Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

How To Get CAPM® Certification Using Four Study Techniques

How To Get CAPM® Certification Using Four Study TechniquesIf you’ve arrived here it’s because you are probably looking for the best study techniques for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Exam. You’re in luck! We support thousands of students to successfully pass their Project Management Institute (PMI)® exams, and we know exactly what techniques work.

In this article I’ll cover four common study techniques, tell you whether they are effective and explain how to get the most out of them so your study time is focused and useful.

Technique 1 – Reading, Highlighting and Underlining the Guide

Many of us will be used to this study technique: go through a text, read it (sometimes aloud) and highlight or underline the portions that we want to draw special attention to for later.

Is It Effective?

Not really. Research published by the Association for Psychological Science shows that although people use this technique, highlighting and underlining isn’t an effective way to learn. In fact, it might stop you learning effectively because it focuses your mind to specific facts and not the bigger picture concepts.

However, reading by itself is a good technique to get started so do take the time to read through the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).

How To Make This CAPM® Study Technique More Effective

Don’t simply read. Try to read actively, asking yourself questions as you go through sections of the PMBOK® Guide. How does this relate to your work? Why is it relevant to the job of a project manager? What notes can you take that will help you remember this concept?

Read alternative books as well. There are lots of study guides that will help you for your CAPM Exam prep and make the concepts ‘real’.

Technique 2 – Listen to The PM PrepCast™ (for CAPM)

The PM PrepCast™ (for CAPM) is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Exam prep video workshop. You can watch the lessons wherever you are, whenever is convenient using your tablet or smart phone.

Once you’ve been through the 140 lessons you’ll have covered all the material required to get you through the exam.

Is It Effective?

Yes! The research also shows that spreading out your study sessions is far more effective than cramming. The PM Prepcast (for CAPM) is a great way to plan your exam prep over time, spacing out your learning sessions. When your study tools are already broken down into digestible, flexible chunks it’s far easier to master the concepts and build on what you have already learned.

The PM Prepcast (for CAPM) also includes real-world examples, which students say are crucial to being able to understand the concepts. The more you can grasp how the ideas are used in the workplace, the easier it is to recall that information in the exam.

Technique 3 – Taking Notes on the Guide

Writing your own notes is another common study technique that you probably learned at school. You can create your own flashcards

Taking notes is the act of write down important information while reading the material to be learned. This is another technique many of us learned while in school.

Is It Effective?

Yes, if you do it effectively. Simply copying out the PMBOK® Guide isn’t going to add any value to your understanding of the key concepts.

Taking notes can be time-consuming so use your time wisely. Concentrate on areas where you know you need to review the principles and take notes in your own words, or make a mind-map, instead of copying.

How To Make This CAPM® Study Technique More Effective

Here are two ways to make taking notes more effective as a study technique for CAPM®.

#1: Create Your Own Flashcards

Take your notes in a way that allows you to hide key terms and definitions by either folding the page over or covering it with another sheet. Then you can test yourself and your ability to recall important concepts and what they mean.

It’s easy to do this if you structure your notes in two columns. In one column, write the name of the term or concept. In the other, write the definition or the key piece of information you want to remember.

This technique works best when you use loose leaf paper which you can organize into a binder. Notebooks are good for keeping all your notes together, and they are highly portable if you study on the go, but they don’t lend themselves as well for making flashcards like this.

#2: Use a Brain Dump

A brain dump is where you write down everything you know about a topic. Once you’ve read a section of the PMBOK® Guide, start a fresh piece of paper or a new page in your notebook and write down everything you can remember about that concept. You can do this as a list, a mind-map or whatever format helps you remember most clearly.

Then check back to make sure that you included everything important. The more often you do this kind of note taking, the easier you will find it to recall information during the exam.

This technique makes note taking far more effective because you are filtering information and recalling it in a way that works with your own learning preferences.

Technique 4 – Taking a CAPM Practice Exam

There are a lot of ways to use practice test questions in your preparation for the CAPM® Exam. You can work through questions that relate to the topic you have just studied, or as a way to identify where you might want to focus again when you come back to review a topic. Or you could take a full length three hour, one hundred and fifty question CAPM practice exam.

Practicing exam taking techniques is just as important as ensuring you have a full grasp on the concepts and ideas behind project management. It’s probably been some time since you sat in an exam room and worked solidly on something in stressful conditions for three hours. As well as giving you confidence that you know your material, practice exams also give you confidence that you can pace yourself, get through the questions and are well prepared for what the actual exam situation is going to be like.

If you are looking for a CAPM Exam practice test that is close to the CAPM Exam, look into using the CAPM Exam Simulator.

Is It Effective?

Yes! Testing yourself as you go through the material, through using flashcards or the questions at the end of a chapter in a prep book are a good way to improve your skills. You’re learning how the questions are phrased and what sort of answers you are likely to see.

However, the best way to make this a really effective study technique is to take a full-length practice CAPM Exam under timed conditions, so you get used to the pressure of the clock counting down!

Conclusion: CAPM Study Techniques

You’re a busy person so you want to spend time on study techniques that are proven to be effective. While some of your choices are going to be down to your personal best ways of working (like whether you take notes as a mind-map or a list) there are definitely some study techniques that outperform others.

Focus on taking effective notes, using CAPM study tools to support your learning and spreading your study sessions out over time. Use the PMBOK® Guide and practice answering test questions to prepare yourself for the real thing. Finally, take advantage of the knowledge others have gained from their study experience by visiting online forums.



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