PMP and CAPM Exam Prep Simplified!

BrainBOK - PMP and CAPM Exams, ITTOs, Flashcards, Formulas, Quizzes, Contact Hours
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 21 comments

  PMP Certification Cost: Easiest, Fastest, Cheapest and Safest Way to PMP

PMP Certification Cost: PMP aspirants often ask me - What's the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to achieve PMP Certification? My response is - pick any two. Easiest, fastest and cheapest are analogous to the triple constraints in Project Management - Scope, Time and Cost. You cannot have all three. You have to compromise on at least one of the factors (Effort, Time, Cost). For example, you can opt for an expensive exam prep workshop that can make it easy and fast for you. Alternatively, go for an online self-paced program, complemented by free sample exams and free tools on the web. That will be an economical option, but not as easy or fast as the previous option.

I added a fourth constraint - risk, and modified the question to:

What's the easiest, fastest, cheapest and safest way to achieve PMP Certification?



Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 4 comments

  Review of Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep Online Course

Rita Mulcahy, the author of the best-selling PMP Exam Prep book, has released her new PMP Exam Prep Online, 6th Edition program. The program is an all-in-one PMP Exam Prep course that includes multimedia tutorials, online versions of her famous PMP Exam Prep Book, PM Fastrack Exam Simulator Software and Hot Topics Flashcards. It also gives you the 35 Contact Hours, which are a pre-requisite for the PMP Exam.

The course is divided into 16 lessons. The lessons are full of really informative video and audio clips of Rita Mulcahy, a lot of interactive exercises and games, and a pre- and post-test. At the end of each lesson, you get access to the PDF version of the corresponding chapter from Rita's PMP Exam Prep book, and the multimedia flashcards. The program also includes access to 1500+ question exam simulator.

I was one of the beta testers for the program in Apr-May'09 and spent nearly 40 hours reviewing it. Read my full review to find out the details.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 11 comments

  The Critical Path for the Adventurous Type

Critical Path Method (CPM) questions, specially those involving Network Diagrams, are among the trickiest questions on the PMP Exam. Fortunately, if you understand the concepts, the questions are not so difficult and offer a good scoring opportunity on the exam. But coming to the preparation, as with any other exam, we always aim a notch or two higher than what is required for the exam. As the saying goes, "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best" :)

Today I'm going to challenge you with a slightly unusual Network Diagram problem. Most PMP exam prep materials I have seen use Finish-to-Start relationships on the Network Diagram. In this article, you are going to see a Network Diagram with a Finish-to-Finish relationship. What? Yes, that's right, Finish-to-Finish. So, bring your pen and paper and get ready to solve this problem.

Note: In all likelihood, this problem is beyond the scope of the PMP exam. But if you are an adventurous type, go ahead and take the plunge. We'll have fun.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 8 comments

  The Good, Bad and Ugly of PMI Component Chapters

If you have read my article 10 Benefits of PMI Membership, you know that as a PMI member, you can sign up for the membership of PMI component chapters. These component chapters provide an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face and network with professionals in your area or region, and hone your project management skills. While these component chapters provide a good value for money, there are a few things that PMI won't tell you, but you need to be aware of when signing up for the membership. The terms and conditions of membership are probably not as transparent as you would expect. This article covers the good as well as the not-so-good aspects of these component chapters that you should be aware of while signing up for the membership.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 14 comments

  Seller Fee Calculations in FPIF Contract

Seller Fee Calculation and Point of Total Assumption in FPIF Contracts for PMP Point of Total Assumption (Part 5): In past, we have looked at the concept of Point of Total Assumption in a Fixed Price Incentive Fee (FPIF) contracts, in great detail. In this article, we'll look at some examples related to Seller Fee (profit and loss) calculations. For a quick recap of terms such as Target Cost, Target Fee, Target Price etc., review the article Point of Total Assumption - Formula.

In the worksheet shown below, the Target Cost, Seller Fee, Target Price, Ceiling Price and Share Ratio have been kept constant. We start with a simple case with no cost overrun, i.e. Actual Cost is exactly the same as Target Cost. In this case, Seller gets the full fee. As cost overrun increases, it starts eating into Seller's Fee. At a particular point, the Seller Fee drops to zero (no profit or loss). Further cost increase beyond this point, leads to net loss for the Seller. Here's the worksheet with all the calculations.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 188 comments

  5 Popular Myths about PMP Exam Passing Score

PMP Certification Exam Passing Score - is it still 61%?
PMP Passing Score (Part 2): Is 61% still the passing score for PMP exam? I'm a huge fan of the popular science television series, MythBusters, and today I'm going to play the MythBuster and take on 5 popular myths about PMP exam passing score. This is part 2 of the series on PMP exam passing score. I suggest you read the first part - PMP Exam Passing Score - Not a Number Game anymore, before proceeding further.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 9 comments

  PMP Exam Passing Score - Not a Number Game anymore

PMP Exam Passing Score - what is the pass percentage?
PMP Passing Score (Part 1): Today I completed two years as a certified PMP. It was on Nov 27, 2007 that I passed my PMP exam. I'm getting a bit nostalgic thinking about the 3 months of gruesome preparation that culminated in the joy that rushed through my body on seeing the magic word "Congratulations" flash on my screen on this very day, two years ago. The exam score report, which I received, clearly indicated the domain-wise percentage score, even though the overall percentage score was not mentioned. Lot of important changes have happened to the exam and the passing score, since then.

This article is the first in the series of articles on PMP Exam Passing Score. In this article, I'll cover the important changes to the passing score in the past 4 years. It's important to give you some background so that you can understand the current situation clearly. So, let's begin in a chronological order.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  Review of PMP Exam eFlashcards

PMP Exam eFlashcards PMP® Exam eFlashCards™ is a relatively new PMP Exam Prep tool that was launched in Apr'09. On my request, the publishers had sent me a free evaluation copy for review, before the launch. The review had been on my to-do list for a while. Finally, this week I managed to find some time to review the tool. I've tried to keep the review very simple. It has 4 parts - Product Facts, Pros, Cons and Conclusion. So, let's get started.

Update 10/25/2014: A top-quality alternative for PMP and CAPM:

BrainBOK - 2000 Flashcards for PMP and CAPM at just $19.99

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 34 comments

  Perform Quality Control vs. Verify Scope

Perform Quality Control vs Verify Scope Most PMP aspirants get confused between Perform Quality Control and Verify Scope. If I had to list the top 5 most-confused topics for the PMP Exam, this topic would be on that list. This article aims to clear the confusion by bringing out on the key differences between the 2 processes and reinforcing the concepts with examples. I suggest that you refer to the PMBOK Guide, Fourth edition and a good PMP Exam Prep book or course material for a more comprehensive explanation of all the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs of these processes.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 7 comments

  Secret Key to that Elusive Date with Prometric

Recently, a distressed PMP aspirant from Singapore wrote to me saying that she wants to take the PMP exam in near future but cannot find an available slot at the Prometric Test center. I could fully empathize with her. I had been in the same boat 2 years ago.

