EVM, EMV, and gotten all my MBA days notes out for review and focused more on understanding the tools and techniques than following the PMBOK. I also watched the newly released Robin Hood and the Iron Man 2. Off the topic but Robin Hood really sucked. Just a cheesy mixture of Braveheart, The 13th Warrior and bunch of other Hollywood hits. Iron Man 2 on the other hand was really good.

    C. BACK TO THE GRIND TABLE (Next 3-days)
    Repeated the Phase 2, i.e. went through PMBOK again from process group to process group but this time, read it all in random. It helped in connecting the dots between planning and execution, monitoring and planning, closing and initiating etc. Saw the light at the end of the tunnel. TTs started making sense; I could logically differentiate between TTs and IOs. Understood why IOs were there, and what use TTs had in certain processes. Again I was still following my study schedule; how else would you read PMBOK in 3 days?

    D. MORE GRINDING (Rest of the days until exam)
    For the rest of days, I took all the mock online exams I could get my hands on. I took about 5 online exams (kudos to Deep Fried Brain for gathering all material in one place) during my after-dinner study sessions, while reviewing the mistakes, misses, and new concepts during the breakfast and lunch study slots. I must have read PMBOK another two times during these 7 days. Yes, whenever I was reading PMBOK anew, I was rediscovering things I had ignored earlier. Or maybe things were making more sense by now and I was almost thinking like a PMI exam writer.

    E. A few study TIPs
    1. Consult
    2. Make notes. But make notes once thing start making sense. Otherwise you will be making “wrong” notes.
    3. Really understand the stuff.
    4. Be honest. It’s the exam for those who are already PM “street smart” before being PM “book smart”.
    5. Enjoy the material. Seriously take it lightly and you will enjoy and pass. Don’t take it lightly, and you will “not enjoy” and ”still pass”.

  45. Hi Syed,

    Congratulations for your achievement. I can feel your sense of relief and satisfaction. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned and tips. I must say they are quite interesting and useful. Thanks for recommending this site too. I'm glad to be of help.

    Good luck and stay in touch.

  46. Hi Harwinder,

    I have successfully completed PMP exam & really your blog was very much useful for me during this journey.

    I just want to say you a BIG THANKS for providing such a wonderful, useful & easy to understand information for PMP aspirants.
    I will recommend this blog to all the future PMP aspirants & will also contineously folow this blog in future.

    Keep up this wonderful efforts.

    Last but not least You are truely giving back to the entire PM Community.

    Thanks a lot.

    Nitin Kumar Maheshwari, PMP

  47. Hi Harwinder,

    After passing the PMP exam on Tuesday, I would like to thank you for maintaining this invaluable blog with a huge amount of very organized information and tips! It helped me so much!

    I am sharing below some information about my preparation, in case you want to share it in the lessons learned session of your blog.


    Daniel Eiki Uehara Takara, PMP
    São Paulo, Brazil



    * attended PMI's 5-week long online seminar "Project Management Fundamentals: An Intensive Program" (details on in July/August 2009
    * studied full-time for 1 month before taking the exam on June 22

    A few details:

    * During my intensive 1-month study period, I read Rita's PMP Prep book and PMBOK Guide once, but not following the sequence of chapter in the books.
    * I resolved about 2 thousand questions, including Rita's PM FASTrack software and the free exercises available from the following addresses:

    * Rita's PM FASTrack database contains 1400 questions and allows the user to run PMP exam simulations with 200 questions each. Although the difficulty level of questions is quite similar to the actual exam, I did not like the face that the software repeats questions in consecutive runs: I ran 5 simulations and each simulation had more repeated question than the previous runs. In any case, I got confident enough when I scored 78% in first run, so the repeated questions in the second run onwards did not represent a major problem for me. I faced the second run onwards not much as a simulation of the actual exam, but more like as a dynamic way to learn instead.

    Hope this helps. Good luck to the PMP aspirants!

  48. Hello Nitin,

    Congratulations on your certification and thanks so much for your wonderful words. I'm truly humbled.

    Best regards.

  49. Hello Daniel,

    Congratulations. Thanks for your feedback and sharing your lessons learned. I'll be posting them on the lessons learned page shortly.

    Stay in touch and good luck for future.

    Best regards.

  50. Hi Harwinder,

    I am a little bit confuse about the validity of PMP certificate.
    As it says that the validity period is 20-June-2010 to 20-June-2013.
    Means 3 years.

    so deos it mean that I need to reappear for PMP exam after every three year or If I will get all the 60 PDUs with in three years then my certificate will itself be renewed for next three years.

