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Episode 460: Boost Your PMP Score (Free)

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Our topic today is the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. And if you are a regular listener of The PM Podcast, then you know that I am a PMP® trainer and that my company offers PMP training. Therefore, spoiler alert, in this episode, my guest and I will not only help you get ready for the exam, but we will also be mentioning the PMP products and services that we offer to our students. So expect some promotions.

And my guest is Jeff Furman. He's been on the show previously, and today, we are going to talk about his new book "Boost Your PMP Score: Learn The Keywords In Sets: 2nd Edition: For PMP 2021".

The book's idea is that when you study for the PMP exam, you will come across many concepts, topics, and key ideas that seem to come in pairs. For example, the "project baseline" and the "performance baseline". They are related, but not quite the same. And in his book, Jeff gives you the list of these and an approach of how to make learning these more fun.

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Webinar Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, Jeff Furman and I are going to show you how to boost your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam score.

Hello, and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at This is the live stream for episode number 460, and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you very much for being here.

Our topic today, as you can see on the screen is the PMP® Exam. And if you are a regular listener of The Project Management Podcast™, then you know that I am a PMP trainer and my company offers PMP training.

Therefore, a spoiler alert: In this episode, my guest and I will not only help you get ready for the exam, but we will also be mentioning the PMP products and the PMP services that we offer for our students. So please do expect some promotions during the program.

And my guest, as you can also see on the screen today is Jeff Furman. He has been on the show previously, and today we are going to be talking about his new book “Boost Your PMP Score: Learn The Keywords.” It's at second edition for the PMP® Exam 2021.

The idea behind the book is quite novel. And that, that will be my first question to Jeff in just a moment because when you study for the PMP® Exam, you'll come across a number of concepts and topics and key ideas, and they all seem to be coming in pairs. So for example, the Project Baseline, the Performance Baseline, they are all related but not quite the same. And in this book, Jeff gives you not only the list of these, but also an approach of how to make learning these more fun.

Video Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: And now with all that said, let's see. Let me bring Jeff in here together. There he is. Hi, Jeff!

Jeff Furman: Hello, Cornelius!

Cornelius Fichtner: Welcome to the program here. Please tell me, your new book, it is really a workbook, right? And that makes it different than the previous books that you have written --- the “Project Management Answer Book.” It was a question and answer format. And this is now a workbook for PMP students. How did you come up with this idea?

Jeff Furman: Oh thank you, Cornelius! Great to see you again! While I have been teaching PMP since 2007 actually about 500 iterations of my class. So over the years, I have always seen people sort of struggle with certain concepts and terms. There are so many terms, more than a thousand now that people have to know for the test. A lot of Agile was just added as you all know in January.

So I found over the years when you show people the terms in pairs and logical pairs, and you also make it interactive for them, this makes it kind of like a fun game, a way of learning and reviewing, but not just slogging through a book, really interacting with the words, really understanding term A and term B, how do they relate to each other? And when you can see that you are really much more prepared for the test. On the test, which is very time crunched, you really don't want to sit there trying to figure out which one is which, like something like float or free float, things like that, or resource leveling versus resource smoothing, things like that. The more you can nail them down in advance, the quicker you'll be on the test. You're really buying back time to do the hard work of the test of figuring out what the question is asking. So I put this together as an activity. Yeah!

Cornelius Fichtner: When did you first start doing this in your PMP classes?

Jeff Furman: Really a few years ago, I've been perfecting it. When I first started it, I noticed that certain categories like Risk Management is very rich with pairs. Schedule Management is rich with pairs. Agile also. And a lot of times I can remember each pair of terms, I've seen students struggling with them. So I vividly remember as soon as someone learns float, that's kind of hard already, but then when they see free float, it's like their brain can't see and want to absorb another sounding similar, but very different term.

So really for about the last four or five years, but then especially the last year with the quarantine, because I've been teaching a lot in Zoom and Zoom has the great feature that we all love of the breakout rooms. So to make it a game and not just a lecture class, I've gotten into the habit of... The students really like when I put them into breakout rooms, usually two or three students, and I say: “Okay, here are 15 pairs. Kick it around with your classmates.”

So I'll put like Steve with Mary. They'll both be looking at the same set of pairs, but they're in their own private breakout room. Always one person is going to know one of the terms better than the other. It's inevitable. So it makes for a great stimulating discussion. They love it. I have to tell you. So you put people together. They learn from each other as a reinforcement of what we're covering in the class. So it's a great review activity. It's really like a game and it makes it fun. And, and they really like it. And it's very memorable. Like they'll remember: ‘Oh yeah, I said this, but Mary said that. Let's take some notes that we can both agree on.’

Cornelius Fichtner: Before we go into more detail here, let me quickly bring up two more slides that I have prepared here. First of all folks, so if you have a question for Jeff about the book, about the pairs, or if you have a general PMP® Exam prep question, please do go ahead and do, type them into the chat and we will be happy to answer those questions for you. I hope we'll be able as well to do that.

And then a second here, I also wanted to bring this up. This here is the book on the right-hand side. It's called “Boost Your PMP Score: Learn The Keyboards.” It's at second edition for PMP 2021, 45 pages long. Eight stars, and five rating. No, the other way around five stars, five out of five stars, eight ratings, and it costs $3.99.

And just a one piece of advice: This is the second edition for the 2021 exam. Don't buy the first edition because that was for the 2020 exam. And we'll talk about the differences between 2020 and 2021 in a little while here.

So back to the actual discussion about this. So Jeff, so you've already started mentioning that you had these breakout rooms where people would talk about, is that it, or is that how the activity works, or do you have a instructions? What do you tell the students before you send them into their breakout rooms?

Jeff Furman: So right on page one of the book, and if people go to Amazon and they look up the book, it says about the book. So right on that first page says, it's for free to look at in Amazon, it's really three basic questions. So let's say it was you and me in a breakout room, you and I would be kicking around the terms, but not just blindly. Here are the three questions. So if we were looking at one of the pages in the book, let's say page two, but then you would be looking at the book. And if you scroll down, you'll see, just up above a little bit, the three highlighted yellow. They're highlighted in yellow.

Cornelius Fichtner: Wait, where are we? How do you use it? There we go. Found them!

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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