Before I move further with the story, let me give you some background. There's only one (yes, only one) Prometric Test center in entire Singapore. Usually the slots are booked 4-5 months in advance. The problem extends beyond just PMP and CAPM exams to all the exams administered by Prometric. The situation is quite desperate.

So, how do you find that elusive exam slot if you really want to take the exam in near future? Well, I have some good news for you. I'm going to share my proprietary (*winks*) technique to help you uncover those "hidden" slots.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 8 comments

  A Dedicated Blog for PMP Certification Tips

I've created a new blog - PMP Certification Tips - for sharing links to useful resources related to PMP Certification. It's essentially a link-sharing blog where you can find links to sample exams, lessons learned, tools, tips, tutorials, re-certification PDU and tons of other resources.

The new blog will serve as a replacement for the "Daily Nuggets" section on this (main) blog. 234 links have been migrated from the "Daily Nuggets" section to the new blog.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 39 comments

  PMP or CAPM: Which Certification is Right for Me?

Project Management Institute (PMI), Inc. offers two levels of certification - Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) - for project managers, depending upon their experience, education and training. So which certification is right for you?

In this article, I'll review both the certification programs in order to help aspiring candidates make the right decision.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 6 comments

  PMP Exam ITTO Trainer Tool

PMP ITTO: Remembering the PMBOK Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) is probably the most dreaded part of PMP Certification Exam preparation. Whether one needs to memorize the ITTOs or understand is always open to debate. Regardless of the right approach, we all know that PMP exam does have 7-10 questions related to ITTOs. Therefore, it's advisable to do some practice on ITTO related questions for the exam.

Update: Worried about ITTOs for the PMP exam? Check out:

BrainBOK - World's best ITTO Tool for PMP and CAPM

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Determination Precedes Termination

I came across this catchy tagline - Determination Precedes Termination - in a news articles recently. It immediately prompted me to write about Project Termination - a topic on the PMP Exam. So in this article, we'll review various reasons for Project Termination.
According to the PMBOK Guide, Fourth Edition, a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when a project's objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Which is the Best Conflict Resolution Technique?

Conflict management is one of the most challenging responsibilities for Project Managers. Their success depends a great deal on their ability to resolve conflicts. The PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition lists six different conflict resolution techniques:

  • Withdrawing (or Avoiding)
  • Smoothing (or Accommodating)
  • Compromising
  • Forcing
  • Collaborating
  • Confronting (or Problem Solving)


Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 43 comments

  Point of Total Assumption (PTA) - Interesting Facts (PMP)

Point of Total Assumption (Part 4): In this article, we'll learn some interesting facts about Point of Total Assumption (PTA) by working through some numerical problems. Before you read further, I suggest you review the PTA Formula.

Key Points about Point of Total Assumption (PTA) in Fixed Point Incentive Fee Contracts for PMP

Formula for Point of Total Assumption (PTA)

PTA = (Ceiling Price - Target Price) / BSR + Target Cost

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 8 comments

  Derivation of Point of Total Assumption (PTA) Formula

Derivation of Point of Total Assumption (PTA) Formula in FPIF Contracts for PMP Certification Point of Total Assumption (Part 3): In this post, we'll look at the formula for Point of Total Assumption (PTA) and learn how the formula is derived. This will help you understand the PTA concept in a way that you would never feel the need to memorize its formula again! Before you read further, I suggest you read The Point Behind Point of Total Assumption in FPIF Contracts, if you haven't already done so.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb, which says -
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

I apply the same principle to the formulas for the PMP Exam. I say -
Memorize the formula and pass the exam. Understand the formula and pass the challenges of a real project.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  Daily Nuggets Archive - Oct 2009

Here's the archive of Daily Nuggets for Oct 2009.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 4 comments

  The Point behind Point of Total Assumption (PTA) in FPIF Contracts

Point of Total Assumption (Part 2): Most of us know the formula for Point of Total Assumption (PTA), but many don't know what PTA actually means and how the formula is derived. In this article, we'll demystify the secrets of PTA and in a follow-up article we'll actually derive the formula from our understanding, rather than just cramming it up.

Point of Total Assumption (PTA) in FPIF Contracts in Project Management (PMP)
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 33 comments

  Work Performance Information vs Performance Reports - Conclusion (Part 4 of 4)

In the first three articles of this series, we reviewed Work Performance Information (WPI), Work Performance Measurements (WPMs) and Performance Reports. In this article, we'll recap the concepts and tie them together.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 3 comments

  Work Performance Information vs Performance Reports (Part 3 of 4)


In the previous two articles of this series, we looked at Work Performance Information and Work Performance Measurements. In this article, we'll review Performance Reports.

Performance Reports

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  Work Performance Information vs Performance Reports (Part 2 of 4)


In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the concept of Work Performance Information. In this article, we'll review Work Performance Measurements.

Work Performance Measurements (WPMs)

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 11 comments

  Work Performance Information vs Performance Reports (Part 1 of 4)


Many PMP aspirants who read the PMBOK Guide get confused between Work Performance Information and Performance Reports. The terms sound and smell very similar and used together as inputs to many Project Management processes.

This article is the first in a series of four that explain the difference between Work Performance Information and Performance Reports. In the first three articles, we'll review Work Performance Information, Work Performance Measurements and Performance Reports. In the last article, we'll tie all three concepts together and review how they fit in the context of PMBOK Guide and Project Management. So, let's get started.

Work Performance Information (WPI)

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  CITREP - PMP & CAPM Sponsorship for Singaporeans



The Enhanced Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (Enhanced CITREP) is a training incentive programme to equip Singapore infocomm professionals with critical and emerging skills, thus enabling them to enhance their employability and to improve their organisation’s competitive advantage.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  5 New PMP Certification Exam FAQs


I just posted answers to 5 more FAQs on the PMP Certification exam.

  1. How far back can I go for the Project Management experience on my PMP application?

  2. Can the PMP Exam be taken in a language other than English?

  3. How far in advance do I have apply for the PMP exam?

  4. What do I need to bring to the test center for taking the PMP Exam?

  5. What (stationery) does the test center provide for the PMP Exam?

Refer to the complete list here:

PMP Certification FAQs

100+ FAQs about PMP Certification


Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 19 comments

  Point of Total Assumption (PTA) - Test your PM Knowledge

Point of Total Assumption for PMP and CAPM - Sample Questions Point of Total Assumption (Part 1): In a Fixed Price Incentive Fee (FPIF) Contract, Point of Total Assumption (PTA) is the total cost above which seller bears all the costs of a cost overrun. In other words, any cost overrun above the PTA is not shared by the buyer and totally absorbed by the seller. This post is the first in a series of posts on PTA. In this post, we'll look at the formula for PTA and I'll leave you with a few quiz questions that we'll address in the other posts of the series.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 23 comments

  Estimate At Completion (EAC) vs Estimate To Complete (ETC) Formulas in Earned Value Management

EAC vs ETC Formulas in EVM: Due to popular demand :) I'm covering different formulas for calculating Estimate At Completion (EAC) in Earned Value Management (EVM). The PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition mentions four different ways of calculating the EAC. We'll review each of them and reinforce the concepts with the help of a case study.

