PMP® Exam Prep

Recommended Steps:
  1. Print out and read the PMP Handbook
  2. Join PMI national and your local PMI chapter at
  3. If you are ready to apply for certification, build your profile on PMI’s web site
    1. Draft your information
    2. Verify your information
    3. Notify your contacts
    4. Save your documentation
    5. Submit your online application
    6. After receiving notice that your application has been approved, submit exam payment
  4. Join a PMP® study group (like ours)
  5. Create a PMP® study plan (including reading the PMBOK® at least once, selections from additional reading lists including at least one PMP® Prep workbook, practice exams, and possibly prep courses)
  6. Sign up to receive daily practice questions here.
  7. Schedule your exam, take it, and pass it!

Advice about PMP exam prep studying

By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP – Helping you prepare for the PMP Exam
Should you learn ITTOs by Heart?
Do you feel that in order to pass the Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam you should memorize the PMBOK® Guide’s ITTOs (Inputs, Tools, Techniques and Outputs)? Do you think that the PMP® exam is full of IITO type of questions? Many people still believe this myth. Well, let me clear some misconceptions…
Many project managers have successfully passed the PMP® exam without any memorization. The current PMP® exam is all about an in-depth understanding of applying project management concepts and principles from the PMBOK® Guide as well as general management knowledge from other sources to project situations.
Granted, ITTOs are a major part of the PMBOK® Guide and about 75% of material for the PMP Exam is taken from the PMBOK® Guide. So it’s understandable that we assume because there are hundreds of ITTOs in the Guide the exam must be full of knowledge-based questions about them. And sample questions like “Which of the following is not an Input of the Create WBS process?” are plentiful on the internet.
So should you, or should you not memorize them?
Here is my story: When I studied for my PMP® exam I knew them by heart. I could tell you exactly which ITTO is used in which process. But I took my exam years ago. Since then the PMP® exam has become more experience-based using situational questions over knowledge-based questions.
Therefore a change in approach is needed.
It is still important to have a general understanding about which ITTO is used in which process, but you do not need to be able to recite them by heart. It is much more important to understand the concept of “Why is this ITTO used in this process?” Your knowledge about WHY an ITTO is used in a process will definitely help you to arrive at the right answer.
Additionally, this new approach is much more helpful for you as a project manager in the long run. Frankly speaking, who cares whether an ITTO is part of a particular process or not after you have passed the PMP® exam? If you need to know, you can just look it up! But knowing what they are, why you need them and how to apply them successfully on your projects greatly enhances your project management skills. It goes a long way in making you an exceptional project manager.
As you are studying the ITTOs for your PMP® Exam, keep the following concepts in mind:
First of all, Inputs and Outputs are always “things”, like a project management plan, a measurement, a result, an update to a plan, a document or a deliverable. You can touch Inputs and Outputs.
Second, it is very common that an Output from one process becomes an Input to another process. Focus your studies on understanding how these items flow through the many processes in the PMBOK® Guide in order to produce our project deliverables. Use the many charts that the Guide provides to see this graphically.
Third, Tools & Techniques very often have some form of “action” attached to them, like a meeting, a methodology, a technique, a form that you must fill in, or a matrix that you create.
And lastly, don’t forget to read the complete PMBOK® Guide glossary. Study and understand the definitions of the roughly 350 terms that you find here. Again, you are not doing this for memorization sake, but instead you want to learn “the language” of the PMP®exam. Often we use project management terms loosely and interchangeably in our day to day work. But for the exam we have to know exactly what each term means.
Reading the glossary ensures that you know the correct definitions, and, as a bonus, the glossary indicates for each term if it is an input/output, tool or technique.
So move beyond a third-graders approach of fact memorization. Instead, study the big picture, the data flows and how the ITTOs are the glue between the processes.
About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 9,000 students prepare for the PMP® Exam with his PM PrepCast at

General Tips

  • Visit each of the links on this site under the heading “PM Topics”. We have highlighted information we find most helpful while preparing for the PMP® exam.
  • Get good night of sleep while your studying. This may seem obvious, but this will help your brain absorb and retain pertinent information.
  • Practice using the Windows-based calculator. You will not be able to use your own while taking the exam.
  • Do not feel rushed. You have four hours to take the exam. Pace yourself and be confident in your answers.
  • Do not change your normal habits immediately before to the exam. For example, this would not be a good time to start a diet, quit smoking, or to make a major life change. Keep your stress level reasonable and allow yourself to focus on the exam.

Tip: Practice Your Dump Sheet

Most test takers get mentally fatigued during the PMP®exam. One of the best practices for taking the exam is creating what many call a “dump sheet” while you are in the testing facility.  However, one thing that you should consider is practicing the creation of this dump sheet before your exam date.

When you first arrive:
 On exam day you will check into the testing facility and they will hand you about 5-6 sheets of blank white paper and a few pencils. You will then take your seat at a computer and you will have about 15 minutes to go through a tutorial, which really only takes a few minutes to complete. After the tutorial, you technically begin your exam, however, we recommend that you use this extra time, which is usually about 10 minutes from the allotted tutorial time to do a dump sheet, or brain dump.

Creating a dump sheet: 
After you get situated and finish the tutorial write down any formulas that you find difficult to remember. Then, jot down terms, inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs that you think might trip you up. The earned value formulas, communications channels formula, Six Sigma values, acronyms, etc. are all good examples of what you could put on your dump sheet.

Practice your dump sheet before the exam: 
Remember – practice, practice, practice! Before you show up for your exam practice your brain dump sheet until you’re happy with it and have a firm understanding of what you need on it. While practicing, maintain a consistent layout and make sure you know where you put certain types of information on the sheet. This allows for fast retrieval of information during the exam.

Every person’s dump sheet is going to be different. That being said, don’t feel like you need to write down things you know well. Do enough practice questions until you have a good understanding of what topics might trip you up and focus on those topics while preparing your dump sheet. You’ll be happy you’ve got this when your taking the exam!

PMP® Mock Exams

A very important aspect of PMP® exam preparation is to get into the habit of taking sample exams. This helps you test your knowledge, practice the your pace, and reduce your testing anxiety.

That is why we have prepared a comprehensive practice exam for our students.  This practice exam is delivered through an effective learning management system and it allows our students to track their results while taking various formats of the exam. To find more information about our 6-month subscription and pricing please click the PMP Exam icon above.