The PMP exam is an arduous, long examination. The exam is four hours long and there are 200 questions, which on average amounts to a minute and twelve seconds for each question. The average would drop if you take out time for breaks - which you probably will - given the duration of the exam.
PMP exam is a closed book exam - which means that you will not have any reference material to aid you with your exam. This will put your memory to the test. It is possible that you may hit a blank or jumble up what's what. Is there a way to get past this?
Yes, but before we get into that, let’s quickly talk about what happens on the day of the exam, at the Prometric center.
The instructor checks you in and hands you 4 or 6 A-4 size blank sheets and 2 pencils, takes you to your seat, and confirms with you that the computer and other facilities provided are functioning properly. Once that is done, you will have 15 minutes to go through the exam instructions and tutorials. For a well-prepared candidate, this would normally take 5-7 minutes, leaving 8-10 minutes to start your exam.
As mentioned earlier, it might quite be difficult to recall the formulae or other key points during the exam. You are juggling between comprehending what the question is, recollecting the relevant points to correctly answer the question, and keeping track of how much time is left on the clock. It is easy to make a mistake. You could misunderstand the question, fail to recollect a vital piece of information, or find yourself running out of time.
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Is there a better way to go about the exam? Thankfully, yes and I’m going to show you how. Remember the pre-test 15 minutes we spoke of earlier to acquaint yourself with the exam instructions? You can use those left out 8-10 minutes to create the brain dump.
It is a reference material you've created for yourself in the time allocated before the exam. Essentially, creating a brain dump involves putting everything you know onto paper. This includes keywords, formulae, PMI-isms, headings, theories, etc. Creating one before the exam begins will save you the exercise of recalling things later.
Whenever you identify what section the question requires to be answered, you could refer to your brain dump.
Let me list down a pretty exhaustive list of key concepts and other things you’d benefit penning down in your brain dump.
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The above list should be customized based on the individual’s difficulty in understanding and remembering the information. Include everything that might feel difficult for you.
The PMP brain dump is a very useful tool as far as the PMP exam preparation is concerned. It not only helps you in bringing your memory onto the test desk but also releases your stress during the test. Some of the questions could be very direct in that you would be able to solve a few problems and gain grace marks by directly using that kit.
Since it's not possible to transfer the entire PMBoK guide into the dump sheet, you will have to pick and choose what your sheet will content. Different candidates have different issues in understanding the PMP exam content and have different difficulty levels, hence each PMP aspirant focuses on different areas while preparing the dump sheets. Copying or referring to other candidates' dump sheets would not be advisable as it is not helpful.
Here are some guidelines that might help you in preparing a dump sheet for your needs :
Here are some tips on how to study the dump sheet even as it undergoes additions from what you're learning as per your study plan.
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