What is Estimate at Completion (EAC)?

EAC is a "forecast" of the project cost, as the project progresses. Before the start of the project, EAC is the same as Budget At Complete (BAC). However, as the project progresses, EAC may differ from BAC depending upon the project performance.


Case study: You are a project manager on a really large construction project. Your project requirement is to build a shopping mall on a square piece of land. However, due to economic crisis, the project is scaled down and reduced to building just the boundary walls!! The height of the wall needs to be a staggering 2m. As per the original estimate, it will take 1 week to build one side of the boundary and cost $1000 per side. So, your original budget (BAC) is $4000 and you have 4 weeks to complete the project. Without further ado, let's get on with laying the bricks.

Estimate At Completion (EAC) in Earned Value Management for PMP Certification

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Why do people fail the PMP Exam?

Common reasons for failing PMP Exam and mistakes to avoid Why do people fail the PMP Exam? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by PMP aspirants. According to popular guesstimates, the failure rate on the PMP Exam is as high as 40%. If this figure is to be believed, what's the reason behind such a high failure rate on this exam? I don't have an answer, but I do have an opinion.

In my opinion, most people who fail the exam don't have real Project Management experience. Either they lie on their application or they think what they do on their job is Project Management, when it actually isn't. In my view, not having real Project Management experience is the no. 1 reason why people fail the exam.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 11 comments

  To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI) for Cricket Fans

TCPI is an Earned Value Management (EVM) term introduced in the PMBOK Guide, Fourth Edition. When I first read the description of TCPI in the PMBOK Guide, I couldn't make much sense of it. After reading up more on the subject, I was surprised to realize that the concept is really simple to understand, especially if you are a Cricket (sport) fan. I can explain the concept to you in just 3 words. Yes, it's really that simple. The concept is exactly the same as that of Required Run-Rate in Cricket.

If you are not familiar with Cricket, the most intellectual outdoor sport, skip the Cricket match example and read the remainder of the post.

Cricket Match Example



Let's take an example of a 50 over One-Day game between India and Australia. Assume that Australia batted first and scored 299 runs in 50 overs. So, India needs to score 300 runs in 50 overs. What's the required run rate for India? It's exactly 6 runs per over (rpo) at the start of India's innings.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 20 comments

  PMI PMP Application Audit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

I have been doing a series of posts on the PMP application audit process. Here's a list of additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the PMP Audit process.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Best PMP Exam Prep Book - Survey Result

I had been running a survey on the best PMP exam prep book, on this blog for the past several weeks. The survey received a total of 531 votes.

The book that received thumbs up from 65% respondents and is a runaway winner is (no marks for guessing this) Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. The distant second is Head First PMP with 18% votes.

Best PMP Exam Prep Book Survey Results

PMP Certification - Best Book / Study Guide Survey Results
The results of the survey are pretty much in-line with expectations. However, from what I learned over the past several months, Andy Crowe's The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try is at least as popular as the Head First PMP book. Unfortunately, Andy's book wasn't an option on my survey (call it my ignorance).

If you have other recommendations for good PMP exam prep books, do post your comments. Thanks to all who voted on the survey.

Related Post: 10 Reasons to buy Rita Mulcahy's Exam Prep Book.

Related Articles
Last Update:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  PMP Application Audit Processing Time


The PMP application audit processing time has 3 main components:

  1. The time you take to complete the audit package. The sooner you complete the package, the shorter the overall processing time is.

  2. The shipping time for the package (to PMI). You can expedite the process by using a good courier service.

  3. The time PMI takes to process your audit package. PMI takes about 5 business days to process your audit documents after it receives them.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  How do I Comply with PMP Application Audit?

In the previous article, When do I know my PMP Application has been Selected for an Audit?, we looked at where the audit fits into the PMP application process. In this article, we'll review the steps to comply with the audit.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  Which Documents do I need to Submit for PMP Application Audit?

To comply with PMP application audit, you would be asked to submit:
  1. Signatures from your supervisor(s) or manager(s) from the project(s) and/or program(s) documented in the experience verification section of the application.
  2. Photocopies (not originals) of your diploma/degree certificate.
  3. Photocopies of certificates and/or letters from the training institute(s) for each course documented on the application to meet the required (35) contact hours of project management education.
This information is a precursor to my next post - How to Comply with PMP Application Audit?

PMP Certification FAQs

100+ FAQs about PMP Certification


Related articles:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 28 comments

  Total Float vs. Free Float in Critical Path Method (CPM)

Total Float vs Free Float in Project Management (PMP) When I was preparing for my PMP exam, I was very confused about the difference between Total Float and Free Float in Critical Path Method (CPM). I understood Float, but not the two types. So, I did some research and finally made-up an example to understand the concepts myself. Today I'm sharing the example that I prepared almost 2 years ago. I hope it will help in PMP Certification aspirants on their exam.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 5 comments

  When do I know my PMP Application has been Selected for an Audit?

PMI PMP Application Audit FAQ PMI PMP application audit is probably the most feared part of PMP Certification. Most fears are uncalled for and probably stem from the confusion around the audit process. If you understand the process well, it will take away some anxiety and help you concentrate on the exam.

So let's step back and understand the PMP application process first and then see where the audit fits in.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 12 comments

  Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas

What is the difference between Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas? The answer seemed so obvious, yet when I thought about it, I found it hard to describe in words. So, I went back, did some reading and put my understanding in words.

Process Groups
When Project Management processes are grouped logically, they form Process Groups. For example, all the processes required to define a new project or a project phase are grouped into Initiating Process Group. All planning related processes go under Planning Process Group, and so on.

The PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition defines five Process Groups:
  • Initiating Process Group
  • Planning Process Group
  • Executing Process Group
  • Monitoring & Controlling Process Group
  • Closing Process Group
The PMBOK Guide requires the use of all five Process Groups in every Project. However, the rigor of implementation of the processes in these Process Groups vary according to the complexity and risk for the specific project. The processes in the Process Groups guide the project manager in application of Project Management knowledge and skills on a project, in order to meet the project objectives.

The Process Groups are linked by the output they produce. For instance, the Initiating Process Group provides the Project Charter as input to the Planning Process Group, which in turn provides the Project Management Plan as input to the Executing Process Group.

Though the Process Groups appear to be discrete and laid out in a specific order, in practice they overlap and interact in several ways. Most processes are iterative and are repeated during the project. Though the Initiating Process Group begins the project and the Closing Process Group ends the project, the Monitoring and Controlling processes overlaps with processes in all other Process Groups and are carried out throughout the project. As an example of iteration, during the Executing Process Group, there may be a need for re-planning and update to the Project Management Plan.

Note that Project Management Process Groups are NOT the same as Project Phases. The PMBOK Guide is very particular about this. For example, in a software project, the Project Phases could be Requirements Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, Release etc. As you can see, these are clearly different from the five Process Groups. When a large project is divided into phases, all five Process Groups would be repeated in each phase.

