Project Negotiations

  • 02 March, 2021

If you are like me, your college experience included little (if any) preparation for the wide range of communication types that are common in the practice of architecture. Among the most challenging types of communication are negotiations. As an architect, you are negotiating nearly every day with clients, contractors, consultants, and jurisdictions (to name just a few). Reaching a mutually agreeable position with someone through the course of an architectural project can be difficult, but below are some tips to help you navigate the process.

Know that negotiating is not for everybody:

· Reflect on your own communications style and preferences.
· Try to measure your confidence level.
· Do you find negotiating difficult?
It may be better to defer to another team member to negotiate certain things that may come-up on projects, and there is nothing wrong with that.
· Knowing your own strengths as well as being aware of your challenges will help you make the right decision to negotiate or to delegate the negotiation.

Do your research:

· How much do you know and understand about the issue to be negotiated?
· Is there a history of something similar previously occurring in your firm?
· Is there a known history with the other party (client, contractor, consultant, jurisdictional official, etc.)?
· Conduct a review of the issue against the industry standard of care as needed.
· Conduct web research on the issue if appropriate.

Get to know the people involved and what motivates them:

· Does your firm (or do you) have a history with the person on the other side of the issue being negotiated?
· What position does the person representing the opposite side of the negotiations with you have within their respective company?
· What authority do they have?
· Try to estimate their motivation to negotiate a certain outcome. Are they an owner just trying to get something “made right”? Are they trying save themselves money? Are they the owner, or owner’s rep?

Project Negotiations

Understand your leverage position:

Leverage in negotiations is the power that one side has to influence the other side to move closer to their negotiation position.

Examples of leverage: The client wants you to make a change in the design of a project that clearly falls outside the current scope of work, but they also have a serious deadline for completing the project (such as a critical move-in date). You could leverage the position that you won’t begin making the requested change until they process a modification to the contract. In this case, you may be leveraging them to process and approve additional fees associated with making the requested changes.

Understand the other party’s leverage position:

Here is an example working the other way, where the other party has (and is likely to use) leverage against you. The design team has proceeded with work on a project beyond the latest client approval at schematic design (i.e., you and the team are now well into the construction document phase of the project). The client hasn’t paid your invoices past the schematic design phase and has now put the project on hold. The client’s leverage is that the team has worked ahead of the schedule/approvals and the firm hasn’t been paid. The client may (and likely will) want to negotiate away some or all the design development fee earned/billed. Leverage advantage is clearly with the client in this case.

There certainly are more aspects to the negotiations process but starting by considering the above tips will help you develop (or refine) your own approach.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 10:10 AM

Why Smart People Fail the ARE?

  • 23 February, 2021

In my opinion, passing or failing the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) can happen to just about anybody. While the actual exam questions are intended to measure a candidate’s achievement through education and experience, how a “smart” a person performs on the exam is a completely different matter. To me, intelligence (being “smart”) is very broad and reflects more on a person’s ability to navigate the context of their environment through rational thoughts and actions.

The bottom line here is that yes, it is surely possible that smart people fail the ARE, and there could be several things tripping them up. In this blog, I will offer my perspective.

First, the ARE is part of a process that (when passed) leads to architectural licensure. Further, licensure itself has often been described as the demonstrating the minimum competency required to practice architecture. So, the content of the exam is concentrated on touching the aspects of the practice of architecture that are a sort of “baseline minimums”, or “core” aspects of the profession. This can be a little tricky to prepare for when you consider how broad the practice of architecture really is. To get a sense of what makes-up this baseline, I suggest reviewing AIA documents (contracts, instruments of service, etc.), reading through your State’s statutes regarding practice, and interviewing people who have recently took and passed the ARE. This might provide you with some idea of the boundary that makes up the core elements of practice and give you specific targets for concentrated study prior to taking the exam.

Why Smart People Fail the ARE?

Another thing to keep in mind is that the exam is timed. One might be very well prepared and very smart, but when you take the exam, you are working against the clock, and sometimes that can trip you up. As previously mentioned, with the idea that the ARE is focused on this minimum core baseline, you could give these areas most of your effort in terms of preparation. That may help you when the time is flying by during the exam. One tip I learned many years ago about timed exams is to first skim-read all the questions in the exam. Then note the ones that feel the most difficult and do them last. This will help you establish a pace and prevent you from investing too much time on a few questions and putting you far behind as you race through the remainder of the exam.

The last bit of advice I’ll share is about trying to avoid “over-thinking” things while taking the exam. As a personal example of this, I will share that I once was given a question in an oral exam to obtain reciprocity to practice architecture in another State. At that point in my career, I had a good decade of experience as a licensed architect, but I got tripped-up on a question by over-thinking it. The question was situational based and went something like: “You are an architect on a job site and you observe that the interior walls are being painted a color that the owner/client has told you he or she is wanting to change. What do you do?”. When I provided my response, it was very broad with statements made to accommodate many possible variables to the situation. I was over-thinking it. All the examiners were looking for was: “Inform the Owner/Client of my observation, but do not attempt to direct the contractor to stop work”. Again, this reflects consistency with the idea that the exams focus on issues that are core to the practice, and generally are not overly complex.

Hopefully my perspective will be of some use to you as you prepare for the ARE. Good luck!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:30 AM

What Architectural Firms Look For?

  • 16 February, 2021

Over the years, I have been asked what characteristics architectural firms look for in new hires. In my experience, the answer to this question centers around three specific areas:

1. Fit with the firm brand (or culture). This one is very important. Firms have a distinctive (or unique) culture and identity that reflects who they are and how they go about the practice of architecture. Many variables factor into this including the type of work they do, the clients they serve, where the firm is located, the way the firm is structured, and how the firm operates. As an example, if engagement and collaboration are important parts of a firm’s culture, the people that they look to hire will be evaluated through this lens. Firms want to find new hires that will fit their existing culture, and help it grow positively. Sometimes this may mean that individual talent may not always be the top new hire evaluation criterion. Instead, how a new hire candidate can demonstrate an alignment with a firm’s identity becomes a key differentiator.

What Architectural Firms Look For

2. Depth of potential is another important criterion that firms look at when considering a new hire. It might not always be about the most talented “right now”, but instead the potential for developing the most talent over time. This will depend on several factors. On the firm side of this, do they have a strong professional development focus? Do they have a strong culture of mentoring? How clear are the pathways to advancement? Does the firm consciously look to eliminate barriers to career development and eventual promotion? Do they do so in a way that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion?

On the candidate side, do they demonstrate ambition? Are they highly organized and focused on ongoing learning and growth? Is becoming a registered architect part of the vision they have established for their career? How wide are a candidate’s interests? Often, too narrow of a focus can seem limiting, and even come-off as setting a boundary for potential. Candidates that can demonstrate a willingness to embrace a wider range of career development options, and the needed flexibility that goes with it might have good chance of succeeding at convincing the interviewers that they are loaded with potential.

3. The other important characteristic that firms look for centers around energy (drive, passion, and commitment). It’s one thing to obtain a great education and be poised to begin the process of developing your career in architecture. But is that enough? Firms want to see energy. Why? Because the profession is a complex one, full of challenges and a wide range of opportunities. Careers develop at different paces for people, but when a firm is looking to hire, they want to see that the person they are interviewing has the energy, drive, and passion to see them through the many climbs ahead. There will be difficulties navigating internship and registration. There will be unhappy clients, consultants, contractors, and coworkers. There will be projects that you invest a lot of yourself into only to have it go on hold, or worse. There will be errors and omissions in construction documents, and costly mistakes on projects under construction. But all of these can be managed and navigated more easily with energy, drive, and passion. These also help accelerate advancement and development in a career. Years in practice is only a partial measure of experience. It has been my observation that those with the energy, drive and passion get much more out of each year in the profession, which helps shorten the time between promotions.

