Studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam may feel like a long and daunting process. There are many study aids available for use that can help make the studying process feel a little less overwhelming. One such study aid is a Flashcard. A Flashcard is defined by macmillandictionary.com as “a small card printed with words, pictures, or numbers that helps someone learn something.” In this article, we discuss how Flashcards can make your PMP® Exam studying a lot easier, along with how developing a 40 flashcards a cards a day habit can help you pass the PMP Exam.
The use of flashcards is a form of distributed practice. Distributed practice means spreading study sessions and self-testing out over time. Distributed practice is a proven method for enhancing student performance, so use flashcards to actively test yourself on concepts one at a time. Flashcards can be used to spread your studying out over time when you are in the process of studying for the PMP Exam. You can use then use your stack of Flashcards to quiz yourself again on the PMP material closer to your PMP Exam date. Flashcards are light, portable, and typically small enough so they can be used to study anywhere and anytime. If you are not interested in carrying around hard copy flashcards, there are even electronic versions you can download for your phone or tablet.
Make it a habit to use Flashcards
Spreading out studying for the PMP Exam is a great way to ensure you learn, not just memorize the PMP related concepts, but as with many things in life, you need to find the right balance between too little and too many flashcards in one day. For example, PMP Flashcards provides you with a ready-made set of 1500 flashcards. If you plan to take the PMP Exam in 90 days you might feel you can review 17 flashcards a day (1500/90 = 17) but you should review at least 40 a day to allow you to review each card at least once and to review again any flashcards that you could not answer correctly. There is no need to review all 40 in one sitting, break it up into two, three, or even four sessions. Remember you can review flashcards just about anywhere since they are portable. Setting a goal of reviewing 40 flashcards a day allows you to take a break in between flashcards to allow for the concepts to “sink in” and to avoid “cramming”.
Making a habit of using flashcards as part of your study process can help ensure your success with passing the PMP Exam. A habit is defined by macmillandictionary.com as “something that you often do without intending to or without realizing that you are doing it”. The first step in creating a 40 flashcard a day habit is to create a study planner. The study planner will help you distribute your learning of the PMP concepts and avoid cramming. Before you know it, picking up a flashcard to review when you have a few free moments to spare will be something you do without thinking about it. It will become a habit.
Flashcards help you pass your PMP Exam
Aiming for 40 flashcards per day is simply a guideline. You may want to review more flashcards early in your PMP Exam process, so you can gauge how much you know at that point, then figure out how quickly you want to pace yourself prior to your exam date. You may find that 30 or 50 a day fits your schedule and life a little better. Many students keep a separate pile of those flashcards which they found difficult to answer or answered incorrectly. You may want to schedule a day or two a week to go into greater depth and research topics from this pile of cards. Also, don’t forget to schedule a day every once in a while to take some time off for unrelated activities to allow for the concepts to “sink” in. The key is to set a daily goal (to develop a habit), track your progress, and determine if you should aim to review more, or maybe even fewer, flashcards a day depending on how you are doing.
Using flashcards is an example of distributed practice where learning is spread out over time in order to truly learn PMP concepts as opposed to simply memorizing words. You can use flashcards to review or self-test. Developing a 40 flashcard a day habit is an excellent way spread out learning of the PMP concepts. It is also an excellent way for you identify what topics you need to spend more time on. And once those concepts are truly sinking in, then don’t forget to immediately begin applying them on your own projects at work. There is no better way to learn than to apply what you studied. So you can see that flashcards can not only help you stay on track in order to pass the PMP Exam but also help improve your project management skills.
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:
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:
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:
Read this Forum Post
He not only says that the PMP salary you can expect is greater on average, but he also found many other PMP certification benefits. Having a shared vocabulary and enjoying a completely different and often steep career path are just two of them.
So if you are either already PMP certified or thinking about your own PMP Exam Prep and and wondering about the value of PMP certification, then this interview is definitely for you. Niraj and I explore the benefits of being or becoming a PMP from various aspects.
This is another episode in which I am proudly introducing you to one of my successful students who was able to pass the PMP. Hi name is Mark Chropufka (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-chropufka-pmp-mba-a3a8196) and he is a student of my PMP PrepCast.
I love doing these kinds of interviews because of the in-depth knowledge that I can take from someone like Mark who has passed their PMP exam and bring it to those who are still studying for their exam. And of course, I also feel very satisfied that it was my exam preparation course that showed Mark how to prepare for PMP.
In this PMP lessons learned interview you are going to hear him talk about his journey to becoming PMP certified from start to finish.
Every five to seven years, the Project Management Institute (PMI)® performs a “Role Delineation Study (RDS)”. This is basically a big survey among project managers like you and me from around the world with the goal to identify what it is that we do on our projects. As a result of the most recent RDS, PMI now has a pretty accurate picture of the tasks that we project managers perform, as well as the knowledge and skills required for our job.
Why is The PMP Exam Changing?
PMI wants to ensure that the PMP Exam is an accurate reflection of the tasks, knowledge and skills project management professionals actually perform and need on a daily basis. If PMI didn’t regularly add new methods and remove outdated ones, then PMP aspirants like yourself would still be tested on obsolete tools and techniques that were used 30 years ago when the PMP exam first came into being.
The PMBOK® Guide Isn’t Changing
This is important: The PMP Exam is based on the PMP Examination Content Outline and NOT on the PMBOK® Guide. Yes, there are many overlaps, but they are not 100% the same and the exam content outline even has some unique sections not covered by the PMBOK® Guide. The PMBOK® Guide itself, however, is not changing.
The PMP Exam Structure Isn’t Changing
The PMP Exam is a computer-based exam. You have to answer 200 multiple-choice questions in four hours. There is no change in this aspect of the PMP Exam.
The Domains and Score Report Aren’t Changing (Much)
When taking the PMP Exam, you will be tested in the five domains of Initiating (13%), Planning (24%), Executing (31%), Monitoring & Controlling (25%) as well as Closing (7%). At the end of the exam you will receive a score report that tells you how you did in each domain and whether you passed or failed the exam.
The PMP Exam Eligibility Requirements Aren’t Changing
The PMP Exam eligibility requirements remain the same. You still need to show the same amount of education and experience as before. You can find the details on page six of the PMP Credential Handbook. No change.
The Exam Changes on 11 January 2016. No Ifs, Ands or Buts About It.
The change was originally scheduled to take place on 1 November 2015. This was not enough time for everyone involved to get ready, so PMI changed the date to 11 January 2016.
Your Study Materials Will Change
The new PMP Exam Content outline, includes some modifications to existing tasks, removal of a few tasks and the addition of eight new tasks. Some of the main drivers for the exam changes include:
My Recommendations For PMP Students
1.) Take Your PMP Exam before 11 January 2016
My final recommendation to you as a PMP student is this: Don’t worry about the coming change too much!