Knowledge Areas
When Project Management processes are grouped by areas of specialization, they form Knowledge Areas. The PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition defines ten Knowledge Areas:
  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Stakeholder Management
All together, the PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition defines 47 Project Mangement Processes, mapped across five Process Groups and ten Knowledge Areas. Refer to the figure below for Process Groups and Knowledge Areas Mapping.

PMBOK Project Management Processes: Process Groups vs Knowledge Areas

The Knowledge Areas describe what a project manager needs to know, and the Process Groups describe what a project manager needs to do.

Last Update:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 7 comments

  Understanding ITTOs for the PMP Exam: Introduction

Input, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) of the Project Management processes from the PMBOK Guide are probably the most dreaded part of PMP Exam preparation. The PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition lists 42 Project Management processes in 5 Process Groups and 9 Knowledge Areas. These 42 processes have a total of 517 ITTOs. Now memorizing these many ITTOs is almost an impossible task. Even if you believe "impossible is nothing", don't expect the exam questions to be so direct as to test your memory. So, the burning question is, "What is the key to taming ITTOs for the PMP Exam?".

Update 1/1/2011: Worried about ITTOs for the PMP exam? Check out:

brainBOK - PMP and CAPM Certification System

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  How to Register PDUs with PMI for PMP Re-certification?

This post is obsolete now. Refer to the latest post - PMP Renewal: How to Report PDUs to PMI?


As per PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR), every certified Project Management Professional (PMP) needs to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) in each certification cycle (3 years), in order to renew his/her PMP Certification.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 15 comments

  Difference between Product Scope, Project Scope and Requirements

When I was preparing for the PMP Exam I was really confused by the terms Product Scope, Project Scope and Requirements. Not that I didn't understand what requirements were, it's just the academic definitions of the PMBOK Guide that clouded my mind. The easiest way for me to understand any concept is to look at examples. Unfortunately, the PMBOK Guide doesn't have many. Even the popular exam prep guides don't offer elaborate examples. Now that I have a better understanding, let me help you understand these concepts better. First, we'll look at the PMBOK Guide definition of these terms, then put them in simple words and finally look at some examples to reinforce the concepts.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 19 comments

  10 Reasons to buy Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep Book [Updated for PMBOK 5]

If you preparing for the PMP Exam, chances are that you already familiar with Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep book. If you go by the Best PMP Exam Prep Book Survey, 65% respondents recommend this book over any other PMP Exam Prep guide. It's easily the No.1 best-selling PMP Exam Prep book. While you would have heard several favorable comments about this book, you might have also come across some contrasting remarks from critics. Either you love it or you hate it - it's that kind of a book. The critics point out the sarcastic and generally pessimistic tone of the book as the main reason for giving it a thumbs-down. If you have heeded to the advice of the critics and given this book a pass, let me tell you 10 reasons why it should be a part of your study plan.


  1. PMI-isms: The key to passing the PMP Exam is to answer the questions the PMI-way (or PMI-isms). Knowing these PMI-isms is absolutely critical to passing the exam. No matter how good a project manager you are in the real world, you must answer the PMP Exam questions the PMI-way. I think I'm sounding like Rita Mulcahy now :) Chapter 1 of this book hits the nail on its head by listing 62 PMI-isms, which are absolutely essential for passing the exam. This gets you rolling immediately. You'll find many more PMI-isms throughout the book and specifically in the Professional and Social Responsibility Chapter.

  2. Rita's Process Chart: The Process Chart elaborates the PMBOK processes and make them easy to understand. While some critique that it distorts the standard vocabulary that PMI has established, but I would say it does help you get a different perspective on the PMBOK processes. She also emphasizes on the order of the planning processes that in itself is a key to answering many exam questions.

  3. The Sample Questions: The quality of the questions in Rita's book (and her PMP Fastrack Exam Simulator) is the best in my opinion. The book contains about 400 sample questions.

  4. Tricks of the Trade: Each chapter has several "Tricks of the Trade" sections, which offer very useful information and tricks for tackling exam questions and also dealing with project managements issues in real world.

  5. Succinctness: The book is written with a razor-sharp focus on the exam. The wording is precise, and content to the point. There are no wasted words in this book.

  6. Exercises: The book has tons of exercises. It really gives you an opportunity to think, write down your answers in blank spaces provided, look at the answers and compare notes to fill in your gaps.

  7. Games: The book includes many other exercises (read Games) such as Rita's Process Game, What-comes-before/after Game and Project Management Scrabble Game. The games really help get your mind around the course material. Just don't expect the same thrills as from your Playstation.

  8. Templates: The book provides some useful templates and samples of Project Management documents such as the Project Charter and WBS Dictionary. These are really useful for people who don't deal with these documents on their projects.

  9. Content Presentation: Use of visual cues, diagrams, charts, tables and bullet points rather than plain text, make the content easy to digest and remember.

  10. Insider Info: Last but not the least, the book gives lots of insider info like the psychology of the exam authors, how the exam questions are written, the important topics for the exam, Knowledge Area and Process Groups wise level of difficulty of exam questions, the common pitfalls, etc. Rita's knowledge and experience truly reflects in this book. After reading this book, you realize why she's a "household name" among PMP aspirants.

While I agree that the book has a general negative tone to it, so much so that it has a chapter named "Reasons you might fail the exam", I still believe it's an indispensable tool for the PMP Exam. Let me tell you a trick to reading this book (BTW, trick is Rita's favorite word). The first time you read this book, strike-out all the stuff that you find negative, with a black marker. After that, you'll be left with a really useful book.

If you are studying for the PMP Exam, I strongly recommend this book. It's the "Gold Standard" in the PMP Certification world against which all other study material is measured.

Related Posts:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 8 comments

  What can Indo-Pak Conflict teach PMP Aspirants?

Recently, a PMP aspirant asked a question about the difference between the two conflict resolution techniques - Smoothing and Compromise - in PMP Cert Online Study Group. His question inspired me to write this article.

First, let's understand what Smoothing and Compromise are, and then we'll look at some examples to understand them better.

Smoothing (or Accomodating) is a conflict resolution technique where the areas of agreement are emphasized and those of disagreement downplayed. The points to note are:
  1. The issue is not resolved, but swept under the carpet. In other words, the issue is 'avoided'.
  2. Since the underlying issue still exists, the conflict may resurface.
  3. Smoothing is used when stakes are low.

Compromise is a conflict resolution technique where the parties involved agree to "give up" something in order to resolve the conflict. The key points are:
  1. The issue is actually resolved, and not just covered-up.
  2. It is considered to be a lose-lose situation because both parties give up something.
  3. It takes more emotional intelligence than smoothing because the issue is brought out into the open and discussed.
  4. It may be useful when the stakes are moderate and when both parties want to maintain the relationship.
Put simply, Compromise is usually better than Smoothing, but depending upon the situation either one can be justified.