In the end, firms look for people to add to their team that not only bring talent, but that also fit their culture, have a large upside potential, and who have the energy to thrive in the profession.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:12 AM

Studying for the ARE

  • 09 February, 2021

Studying for the ARE can be a bit daunting to consider. With the practice of architecture being so broad, where do you begin? In this blog, I offer some advice that has helped me over the years. While I took the ARE back in 1982, many of the things I did back then, and continue to do today for annual license renewals (in multiple States) and continuing education have been effective.

My first bit of advice is to look over the entire ARE in a general way. Learn about the individual sections and what each is comprised of. From this, establish an outline “schedule” for yourself. Identify a month to target to set each section of the exam and create a study plan for each section. Give yourself enough time to assemble the appropriate study materials, time to study, and enough time to test yourself with some quizzes. Treat this like any living project schedule and update it as things happen but post it somewhere where you see it to remind you of your goals.

Studying for the ARE

Next, do a deep dive into each ARE section to explore more thoroughly what material is covered. Then, begin to search for study materials. I have found that using a variety of resources for study materials can help you get a more comprehensive understanding of the content. Specifically, I started with my textbooks from college, especially for the topics of structural engineering and environmental control systems (MEP). Next, I suggest looking online at resources available with concentrated study materials for purchase. I recommend using the materials that are specific to each ARE section as a baseline study guide but augment it with a look back at the college textbooks as appropriate. For example, the study guides might cover the basics of calculating bending moments in beams, but a look back at your textbooks from college might have a bit more detail to help refresh your memory of basic problem-solving techniques. Another example might be how to perform simple calculations for rainwater runoff from a roof to help size a gutter or drain, but your college textbooks will likely have more detail, which can help you build the depth you will need to succeed to pass the exam.

My last bit of advice is to take advantage of the quizzes and “mock exams” that are often part of the ARE study materials available for purchase. When I was studying, I would not move on to another subject until I was consistently hitting 90% or higher on the quizzes. I also used the quizzes to help me develop my own version of “Cliff Notes” for each exam section. After successfully completing all quizzes for a given ARE section, I went back over the quizzes and extracted a condensed summary that I could review in the days before sitting for the exam. This process worked well for me, and I have repeated it many times for other professional certifications.

In summary, my advice above is to get organized, pace yourself, and dive-in hard. I tried to tell myself that it was like exercise and that it would make me a better architect no matter how I performed on the exam. With that attitude, I discovered that I enjoyed the study process, which made it a lot easier to invest my time.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:52 AM

Who Is the Client?

  • 02 February, 2021

Knowing who your client might seem like an easy question to answer. However, a lot of the time, the “client” is a group of people with varying roles and differing amounts of input and authority. In my experience, often the problems encountered on a project (i.e., general communications conflicts, non-payment, and even termination) can be linked to mis-understanding the make-up of the client, and perhaps looking for too much from the wrong person on the client side related to approvals and decisions. As an example, you might think you have a design decision or budget approval from the client, but you later learn that someone else on the client side (with more authority) has weighed-in and reversed the decision or nullified the approval. Meanwhile, you may have progressed with the project and now find yourself in a spot where you have completed work that will need to be revised.

Spending the time to research and diagram the full organizational structure of the client team will help you determine the complexity involved and navigate obtaining decisions and approvals successfully. To help you get started, following are broad categories of client types (private and public) as well as some common characteristics:

who is the client?

Private Clients:

  1. Large to Very Large Clients: This type of client often commissions projects that will be owner developed and occupied. These clients often have very large organizational structures with the ultimate leaders (such as top executives and Board of Directors) being far removed from the day-to-day activities. For the most part, VPs lead these projects from the client side with the company leaders setting larger “big picture directives”. Most project decisions and approvals are made at the VP level, but the leadership will want to be informed.
  2. Medium-Large Clients: These clients operate similarly to the Large companies above, but the executive leadership level (i.e., President and Board of Directors) will likely want to be kept informed regarding the progress of the project and occasionally engage in key decisions and approvals. Smaller day-to-day decisions and approvals mostly occur at the VP’s and PM level.
  3. Small Clients: These clients may only have a single building/facility, and a very “hands-on” leadership team. Even though they often have a “facilities manager” assigned as the client lead, the company owners will likely be involved directly in decision making.

Public Clients:

  1. Large urban jurisdictions with a Mayor and City Council that can (and often do) get involved even though the day-to-day coordination with the architect has been assigned to a PM or Facilities Director. In general, elected officials may be highly inconsistent in their decision making and support for the project, which can add a layer of additional complication.
  2. Medium-sized jurisdiction: These are smaller cities and towns where the majority of the decisions are left to the heads of the primary user group (i.e., a Police Chief in the example of a new police station project), but politically charged decisions, especially related to funding will need a City Council (and/or City Manager) approval, which can make things a little complex to navigate.
  3. Small jurisdiction: These are perhaps the least complicated of the public clients with a small team and hands-on leadership that make obtaining approvals and decisions less cumbersome.

The above are just some of the structures you may encounter with a project. But what they illustrate is that there are many shapes and sizes of clients with sometimes multiple parts with multiple agendas. Getting to know your client, specifically who is involved in decision making and why will be critical for project success.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:30 AM

Tell My Story

  • 12 January, 2021

Everyone has their own timeline for taking the AREs and, let me tell you, mine was LONG! When I started logging hours, NCARB’s program was IDP (Intern Development Program) - the precursor to the current AXP (Architectural Experience Program). With AXP, you can start earning hours quickly but that was not the case for IDP. For the later rendition of IDP, one had to be well into their accredited program to start counting hours towards sitting for the exams.

As an eager, budding architecture professional, I started working for a large, international firm right after my first year of architecture school. I had that lined up before I even started architecture school! I worked for this firm throughout my undergraduate years during summer and winter breaks. In my final year of architecture school, disaster struck the nation - 9/11. I attended school in central New York with family in New York City, so it hit particularly close to home. It also hit the building industry and finding employment as a new graduate was difficult. I moved home to Minneapolis where the economy was not as resilient and worked for a financial firm in order to make ends meet. I knew I wanted to go back to architecture and back East, so I applied to graduate programs. About a year after earning my B.Arch degree, I was back in New York to earn my M.Arch. During this time, I found employment and worked during school, accumulating more hours for my IDP.

Tell my story

The next fifteen years included academic positions right out of graduate school while concurrently working for firms across New York City, designing projects of all types and complexities both domestically and internationally. There were also a series of recessions, financial, and personal hardships. I had more than enough hours to sit for the exams but what I lacked was time and, oftentimes, funding.

I attempted the process and took my first exam in 2009. Fail. I was frustrated. I did not have the dedication and I was lost on content. In the meantime, though, I saw my friends get licensed and start their own firms. I felt that, even though I had the experience, I did not have that credential. I wanted that.

I moved an hour outside of NYC, but I still taught and worked in the city which killed my time even more. It was not until 2017 that I tried again in earnest - when I moved to California for a teaching position which afforded me more time. Although I continued to work on projects in New York, I had a minimal commute and the time pressure was less. I was still anxious, though, as I felt I did not have a good grasp on exam content - there was just so much! I took two exams and failed.

This is when I turned to online coaching. Having a schedule, a track, and defined content helped immensely. Although it still took a couple years, I passed all exams and can proudly call myself an Architect - after over a decade of the exam process.

Take it from me - persistence is key and licensure is attainable. It’s not out of reach. It just may take a while!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:44 AM

Preferred Exam Division Order

  • 05 January, 2021

There are six exam divisions in the current format of the ARE (Architect Registration Exam): Practice Management, Project Management, Programming and Analysis, Project Planning and Design, Project Development and Documentation, and Construction and Evaluation.

There is a logical sequence in this order as it follows the path from getting licensed to developing a professional practice to planning and developing a building commission for construction and then, subsequently, completing and closing out the building project.

The exam divisions are always presented in this specific order in NCARB’s material and timeline tracking progress for completion. However, when taking the ARE, it is not necessary to take the division exams in the order in which they are listed. In fact, the division exams can be taken in any order. This sparks the question: what is the best order for taking all divisions of the ARE exam?