    Could you please help me to understand it.

    Nitin Kumar Maheshwari, PMP

  51. Not like that you need to do the following

    1. Collect 60 PDUs in next 3 years . Hrawinder has clearly explained how to get PDUs in his blog

    2. At the end of 3 years you need to just pay the prerscribed fee to renew the certification need not apper for exam.



  52. Hi Harwinder,
    Here is my story of PMP journey.


    Now its my turn to Thank you all for your support in my PMP journey.
    I have successfully completed PMP certification & It is really an awesome feeling to be a PMP.
    The most useful point which I learnt is that PMP is a mind set not an exam & it is very well applicable to our day to day life.

    Books referred: -

    Head First - Only for chapter end tests

    Online exams referred: -

    PM Succes
    Head First - 200 qs
    Oliver Leaham - 75qs
    Oliver Leaham - 175qs
    Rita Fast Track

    Brief about my study plan: -

    1) PMBOK - Although not easy to grasp in first go. But still it is must that we start our study with this book beacuse it sets our boundaries that what we are supposed to read from the other reference books.

    2) Rita - Studied in detail. Did all the chapter end test.

    3) Again went back to PMBOK & now the entire framework started looking meaningful. Simulteneously made my notes to refer before the exam day.

    4) Combine study of both PMBOK & Rita.

    5) Started doing the prectice tests. My approach was to take the easier tests (Bootcamp,Pm Success etc.) first to build up some confidence & then target the complex ones (Rita, Oliver Lehman etc).

    6) Attempted 3 full length tests to make myself comfortable for that 4hr marathon.

    7) In all the practice tests full lengths as well as chapter end tests I was scoring between 78 to 85 %.

    Before the exam day: -

    Revised my notes, ITTOs, PMBOK Page # 43 table & then had a good sleep.

    On the exam day: -

    I reached the exam center somewhere abt 1Hr before.
    The exam cordinator asked if I want to start the exam now. I thought its a good idea & said yes.
    During the 15 min tutorial I wrote down the Page# 43 table of PMBOK & some useful formulas. I just used 10 mins of tutorial & clicked on the exam start button.
    Initially the Exam was looking too hard & giving me feeling that I am not going to crack it. So I convinced myself to just go up to atleast 50 questions & then I will think about it.
    Luckily by the 50th question I was very much comfortable & full in confidence.
    During these 4hr I took 2 breaks & then finished the entire exam.

    My suggestions: -

    1) Start preparing for PMP by PMBOK & restrict yourself for PMBOK & one other reference book. Not much books.

    2) Try as many practice tests as you can. But always check that they shoudl be referring to PMBOK-4 not to PMBOK-3.

    3) Don't underestimate the physical aspect of exam. So at least 2 full length exam (200 questions) is must.

    4) In terms of ITTOs I should say that try to remember & understand them. Whatever is applicable to individual. ITTOs should be very much clear in terms like which one will be useful in what situation & in which Process. In my case I can say that there were so many questions on ITTO directly or indirectly. So remembering them with thoruogh application of these helped me a lot.

    5) Religiously follow the Blog Deep Fried Brain. Thanks to Harwinder for providing so much useful information at no cost. I want to pass on a BIG THANKS to Harwinder as he is truely giving back to the entire PM Community.

    Last but not least KEEP FAITH in onself & go ahead.
    My best wishes to all the PMP aspirants.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Nitin Kumar Maheshwari, PMP

  53. Sir, My name is Sreekanth
    I need some help with my CAPM Exam
    I paid the fee on Thursday ie 1st of July and my application is in auditing process now.
    I need your help regarding how to proceed further.

  54. Hello Nitin,

    Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. I'll post them on the PMP tips website soon. Keep in touch.

  55. Hello Sreekanth,

    By "in auditing process", I think you mean "under processing". You don't mean that PMI has picked your application for "Audit", do you?

    Please elaborate on what kind of help you need. Give details of what your background is, where you stand in your preparation process, what study material do you have, etc.

    It would be better if you send me an email using the "Contact Form" link above.


  56. I have been doing Project management/Group Leadership work on IT systems support for last 5 years in my 17 year work experience.

    I did online PMP Course offered at my work from Element K, I studied on and off 1 to 2 hours for last 2 months.

    Here is what I did for the certification

    1. Read the Crosswinds PMP Book twice. One of my friend who took certification 3 months ago gave it to me, I really liked the book.

    2. I printed the PMBOK guide just a week back and read it 1 time very well and reviewed it 2 more times. My primary reading in my final week was PMBOK.

