Saturday, September 19, 2020

PMP Online Proctored Exam - How to Write All PMP Formulas in 5 Minutes on the Online Whiteboard?

The PMP® exam has gone online since April 15, 2020, as I've been writing in the last few months. You can read more about online proctored exam in the below posts.

  1. PMI Online Proctored Exams in 11 Steps - Three Important Videos 
  2. PMI Online Proctored Exams - How to Take it Step by Step?
  3. PMP Online Proctored Exam - How to Write Down 49 Processes of PMBOK, 6th Edition in 7 Minutes on the Online Whiteboard?

As an aspiring PMP, you have to be proficient in a number of formulas. In my interactions, I ask the candidates, can you tell how many formulas have you learned so far? Some say it's 10 and others go up-to 12 or 15 in number. It has never crossed the number 20, as I’ve seen in my interactions.

In reality, there are around 50/60 equations and/or formulas and you have to be familiar with all of these formulas. It's not just familiarity, but you have to understand, absorb and apply them in various situations or scenarios. The questions in your exam will be predominatly situational ones in nature - even the mathematical ones.

Now, that’s quite a big number! Can someone remember so many formulas while preparing for the exam? 

Another aspect is the complications of the formulas. Taking an example, the formulas for EAC and ETC calculations are not that easy to remember. Not only they are not easy to remember, but they also have quite a few variations. There are also formulas related to Point of Total Assumption (PTA), Range of Incentive Effectiveness (RIE) etc. which takes time to understand. Then, you have variations in forward pass, backward pass, free float, total float and even negative float calculations. You can also have a variety of questions on Earned Value Management (EVM) and advanced EVM concepts. As you can see, many PMPs have already written on these topics.

These can be quite intimidating for candidates preparing for the PMP exam. It’s not definitely easy to remember all these formulas.

But then, there is a number of good news, which are noted below.

  • You don’t have to remember all of them. You are likely to forget only the complex or complicated ones. Hence, remember only those. 
  • Formulas are basically mathematical equations and derived equations. The good thing about mathematics is this: once you understand, you understand them for a life-time. The principles of mathematics are the same everywhere. Two plus two equals to four everywhere, on Earth or on Mars! 
  • In mathematical questions, you have only one correct answer. Hence, you have no confusion as usually is the case for other questions. Many successful PMPs say they can zero it down to the final two answers, but then they struggle. In mathematical questions, you don't have such a case. Hence, in mathematical questions, your scoring chance is much higher. 
  • Finally, you can write the formulas on the whiteboard. This is applicable irrespective of the exam modes – traditional or online-proctored. 

Here, I would like to note that the many times in the PMP exam you may have just a few mathematical questions. Sometimes, you’ll just get one as many PMPs have written such experiences. But in an exam like PMP, you can’t take chances. You have to be prepared and be ready for everything. 

With these in mind, let’s check on the video on writing down the formulas. 

Video – How to Write Down All PMP Formulas in 5 Minutes

In this video [duration: 8m:49s], I’m showing you how to write down all the formulas in 5 minutes. Of course, when you do it the first time, it may take you around 10 minutes or more. With subsequent practices, it will come down to 5 minutes. For best experience, you may want to go full-screen in HD mode and plug-in your earphones.

Few Tips and Notes

Below are some of the tips and notes, I would say you must note. Exhaustive sets of tips and notes are part of PMP Live Lessons

  • Place the formulas next or below to the 49 processes you have written. previous post informs on it in detail.  
    This way you are clear in your mind during the exam that you have written the formulas at one place: the left-most part of the white board. As you proceed with the exam, you are likely to write quite a few things while solving the questions. It’s easy to get lost with the exam pressure and stress. If you write everything at one place, you don’t face this problem.
  • Draw one textbox area and continue with that for a set of formulas. This has been explained in the above video as well. 
    With these you can write down many formulas in one go. Don’t write every formula in separate text boxes. It will take a lot of time. Draw a box and continue writing the formulas till you hit the page-end and then draw another text-box next to it to write the next set of formulas. (Check the video to understand)
  • Do NOT use any other commands-other than textbox and pencil-while writing down the formula.
    Only the text box command (along with the pencil) is needed while writing the formulas. There are other commands, but those will take your time. Hence, stick to the text box.
  • While using the “Pan” and "Textbox" commands, have a single strategy and stick to it. 
    The pan command button is shown in the below image, which also shows the text box. One of the buttons that you are going to use a lot on the whiteboard is the “Pan” button. While using it – have a strategy on its movement, i.e., either left to right or top to bottom. Whichever you want to pan, stick to that approach. Otherwise, you will be confused in the exam. This rule applies to the 49 processes and formula writing. 

I believe this post, the video and tips, will help you to prepare for the PMP Online Proctored Exam and you can write down the formulas easily.

Remember: You can’t write the formulas, before the exam begins. You can ONLY write-it-down within the exam duration of four hours and after the exam starts. 

If you are reading this post, wish you all the best for your exam.


[1] PMP Live Lessons - Guaranteed Pass or Your Money Back, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, 6th Edition, by Project Management Institute (PMI)

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