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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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Episode 416: How Millennial Project Managers get Results without Authority

Episode 415: Emotional Intelligence Tools for Smoother Projects

Episode 414: How To Make Better Choices For Your Projects

Episode 413: When the Organization thinks they don't need Project Management

Episode 412: How to Integrate Risk Management into Agile Projects

The 40 Flashcards a Day PMP® Exam Study Habit

The 40 Flashcards a Day PMP® Exam Study HabitStudying 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.

Posted on: July 11, 2017 09:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

The 7 Questions Every PMP Student SHOULD Ask Their Coach

In our previous article we discussed the 7 questions that most of our PMP Exam coaching students ask us as they start out their journey. However, over the years we have identified a second set of 7 questions - the questions students SHOULD be asking us but they don’t. Here they are:

1. What’s the most important brain dump or diagram to learn?

This is an easy question! It’s Table 3-1 in the PMBOK® Guide. This covers the Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping. It’s a complicated matrix and a very important visual representation of Project Management Body of Knowledge and Project Management framework. It is very much a guiding tool for approaching the PMP exam and one of the most important brain dumps that you could have in the testing center to help you.

2. What formulas do I need to know for the PMP exam?

There are many formulas in the PMBOK® Guide; upwards of 20 or 30 that could be referenced in the PMP exam. A PMP exam coach would tell you that you will probably only see somewhere in a range of around 15 formulas on the exam itself.
If time is short and you want to focus your learning on what will really make a difference to your success in the exam, identify the formulas that are most likely to come up and make sure you fully understand those. A formulas study guide, coach or PMP exam tutor will be able to pinpoint the most important formulas for you. Start by memorizing those to maximize your learning time.

3. What are these Inputs, Outputs, Tools and Techniques (ITTOs)?

ITTOs tend to scare a lot of PMP students and some exam candidates have confided that they didn’t understand or know about them before they took the exam! They are very important for understanding how project management concepts and processes fit together, both for the exam and also for managing projects in ‘real life’ after the exam.

Make sure you spend enough time learning about their structure, and how you are likely to encounter them on the PMP exam. You can do this through studying the PMBOK® Guide, and using other study guides and flashcards. Taking practice PMP exams is another good way of testing your knowledge of ITTOs as you will get to see how the questions are framed on the exam and learn how best to respond to them.

4. What are some tricks to answering these long scenario-based questions on the PMP exam?

This is an excellent question that PMP exam coaches don’t hear often enough! The best students want to know how to deal with the long paragraphs that they see on the PMP exam.

These long questions are often a source of great difficulty for many students. The content of the question is often in a strange order and there are facts that are added in simply to distract you. The answers are also often longer than normal, so scanning through and making a quick judgment about how to answer is tricky. So how can you deal with these scenario-based questions?

Something that works well for many exam candidates is to read the last part of the question first. You can also use a process of elimination on certain answers by referring to your brain dump of Table 3-1, the Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping, or your formula sheet.

Practicing with an exam simulator and talking to your colleagues and coaches will help you understand and practice these long scenario-based questions.

5. How can I manage my time on the exam day?

Four hours seems like a very long time and in the past students were often able to complete the exam comfortably within this time. Now PMP exam tutors learn from their students that the test seems to be taking longer. You can still complete it within the 4 hour window allocated, but students are reporting that it is taking the full allocation of time so they don’t have the opportunity to leave early.
This could be for any number of reasons, including that students are now better prepared and are marking more questions for review. It could also be that earned value calculations are playing a great part in the exam and for many students, they add additional time. Whatever the reasons, you do need to manage your time carefully on the day to ensure that you have enough time to finish without being rushed.

Once you get on top of your time management you have a much better chance of passing the PMP exam.

6. What’s the best approach for learning all the content?

The best approach for learning all the content (and there is a lot of it!) depends on your learning style. Some people learn best by reading and absorbing information in their own time. This allows them to make notes and create their own flashcards, for example. If that sounds like you, a PMP study guide would be a good starting point.