Let's take the example of the dispute between India and Pakistan.
  • Smoothing: After the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India suspended dialogue with Pakistan and demanded Pakistan to take action against the perpetrators. But a new development yesterday really caught my attention. When Indian PM and Pakistani Prez met in Egypt yesterday, they decided to delink the issue of terrorism from talks and resumed the dialogue on other issues. Here the main issue of terrorism has been "swept under the carpet". The issue still exists and will surely resurface, but for now, they are talking to each other. This is a perfect example of 'Smoothing'.

    You can read the complete story here: India, Pak delink terrorism from dialogue

  • Compromising: The whole world knows about the stand-off between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir. Let's say India and Pakistan decide to split Kashmir into two parts (I mean 'officially' split it) and take control of one part each. If they resolve the issue in this manner, it would be a 'Compromise'. Both parties want Kashmir but at the end of the day, they resolve the conflict by 'Compromising' and giving up some part of their demand. This is just a hypothetical example. Since the stakes are so high, a compromise may not work in this situation.

I won't delve further into politics. I hope you can clearly see the difference between Smoothing and Compromise now. Peace.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 11 comments

  Three-point estimates vs PERT - What's the difference?

Difference between three-point estimates and PERT weighted-average estimate for activity duration Project Estimation and PERT (Part 3): There's a very little probability of completing a project on any one given date. Three-point estimates use 3 different estimates - Optimistic (O), Most Likely (M) and Pessimistic (P) - to estimate project duration and cost. Rather than using a single estimate, three-point estimates use a range of estimates. The three estimates take into consideration the risk in the project and help project managers develop a more realistic schedule or budget. For the purpose of planning, a single estimate is derived from the three-point estimates. Let's take the example of Activity Duration Estimate.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  3 Free Video Episodes of The PM Prepcast

The PM Prepcast is one of the best self-paced distance learning programs for the PMP Exam. It's a one of its kind, revolutionary product that is very attractively priced and delivers more than it promises. It also qualifies for the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management education, which is a pre-requisite for the PMP Exam.

Here are 3 free video episodes of The Project Management Prepcast that can help you evaluate the program and make a more informed decision.

You can also read Review of The Project Management Prepcast, and compare it with your own evaluation.




To know more, see The Project Management Prepcast.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 3 comments

  The AMA Handbook of Project Management - A Refreshing take on the PMBOK Guide

Are you preparing for the PMP Exam? If yes, tell me honestly - do you know that The AMA Handbook of Project Management is a PMP Exam Prep book? Handbook and Exam Prep Book? Doesn't sound right, isn't it? You might have heard about PMP Exam Prep books from Rita Mulcahy, Andy Crowe and Kim Heldman. But not many PMP aspirants are familiar with The AMA Handbook. And what if I tell you that you can get it for free. Would you be interested to know more? Read on.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 16 comments

  Progressive Elaboration vs Rolling Wave Planning

Progressive Elaboration and Rolling Wave Planning in Project Management (PMP) Some PMP aspirants get confused with the difference between Progressive Elaboration and Rolling Wave Planning. The concepts are so similar that the confusion is legitimate. So, let's understand these concepts and look at the differences (or similarities). We'll look at some examples as well to reinforce the concepts.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 3 comments

  Project Management Acronyms for the PMP Exam

The PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition contains nearly 100 acronyms. It even has a separate section for Acronyms in the Glossary. But this section provides a list of only about 50 acronyms used in the Guide. Apart from these acronyms, there are many standard Project Management acronyms that all PMP aspirants should know. On top of this, a lot of jargon has been developed around the PMP Exam like ITTO and LL. I've compiled a list of about 125 acronyms collected from various sources, such as the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition, PMP Exam Prep books and resources, and online forums.

AcronymFull formRemarks
ACActual Cost 
ACWPActual Cost of Work PerformedOld term for AC
ADMArrow Diagramming MethodRarely used now
ADRAlternative Dispute Resolution 
AEApportioned Effort 
AOAActivity-on-ArrowRarely used now
AONActivity-on-Node 
ARMAAutoregressive Moving Average 
BACBudget at Completion 
BARFBought-into, Approved, Realistic, Formalfrom Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep
BCRBenefit Cost Ratio 
BCWPBudgeted Cost of Work PerformedOld term for EV
BCWSBudgeted Cost of Work ScheduledOld term for PV
CAControl Account 
CBRCost Benefit Ratio 
CBTComputer-Based Test 
CCBChange Control Board 
CCSChange Control SystemNon-standard
CHContact HoursNon-standard
CMMI®Capability Maturity Model Integrated 
COCCost of Conformance 
CONCCost of Non-Conformance 
COQCost of Quality 
CPAFCost Plus Award Fee 
CPFCost Plus Fee 
CPFFCost Plus Fixed Fee 
CPICost Performance Index 
CPIFCost Plus Incentive Fee 
CPMCritical Path Methodology 
CRChange Request 
CVCost Variance 
DFDData Flow Diagram 
DOEDesign of Experiments 
DUDuration 
DURDuration 
EACEstimate at Completion 
EEFEnterprise Environmental FactorsNon-standard
EFEarly Finish 
EMVExpected Monetary Value 
EPVExpected Present Value 
ESEarly Start 
ETCEstimate to Complete 
EVEarned Value 
EVAEarned Value Analysis 
Economic Value Add 
EVMEarned Value Management 
EVTEarned Value Technique 
FFFinish-to-Finish 
FFPFirm Fixed Price 
FMEAFailure Mode and Effect Analysis 
FP-EPAFixed Price with Economic Price Adjustment 
FPIFFixed Price Incentive Fee 
FSFinish-to-Start 
FVFuture Value 
HRHuman Resource 
IFBInvitation for Bid 
IOInputs and OutputsJargon
IRRInternal Rate of Return 
ISOInternational Organization for Standardization 
ITTOInputs, Tools, Techniques and OutputsJargon
JADJoint Application Development (or Design) 
JITJust in Time 
KAKnowledge AreaNon-standard
LFLate Finish 
LLLessons Learned (or Learnt)Jargon
LOELevel of Effort 
LSLate Start 
NPVNet Present Value 
OBSOrganizational Breakdown Structure 
OPAOrganizational Process AssetsNon-standard
OPM3®Organizational Project Management Maturity Model 
PBTPaper-Based Test 
PDCAPlan Do Check Act 
PDMPrecedence Diagramming Method 
PERTProgram Evaluation and Review Technique 
PMProject Manager 
Project Management 
PMBPerformance Measurement Baseline 
PMBOK®Project Management Body of Knowledge 
PMI®Project Management Institute 
PMISProject Management Information System 
PMOProject Management Office 
PMP®Project Management Professional 
PTAPoint of Total Assumption 
PVPlanned Value 
Present Value 
QAQuality Assurance 
QCQuality Control 
QFDQuality Function Deployment 
QPQuality PlanningNon-standard
RACIResponsible, Accountable, Consult, and Inform 
RAMResponsibility Assignment Matrix 
RBSResource Breakdown StructureNon-standard
Risk Breakdown StructureStandard
RFIRequest for Information 
RFPRequest for Proposal 
RFQRequest for Quotation 
ROIReturn on Investment 
ROMRough Order of Magnitude 
SFStart-to-Finish 
SMESubject Matter Expert 
SOWStatement of Work 
SPISchedule Performance Index 
SSStart-to-Start 
SVSchedule Variance 
SWOTStrengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats 
T&MTime and Material 
TCPITo-Complete Performance Index 
TQMTotal Quality Management 
TTTools and TechniquesJargon
VACVariance at Completion 
VEValue Engineering 
VOCVoice of the Customer 
WASWork Authorization System 
WBSWork Breakdown Structure 
WPIWork Performance InformationNon-standard
9x59 Knowledge Areas x 5 Process GroupsJargon


