PMP® Exam Prep

Read & Retain - the fifth Layer of six


Read and Retain — The Fifth Layer of our Study Hierarchy


So much we need to learn for the PMP test — how do we go about it?

I have a proven strategy to offer you.  This strategy has worked for dozens of students who have attended my PMP bootcamp classroom courses and/or my PMP study group sessions, trusted my guidance and put in the effort I asked of them.

Once certain foundational material is peeled-off and treated separately in each of the lower layers of our study hierarchy, what is left is everything else that you need to read and retain on a best effort basis.  

Once you’ve peeled away the forty-seven processes, the formulas, the material that warrants being on flashcards, and the key ITTOs addressed through our ‘secret sauce’ diagrams, what remains is anything and everything else that you can glean from reading the PMBOK® Guide (and a study guide).


Reading for nuggets and gems

Now once you’ve really dealt with the material in those lower layers, you breeze past it in the PMBOK® Guide, knowing that you have it totally under control.  This frees you up to read for those other nuggets and gems hiding in the book.  You will be reading for things like:

  • What examples the PMBOK® Guide lists for Organizational Process Assets
  • What other sources of expert judgement are listed within the process Direct and Manage Project Work.  

We’ve come down to material which may still be important to know for the exam, but which just isn’t fundamental enough to be dealt with at any of the earlier layers in hierarchy.  There is still a lot here, and you’ll want to be selective in how much attention you pay to this or that.  But at least you will be able to completely disregard all of the material that you know you have covered through the lower layers of the study hierarchy.


Beware the Deep Trance

Unless you’ve got all the other stuff peeled away and under control, the sheer mass of what you need to read and retain will almost certainly over-whelm you, and frankly, put you into a deep trance where retention drops to near zero.


Staying Grounded

This ‘Read & Retain’ effort is critical.  As you do this work, it can help to keep the relevant summary level ITTO ‘secret sauce’ diagram close by.  The visual context in the ITTO diagram can help you stay grounded and aware of where you are within the PMI framework for project management.  This can help you keep your attention level up and your reading retention as strong as possible.  Putting in the consistent study hours is important — making sure those hours are effective is important too.


Our 'Secret Sauce' ITTO Diagrams  

Our ITTO ‘secret sauce’ diagrams are made available to our eLearning course students in the form of a down-loadable pdf file that can be printed out in color.  You can purchase our eLearning course (includes the ITTO diagrams) here:


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