Other people learn best through visual means, and if that sounds like your preferred learning style then the best approach that you could possibly take would be to find yourself a world class set of video learning lessons which will provide you with all of the content on all of the processes, the framework, and the body of knowledge in a visual way.

Others learn best in an environment with other people. A classroom course or PMP exam tutoring in a group can be a good solution if you prefer to learn in the company of others. Of course, you also have the option to learn one-on-one with a study buddy (a peer who is studying for the PMP exam at the same time as you), a mentor or PMP coach. Don’t limit yourself to having to meet in person as there are online options that also give you the personal touch without physically having to be in the same location, such as coaching via Skype.

You may want to use a combined approach to suit your situation so mix and match your learning options until you feel comfortable that you have a study plan that meets your personal needs and preferences.

7. How many practice exams should I take and what score should I score?

How many exams you take depends on how much time you have! It’s more important to make sure that you have access to practice exams that provide you with questions that are known to be almost exactly like the ones on the real test. Try to find a source of questions that are highly regarded to be very realistic. When you get to a point where you are repeatedly doing simulated exams at scores of 80% or better you know you are ready go in and pass that exam.

Do you feel better prepared for your PMP exam knowing the answers to these questions? We hope so! As you can see, it’s very difficult to give definitive answers in some cases as every student is different. The main message is to ensure you dovetail all of this advice together, making sure that you are studying in the right way, learning on the right timeline, taking the test questions right, and getting ready for the exam. Good luck!
 

Posted on: May 05, 2015 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

10 Reasons Flashcards Can Help You in PMP Exam Preparation

Studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Exam can be a long undertaking that at times may seem overwhelming. One known effective method for studying for the PMP Exam is using flashcards. Flashcards are compact, quick and easy to use study aids that typically cover one question, formula, or tidbit of information per card. Flashcards can be used just about anywhere; waiting in line, on the bus or train, or even when you just have a few moments between meetings. In this article, we are going to discuss 10 reasons flashcards should be part of your PMP Exam preparation toolkit.

You should consider using flashcards because as a study method, it does the following:

1. Allows you to study almost any time & anywhere -

  • Flashcards are portable and flexibly. They can go anywhere with you and can be used when you have some free time such as waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or the cable repair technician.
  • You can print flashcards and take them with you, or if you prefer PM Flashcards are also available to be viewed on mobile devices.

2. Provides an active method for learning PMP concepts -

  • When you use flashcards as part of learning a concept, you are not just passively reading information; you are asking yourself questions and actively answering them.
  • When you pick up a flashcard that reads “What does WBS stand for?” you have to think about what the question is asking and recall details related to the question. Apart from asking what WBS stands for, you might then ask yourself what does it mean? What was the context in which I learned about WBS? What is the significance of a WBS?
  • You are more fully engaged in learning, which helps make the information “stick”.

3. Allows you to think about how much you do or do not understand a concept -

  • Flashcards can be used to reflect on what you are learning, which is also known as metacognition, i.e. “Thinking about thinking”.
  • If you pick up a flashcard that reads “How do you calculate SPI?” you may remember what SPI stands for and that it involves earned value and planned value, but cannot recall the formula.
  • If you don’t have clear understanding of a flashcard question, then you know you may have to read more about it or review what you have learned about the concept. So this may mean looking up the SPI formula, study and work through an example to ensure that you know that you calculate SPI by dividing earned value by planned value.

4. Breaks studying down into small chunks -

  • One flashcard covers a single topic so flashcards overall break studying down into small single concept chunks.
  • For each chunk, you can determine which ones you understand and those that you know you need to review more.
  • In other words, flashcards allow for you to focus on one question at a time. When you pick up a flashcard that asks “What does WBS stand for?” and you think to yourself “I have no idea” then you know you need to set that card aside, so you can spend more time on specifically on the topic of the WBS.