Acronyms related to PMP Re-certification (for certified PMPs)

AcronymFull form
CCRContinuing Certification Requirements
CEUContinuing Education Unit
PDUProfessional Development Unit
SDLSelf-Directed Learning
SIGSpecific Interest Group


Acronyms related to other PMI certifications

AcronymFull form
CAPM®Certified Associate in Project Management
PgMP®Program Management Professional
PMI-REP®PMI Registered Education Provider
PMI-RMP®PMI Risk Management Professional
PMI-SP®PMI Scheduling Professional


Click here to download the entire table as a PDF file.

If you know of other acronyms (related to PMP) that should be on this list, please let me know.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  New Anti-Piracy Features in the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition PDF

I downloaded the PMBOK Guide Fourth edition again (lost my previous copy) and found something very interesting.

PMI has embedded 2 new anti-piracy features in the PDF Version of PMBOK Guide 4th Edition to prevent illegal distribution of the standard.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 4 comments

  PMP Exam-Taking Strategies - Are You Battle-Ready?

PMP Exam is a 4 hour long battle. You can make these 4 hours the most memorable or the most fateful of your life, depending upon what you do during (and of course, before) these hours. I'm going to offer some tips that can help you make the most of these 4 hours. These are best practices that have worked well for successful candidates. There are no hard and fast rules. I suggest that you practise these tips while you take the mock exams and tailor them according to your style.

This article is second in the series of articles on PMP Exam tips. Be sure to also read my first article - Important Tips on PMP Exam Preparation.
  1. Use the first 15 min demo module to your advantage, whichever way you prefer - do brain dumps, meditate, relax, exercise, day-dream, or whatever that makes you comfortable.

  2. Read all the answer options before you answer a question. Lame tip, but many people miss these basics of taking objective-type exams.

  3. Don't leave any question unanswered in the exam, even during the first pass. If you are not sure about the answer, follow your instincts, select an answer choice, and mark the question for review. Most successful candidates will tell you that usually your first guess is the best. Remember, there's no negative marking in the PMP exam.

  4. Don't spend too much time on any single question, especially lengthy questions. You have 1 min and 12 sec per question (200 questions in 240 mins). As I mentioned above, take your best guess, mark the question for review and move on. I know that sometimes it's difficult to put a question out of your mind and move on, and even if you manage to do so, the question keeps nagging you. But this is a skill you need to master by practicing on mock exams.

  5. Bookmark (for review) only those questions, which you are unsure of. Don't bookmark every other question. You might not have sufficient time to review all the questions again. So, save the review time for only those questions that you are really unsure of.

  6. Sometimes, answer to one question lies in another question in the same exam. This is a tip that you should keep in mind for any objective type exam.

  7. Be patient with lengthy questions. Sometimes, a lot of information is just superfluous and does not have any relevance to the question or the answer choices. Many experts recommend reading the last sentence only of wordy question. I, however, prefer to read it completely, rather than leaving it to chance.

  8. Don't get frustrated by difficult questions, specially during the beginning of the exam. Many exam takers (including me) say that they had lots of difficult questions in the beginning. Rather than getting demoralized, you can follow the tips listed above and look forward to easy scoring opportunities ahead. Usually the exam has a good mix of questions with varying level of difficulty. If you get some tough questions in the beginning, you are bound to get some easy ones down the line.

  9. Learn to use the 'elimination' technique on answer choices. For most questions, you can easily eliminate 2 choices. That leaves you with only 2 choices and a success probability of 50% !

  10. Exam contains 25 Pre-test questions, which are not scored. These are trial questions which can possibly be included in the exam in future. If you have prepared well for the exam, used a variety of study material, and still find a totally out-of-the-blue question, chances are that it might be one of 'those 25 questions'. Just take your best guess and move on. Don't even bother marking it for review. If you don't have any clue about it the first time around, you are unlikely to do any better next time around.

  11. Should I take a break during the exam? This is a personal choice. I can sit through two 4 hr exams straight, without a break. But many people can't stare at a monitor for more than 30 mins. You got to decide what works best for you. Work out your strategy during the mock exams.

  12. If you tend to get nervous during exams, I suggest you use the calculator to verify your answers for numerical based questions, even if it's '2+2=4' type calculations. Numerical based questions are a rare easy scoring opportunity on this exam. Don't mess up on these questions. Double-check your answers.

That's all for now. Coming up next - Important Tips on picking the 'right' answer on the PMP Exam.

If you have more tips to share with other PMP aspirants, post them here as comments and feel proud of yourself by contributing to others' success.

Related Articles:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 3 comments

  250 Free Project Management Books for PMI Members

Many PMP aspirants who sign up for PMI membership for the sole purpose of saving money on the certification cost, do not know that PMI membership also gives them free online access to over 250 Project Management books with free membership of books24x7. Many who do know about books24x7, don't really know how to access this resource. And PMI, as usual, is very good at making their website layout as unintuitive as possible. So, here's how you access books24x7. Remember, you need to be PMI member in order to access this resource.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 6 comments

  Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, 6th Edition is Available on Amazon Now

Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition (for PMBOK Guide 4th Ed), is now available on Amazon and at a hefty discount of 37%. PM Fastrack and Flashcards are also available at decent discount. All three items are temporarily out of stock, but you can place your order and lock the price now.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Which version of PMBOK - if PMP application is approved before Jun 30?

A PMP aspirant, Vikas Jain, posted this question to me couple days ago:

I have read on a website that if one applies for the PMP exam and if his/her application is approved before 30th June then the person can have the option of taking the exam on PMBoK 3rd edition till one year from the date of approval of the application. For example if the application is approved on 25th June, 2009 then one can take the PMP exam on PMBoK 3rd edition till 24th June, 2010.

Wanted to confirm with you if the above information is True?

Here's the response:

That's NOT correct. It doesn't matter when your application is approved; what matters is the date you take the exam. If your application is approved on 25th June 2009, you have time till 29th June 2009 to take the exam based on PMBOK Guide 3rd edition. From 30th June 2009, you'll have to take the exam based on PMBOK Guide 4th edition, irrespective of when your application was approved.

Hope this clarifies your doubt.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 13 comments

  What is the difficulty level of the PMP Exam?

The difficulty level of the PMP exam is a subjective matter. What is difficult for me, might be easy for you. I cannot assign a difficulty score to the exam on a scale of 1 to 10. However, I can tell you my personal opinion and what the "general" consensus is.

