Mnemonics for PMP and CAPM Certifications

3 minute read    Updated:    Harwinder Singh

Memory aids, mnemonics, tricks for PMP Certification

Does PMP Certification require memorization? PMP and CAPM aspirants use mnemonics heavily to memorize everything from Process Groups to Knowledge Areas, Process Names to ITTO’s, and much more. According to Dictionary.com, Mnemonics are something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. Most of us have used mnemonics in some form or another, for exams, work, or other purposes. I still remember the mnemonic - B B Roy of Great Britain has a Very Good Wife - that I learned during my engineering degree program more than 15 years ago. It was used to recall color code sequence for resistors. And who doesn’t remember the acronym (a form of mnemonic) VIBGYOR for the seven colors of the rainbow.

List of Mnemonics for PMP

In this post, I’m not going to share much information with you. Instead, I’m going to invite you - the readers - to share your favorite mnemonics for PMP and CAPM certification exams. I’ll start by sharing mine that I created for my PMP certification way back in 2007. I’ve kept it secret all these years (I know it sounds selfish). It is 100% original and I bet you’ll not find any reference to it preceding this post.

Mnemonic to remember 10 Project Management Knowledge Areas

I used this mnemonic to remember the names of 9 Knowledge Areas in the correct sequence. Later with PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition, Project Stakeholder Management was added as the 10th Knowledge Area and I updated the mnemonic accordingly. The original mnemonic was:

I Saw The Charming Queen Holding Cream Rose Petals

corresponding to the 9 Knowledge Areas:

  • Integration
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Human Resource
  • Communications
  • Risk
  • Procurements

With the addition of Project Stakeholder Management in PMBOK Guide, 5th Ed, I updated the mnemonic to:

I Saw The Charming Queen Holding Cream Rose Petals Sexily :)

  • Integration
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Human Resource
  • Communications
  • Risk
  • Procurements
  • Stakeholder

Update 2018: With the changes in PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition, I updated the mnemonic to:

International Space Station Crew Quickly Responded (when) Chemical Reaction Produced Smoke

  • Integration
  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Resource
  • Communications
  • Risk
  • Procurements
  • Stakeholder

Mnemonic to remember SPI, CPI, SV, and CV Formulas

People find it hard to remember whether EV goes in the numerator or denominator for SPI / CPI formulae, and whether it comes first or later in the SV / CV formulae. The formulae are:

SPI = EV / PV
CPI = EV / AC
SV  = EV - PV
CV  = EV - AC

The simple mnemonic that I devised to remember it to mentally associate EV with EVerest, yes Mount EVerest, which is the highest mountain in the world. EVerest is always on top (numerator) in SPI / CPI formulae and comes first in the SV / CV formulae.

Mnemonic for Level of Effort (LOE)

I think of Level of Effort as Level “off” Effort i.e. to spread out the work. This helps me to better relate to the true meaning of LOE.

Pro Tip

Before I close, I want to share one small tip related to mnemonics. Mnemonics work best when you create them yourself. Make use of this powerful, handy and time-tested tool to help you memorize or recall practically anything. Over to you now. Go ahead and share your own favorite mnemonics. Keep them coming.

Image credit: Flickr / oskay

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17 Comments

Missing Avatar

I used mnemonics for each domain group......plus kinetic learning method. I repeatedly write down the domain group names. They somehow stayed in my memory for quite a long time. The exam has passed for weeks and I can still recall everything. I'm quite surprised about that!

Michael Bentley Avatar

I have a mnemonic that seems very appropriate.
I (Integration)
Scope out
Schedule
Resource
Risks
Cause (sounds like cost)
Competent (Comm)
Stateholders
Prefer (Procurement)
Quality
Also when you look at how many processes for each in this order, they form a nice
number sequence 7 666 7 43 43 3

Harwinder Singh Avatar

Interesting sequence, Michael. It’s very heartening to see the contributions from the community in the last few days. Once the mnemonics get to a sizable mass, I’ll compile them together into a downloadable PDF.