How to Do a PMP Brain Dump: Beginner’s Guide

The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is a like a beam of self-realization where you’ll be able to understand the true meaning behind the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” 

We’re kidding! But it is one exam that will challenge your analytical, conceptual, visualization, and general skills.

Since the exam is a “closed” book exam, you aren’t allowed to carry in any other reference material. This rises an issue:

During the examination, your brain is surely going to be clogged with information as you try to decode the pass PMP exam questions and also how to apply your knowledge to solve it.

With so many things taking up space in the brain at the same time, recalling information isn’t the easiest task in the world. To be honest, a portion of your ability to find that knowledge will be lost within your grey cells. 

So, how to create the best circumstances to higher your chances of passing the PMP exam? Simple: A brain dump.

What is a PMP Brain Dump Sheet?

Many students use this technique called brain dump while appearing for closed book exams to make their own little reference table. In the simplest words possible, brain dumps are composed of abbreviations of concepts and components which take up space in your memory and are then jotted down on sheets of paper for reference before the exam.

There’s just enough theories, concepts, content and formulas in brain dumps to jog your memory. When you have the information penned on your brain dump, your mind is free and can concentrate on the questions in front of your eyes instead of trying to recall the formulas required to answer them. A brain dump helps keep you in the correct frame of mind subjective to every question.

What Does a PMP Dump Contain?

PMP Brain Dumps are basically all the information you can take out on a piece of paper, so the quantity and quality really depends on you and your study progress. A good PMP Brain Dumb contains concepts, theories, formulas, as well as those PMP-isms that the brain very cleverly manages to forget when they’re required the most.

Expect to see these elements in an average PMP Brain Dump:

  • Table 3-1 of the PMBOK Guide, or, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
  • Formulas. For instance: communication channels, earned value, probability, procurement, project selection, PERT, and depreciation.
  • Values like estimate ranges and 1, 2, and 3 sigma.
  • Ability of a project manager.
  • Acronyms, such as TCPI or BAC.
  • Herzberg’s motivators.
  • Sources of conflict (based on order of priority).
  • Conflict resolution (best to worst).
  • Project closing check list.

It goes without saying that you should ideally include everything that you personally have trouble registering during study sessions and you feel should go on the sheet. The above mentioned list or a Brain Dump created by someone else can be used as good starting point, but for the best results, you have to customize it according to your requirements. 

There’s a common mistake that many examinees commit. Just because someone else is having trouble studying something, doesn’t necessarily mean you will too. Don’t include something because it’s what causes inconveniences to others; include things that mess up your tempo.

Studying for Your PMP Brain Dump the Right Way

You can study for a PMP Brain Dump and the super dedicated examinees do it! The idea is to get your brain to spill out information in a systematic and organized manner without missing out on the important details.

  • Research PMP brain dumps on the internet. Many samples of PMP Bran Dump are available on the internet, both for free and paid. Review what you find, then combine and create your own.
  • Don’t just memorize your brain dump; develop it. Memorizing that long a list of formulas is rather daunting. Remember that many PMP formulas are interconnected or related to each other. Review those relationships carefully and you’ll see that your brain dump is spilled out more naturally.
  • Practice writing daily. Make a master brain dump – the ideal brain dump that you’d like to be able to replicate before the D-day. Compare your daily practice brain dump to it and mark the places you got wrong. Put special emphasis on those segments in your next study session before doing a brain dump.
  • Include and exclude topics as necessary. Have majority of the formulas and concepts on your brain dump, but if there’s a particular area where you’re having hiccups, write it again. For instance, you may add all the risk management strategies or conflict management tactics.
  • Use shorthand. While reviewing sample PMP brain dumps on the internet, think how the elements can be abbreviated to ease your understanding. Write TCPI instead of To-Complete Performance Index.

Can I Study with a PMP Cheat Sheet?

Yes, you can! Brain dumps revolve around pure memorization. Make it a valuable addition to your exam preparation, studies and exercises. Dedicate a segment of your memory to the contents of the Brain Dump and then write them out onto a piece of paper every day.

Keep practicing your Brain Dumps every morning till you’re content with your progress. Hopefully, you will be able to write an entire brain dump on the first go by the end of the first week.

Don’t stop; continue dumping on a regular basis. Return to the daily schedule two weeks before the exam.

Bottom Line

Studying and creating by yourself, a customized PMP Brain Dump Sheet qualifies as a means to an end on its very own. It all starts with getting to know your weak zones by making the content that needs to go on there. Afterward, it’s a continuous process: Memorize, dump, and repeat. Slowly but surely, what once seemed too complicated to register, will appear simple and easy.

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