Generally, the PMP exam is considered difficult, and I agree with it. It is more difficult than any other (PMP) mock exam (free or otherwise) you would have attempted before. The questions on the real exam are phrased differently than on the mock exams. Questions are also lengthier (more wordy) than those on sample exams. The wording is very tricky, and there are a lot of 'situational' questions - situational, situational, situational. Even some of the formula related questions are situational. I hardly remember any question on the real exam that I had seen before the exam, even though I had attempted more than 3500 sample questions.

However, if you have Project Management experience, prepared well for the exam, and attempted plenty of sample questions from "good sources", you should be able to crack the real exam. It's difficult but not impossible. After all, there are more than 300K PMPs out there and not all of them are geniuses.

Tip: Start with some good free mock exams and save the commercial ones for the last. For the commercial exams, I recommend PM Exam Simulator (1800 Questions). An 80% score in your first attempt on these exams is a good indicator of your readiness for the real exam.

PMP Certification FAQs

100+ FAQs about PMP Certification


Last Updated: Dec 2, 2013

Related articles: Image credit: Flickr / mrtwistter
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  20 New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the PMP Exam

Which are the toughest topics on the PMP exam? Is there a change in PMP Exam pattern from June 30, 2009? Will anyone know if I fail the PMP Exam? Is it possible to apply for PMP exam without becoming a PMI member?

June 5, 2009: I just posted 10 new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the PMP Exam, on my PMP FAQs page. The questions are:

  • Which are the toughest topics on the PMP exam?
  • Is there any change in PMP Exam pattern from June 30, 2009?
  • How many PMPs are there in the World?
  • How often are PMP exams conducted?
  • How can I avoid PMP application audit?
  • How can I get a copy of the PMBOK Guide?
  • Where can I find the list of Paper-Based Test (PBT) Centers for PMP Exam?
  • Are there any other means to earn Contact Hours (apart from training by PMI-REPs)?
  • What doesn't qualify for 35 Contact hours of PM Education for PMP Certification?
  • What is the value of PMP Certification?

UPDATE (Jun 12, 2009) - Added 10 more questions today:
  • What is the difficulty level of PMP Exam?
  • Which version of PMBOK will the exam be based on, if PMP application is approved before Jun 30?
  • Will anyone know if I fail the PMP Exam?
  • Is it possible to apply for PMP exam without becoming a PMI member?
  • Does score matter on the PMP Exam?
  • Does the PMP Certificate show the score?
  • How can I verify a person's PMP credential?
  • Which formulas should I know for the PMP Exam?
  • How long does PMI take to mail the PMP Certificate to successful candidates?
  • What is the percentage equivalent of each Proficiency Level on the PMP Exam?
To read the answers to these and about 50 other questions, head over to:

PMP Certification FAQs

100+ FAQs about PMP Certification


If you have other questions, which are not answered on the FAQs page, post them as comments and I'll try to address them within 24 hours.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 7 comments

  How can I avoid PMP Application Audit?

You cannot. There's nothing you can do to avoid your application from getting audited. PMI randomly selects a small percentage (about 10%) of applications for audit.

However, you can take some steps to prepare yourself to face the audit and ensure that the audit goes through smoothly, in case your application gets audited.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 5 comments

  Important Tips on PMP Exam Preparation


For past several weeks, I have been (passively) working on putting together a series of important tips on various aspects of the PMP Exam such as exam preparation, test-taking, picking the 'best' answer on the exam and more. Here's the first list of tips - Important Tips on PMP Exam Preparation - from the series. The series has been compiled from my experience on the journey towards PMP certification, and the knowledge I gained from various exam prep trainings, online forums and PMP experts.

Disclaimer: Please use the tips at your own discretion. Your mileage may vary.

Important Tips on PMP Exam Preparation
  • Read the PMBOK Guide at least 2 times (ideally 3).

  • Do NOT read too many exam prep books. The More The Merrier isn't true when it comes to PMP exam preparation. Usually one good exam prep book is sufficient to complement the PMBOK Guide.

  • No exam prep book is a substitute for PMBOK Guide. You must read the PMBOK Guide.

  • Read PMBOK Guide Glossary very carefully. You can get many more questions right if you know the terms and definitions in the glossary well.

  • Know the Inputs, Outputs, Tools and Techniques (ITTOs) well - understand them, memorize them, or do whatever that works for you.

  • Take time to read the PMI's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct very carefully. It will help you answer questions from "Professional and Social Responsibility" domain. Remember that 9% of exam questions are from this domain.

  • There are topics on the exam that are not even mentioned in the PMBOK Guide, but still make regular appearance on the exam. In fact, many of the popular exam prep books also don't cover these topics. One such topic is 'Delegation'. My advice here is to learn from others' experience - try to read several 'lessons learned' from successful PMPs in online forums. Try to find out the list of topics that find regular mention in these posts and read up on these topics.

  • Be very careful in selecting the exam prep material. You need to be especially selective with the free sample questions available on the net. Select sample questions from very reliable sources only. Don't go and start attempting questions provided by any pm-tiger or cert-monkey website (I hope these are not real website names). A few bad questions or wrong answers from these low-grade sources may seriously damage the thought-process needed for the PMP exam and might prove fatal as far as the success in the exam is concerned.

  • Join couple good PMP exam prep forums (online) and keep in touch with the happenings. This is an essential part of your preparation, but don't get carried away. Spending a few minutes in a day, reviewing and answering the posts is usually sufficient.

  • Study everyday even if it's just for 30 minutes. Avoid long breaks during your preparation. From my experience, it's very hard to re-build momentum once you lose it. You waste precious time getting back into the groove.

  • (Added on May 31, 2009) Print-out the ITTO pages from each Knowledge Area of the PMBOK Guide and staple them together into a separate set. Review this set whenever you study for the exam. I found this extremely helpful because it saved me time in flipping back and forth from chapter to chapter on the PMBOK Guide. Having all the ITTOs together also helped me tie them together in my head. I took notes on them, carried them with me all the time, and reviewed them as often as possible, specially in the last few days before the exam. It worked really well for me.

  • (Added on June 13, 2009) While selecting the practice tests, make sure you select the ones that give detailed explanation of the right and the wrong choices. This is very important. After you complete the tests, review the answers for each and every question. Most people only review the questions, which they got wrong. But a better approach is to review your "right" answers also to make sure that your reason for selecting it as the "best" answer, is indeed correct.

  • (Added on June 13, 2009) Attempt at least 3 full-length practice exams, and take each exam in one stretch, just like you would do in the real exam. PMP exam is a 4-hour marathon and longer than most other exams you would have taken before. Apart from your Project Management skills, it's also a test of your physical and mental endurance. So, it's very important to build your stamina to take this exam.

Thanks for reading.

Coming up next ... Important Test-Taking Tips for the PMP Exam.