This is a major topic that garners a lot of opinion and attention from exam candidates on discussion boards and the like. The discussion boards serve as a great tool for exam candidates to share information and there are many testing strategies being passed around.

One common suggestion is to take the division exams with the highest pass rate first. Another is to take the ‘big ones’- Project Planning and Design and Project Development and Documentation - early and get them out of the way. Everyone has their process and success stories which vary from one individual to the next. Of course, I have my own opinion as well.

Preferred Exam Division Order

Personally, I think it is important not to forget the division sequence. Even though the division exams can be taken in any order, in my experience, I recognized why the divisions were developed in the order listed. Each division builds upon the last and content from one division exam may show up in subsequent division exams. In my opinion, the order does, for the most part, matter.

For this, I have two recommendations for the best order to take the division exams. The first recommendation is to take the division exams in the order that they are listed per NCARB - with one exception. I took Construction and Evaluation before Project Planning and Design and Project Development and Documentation. Construction and Evaluation has the highest pass rate and a close association with other divisions. Plus, there was the added bonus of not having to take another exam after I had completed the two hardest and longest division exams. Mentally, that was huge!

Many people fail a division exam on the first attempt. There is a waiting period before that division exam can be retaken but keep going! My second recommendation is not to wait to retake the failed division exam before moving on but to move on and go back to it later - do not lose progress or lose time (especially with a rolling clock!). Keep taking the division exams and reschedule failed exams as soon as you are able to take them again.

Again, this is what worked best for me. I started the process with some bumps but, once I followed this plan, I became comfortable with the process and earned my license.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:14 AM

Which exam to take first?

  • 08 December, 2020

When preparing to take the ARE® 5.0, one question that an exam candidate is sure to ponder is: which exam should I take first? Honestly, a case could be made for each section of the ARE to be a good section to begin with. There are many variables including the focus of the architectural program at college, practical worked experience, and the fit with an individual’s strengths and interests. That being said, here is the case to consider taking the Project Planning & Design (PPD) section of the ARE first.

The PPD section of the ARE focuses on the preliminary design of sites and buildings. Candidates should be able to demonstrate skills in the development of code complaint and environmentally responsive design concepts. Most NAAB Accredited architectural programs in universities across the U.S. have a strong focus on design, and as such, students give this aspect of architectural practice the most attention by far while in school.

So, in theory, early in an exam candidate’s career, the PPD section of the ARE would be the section where they are likely to have the most experience. The other 5 sections of the ARE require a bit of balance between studies in college and actual hands-on work experience.

What exam to take first

Another reason to start with the PPD section of the ARE is that likely, at least for the first several years of a career in architecture, actual design experience (in a firm) is going to be the least available to candidates. Certainly not in all cases, but most firms place design responsibilities in the hands of very experienced staff and will rarely provide an opportunity for someone early in their career to be responsible for the design of a project. Most architectural interns begin their careers in the production phases of a project and grow from there. If you consider the phases of an architectural project, starting with Schematic Design, then Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding, and Contract Administration, most interns begin the experience in a firm by contributing in the production of construction documents. As the years pass by, they gain more experience in the adjacent phases of a project. Often the phases at each end of a project (Schematic Design and Construction Administration) are the last areas for an intern to gain experience while working in a firm. Yes, there are exceptions to this, but overall, an intern’s practical experience (working in a firm) is first grounded in production.

So again, why is the PPD section is a good section of the ARE to begin the exam process? If you start the exams soon after graduating and qualifying, the PPD section of the ARE is likely the one section that dominated your experience in college and should provide you with the best opportunity to start the exam process with success.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:06 AM

What to Expect When Taking (and Tips for Passing) the PMP Exam?

  • 24 November, 2020

What to Expect When Taking the Exam?—Center-based (in person) & Online:
The PMP exam is timed, you have 240 minutes (4 hours) to complete the exam, and it consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of those, 25 are considered pretest questions (which means only 175 are scored), and these are placed randomly throughout the exam. You will get a pass/fail result at the end of the exam.

The exam is divided into two sections; there is a 10-minute break after you complete the first section (does not count toward the 240 minutes). Once your break has begun, you can’t go back and review any questions from the previous section.

The exam is preceded by a tutorial and followed by a survey, neither of which are required or are counted in the 240 minutes.

PMP exam questions are based upon and satisfy the test specifications outlined in the PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO).

You will be permitted to have scratch paper and a pencil, or a dry-erase board and marker(s). For online exams, you’ll have access to a virtual whiteboard. If you would like to know more about the online version of the exam and how it works, there’s a great tutorial video you can find on Pearson VUE’s website here.

Tips for Passing the Exam:

Have a strategy to combat/control anxiety:
This could include things like getting lots of rest before the exam and eating a good meal and drinking lots of water beforehand. Previously, one would use the tutorial time to write down their brain dump. But under the new policy, an individual can’t be writing down their brain dump until their exam actually begins. So, if someone spends 15 minutes writing the brain dump down, they just used 15 minutes of their overall exam time. Use these 15 mins only if you need and try not to waste any of your time spent on writing the exam. Plan this before you enter the exam center and try to avoid getting anxious over the last minute!

Stress management during the exam:
If you start to feel stressed or have anxiety, take a few deep breaths, and try to clear your head of the negative self-talk. Find a strategy that works for you and be sure to employ it during the exam. It may take some time to figure out what works for you to reduce your stress level, and this should be part of your exam preparation.

If you are unsure of the answer to a question, or several questions in a row, during the exam –don’t panic! Just take your best guess and follow the principle of the process of elimination – you should be able to eliminate two of the choices fairly quickly, so then you’ll have a 50/50 chance to determine the correct answer from the remaining two choices.

Tips for Passing PMP Exam

Have a good study plan that will allow you to focus your studies on the right content. Refer to the Exam Content Outline (ECO) for more information about what to prepare for on the exam.

The Number One best piece of advice I received before taking the exam was that it is best to answer every question, even if you must guess. Because a 25% chance to get it correct is better than a zero percent chance if you don’t answer it at all!

Also, remember that you have 4 hours (240 minutes) to complete 200 questions, which equates to approximately about 83 seconds, or 1 minute 20 seconds, per question. Keep this in mind as you’re taking practice tests and time how long it takes you to complete each question. This is a good strategy to combat anxiety and fully prepare for the exam.

When you take practice tests, try to simulate how the real exam will be as much as possible—complete your brain dump using scratch paper, have a timer ticking down, etc. If you know what to expect, this can help you feel more prepared, and that is a key to success – preparation!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:34 AM

PMP Exam Content Is Changing

  • 17 November, 2020

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is changing the PMP exam content effective January 2, 2021. You can locate the new Exam Content Outline (ECO) on PMI’s website here. The ECO outlines the Domains, Tasks, and Enablers that will be covered on the exam.

Please note that the PMP exam is available to take online; you can find more information about this process on PMI’s website.

Outline of Changes to the New PMP Exam Content

The new exam content will incorporate approaches relative to the value delivery spectrum. Approximately half of the exam will represent predictive project management approaches, and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches, all of which are found throughout the three domain areas listed below.

The following image identifies the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam:

PMP Exam Content Is Changing

Content Area Definitions and Examples

Each domain has tasks and enablers associated with it. Per the ECO, PMI defines the content areas as follows:

  1. Domain: the high-level knowledge area essential to the practice of project management
    1. An example of a high-level knowledge area would be People
  2. Task: the underlying responsibilities of the project manager within each domain area
    1. An example of a task would be Manage conflict
  3. Enabler: illustrative examples of the work associated with tasks
    1. An example of an enabler would be to interpret the source and stage of the conflict

Posted by EduMind Inc - 10:03 AM

PMP Exam: Study Plan, Tips, & Tricks

  • 10 November, 2020

By Rebecca Zapor, PMP

Studying for the PMP exam requires both a strategy and a plan, so I’ll share some ideas and suggestions for how to create ones that are customized to your specific needs.

Armed with this information, you should be able to come up with a solid strategy and plan that will help you effectively use the time you have available to study. Best of luck to you, and happy studies!