    3. I was getting 70 to 75% in the various free online test in last 2 weeks of the study.

    4. I felt that real question were not as complex and wordy as some of these test were. Questions on formulas were very simple and straight forward.

    6. I didn't completely mug up the ITTO but had fair understanding of them.

    8. I got Proficient in Planning and rest all Moderate, I only took 2 hrs 15 minutes to finish the exam.

    I came to this site while looking for the lessions learned but have not read other areas much.

    I didn't pass with flying colors but didn't go through extreme learning to get the certification either. I feel that people are studying too much to get the certification.

    Hope my experience with reasonable work related experience with moderate preparation without spending any money will help others who want to take a chance.

    Conclusion: If you read one good book and PMBOK guide well and use the free practice tests from good sources will give you fair chance of passing.

  57. appreciate if you could post the questions of the quiz for standard deviation, pert, etc. Questions are not available anymore only answers. your website is one of the very best! thanks and well done!

  58. Hello Silvia,

    Thanks for your appreciation.

    The questions are still online. I didn't change anything. You can see the quiz here:

    PMP Quiz Contest - Activity Duration Estimate

    Let me know if you still cannot see it.

    Best regards.

  59. Hi Harwinder,
    Happy to let you know that I have cleared PMP. Your website was of great help. Also you were very prompt in responding to my queries/question with crisp and accurate answer. I scored proficiency in 3 of the domains and moderate proficiency in rest of the 3 domains.I shall post the LL soon. Anyway my recommendation is read PMBOK 3-4 times and i felt Rita's book is overkill

  60. I am missing something significant with BAC and BTC... I cannot work solve the following question - even when I know the answer or formula to use... Help - 2 weeks to go to exam! (Question from Lehmann - from your links..)

    Your project exceeded costs in the past caused by an underestimation of resource costs in the cost baseline: PV: $1,200,000, EV: $1,000,000, AC: $1,200,000 You expect the underestimation to influence the future as much as it did in the past. If the BTC (Budget to complete) is at $1,000,000, what should be your new EAC (Estimate at Completion)?108
    o $1,800,000
    o $2,000,000
    o $2,200,000
    o $2,400,000

  61. Thought I understood PERT - but cannot answer the folloiwng - can you help?

    Together with your team, you applied three-point estimation on a Critical path which consists of two activities. The following duration uncertainties are all calculated assuming a ±3sigma Confidence interval. The duration uncertainty—defined as pessimistic minus optimistic estimate—of the first activity is 18 days; the second estimate has an uncertainty of 24 days. Applying the PERT formula for paths, what is the duration uncertainty of the entire path? 94
    o 21 days
    o 30 days
    o 42 days
    o No statement is possible from the information given.

    The answer is 30 Days - but HOW????

  62. Hi- I'd like to read this blog in my google reader. However, it only shows the title and an add in google reader. Pls instruct me on how to correct this.


  63. Hi Harwinder,

    Here is my lessons learned for CAPM.

    I guess it is about time I put in my 2 cents of CAPM wisdom. When I went through a post on “Lessons Learned” last month on, at that time somewhere deep down, I will post my experience soon. Today, I cleared CAPM and I’m sharing my strategy and “Lessons Learned” in this post in the hope of helping CAPM/PMP aspirants out there.

    Lesson 1: So, you’ve decided to appear for CAPM/PMP examination, your application is approved and you’ve a full one year to pick a date. Go set your exam date right away. Whether you chose a date after 2 or 3 months is entirely your choice, but do pick a date. If you’ve a deadline in front, you’ll strive hard to meet it.

    Lesson 2: Make a study plan. If you want to take any formal/prep course, it is your wish but do yourself a favor and start devoting atleast 1-2 hours daily. Pick your books, follow atleast two as it’ll make sure that you don’t miss a concept not present in either of the one. I followed “Head First PMP” and “The PMP exam: How to pass on your first try”. But you may want to go for the books written by “Rita Mulcahy” as well.

    Lesson 3: Do study PMBOK guide. I didn’t follow it once and it was a mistake. You may not like it at first go but you can finish “Head First” and then come to this book. When I was giving practice tests, I found that few concepts were missing from the books I followed and they were present in PMBOK.

    Lesson 4: If you still don’t want to follow PMBOK, you can go with “Q&A’s for the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition by Frank T. Anbari”, it is a book published by PMI and you may want to start testing yourself along with your study plan. I used to mark every incorrect MCQ in a separate notebook, write down the key concepts it is based on and it was my quick refresher on the day before the exam. I reiterate that analyzing all incorrect questions will help you reap rich dividends.

