Do I Need to Memorize PMP® ITTO?
Perhaps this is one of the most frequently asked question about PMP®. There are around 650 PMP® ITTO (Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs) in the PMBOK® Guide. The thought of having to remember them may deter many PMP® aspirants. We have two different schools of thought here, choosing a side that is comfortable to you.
Remember All the PMP® ITTO
For the study of lessons learned of 100 recent PMP® who have successfully passed the PMP® exam, some of them DO advice aspirants PMP®s to memorize all the ITTOs in order to be best preferred for the PMP® exam. A few of them even claimed that they have memorized all the ITTOs.
Some made flashcards for all ITTOs so that they can bring it anywhere and study the ITTOs when time available. Another PMP® recorded all the ITTOs on a mp3 and brought it wherever he went and listened to it over 2 hours each day in order to memorized the ITTOs. There is also an interactive tool for learning and remember ITTOs available online free of charge.
Another candidate who did not memorize ITTOs said that if he had remember the ITTOs, he would get several more correct answers. Another one said that it is best to be able to memorize all the ITTOs for those who can.
If you have a great memory, remembering all the ITTOs will help you score better in the PMP® exam.
No Need to Remember PMP® ITTO
The thought of having to remember 650+ items just by reciting may cause some aspiring PMP® to kill the thought of becoming a PMP®. Yet, much more successful PMP® exam takers do not advise memorizing the ITTOs. They could pass the PMP® exam confidently without memorizing the ITTOs.
Instead they focus on understanding what the inputs, tools and technique and outputs are and how they are related to each other and the project management processes. One suggests “focusing on why rather than what” which helped him to help understanding the ITTOs for the PMP® exam.
Other PMP®s would suggest memorizing ITTOs by logical relationship among the process, not the individual items. One output from a process can become an input of another process. If one can create mind maps for the various processes and ITTOs, one will be able to reconstruct all the ITTOs and process with logical relationship between them.
Many more agree that if you study hard and understand the PMBOK® Guide guide correctly, you should be able to remember quite a few ITTOs even without trying the memorizing them. Several of them thought that they have remembered over 70% of all the ITTOs just before their actual PMP® exam.
In fact, PMP® is not a test of memory but application of knowledge. The exam questions involving ITTOs are usually quite straight forward and one should be able to find out the answer with logic.
My Strategy to Prepare and Pass the PMP® Exam
My name is Edward Chung and I passed the PMP® examination on 7 Nov, 2013 based on the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition with ‘Proficient’ in Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and ‘Moderately Proficient’ in Closing.
I did not even think of memorizing the ITTOs during my 2-month study period. I have memorized all the processes and process groups but not the individual ITTOs. I just try hard to understand the major ITTOs for each process, I keep asking myself: why they are here, what they are and what they do. With these 3 questions, you will be able to mentally glue the major and crucial ITTOs to the processes.
In the real PMP® exam, I just got less than 4 questions about ITTOs, only one of them plainly asking which is the output of a process while the rest. Almost all other questions are situational or practical. It is true that the PMP® exam in NOT a test of your memory but your skills in applying the project management knowledge.
A last warning: during your preparation for the PMP® exam, you may hear the advice that if you encounter ‘Expert Judgment’ as one of the choices for the answer of a question asking for the ITTO of a process, you should seriously consider that to be the right answer. This is NOT the case for my PMP® exam. I got a question asking for the tools and technique for a process with ‘Expert Judgment’ as a choice, but the answer is NOT ‘Expert Judgment’. I need to use logical thinking to eliminate ‘Expert Judgement’ in my case.
The Bottom Line
Either you try to memorize the PMP® ITTO or not, you should study really hard for the PMP® exam by reading the PMBOK® Guide. PMP® on average spend 2 months for the preparation (source:100+ Tips on PMI® PMP® Certification Training & Study by 100+ Recent PMP®s).