Understand the Exam Content:

First and foremost, it is important to understand what information will be on the exam—for this, you should locate the updated 2021 Exam Content Outline (ECO) found on PMI’s website.

Please be aware that the exam content is changing as of 2 January 2021, so it is important to understand this to ensure that you’re studying for the correct version of the exam. The advice I’m giving here is based on the assumption that you’ll be taking the new exam content.

Carefully reading and fully understanding the ECO is considered the first step because if you are unaware of what the content of the exam is or will be, then it’s difficult to know where to focus your studies. I’m certain that you wouldn’t want to put in months of work only to discover that you studied the wrong thing, so knowing what to expect is the first thing to take into consideration when creating a study strategy.

Set a Deadline to Take the Exam:

Now that you understand the exam content, the next step would be to set a deadline to complete your studying, and you can do this by selecting a date to take the exam (not more than one year out) and scheduling it.

By scheduling the exam, you’re giving yourself a finite deadline and ensuring that you have enough time to study. Plus, you’ll need to plug this information into the upcoming step of creating your study plan.

Create A Study Timeline:

So now that you know what content the exam covers, and you’ve picked a date that you will take the exam – you’re ready to create your timeline.

It is important to know how long you have to study for the exam when creating the study plan so that you know how best to break down your outline, and how long you’ll have to spend on each section.

In addition, this is where you’ll want to decide if you will take a PMP Exam preparation course; it’s important to note that if you do take a course, there will still be a lot of self-paced studying, so you’ll have to be disciplined, accountable, focused, and motivated.

Some questions to consider about PMP exam prep courses:

  1. Will it be self-paced (on demand) or led by an instructor?
  2. How long will the course last?
  3. How will I ask questions?

PMP Exam Study Plan

Create A Study Plan:

Now you’re ready to create your study plan.

The first thing you want to think about when creating your study plan is your learning style. You probably utilize a combination of multiple styles; knowing this information will help you create your strategy and plan, so you will know which strengths to capitalize on to best focus and maximize your studies.

Some examples of learning styles:
    1. Visual/spatial learners tend to learn best by utilizing graphs, tables, charts, colors, and diagrams
      1. Use color-coded highlighters, pens, markers
      2. Illustrate notes and unknown words
      3. Use flash cards
    2. Aural/auditory learners typically retain information better when it is spoken
      1. Use mnemonics, rhymes, auditory repetition (See #1 in “General Study Tips & Tricks” section below)
      2. Try to study in quiet areas where distractions will be minimized
      3. Read content aloud or have someone read it to you
      4. Play videos that audibly explain concepts
    3. Verbal/linguistic learners tend to learn best by utilizing both written and spoken words
      1. Use mnemonics and acronyms whenever possible
      2. Write down concepts/ideas that you’ve just learned about, and try to explain them in your own words
      3. Read content out loud, or listen to it being read (audiobooks, for example)
      4. Writing or creating your questions based on the content you have just learned is a great way to ensure understanding (can also be done in collaboration with others)

You’ll now want to use all of the information you have gathered to create a study plan outline. Once you have an outline, you will have a better idea of how long each section will take you to complete. Please keep in mind that you may need to revise your study plan as you progress.

When creating your study plan outline, here are some elements to take into consideration:

  1. Break your study guide into sections by chapter within the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition
  2. Think about the timing as well as the content
    1. For example, I chose to spend one hour per day during the week, and two to three hours on the weekend studying
    2. You should proceed at whatever pace works for you; this may require some trial and error
  3. Tailor your study sessions around the ‘320B’ principle
    1. This means you want to study 3 topics in 20 minutes, and then take a break
    2. This is a strategy used to account for the duration of our attention span, and studies have shown that this approach can be effective when learning this type of content
  4. Incorporate ways to learn relevant vocabulary
    1. Create your flash cards to help build vocabulary
    2. Please refer to the ‘Vocabulary Tips & Tricks’ section below for more tips & tricks
  5. Build in time to review what you have previously learned
    1. Practice creating/completing a brain dump
      1. This is a twofold exercise because it can be used while studying and also when you take the exam
      2. Time it so you have the information you’ll need during the first 15 minutes of the preparation time available before starting the exam (more on this in a future blog).
    2. Another review strategy is to build 10-15 practice questions into your study guide that cover the content you previously studied.
  6. Build in goals & rewards
    1. Make them realistic and manageable
    2. Try to incorporate weekly and/or monthly goals, or goals by chapter or concept. Do whatever works for you to help you stay motivated!

General Study Tips & Tricks

  1. Create your acronyms or mnemonics
    1. Examples include the order of operations in mathematics: PEMDAS (‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally’ which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction)
    2. Another example is the mnemonic used to remember the planets in the solar system: My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas (which stands for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)
  2. Find a study/accountability partner
    1. Is there someone else at your company, or in your network, who is also studying for their PMP exam? Team up! Help each other out.
  3. Make sure that you take time to rest—give your brain at least one day per week to rest and have a break from studying
  4. Stay hydrated and fuel your brain with food that can help increase your energy
  5. Familiarize yourself with PMI’s Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct
    1. This is available via download from PMI’s website and is not specifically referenced as part of the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition. However, you will likely see questions related to this topic on the exam.
  6. Crunched for time and can’t make your flash cards?
    1. You can purchase some instead or use PMP exam study apps – there are some free ones, but some of the better ones require you to pay for them. This can be helpful to have access to practice questions and/or vocabulary on the go.
  7. Join or create a PMP exam study group on LinkedIn
  8. YouTube videos can be particularly useful learning tools.
  9. Are you a member of PMI? If so, it’s a good idea to be part of the local PMI chapter as well.
    1. This is a great way to network, meet other Project Managers, and find others who are studying for the PMP exam with whom you can buddy up
  10. If you purchase supplemental materials (for example, the study guides created by Rita Mulcahy, Crosswind Learning, or O’Reilly’s “Head First PMP”):
    1. Find out if they also have an app or online content available to accompany the book/study guide
    2. What other materials are available to you if you purchase their content? For example, do you get access to practice questions and/or flash cards?

General Study Tips and Tricks

Vocabulary Tips & Tricks

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Glossary & Index of the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition
    1. Familiarize yourself with all definitions in the PMBOK Guide as you’ll need to know them for the PMP exam
  2. Create your flash cards (or you can purchase them if you have the means to do so)
  3. Try to learn at least three new vocabulary words per week
    1. Explaining what the word means out loud to someone else can help solidify your understanding
    2. Practice using the new words you’ve learned in a sentence whenever possible; try to explain what concepts mean in your own words.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:00 AM

Top Six Regrets of Unsuccessful PMP® Examination Takers

  • 06 October, 2020

By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP

As professional exams go, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is on the more difficult side. Composed of 200 multiple-choice questions, the exam covers five process groups (otherwise known as phases or stages of a project), 10 knowledge areas, 49 defined processes, and dozens of tools and techniques. It covers a lot of ground in four hours—and not a minute more. The passing rate for first-time candidates is about 60 percent. In other words, six in 10 people who take the examination will pass, four in 10 will not. The takeaway is, while the examination is very passable, it is not a walk in the park. You must be prepared and ready. One way to help yourself is learning from the pitfalls that have ensnared the unsuccessful. Here are their six biggest regrets:

Not starting a review early enough: This regret is a frequent one. As with anything, time has a way of sneaking up on you. Before you know it, the examination is around the corner and you have not started your review. Cramming is always an option, just ask any high school or college student. Unfortunately, cramming is not an effective approach for the PMP exam. The reason is because of what the exam measures. The PMP exam attempts to scientifically measure competence. Each question gauges how well you know the concepts and theory as well as how well you can integrate the right theory with a given set of circumstances. That takes higher order thinking and a cognitive ability. That level of knowledge needed only comes over an extended time period and can no more be reduced to a single marathon cram session than three years of experience can be reduced to 30 days. Give yourself many months ahead of the examination date to review each chapter of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) using frequent and short review sessions over as long a period as you can give.

