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  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.

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  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

  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

  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

  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.

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Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog

  PM Prepcast Review for PMP Certification: My Unbiased Analysis of Pros and Cons

PM Prepcast Review - PMP Certification Course (Online) PM Prepcast Review: The Project Management (PM) Prepcast is arguably the second-most popular PMP Certification Exam Prep resource (after Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep book). The new PM 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 unbiased review of the Prepcast along with the features of the products, its pros and cons. I hope it helps you make an informed decision about purchasing this product. Unlike other reviewers, I have no intention to hard sell this product to you. So sit back, relax and enjoy the review.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog

  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.

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Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog

  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

  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