    Lesson 5: The basic difference between CAPM & PMP is that the former is 100% PMBOK and the latter is 60-70%. Also, CAPM will grill you on ITTOs much more than PMP. So, you should make effort in understanding ITTOs. I purchased eFlashcards course by Cornelius Fichtner and though I couldn’t go through all flashcards (Read: terrified by their sheer number) but I did make an effort to go through ITTOs flashcards (they total to 167 in his course).

    Lesson 6: When you start giving practice tests, try and understand the question at first, map it to the Knowledge Area and think of the answer without looking at the options. It’ll help you in a gaining an edge where speed is concerned. I still remember that I scored 40% in my first practice test but during the course of preparation, I started completing the exam in an hour with decent score of 80%+. Today, in the real exam, I completed it in around 55 minutes.

    Lesson 7: I was lucky to get hold of JIMBOK on, they are concise notes from PMBOK guide and I owe one part of my success to them. Search for JIMBOK in “”.

    Lesson 8: Focus on Quality & Risk Management’s tools and techniques. Make a note of all graphs, EV formulas, CPM etc. Get a good hang of them.

    Lesson 9: During the exam you must read each question carefully and make a note of words such as ‘except’ etc. Also if you find absolutes in the answers, weigh other option carefully e.g. if one of the answer choice to a question is “All Processes need to be followed in every project”, take a look at other options as well. This option is most likely not the answer.

    Lesson 10: Do not put a gap in your preparation. Start diligently, don’t lose your focus, nail this exam at fist go.

    Though, I appeared for CAPM, but these tips can be taken into consideration for PMP as well. For free sample practice tests, check the section “Most Popular Content” on

    Best of luck to all aspirants.

    Sunish Chabba, CAPM

  64. Hi Harwinder,

    Thanks a Billon for creating such a GREAT website. I passed PMP last week . Your website really helped me to pass my PMP.
    The exam for very different than the mockups I took.
    Exam really tests you on your concepts and understandings.
    It has almost all situational questions , and a few straight forward calculation questions.
    All in all , exam standard was very good.I studied from Rita , PMBOK and your site.
    Once again keep up the good work and sincere thank you for all the support.

    Dhanu Gupte

  65. Congratulations, Dhanu.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and the shot of encouragement (to begin writing again). I'm currently engaged in many other things and the blog has taken lower priority. Hopefully, I'll pick it up again.

    Good luck for future.

    Best regards.

  66. Hi Harwinder,

    I thank everyone who contributed to this site. I just cleared my PMP exam. I basically studied PMBOK, Head First PMP, Rita Mulcahy, Kim Heldman and Harwinder.I felt the exam was easier than I thought. It could be because I over prepared.
    My approach to studying was little different. I referred all the books simultaneously. For each chapter I referred them one by one highlighting the critical topics covered by each. Anything that was not found there, was at Harwinder.I think if one refer these many books nothing more is needed. It all comes down to how we interpret and apply this knowledge.
    Thanks for all the critical help.
    Keep up your good work.

    mohan reddy

  67. Hello Mohan,

    Congratulations! Thanks for your kind remarks and sharing your experience. I'm glad to be of help.

    Good luck.


  68. Hi Harwinder,

    I come across your blog from the google search. I really liked the way you have outlined the material with simple examples and the way it's explained. Thanks for your contributions.

    I have a question on the change requests. How do you qualify it as a change request. In case of the project executing, if we find any bug, can we categorize this as a change request? Probably not, as it's a part of the original requirement. Is it like if some one find the issue which is not part of the original requirement can be classified as a change request? I am not getting clear idea how do you identify the change request? It would be great if you could write something on change request with an example.


  69. Hi, I was trying to use flashcards on BrainBOK and am not able to since yesterday. It gives error "could not contact server. Please check your network connection". My network connections are fine. Could you please see if there are any issues on the BrainBOK server.

  70. Hello Anonymous,

    Thanks for reporting the issue. That error could be due to 2 reasons - internet connection is not available or there's an issue on the server (could be a bug too).

    Please use the Contact Form (link in the blog post above) to send me more details of the error like which option you invoke on the Flashcards tab, which browser and its version you are using, and when was the last time that you successfully accessed it.

    In the meanwhile, I'm investigating on my side.

    In future, please use the "Contact" link in the brainBOK footer to report brainBOK related issues.


  71. @Anon.,

    I found the issue and fixed it. The problem was introduced in the last update made on Jul 10.

    Let me know if you still see the same issue or any other issue.