Not using the latest edition of the PMBOK Guide: The PMP examination is based on the latest version of the Project Management Institutes’ PMBOK Guide. The latest version is the Sixth Edition. Editions do change from one edition to another. Sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. From its first edition in the 1990s, the PMBOK Guide has grown from 180 to 980 pages and added 12 new project management processes. The latest edition added an entirely new approach to project management, namely “adaptive” or “agile” as it is commonly known. Resist the urge to save money by borrowing an old copy from a co-worker. Be sure to check the PMI website to identify the latest PMBOK Guide version number, then buy a new copy for yourself. You will be glad you did.

Not being familiar with the exam question types: The PMP examination relies heavily on “scenario-based” questions. At a quick glance, scenario-based questions appear easy because of their multiple-choice nature. That is where the similarity ends. Scenario-based questions on the PMP exam measure several important aspects of competence not found on more ordinary multiple-choice exams. Not only are the questions designed to test what you know, but they also test your level of comprehension and your ability to apply your knowledge to a set of circumstances and facts. Getting to the right answer requires analysis, evaluation, and the integration of knowledge and experience. It is more difficult than it looks. The good news is that scenario-based questions have been around a long time—long before the PMP exam. Their design and structure are well known. The more you know about the organization of the question, the quicker you can identify the question “stem” and get to the right answer. Better review courses will include a review of the question types and how to approach them.

Regrets of Unsuccessful PMP Examination Takers

Being over-reliant on work experience as a project manager. As the age-old saying goes, experience is the best teacher. The importance of experience is a key reason why PMI requires all applicants to meet specific minimums. As invaluable as experience is, it alone is not enough to pass. Candidates must also have an excellent grasp of the underlying theories, concepts, and principles of project management along with an understanding of contemporary project management tools, techniques, and processes. In a word, successful candidates must have a strong handle on theoretical project management as well as applied project management. The primary theories, concepts, and principles are included in the PMBOK Guide, many by reference. The PMBOK Guide is a compendium of the entire “body of knowledge” of project management.

Not committing “inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs” to memory. While it takes knowledge and experience to pass the examination, here is one area where memorization is helpful. The PMBOK Guide includes well over 100 “tools and techniques” which include everything from “scatter-diagrams” to “team-building.” There are also at least 33 specific documents mentioned. The exam expects you to know which tools and techniques, along with which documents are associated with one or more of the 49 defined project management processes. The quicker you can recall the right tool, document, or technique for any given process, the more time you can devote to putting your knowledge and experience into the question.

Not taking a PMP exam review course. Finally, a common regret is the decision not to take a review course. This is perhaps the most short-sighted shortcut of all. A good review course is essential. Not only will it cover all of the process, tools, and techniques you need to know, it will also cover important considerations including time management, question-types, managing personal issues during the exam, and many other administrative details that build confidence and free your mind to do your personal best. Not all review courses are equal. Make sure that you enroll in a course from a reliable provider. Look for those that are PMI Registered Education Providers (REP). That way you know the material being reviewed matches the PMBOK Guide and the text.

EduMind is proud to be a Registered Education Provider through the Project Management Institute. Learn more about our comprehensive PMP exam review courses by clicking here.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 11:16 AM

How Many Times Can I Take the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam?

  • 29 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is considered to be one of the most challenging exams, and it is not uncommon that a project manager may not pass on the first attempt. While it is every project manager’s goal to pass the first time, what happens if you don’t?

Passing the PMP exam

Much to the dismay of PMP candidates, the Project Management Institute (PMI) does not release a passing score on the PMP exam, nor do you receive a percentage score on your test result. While this may be frustrating, it is crucial to understand how PMI determines whether you passed or failed.

There are hundreds of questions in the PMP question bank. When you start your exam, 200 questions (175 that are scored and 25 that are unscored) are randomly selected from five domains:

PMP Questions from Five Domain

Each question has been weighted based on its difficulty, with more difficult questions having a higher weighting. That weighting is factored into the final pass/fail result. For example, if you have an exam with more difficult questions, the threshold to pass the exam will be lower.

What happens if I fail?

If you do not meet the necessary threshold to pass the exam, you will be notified immediately upon completion of your exam. In addition, you will receive a score report that indicates your proficiency level in each of the five domains. While the report does not tell you what questions you missed, it does map the results to the different tasks, which provides some essential insight.

You can take your PMP exam up to three times during your eligibility year. Your eligibility year begins the day PMI approves your application. Keep this in mind and ensure that you do not put off your exam until near the end of your eligibility year. In the event you do not pass, you want to ensure that you have time to repeat the exam within that time span.

The reexamination process

It typically takes about 48 hours after your failed attempt for the system to be updated with your result. Once that happens, you will receive an email from PMI advising you that you are eligible to pay your fees and schedule your reexamination. The fees for the re-take are $275 for PMI members and $375 for non-PMI members.

Preparing for your second (or third) attempt

A frequent contributor to a failing result is fear of the unknown and exam anxiety. Now that you have fully had the experience of taking the exam, hopefully, that anxiety is minimized. Take some time to review your results and go back to the areas where you need improvement.

To increase your chances of success, it is essential to prepare adequately, but at the same time, you do not want to put off your reexamination for too long, as you may lose some of your prior learning.

What if I don’t pass after three attempts?

While it is not common, occasionally, a project manager will use all three opportunities without passing. If you do not pass on your third attempt, you will need to wait a year before submitting a new PMP application and starting the process from scratch.

And remember, this is a tough exam! Not passing is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Instead, use it as an opportunity to receive some feedback to place yourself in the best possible position for success on your next attempt!

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 11:03 AM

Tips for Selecting the Right Answer on the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 22 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

You have been studying and preparing for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam, and now it is time to put all of your preparation to the test… literally! You may have heard that the PMP exam is difficult, and the questions—many of which are very wordy—are challenging and often confusing. The good news is that with some proven tactics, you can work your way through even the most difficult questions.

Tip #1: Read the actual question first

Many of the PMP exam questions are long and wordy, and yet, there are typically only a few pieces of information that you may need. To best work your way through a long question, actually read what they are asking you first: skip to the bottom and look at the very end of the question. This is especially important before doing any type of lengthy math or calculations that may end up being a waste of time. And sometimes, you may find you do not need any of the information provided as a lead up to the question!

Tip #2: Read all four answers

You will typically find that one answer is wrong, one answer is kind of right, and the other two both seem to be correct. You are looking for the best right answer, so never stop at the first right answer. Read all four answers before selecting your choice. You may be surprised that there is an even better answer after evaluating all of the options.

Tip #3: Be mindful of keywords

Keywords in the question will enable you to determine the best answer to a question. For example, be on the lookout for words like “except,” “always,” “must,” “never,” or “rarely.” Undoubtedly you will get a challenging double-negative question that gets your head spinning a bit! Please slow down and read carefully what they are actually asking you to answer.

PMP Exam Tips

Tip #4: Know when to change your answer

This is a tough one, and there are a lot of mixed opinions out there. My advice would be not to change your answer under most circumstances. Typically, your first or gut response is going to be the correct answer, even if you are unsure of why it is the right answer. Second-guessing yourself can be detrimental in three ways: you are increasing your anxiety, which feeds your flight or fight response; you are losing precious time sitting on a question; and frequently your second answer will be incorrect.

There are two exceptions for when to change your answer: either another question alerted you that you answered the previous question incorrectly or it was a math problem, and when you double-checked your math, you realized you were off. Just because your math answer is there, does not mean it is correct.

Tip #5: Answer with PMI in mind

This can be one of the most challenging aspects of the exam, especially for more experienced or seasoned project managers. To pass the exam, you must answer the questions from the Project Management Institute (PMI) perspective, not using your own experience as a project manager. This means that there may be questions that, in practice, you would not handle the same way as you are going to answer on the exam. That can be tough, but remember, the goal here is that you pass your exam and hopefully on your first attempt!

While there is no 100% foolproof way to pass the PMP exam, using these tips can undoubtedly improve your likelihood. Good luck on your exam!