Related Articles:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Review of PMP Exam Formula Study Guide (PMBOK Guide, 5th Ed)

PMP Certification Exam Formulas Maths Problems Calculations PMP Exam Formula Study Guide is a unique tool that addresses a very important aspect of PMP exams - the formulas. Being an affiliate of OSP International, the publishers of PMP Exam Formula Study Guide, I received an evaluation copy of the Guide and had an opportunity to review it. So, here I am posting a review of the tool for those who may be interested in buying it.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  Does one need to memorize ITTOs for the PMP Exam?

One of the most frequently asked questions by PMP aspirants is whether one needs to 'memorize' Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs (ITTO) for the PMP exam. If you ask experienced Project Managers, their answer would be a resounding 'NO'. They will go on and tell you that you only need to understand the principles and concepts behind PM Processes and ITTOs, and everything will fall in place. If you ever mention that you believe in memorizing the ITTOs, in a good PM forum, you are bound to get ostracized.

Update 1/1/2011: Worried about ITTOs for the PMP exam? Check out:

brainBOK - PMP and CAPM Certification System

I do believe that there's some hypocrisy at play and many don't admit what they actually did. If you ask the same question to a very close friend, you might get a more personal and honest answer.

In my opinion, you do need to have a good conceptual understanding of the ITTOs. You simply cannot memorize all the ITTOs. However, if you find certain nuances, which aren't obvious to you, you might want to take a (mental) note of them before the exam. Is this called memorization? I don't know.

I decided to conduct a new survey to solicit readers' opinion on this matter. Go ahead and express your opinion and also find out what others think about this. The survey is totally anonymous and nobody is going to send you hate-mail if you answer one way or the other. So, be honest.

Does one need to memorize ITTOs for the PMP Exam?


Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  What is the difference between Contact Hours and PDUs?

People (including me) often use Contact Hours and PDUs interchangeably. So, I decided to settle the issue once and for all. I wrote to PMI and requested clarification. This is what they responded back with:

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  Rita's Fastrack PMP Exam Simulator at 60% discount (PMBOK 3rd Ed)

I just found Rita's Fastrack PMP Exam Simulator Software (based on PMBOK Third Ed) selling for $112 through Amazon's third-party seller, compared to Amazon's price of $269. I've not seen the price go below $250 in the past 2 years. Moreover, it's a "new" item (not a "used" one). It's a great bargain for anyone planning to take the exam before June 30, 2009.

Needless to say that it's a great product and I've personally used it for my exam preparation. It offers 1400+ sample questions.

To avail the offer, click here.

Note: Price is $112 at the time of this posting. It may change any time.

Related Articles:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 29 comments

  PM Prepcast Review: PMP Certification Course + 35 Contact Hours

PM Prepcast Review - PMP Certification Course (Online) PM Prepcast Review: The Project Management Prepcast is arguably the second-most popular PMP Certification Exam Prep resource (after Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep book). The new Project Management Prepcast has just been released. I had a chance to do beta testing for this video course and spent a good portion of two weeks evaluating it. In this article, I'm sharing my review and other highlights of the product.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  New Video PM Prepcast (Podcast) launched - 25% off - Today Only!

New PM Prepcast has been launched today. A few words on the Prepcast for those who are not familiar with it:
  • It is a video Podcast compared to the previous audio-only version.
  • It has 111 lessons and total duration is over 47 hours - 38 hours video and 9.5 hours of audio.
  • You can use it on your computer, iPod, iPhone or any modern smartphone or multimedia player.
  • Using this workshop, you can earn the 35 Contact Hours, which are a pre-requisite for the PMP Exam, at your own pace and anywhere.
  • You need to pass a 25 question online test to receive your 35 Contact Hours Certificate. You need to answer 17 out of 25 questions correctly in order to pass the exam. You can take the test 2 weeks after purchasing the Prepcast. The good part is that you can take it anytime and as many times as you want.
  • It comes with lot of bonus material, the most useful of which is a sample exam with 60 tough questions.
  • It also comes with an unconditional money-back guarantee.
Read the full review here:

Full review of PM Prepcast

It is priced at $99.97. However, if you purchase today (05/08/2009) using the coupon code TWITPREP25, you can get $25 discount. To avail the offer, use the link below.

New PM Prepcast - $25 off

I have an evaluation copy of this product and currently in the process of writing a comprehensive review. For now, I'll just say one word for it - Awesome !

I'll try to post the review over the weekend.

All the best.

UPDATE: This was a one-day promotion and has expired. See current promotions.


Related articles:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  PMP Exam Formula Study Guide - for PMBOK Fifth Edition

Here's another new product for PMP Exam based on PMBOK Fifth Edition - PMP Exam Formula Study Guide.

Some product facts:
  • Cost $29.97
  • You get 3 PDF documents:
    • Formula Study Guide
    • Formula Pocket Guide
    • 105 Exam Sample Questions
  • Mainly for PMP. Overkill for CAPM.
  • Based on PMBOK Guide 5th Edition standard
  • 20% promotional discount
  • Promotional price with coupon code: $23.97
  • Promotion is valid till May 31, 2009 (midnight) only
  • You have to enter the coupon code "formula-one" (without quotes) into the gift-certificate box during checkout. You must also click the "Validate" button.

To avail the discount, click on the image below.


Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Ultra-cool HD Camcorder for PMPs

Check out my ultra-cool, stylish, funky, state-of-the-art and rocking FlipHD Camcorder with PMP Tag Cloud skin. I would love to receive this as a gift :)

FlipHD Camcorder for PMPs

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Cool PMP Tag Clouds with Wordle

I came across this super cool website called Wordle that allows you to create wonderful tag clouds with labels of your choice. It can even pull the labels from your websites and blogs. The image fonts, colors, size and layout are selected randomly. However, you can also customize it accordingly to your preference. Go and checkout the application on Wordle. You are sure to love it.

I'm absolutely loving it !

To see what I'm talking about, here's a quick sample of the cloud that I created.


Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 5 comments

  Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition is Available Now

Good news for all PMP Aspirants, planning to take the exam on or after June 30, 2009

Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition is available now. The list price is USD 99.00 (plus $10 S&H). Along with the book, the upgraded PMP Fastrack Exam Simulator and PMP Hot Topics Flashcards have also been launched.

The book is only available on Rita's website. It's not on Amazon yet. If you want to purchase it at a discounted price, you might want to wait till it is available on Amazon. The price on Amazon will definitely be at least 25% less than the list price.

UPDATE (June 22, 2017): Updated link to 8th Edition.



Related Articles:
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Launch Promotion 20% Off: 1,750 PMP® Exam eFlashCards


PMP® Exam eFlashCards is one of the first exam prep material for people who want to take the exam on or after June 30, 2009. The flashcards are based on PMBOK Fourth Edition (latest).

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  What does a PMP Certificate look like?

My dear PMP Aspirants,

I know that you are can't wait to get your hands on the PMP Certificate, which has your name printed right in the middle with a nice big bold font. I'm sure your dream will come true if you work hard, and my good wishes are with you. For now, those anxious and curious souls, who want to know what their coveted prize would look like, here's a sample.



Click on the image to see it in full size

Other interesting posts