Braindump NOT allowed for the PMP Exam


Charles Choy

No. of Attempt
Study Duration
1 month full-time

PMP® Course
Simplilearn PMP®
Prep Book
Rita’s PMP® Book

Mock Exams Attempted
PM FASTrackOliverPM Exam Simulator
PMBOK® Guide Read

The invigilator forbids anyone from writing on the scrap paper before you starting the actual exam ~ so be prepared for the unexpected!

I passed my PMP® Certification on my first attempt on 11 January 2016 with 4 Ps and 1 MP. 1 MP was in closing.

PMP® Exam Study Materials

I read through Rita’s textbook and attempted the questions after reading each chapter. For those questions I got wrong, I studied and made sure I understand the explanation of the answers.

At this stage, while attempting the questions, I was not too concerned about having to refer to the content as well as PMBOK® Guide Guide because this was my initial attempt.

After completing the above for all chapters, I re-attempted all the questions which I got wrong. This time I should get all of them correct.

I studied Rita’s Process Chart in detail. In particular, I memorized the Planning processes in their correct order. For the rest, at least be able to tell a given process is in which group.

To complement, I studied this matrix and made sure I could list the processes in the respective process groups, and memorized the order of processes in the Planning group.

Using the same matrix, I observed and understood the I/O relationship between the processes. In particular, I memorized the pattern table in this page.

I read through in detail every definition of the PMBOK® Guide Glossary section. When I had doubts in any of them, I went back to the respective sections and dived into more details. This helped ensure no important concepts were missed out – I did not read through the entire PMBOK® Guide Guide at all.

Use this spreadsheet to do a quiz on yourself – for each TT, identify the associated process(es). Do the same for inputs and outputs. Don’t force yourself to memorize 100% though.

Calculation questions using formulae are point-scorers, you must be able to get them all correct. Use Rita’s list of formulae towards the end of the book.

Read PMI® Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Mock PMP® Tests

  • PM FASTrack Software. I used this to complement the Rita’s book practice I did – I only attempted those knowledge areas I scored below 80%, as well as one full PMP® and one full SuperPMP®.
  • Simplilearn
  • Olive Lehmann
  • PM Study
  • Free PMP® Exam Simulator

Again, make sure you understand the explanation of those answers you got wrong. Practice as many mocks as you can, this is very important, make sure you leave enough time for this before taking the exam.

Brain Dump

  • Rita’s Process Chart – Planning Processes
  • PMP® Formulae
  • I/O pattern table

Some practical points to note about the actual examination setting and procedure:

  • You will be given a locker to keep ALL your belongings. Water dispenser is available at this centre. Otherwise, you may want to keep your water bottle easily accessible in your locker.
  • Your identity card and another identification with your signature (e.g. Credit Card) is needed for signing in the examination.
  • Upon entry or re-entry into the examination room, you will be scanned with metal detector and asked to roll up your pants (if you are wearing that) for checking.
  • Of course you would like to minimise the time away from the exam. But it may also be good to unwind yourself and freshen up by taking one or two toilet breaks.
  • Some people shared that they made use of the 15 minutes of tutorial time to do a brain dump. This is no longer allowed (at least for my exam centre). The invigilator forbids anyone from writing on the scrap paper before you starting the actual exam.
  • Hence, be selective at what you plan to brain dump. You want to keep all important information handy but not wasting too much time on doing that.
  • There may be unexpected distractions such as ticking clock sound and noisy typing (from people taking other exams in the same room). You may use the earplugs provided (at least for my exam centre).
  • Plan your answering schedule prior to the exam so that you can keep to the right pace. (e.g. At 2:50:00 remaining, I should be at Q50, 2:00:00 – Q100, 1:10:00 – Q150, etc.)


~ PMP® Lessons Learned by Charles Choy


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Notable Achievements

5 Proficient Pass 2nd Try