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:21 AM

Top Strategies for Obliterating Anxiety on the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 18 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The vast majority of people have some form of exam anxiety, and the intensity can range from just a little nervous to paralyzing or crippling impacts. Exam anxiety is even more common for an exam as challenging as the Project Management Professional (PMP)®. If you have considered pursuing this globally recognized credential, you have likely heard that the 200-question exam is not for the faint of heart. In addition to the difficulty, most folks spend a lot of money and time preparing for the exam, and some also face the additional pressure that their credential is a job requirement. This can significantly add to the pressure you may feel going into the exam, which, in turn, increases the probability of experiencing exam anxiety.

What is exam anxiety?

Unfortunately, the same beautiful brain that is going to enable you to pass the exam may also fight against you based on core biological behaviors that are hard-wired into us from our caveman days. Within the deepest mechanics of our brain lies the limbic system. As the central gatekeeper and communication system, the limbic system signals the fight-flight-or-freeze response when it perceives danger.

While we know that the PMP exam can’t kill us, our limbic system perceives it as just as much of a threat as a grizzly bear. Stress hormones get released, blood flow is redirected to your large muscles, your pupils dilate, and your heart rate and respiration increase. Your body is preparing you physically to deal with the threat while bypassing the logical (or executive) portion of your brain. This can be trouble on an exam that desperately requires your logical brain to be successful.

How can I reduce my anxiety?

The good news is that it is possible to curb your anxiety and decrease the negative impacts of being in fight-flight-or-freeze.

PMP Exam Strategies

· Name your emotion – as silly as it sounds, when your limbic system is being hijacked with anxiety, merely stating your emotion, out loud, invites your logical brain back to the party. This is extremely simple and yet extremely effective! If you are feeling nervous, say, “I’m feeling nervous about this exam.”

· Be prepared and be early – do your research and know what to expect before, during, and after your exam. The unknown is an intense fear provoker. Plan to arrive at the test site early, not giving yourself any extra stress from running late.

· Visualize success – the law of attraction is very real. What you put out is what you will experience, so see yourself being successful! Visualize sharing your success with your friends, family, and co-workers.

· Hydrate – while it may be tempting to skip the water to minimize bathroom breaks, trust me, you will want to be well hydrated! Optimal hydration is imperative for the functioning and processing of our brain and the transmission of information. Plus, because your brain is made up of more water than your body, by the time you are feeling thirsty, your brain is already dehydrated.

· Get rest – staying up all night before your exam will not increase your chances of success. In fact, lack of sleep can be incredibly detrimental, especially for memory recall and analytical tasks. Do yourself a favor and get some good sleep the night before your exam!

· Cycle through your questions – your PMP exam will be split into two sections, with an optional break between the sections. As you start your section, move through the questions at a good pace, answering any that you can answer within a few seconds. Continue to cycle through, answering more with each round. This low-hanging-fruit technique minimizes the fear of the unknown while also burning your adrenaline down to a more functional level. Do not sit on any one question for an extended period. This will simply increase your anxiety.

· BREATHE! Lastly, do not forget the importance of some nice deep breaths! The oxygen will do your brain and your body good!

While exam anxiety is a common concern, there are strategies that you can easily put into place to ensure that the anxiety does not prevent you from passing your PMP exam!

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 10:17 AM

Why You Need Your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Credential?

  • 15 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Regardless of your industry, if you are a project manager, you more than likely have considered pursuing your PMP® credential. As the most globally recognized project management certification, a PMP is undoubtedly a demonstration of your expertise. Still, the road to get those three little letters after your name may have you considering whether or not it is worth it.

To qualify to take the PMP® exam, project managers are required to document both their project management experience as well as their relevant education. If your application is approved, the final step is to pass a notoriously difficult 200-question exam. To best be prepared for success, candidates typically pursue exam preparation classes, invest in multiple study books, and devote time to studying and taking practice tests. So, is it worth it?

If you are serious about your career as a project manager, then the answer is most likely “yes!” There are several benefits to earning and maintaining your PMP that should be seriously considered when deciding if you want to pursue the credential.

· Earning the PMP credential demonstrates that you are an experienced and skilled project manager, as demonstrated by your achievement of the designation.

· According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the median salary for project professionals with a PMP is 25% higher than those who are not certified.

· By maintaining your PMP over time, you are significantly increasing your earning potential over your career.

· The PMP may be the deciding factor in earning a position over another candidate that is not certified.

· In many circumstances and situations, PMP is a condition of employment.

· By maintaining your PMP credential, you are committed to continued education and professional development in the sphere of project management. This ongoing knowledge ensures you keep up with today’s trends for the most in-demand skills.

But isn’t the market saturated with PMP holders?

In 2020, the PMI surpassed 1,000,000 PMP-credential holders worldwide. That leaves some project managers to believe that there are too many PMP holders to make the credential valuable. However, that is not the case.

As the baby boomers leave the job market, as infrastructure becomes more technically complex, as more and more organizations recognize the tremendous value of project managers, and as the pace of change becomes swifter, there is an ever-increasing need for skilled project managers. Do not let the numbers dissuade you!

There is a real and pressing need for skilled project managers in today’s businesses, and there is no better way to demonstrate your capacity as a skilled project manager than with the PMP credential. As a matter of fact, many companies will only hire project managers if they have already earned their PMP.

A little caveat…

Just because someone earned their PMP does not mean they are a “good” project manager. And along with that, there are a lot of amazing, skilled project managers that do not have their PMP credential. Earning your PMP is just one step in your career of being a professional, skilled, and experienced project manager.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:11 AM

What are the PMP Certification Requirements?

  • 11 September, 2020

By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate credibility in almost any career field is to obtain a professional certification. The field of project management is no exception and the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential does just that. Around the world, project managers with the PMP designation are recognized and sought-out for their high level of project management knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The requirements for earning the PMP represent a competency framework that encompasses an applicant’s past, present, and future. The Project Management Institute (PMI) requires a combination of general knowledge and experience, joined with specialized knowledge and experience, all obtained in the last eight years. PMI understands that at the point where theory meets practice is the moment that the highest levels of competence and readiness occur. To that end, PMI requires applicants to demonstrate the following:

· A four-year degree (bachelor's or the global equivalent); along with at least three years of project management experience of which 4,500 hours must be leading projects. In addition, PMI requires 30 hours of project management training.

· For non-degree holders, a secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent); along with at least five years of project management experience of which 7,500 hours must be leading projects. In addition, PMI requires 35 hours of project management training.

Applicants who successfully meet the required background requirements will receive an email notification with an eligibility identification number shortly after they apply. The eligibility ID allows the applicant to move from the past to the present.

Within one year of receiving the identification number, PMI requires all applicants to schedule and take the PMP examination. The purpose of the examination is to ensure that everyone awarded the PMP credential has achieved, by observation, an acceptable standard of project management knowledge, skills, and abilities. Just as an applicant’s self-reported education and experience are reliable indicators of competency and readiness, the examination is an equally reliable method of measuring it. Passing the exam means PMP holders have the demonstrated competency to lead and manage projects of all sizes and types.

Are the requirements for the PMP challenging? Yes. Are they achievable? Absolutely. As of this writing, PMI reports that one million project managers in over 200 countries hold the PMP credential. These one million men and women share two things in common: Not only have they met the requirements to earn the certification, but they also have the professional credibility that goes along with it.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:30 AM

Can I Self-Study for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam?

  • 08 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is considered to be one of the most challenging certification exams. With the proper preparation, organization, and dedication, however, you can pass this exam and reap the benefits that come with holding a globally recognized certification.

Why is the exam so difficult?

Three facets contribute to the difficulty of the PMP exam:

  1. An extensive volume of information
  2. Vocabulary that may be unfamiliar
  3. Challenging exam questions and a lengthy exam

These three facets have a direct impact on the need for proper preparation to be successful on the PMP. Preparing for the exam may involve taking an exam preparation course, self-studying, or a combination of both. There are pros and cons of all options, and it really is up to you to determine what makes the most sense in your particular situation.

