Project Management

No More Brain Dumps During Exam Tutorial

From the Certification Insider Blog
by
Cornelius Fichtner help you with your PMP Exam Prep (https://www.project-management-prepcast.com) as well as earn free PDUs (www.pm-podcast.com/pdu). Passing the PMP Exam is tough, but keeping your PMP Certification alive is just as challenging. Preparing for the exam requires an in-depth study of the PMBOK Guide and dedicated study discipline. And once you are PMP certified, then you are required to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification alive. Let me help you make this journey easier with tips and tricks on how to prepare for and pass the exam as well as efficiently earning your PDUs once you are certified.

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Effective immediately, Project Management Institute (PMI)® and Prometric have made the following change to the examination format of all PMI® certifications: You are no longer allowed to take any notes during the 15 minute time of the tutorial.

Here is what this means for you.

PMI Brain Dump Policy

Here is PMI’s policy on this matter and what will be enforced at Prometric testing centers:

  • Testing candidates can start to utilize their scratch paper/note boards once the exam has officially started
  • Doing a “brain dump” during the 15 minute tutorial period or prior is not allowed
  • All scratch paper/note boards will be collected at the end of the testing session

Are Brain Dumps Now Forbidden?

No. The policy states that you are still allowed to use a brain dump, but you are simply not allowed to write it down during the 15 minute tutorial. You have to wait until the exam has officially started. And once the exam clock is ticking, then -- and only then -- are you allowed to write down your brain dump.

Writing down your brain dump after the exam countdown has begun will of course "eat up" exam time that you could spend answering questions. So if you are concerned about not having enough time to answer all questions, then spending time to write down your brain dump may not be for you. However, spending a moment of your actual exam time in the act of getting everything you memorized onto paper will additionally give you confidence in your exam knowledge, and you now have a physical reference to go back to during the heat of the exam.

PMI Still Allows Brain Dumps

To clarify the policy, Gregg Shaffer (Manager, Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) Program) posted the following comment on LinkedIn:

"To be clear, PMI still allows “brain dumps.” However, because of the importance of the tutorial, PMI simply states that the practice of “brain dumps,” in alignment with industry best practices and standards, not be allowed until after the tutorial is completed. We ask all to please respect and follow this direction."

We Recommend: When in Doubt... Ask!

At this time it is still early days and the exact implementation of this new policy may vary from one testing center to another. We therefore advise our students to ask the following questions before walking into the testing room:

  • When am I allowed to start making notes on the scratch paper / note board?
  • What am I allowed/not allowed to write onto the scratch paper / note board?
  • What else should I be aware of in regards of using the scratch paper / note board?

Student Experience

Here is what one of our students reported back regarding this new policy:

When I did my exam last week, I went in knowing I couldn't do a brain dump. So I spent 5 minutes going through the tutorial, started my exam, and did the brain dump as soon as I started the exam. If you go into the exam treating it as a 3 hour and 50 minute exam instead of a 4 hour exam, then you can take the time to do your dump, and just pace yourself slightly faster to complete the rest of it.

"I was given my paper when I was seated, and told that I wouldn't be able to write anything until I clicked the "start" button. Although in my case, I just had a bunch of EVM formulas, and in the end, there only a handful of questions that required EVM formulas..." Matt Mcdonnell

A Brain Dump is NOT = Exam Success!

Lastly, don't forget that a brain dump will not 'make or break" your exam. It is nothing more than a security blanket. The real factors that will bring you success on the exam are your experience as a project manager, your understanding of the material, and the hours and hours of preparation and taking sample exams that you put in.

Having Your Personal Brain Dumps is STILL Valuable

Are you wondering if you should still develop your own, personalize brain dump, what to put on it and what the "secret" of a brain dump is? Read this article:

The Secret Of Creating Your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Brain Dump

Read this Forum Post

For additional details please visit our website forum where we have an ongoing discussion on this topic.

Posted on: January 12, 2017 10:43 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Thanks for sharing - I agree with the student experience and I personally went to the exam without having in mind that I can do brain dump at all and I didn't.

It is all a state of mind. You do not need a brain dump to be a great PM, you need to understand the concepts and even the mathematical equations.

This is my personal opinion.

Network:4607
Cornelius, thanks for sharing. This will definitely clear many doubts.
As always very helpful post.

I agree Cornelius. Thanks for sharing this.

I took the PMP exam when you could do the Brain Dump during the tutorial. I made the choice to carefully listen to the tutorial, and then to write down my "brain dump" on paper before doing the exam. I did use just about all my available time for the test. The test is hard, but it is doable and there is time to do the tutorial first.

NICE PRESENTATION

A brain dump is not a guarantee of success.

It can be nice to put formula early so not to be confused once you need them.

Nice clarification

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