5. Provides repetition -

  • Flashcards ask questions about concepts in a variety of different ways and are intended to be used over and over.
  • Knowing how to answer questions about a concept that is presented in a variety of ways ensures you learn, not simply memorize, the concept. In this way, you will find it easier to recall the information.
  • If you answer a flashcard question correctly, don’t just set it aside. It is useful to not only see the cards you have not mastered more than once, but also it is good to review cards you got right the first time. Answering correctly a few times ensures you have learned the concept.

6. Allows for distributed learning -

  • Distributed learning is the practice of spreading out your studying over time and quizzing yourself on the concepts over time; in another words…not cramming.
  • Take a break between study sessions to learn other concepts or do other non-study related activities to allow for the information time to “sink in”.
  • Spreading out studying for the PMP Exam is a much better method than cramming all of the information “en masse”.

7. Provides immediate feedback on progress -

  • With flashcards you know immediately if you are on the right track with a specific PMP concept, either you can answer the question correctly or not.
  • There is a growing sense of accomplishment with a growing pile of mastered flashcards.
  • There is no waiting time. You can immediately reprioritize your studies to learn more about topics on flashcard questions that you got wrong.

8. Allows you to control your learning -

  • You can order the flashcards randomly, by subject areas, by how much you have mastered a topic, or in any order you would like.
  • You can learn at your own pace; set your own personal goals such as to review 5, 40 or 100 flashcards a day.
  • You can easily sort the cards in to groups of what you do know and what you need to spend more time studying.

9. Uses both visual and auditory senses -

  • Memory improves when you use more than one sense to learn information, which can be done using flashcards.
  • It is useful to have cards where you can draw an image or graph on (visual) that you associate with the concept on the flashcard. For example if the concept is Maslow’s hierarchy, don’t just rely on the text to learn the concept – draw it out.
  • It can also be good to have someone else read the questions to you (auditory).

10. Works well in a group format -

  • You can make a game out of using flashcards and create a contest or casual competition within the study group, so you can introduce some fun while learning, discussing, and debating questions and answers.
  • Hearing and discussing the questions in a group format can help you to reinforce PMP Exam concepts.

Flashcards are an excellent study aid that can provide a huge boost to you PMP Exam preparation toolkit. They are broken down into a single concept at one per card, can be used just about anywhere when you have free time, can be sorted in any order you wish, and can be used alone or as part of a group study session. Of course you can create your own flashcards as you study, but there are excellent inexpensive flashcards available such as the PMP eFlashcards that can give you a head start.

Posted on: December 02, 2014 06:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Free PMP Exam Sample Question

The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator (The answer is at the very bottom):



 

Which of the following statements regarding the WBS is incorrect?

A) The WBS subdivides project work into smaller and more manageable components    
B) The WBS is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the project work    
C) The WBS organizes and defines the total scope of the project    
D) The components of the WBS are called work packages

 

 Hint: All of the choices look true but one of them is a trick.

All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at http://free.pm-exam-simulator.com and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at http://www.free-pm-exam-questions.com. We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.

 

Answer and Explanation:

The Correct answer is D. "The WBS can contain components at many levels. The planned work contained within the lowest levels of the WBS components are called work packages. The work package level is ONLY at the lowest level in the WBS. Items at the other levels of the WBS are simply called ""WBS components"".
We were looking for the INCORRECT statement among the four answers. The statement that ""The components of a WBS are called work packages."" suggests that ALL the components are called work packages. This is incorrect because (as explained above) only the lowest level contains the work packages."

Posted on: December 19, 2013 11:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Free PrepCast Video on YouTube - Advanced Earned Value Management for the PMP Exam

Watch this Free PrepCast video on YouTube about Earned Value Management.

This free video is only available for viewing until this weekend. Watch it now - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN8Y8WE85KA&hd=1

Posted on: November 21, 2013 06:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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