Not studying is not a legitimate option, no matter how good you are at passing exams! This is not a test that you can “logic” your way through.

The self-study option of preparation

For some project managers, self-studying to prepare for the exam may be a legitimate option. Self-studying may eliminate the cost of an exam preparation course, but it will most likely increase your time commitment required.

If you decide to self-study, there are some serious considerations for your preparation approach: the pace of your study plan, the source of your material, and the alignment of your learning with the current version of the exam.

Study plan pace

There is a delicate balance between going too fast and going too slow to prepare for the exam. Attempting to “cram” or study quickly in a short amount of time will leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and, most likely, poorly prepared. While the content is not necessarily difficult, there is a lot to learn! And regardless of how experienced you are as a project manager, it is more than likely that there will be many new topics and vocabulary terms to learn.

On the flip side, it is essential to stay on-task and focused when learning the content. If you take too long to learn the material, especially without the proper reinforcement, you may find yourself forgetting the concepts you learned earlier in your preparation.

Source of the material

There is a lot of PMP exam preparation materials on the market. Quantity, however, does not equal quality. I encourage you to be incredibly diligent when purchasing any exam preparation material. Keep in mind that each book is written from that author’s perspective of the exam, and as such, each author may describe the context differently. Validate that the author is exceptionally well-versed in preparing project managers for the PMI (Project Management Institute) exams, not just simply someone who holds the PMP themself. Passing the test is one thing. Having the capability to teach others how to pass is another skill set altogether.

Alignment with the current version of the exam

PMI updates the PMP exam regularly, and some of these updates can be very significant. Verify that any and all study materials that you are using are in alignment with the current version of the exam. For further benefit, it is incredibly vital that the materials you are using include access to exams, preferably online exams, to replicate the actual exam experience as closely as possible.

Self-studying is a viable option for individuals that:

  1. Have the time for a set studying and preparation schedule
  2. Have access to top-of-the-line preparation materials
  3. Are disciplined with their studies
  4. Can develop a strong understanding of complex topics
  5. Can stay on-task, on-point, and disciplined with their learning

While self-study may not be the best option for everyone, with time, dedication, and discipline, it can be done.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 10:25 AM

Top 7 Tips for Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Preparation

  • 04 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is undoubtedly a very challenging test. However, there are some proven tips and tactics that can significantly increase the probability of a successful outcome. Having taught, mentored, and advised hundreds of project managers on preparing for the exam, I have found that these seven tips build the most robust foundation.

Tip 1: Do not underestimate the difficulty

There are two common misconceptions related to the difficulty of the exam: if you’re good at taking tests, the PMP will be easy, and if you’re an experienced project manager, you will have no problem passing. These are both blatantly untrue. While you will yield some benefit from being a good “test taker,” the PMP is not an exam that you can simply “logic” your way through, no matter how smart or experienced you are. It is essential to understand the project management concepts as described and enforced by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which may or may not align with your experience or practice.

Tip 2: Use reputable resources

There is no shortage of preparation materials available. It seems that everyone who has passed the exam in the past 40 years has decided to write a book. However, merely passing the exam does not make someone an expert in helping others prepare for the exam. Use sources that are authored by credible experts in the field of project management and adult education.

Tip 3: Exercise caution with advice that is given

Just as many PMP holders feel they can write a book, many also feel like it is their moral duty to advise anyone that is preparing for the exam. And while they should be very proud that they passed their exam, take any advice with a grain of salt. Remember that there are hundreds of questions in the question bank, and their experience may not be the same as your exam. People tend to have very selective amnesia upon completing the exam. Do they hate critical path? Guaranteed they will tell you they had a dozen critical path questions when, in reality, they probably had two.

Tip 4: Set the date

An underutilized technique is setting the date to take your exam. And when I say set the date, I mean actually schedule it with PMI. Believe it or not, we work best (and most efficiently) when there is a deadline. Student syndrome is a genuine thing! It is like having kids: if people waited until they could afford them, the human race would cease to exist! If you wait until you feel 100% confident about the exam, you will never take it. Schedule your exam and work tirelessly towards a successful attempt.

Tip 5: Practice, practice, practice

Reading and knowing the information for the exam is just one aspect of being successful. It is imperative that you take multiple practice tests. This will get you used to not only what information they may ask you but also how to work through complicated questions. Just verify that the questions align with the current version of the exam. And be skeptical of free exams. You get what you pay for!

Tip 6: Speak the concepts

Restating the concepts, out loud, is a potent tactic to ensure that you fully understand the project management concepts. While many people read the materials, that is only going to get them so far. To amplify your learning, try teaching the concepts to someone else: your spouse or partner, a work or study buddy, or heck, even your pets may make good listeners.

PMP Exam Preparation

Tip 7: Leverage your experience

I have yet to meet an experienced project manager that uses the exact same vocabulary or follows all of the processes that are detailed within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). However, I encourage you to “map” the concepts of the PMBOK Guide to your work experience. What PMI may call the project charter, you may know as the project authorization form. By drawing the correlations between the concepts and your experience, the material will be much easier to retain.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:56 AM

How Do I Take the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam?

  • 01 September, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential is one of the most globally recognized credentials for project managers across all industries and organization types. In today’s competitive landscape, having the coveted PMP credential increases your job and salary opportunities. There are multiple steps required to earn your credential. Being organized and prepared can make this process easier and less stressful!

Step 1: Verify that you meet the criteria

To qualify for the PMP credential, you will need to meet the defined criteria. If you have a four-year degree or higher, you are required to have 36 months leading projects and 35 hours of project management education (or the Certified Associate in Project Management [CAPM]®).

For candidates without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to 60 months leading projects and the 35 hours of project management education (or the CAPM).

Step 2: Complete the online application

Once you are confident that you meet the requirements, it is time to complete the online application at www.PMI.org. It is at this point that you will also be required to set-up your profile with the Project Management Institute (PMI).

To complete the online application, you will need to document where you did your project work, your roles and responsibilities, the approximate project budget, team size, and the duration of your projects. Each project must represent professional project experience (not a personal project, such as a home improvement project), and you must have been responsible for leading and directing the work of the project. You will also document your education on the online application.

WARNING: Approximately 25% of applications are randomly selected for audit. Be sure you can provide proper verification in the event you are in the lucky 25%! In other words, do not lie on your application.

Step 3: Pay for your exam

As the saying goes, “nothing in life is free,” and that is true for the PMP exam! The exam fees are $405 if you are a PMI member and $555 if you are not a member. HINT: given that you save more than the price of membership, it is definitely worth it to become a PMI member, at least while you’re pursuing your credential.

Step 4: Schedule your exam

Once your application is approved by PMI and/or you have successfully completed the audit, it is time to schedule your exam. An exciting change was put into place in 2020, where PMP candidates can now complete their exam proctored online. No need to leave the safety and comfort of your home or office! If you prefer to take your exam at a testing site, the PMP exam is administered at Pearson VUE locations around the world. When scheduling your exam, leverage the time of day when you know you can perform at your best! Remember, this is a 4-hour exam: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

PMP Exam

Step 5: Pass your exam

And the most exciting step is passing your PMP exam and demonstrating to the world that you are a serious, experienced, and professional project manager. You will be notified immediately upon completion of your exam as to your results. You will receive a proficiency rating in the five domains: initiating; planning; executing; monitoring and controlling; and closing.

With the proper preparation, you will be well on your road to being a PMP! Good luck!

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:30 AM

Meeting Your Project Team for the First Time: Introduce Yourself Like A Pro

  • 28 August, 2020

By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP

Are you taking over a new project team? Are you meeting your new team for the first time? This information is for you if so. How you introduce yourself will either confirm or inform your team's expectations. Your introduction will either motivate or deflate. Make it count, make it professional. Here’s how the professionals do it:

· Start by sharing a few key personal details: For example, you might share your previous role either in the same organization or another, along with the nature of the work you did. You could share your marital status, the number of children, and pets. You could share where you went to school, your favorite professional teams, or the sports you enjoy playing. Also, try sharing something about yourself that is not widely known even by your past collages. You may have climbed Pikes Peak in Colorado all the way to the top, or you are in the Guinness World Records book. By offering the team a window into your life, you allow them the opportunity to make instant connections with you. Sharing a few personal details about yourself is an important first step.

