[Important!] Brain Dump NOT Allowed for PMP Exam Now

Writing PMP brain dump was one of the top advice for any PMP Aspirants. NOT NOW! What should we do?

Brain Dump for the PMP Exam

[Important Note: Many Aspirants have alerted that writing brain dumps during tutorial time is NOT allowed any more!]

As pointed out by the Lessons Learned by PMP® exam takers, the use of “brain dump” tops the list of suggestions for getting PMP® Certified in first try. However, there seem to be changes in the administration that discourage the use of brain dump. Below are the details.

Remarks: What is brain dump?

A PMP® Exam brain dump is a technique employed by many Aspirants to help them memorise important facts, concepts, formulas, etc. for the exam. You can find the details of what a PMP® Exam brain dump is here.

Can I do brain dump now?

Fortunately, the answer is still YES. But you may need to spend some of your exam time to do the brain dump.

In the past, most exam takers and instructors would advise you to do the brain dump during the “exam tutorial” before the actual beginning of the exam. The exam tutorial is a period of around 15 minutes before the exam to get you familiar with the exam interface and operation (e.g. how to mark a question for review, how to call and use the built-in calculator, how to submit your exam, etc.). Normally, Aspirants will need only 5 minutes to go through it and the rest 10 minutes of so would be spent on writing the brain dump onto the scrap paper provided — PMI does not explicitly permit the use of the tutorial time to write Brain Dump or not. And by taking advantage of this tutorial time, exam takers virtually had a study note at their hands during the actual exam.

But now, in order to prevent such kind of “unfair” advantage, many exam centres will NOT allow Aspirants to do their brain dumps during the pre-exam tutorial time. But this does not mean that Brain Dump is now forbidden. Aspirants will still able to put their memorized knowledge onto the scrap paper after the beginning of the actual exam.

Many recent Aspirants told us that they were not allowed to do the brain dump during the tutorial time now as the centre staff would not give them the scrap paper to them or asked them not to write anything during the tutorial.

PMI have not issued any rules or announcement on whether writing is allowed during the tutorial time. But more and more PMP® Exam centres are adopting the restriction on writing during the tutorial time. Perhaps this can be seen as a sign that PMI is tightening up the rule in 2017.

Yes, you will need to make use of your valuable exam time for writing the brain dump now. But considering that it takes around 5 to 8 minutes to do the Brain Dump, the gains of having a brain dump at your disposal far outweigh the time invested in doing one during the exam. Brain dumps can free up your memory and stress to allow you to concentrate on the exam questions during the exam. You need not worry about forgetting important ITTO’s, formulas or definitions by having them written down early in the exam.

Conclusion: Do the brain dump anyway!

If the exam centre allows you to do PMP® Exam Brain Dump during the tutorial time, that’s fantastic. If the centre doesn’t, you can still do the brain dump immediately after the beginning of the exam. I would highly suggest you to do the brain dump anyway. To avoid hiccups, you may query the exam centre directly on the policy of brain dump / tutorial time before your schedule date to let you have better psychological preparation.

Most Important Advice for PMP® Exam Brain Dump:

For 2017 onwards, Aspirants should distill the most important concepts/formulas to be used as brain dumps. Do try to formulate your OWN personalized version of the brain dump that includes the facts/concepts/formulas that help you most (e.g. you often get those mixed up or you would need to refer to often). Try practising dumping your brain dump as fast as possible during your exam preparation (i.e. less than 10 minutes) so that you would not cut much into your valuable exam time.

Wish you PMP® success!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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5 Responses

  1. kamal chatha says:

    this is regarding use and preparation of brain dump during tutorial period, i appeared in the PMP exam on 28 Dec 2016 and cleared it with 5 MPs. it was a shock to me when i was told not to write anything during tutorial, but i didnt take it much to my mind and concentrated on the task of passing the exam, i had decided that things which were included in my brain dumps , if i encountered with such question i would only write that portion on the paper, i dont agree that we should waste time of exam to prepare a mind dump as this exam is race against time and i could hardly finish 200 questions in 4 hours , mind is so blocked sometimes in the exam that u sometimes have to read questions twice or thrice to comprehend it , then u have to take a five to ten mins break in the middle of the exam as i dont think that its possible not to take a break and go on for four hours ,break is a must to keep the mind fresh, i would suggest to practice brain dump too many times to memorize it like a photo rather than wasting time of the exam, except for solving numerical questions i had deposited back blank sheets and still managed to pass it… only just, remember the biggest battle in this exam is race against time and reducing answers from four to two somehow, must use right click option to cross answers u dont feel right and move along, this was my strategy, i hope it helps someone, regards and best of luck.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Kamal,

      Extremely thanks for sharing your PMP lessons learned and insights on whether to write the brain dump during the exam time as writing during the tutorial is NOT allowed any more. I do agree that the PMP Exam is more a race against time.

      Thanks again!

  2. PG says:

    PMP 2017: Is Brain Dump Allowed for PMP Exam Now?
    Hi Edward, your subject post resonated with me and is very timely. I recently took the PMP Exam on December 23, 2016 and failed with three (3) Moderately Proficient’s in Initiating, Executing and Closing. I had two (2) Below Proficient’s in Planning and Monitoring/Contolling. I went into the exam a little frazzled because the proctor told me that PMI does not allow any brain-dumps during the tutorial, but only when the exam starts. So, this news to me was disturbing because on my simulated exams, I consistently use the entire 4 hours to answer 200 questions. Therefore, I had one strike against me from the beginning. This news from the proctor went against everything that I was taught from my local Regional Educational Provider (REP) when I went through the PMP Bootcamp and while listening to audio recordings and reading books from a couple of resources. We were told to take advantage of this time and I was trained to do so. This situation would be a moot point to me if I passed. But, as you mentioned in your post, I was at a “physiological” disadvantage from the beginning. Do I have any recourse to my situation besides testing again with this new knowledge?-Thanks, PG

    • Edward Chung says:

      Dear PG,

      Really sorry to hear about your story. Yes, many PMP Aspirants did not know that writing during the tutorial time was not allowed in some PMP Exam centres now. I understand that you were psychologically affected by learning this the hard way – just before the beginning of the PMP Exam.

      From your performance of the PMP Exam the first try, I would say that you stand a very high chance to pass the second try as you are now much better prepared psychologically for the exam. I would highly suggest you to relax for the last few days of 2016 and make it a goal to pass the PMP Exam in 2017.

      Have you made your own study note during you preparation? If so, go over those again and try some more PMP mock exams until you can get around 75-80%. Then you should be well prepared to take another try. Look here for some great PMP mock exams suggestions:

      Wish you PMP success in 2017!

      • ray says:

        it’s better to use less than 4 hours to complete 200questions, for eg: 2.5-3hours to complete 200Q & 1hour for review. if you use entire 4hours to complete 200questions for simulation exams, you might not have enough time during the real exam.
        during the real exam, i took 15mint to prepared my braindump note, which included 47processes, formula & theory.
        just sharing my experience and all the best to you all. happy new year. thanks.

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