  72. Thanks Harwinder, I must say you made studying for this exam exciting and fun. I passed my exam last week and most of my time in the last few days before the exam went on reading your blog posts and playing with the brainbok tool. I really appreciate your efforts and commend you for very well written and thoughtful articles What make your blog even more interesting is your followup responses to user comments which contained a lot of useful information.

    Once again, thank you and keep up your good work.


    1. It's ironic that you commended me for following up on blog comments, but I didn't respond to your comment. Sorry about that, but thanks for your comments.

  73. Dear Harwinder,

    I passed the MCTS exam for managing Microsoft Project 2010, can you please tell me how many PDUS I can claim for clearing the exam?


  74. Hi Harwinder,

    I failed my first appearance on PMP exam. I am really sad, depressed and disappointed in myself with the result. I took a boot camp with PMStudy but I waited almost 2 months to write my exam. I want to schedule my exam but not sure how long should I wait and what should I study to pass the exam now. Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


    1. Hello Sabbi,

      I'm really sorry to hear that. I can understand your feelings right now. The sooner you come out of the dejection mode, the better it would be for you. You may have missed by just a couple of questions. You have to take the positives from this experience and use it as a stepping stone to leap forward.

      Have you written to PMStudy to seek their advice? They claim to have a 99% pass rate.

      First of all, jot down your lessons learned immediately. Try to recall your experience from the exam, and put down all the questions or areas where you had difficulty. You can use this information to cover the gaps before the next attempt.

      Without knowing much about your experience and preparation, it's hard for me to give you proper advice. I suggest that you post detailed information about your project management experience and your preparation (such as the books that you used, the number of times you read them, the sample exams you attempted, the total number of sample questions that you attempted, the number of hours of preparation that you put in, and the other study resources that you used). Once I get these details, I'll try my best to help.

      Please post this on the forum PM Hangout. You can post it with an assumed Id, and need not disclose your real identity.

      Best regards.

  75. Hi Harwinder,

    Thank you for the swift respond. I am not able to post my comment on PM Hangout so please accept this information on this page.

    I have a legitimate project management experience working in a Project Management company managing construction projects for over 7 years.

    I finished my boot camp at the end of January 2012, but due to Project completion urgency and some procrastination, I waited till April 2nd, 2012 to appear for the exam. As soon as I found out the results I got in touch with PMStudy and their response was that I should reread the workbook they provided during the boot camp, and practice 4-5 simulation test then I should go write the exam before the end of next week at the latest.

    During my preparation for the exam, I only studied the workbook provided by PMStudy and did several chapter tests for all the processes. I spent a lot of hours reading that book but obviously it wasn’t enough to get me through. So now, I am not sure what to study in order to pass the exam on my 2nd attempt.

    Could you please guide me on how to succeed for this exam and how long should I wait before I book an appointment for the exam.

    Thanks alot.


  76. Harwinder,

    Today I cleared PMP exam. What a day it was !!!
    The study materials you have in this site helped me lot to achieve this big success. I really recommend that all PMP aspirants MUST visit this resource site for more understanding.

    1. Congratulations.

      I'm very glad to hear that. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I feel very motivated when I read such comments, but at the same time feel somewhat guilty for not doing more.

      When you get a chance, please post your lessons learned on PM Hangout. I'm starting to use that forum for engaging more closely with the community.

      Good luck and thanks again.

  77. Hi, this is a great site, thank you! Which PMI providers would you recommend for PMI Certification? There are a bunch listed online, but who is the industry leader(s)?

    Thank you!

  78. Harwinder,


    I have cleared PMP last week. Though I have not participated in any of the online forums or discussions, I have read most of your articles/comments in the deepfriendbrain web site and got lot of concepts cleared. I appreciate all your help and support rendered to all the PMP aspirants.

    I have mostly read through your discussions,HF PMP & ESI study material.

    Thanks a lot.

    Ravindra K Danda

    1. Congratulations, Ravindra.

      I'm very glad to hear that you found the articles useful. Thanks a lot for stopping by and expressing your appreciation.

      I wish you all the best for future.

      Best regards.

  79. Harvinder,

    Just wanted to say that the blog is awesome. When I am confused about a concept, I know the most clear and easy to understand clarification will be available here. Kudos!!


  80. Hi Harvinder,

    I passed my PMP exam two days back and just wanted to thank you for this awesome blog. Your blog helped me clear many concepts. Thanks again.

    - Geetanjali

  81. can anyone help to direct me to sources of any statistical correlations, published or unpublished, between the use of project management methodologies and high project success rates?


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