PMP® Exam Prep

Flashcards - the third Layer of six


Flashcards Are Important

Some people find flashcards distasteful.  If you are one of those people, get over it!  Some brute-force memorization is required.  I don’t care what ‘learning style’ excuses you want to claim make you an exception to this requirement.  If you opt out of using flashcards, you are missing an important trick.


What To Put On Flashcards

So now, after that scolding, what should go on flashcards, and how should you use them to study for the PMP exam?

Here is a list of the various sorts of things that belong on flashcards: 

  • Lists
    • Tuckman ladder - five stages of team development
    • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
    • Ways to resolve conflict
  • Key thought-leaders and the concepts associated with them
    • Juran
    • Crosby
    • Deming
  • Conventions
    • Precedence relationships (FS, etc.)
  • Select key facts
    • A description of Delphi technique
    • Description of a project coordinator vs a project expeditor

We offer a suggested set of flashcards that you can use as a starting point, available for download within our student portal.  Our classroom and eLearning students are all given access to this student portal.


How To Use Flashcards

Flashcards work by creating repeated impressions on your memory.  Repeated impressions on your memory.  You need to flip through your deck of flashcards several times a day to form those repeated impressions.  Hence your deck needs to be short.  No more than 20 to 40 cards.

So you need to be selective, covering only the most important material that is not covered within the other layers.

How to make the impressions on your memory more powerful:  

  • Be mentally fresh when you work with your flashcards
  • Dwell on the ones that give you the most trouble, turning them over and over and really thinking about them, looking for a mnemonic or vivid association to try to help make the item stick better in your memory.
  • Rewrite your cards a few times to get some kinesthetic feedback
  • Say your cards out loud to get some audible feedback (or even record them and listen to the recording)

Different strategies for different folks, experiment and see what seems to work best for you.

Adjust your deck over time.  You can start with 20 cards and then add more later, and subtract out some that have become completely absorbed.


Consistency Is Key

Log your activity to make sure you do it as consistently as you need to.  We have developed a tracking sheet to help with this, available within our student portal.

As you flip through your flashcards hundreds of times, they will start to feel like a part of you.  They will feel good in your fingers and good in your mind.  They will carry you in to the PMP exam with confidence and through the exam to success.  As Nike says about physical exercise, Just do it!