· Share the strategic importance of the project: A project is never “just a project,” but rather, projects are “instruments of strategy.” As a part of a larger organization, projects are purposefully selected and undertaken to achieve organizational goals. An organization’s goals, in turn, contribute to its strategic intent. Optimal alignment between the project, the organization’s goals, and its strategy is the “fit” of a project in the organization. In that sense, projects connect to strategy. We know this is true because projects can either enhance or diminish a firm’s competitive advantage. Share with your new team how the project at hand fits into the organization and how its result contributes to the organization’s strategic success.

· Share the triple obligations you have as the project manager: All project managers (PMs) have three primary obligations:

First, PMs are responsible to the organization they are working on behalf of. If it is an internal project, the PM is an associate or officer of the firm with an obligation to not only keep its leaders informed but also to deliver the expected strategic value of the project. If the project is an external one, the PM is typically a contractor-partner, yet has the same obligations, by contract, to inform and deliver value for the client.

Second, PMs have an obligation to the project. Project managers are ethically bound to do their best to meet the goals and objectives of the project. A PM’s every action and decision should aim to lessen the risk, conserve resources, enhance performance, strengthen the project team, and deliver the expected goods, services, and benefits.

Third, PMs have an obligation to their team. As the PM, you have a responsibility to be forthright and honest with your team, to be respectful and fair, and to lead by example. You also have the obligation to ensure each team member’s role is clear and each member has the tools, support, and authority to perform their personal best. When they excel, you excel.

Meeting Your Project Team for the First Time

· Share with the team what project success looks like: Paint a picture of the positive outcomes of the project. For example, if it is a newly launched product, describe its success in the marketplace and how consumers' lives are enhanced. If it is a new internal IT system, describe the increase in the organization’s competitive advantage as a direct result of improved and streamlined processes. Project success means positive outcomes. It also means improvements and/or enhancement in the lives of one or more groups, whether consumer groups or some other. Identify who and how lives will be bettered, and describe these positive outcomes with images, pictures, and metaphors as best you can. Nothing motivates a team like an inspiring and achievable vision.

· Wrap it up in 30 minutes but leave the door open for more information sharing later: Let team members know you will be reaching out to them individually, as a follow-up, to see what if anything they might need to excel, and that you look forward to working with them. Encourage them to stop by with any questions, comments, and suggestions. Leave all communications channels wide open.

There you have it. How to professionalize your introduction. You will likely need to revisit the organization’s strategic plan as well as the goals and objectives of the project. When you understand it well enough to explain it, you will be well prepared to introduce yourself like a pro!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 11:23 AM

ARE® 5.0 Demo and Testing Strategies

  • 25 August, 2020

By Maggie Kirk, Associate AIA

To best perform on the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) and all six of its divisions, it is imperative to be familiar with the exam format. The last thing an exam candidate should do is to show up on test day without any experience with practice exams. I found that, for me, half of the battle was learning the format of the exam. A great aspect of the exam is that it is consistent across all divisions. It follows the same format which promotes familiarization. Once that format became more familiar, I found myself becoming confident enough to test out strategies.

The majority of the ARE 5.0 consists of discrete items and case studies. Because the exam is timed, many test-takers suggest completing the case studies first. The case studies involve looking at resources that may take some time. Completing the case studies first allows for getting the most time-consuming part out of the way.

I found my strategy was to do a once-through until I got to the case studies, meaning that I would go through and answer the discrete items as I could within a certain time frame (around 20-30 seconds max). The exam offers the option to mark questions for review. If I answered a question but was not sure, I would mark for review to note that I was not fully certain in my answer. This was especially the case when I would read through a question quickly. One of the things I have learned from the exam is not to read too quickly—you will surely miss something! If a question has a lot to read, I suggest leaving it until a future pass. The exam will allow you to review the questions and go back to answer any that you skipped. It’s not over until you say it is, or until the time runs out.

Also, consider that the exam does not start until you hit start. The appointment time is padded and if you check in to the testing center quickly, you have time before you start the exam. I usually take a little bit of time before starting the exam to breathe deep and calm my nerves. You will be given paper and a pencil at the testing center so, before you begin, you can use that to download anything that is in your mind such as concepts, terminology, etc.

You are given a 15-minute break at your discretion to take at any time during the exam. Use it! I was in the habit of plowing through the exam, not taking a break until I realized I should take a break to relax my mind (typically after I have looked through the exam once). I would step outside, get some fresh air, and clear my thoughts so I could start again fresh.

Remember, what works for you is what works for you—but practice! Practice exams are great for familiarizing yourself with content and for testing strategies!

EduMind offers exam prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive review courses and select the format that best suits your needs.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:51 AM

How to Get Motivated After Failing the ARE® 5.0

  • 21 August, 2020

By Maggie Kirk, Associate AIA

There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and failing a division of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). Okay, some people have passed all the divisions on the first try (not me), but if you look at the passing rates—hovering around 50 percent, with one division in the 60s and another at 70 percent—the odds are against you. A fail is frustrating. An already long journey has become longer. It’s a sinking feeling, but don’t give up.

Get Motivated after Failing ARE 5.0 Exam

One of the best sayings that I heard from taking the ARE 5.0 was that you don’t fail, you just don’t pass. Many will admit that if they had to take an exam again after a pass, they may very well fail. It can go either way. The goal is not to let it derail your progress.

When you fail an exam, or even after you take an exam regardless of pass/fail, take a day or two off from studying. Go out to dinner and reconnect with the world. Blow off some steam so you are ready to get back in the ring. Give your brain a rest. I suggest (before going to dinner) downloading what you can remember from the exam to a document.

For me, that served as a study guide for the next time around. The plus side of taking the exam once is that you have a better idea of the content on the exam. The second time around may be more familiar. The download allows you to go back and review concepts that may have been weak points. A suggestion would be to compare your download to your Score Report, which is issued shortly after you have taken the exam, regardless if you pass or fail. The report indicates competencies and demonstrates areas of weakness.

It is important to keep going. Yes, a fail is demotivating, but it is best to get back into the groove and continue with the exams because the next ones could be passes. Don’t let one, or even many fails dictate forward progression. You are not alone in the process. I suggest that if you ever feel you are, turn to the ARE 5.0 Community on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website. The positive spirit, encouragement, engagement, and camaraderie reinforce that you are part of a professional community where every member is valuable and seeking success.

Whether or not you fail, I think that motivation is needed throughout the process—and maybe more so when there is a fail. My motivation was that I wanted to understand more about the profession of architecture. I found myself connecting to the content on the basis that it was making me a better professional. I didn’t need a pass or a fail to see that transformation in the exam-taking process.

So, remember that no matter what, don’t give up on the process because then you are giving up on your growth toward becoming a licensed architect. You got this.

EduMind offers exam prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive review courses and select the format that best suits your needs.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:52 AM

How to Read an ARE® 5.0 Score Report

  • 18 August, 2020

By Maggie Kirk, Associate AIA

When taking the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), the candidate has the option to view their provisional score at the conclusion of the exam. The provisional score allows the candidate to see whether or not they have passed the exam, pending further approval. Viewing the provisional score is an option, not a requirement, so one can skip that step if desired. If the candidate chooses not to review the provisional score, they will get their pass/fail and a Score Report within a short period of time.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) tests minimum competency and the cut score is between 57 and 68 percent, depending upon the exam. NCARB does not issue an actual test score. Instead, they simply note a pass or fail. The Score Report is the only way to assess how the candidate performed on the exam. However, there are very few specifics.

At the top of the Score Report, you will find the division taken, whether it is a pass or a fail, and the expiration date of the exam. If you pass the division, the Score Report lists the candidate’s progress with the exam process and results, the division statement, and the concepts of that particular division. The Score Report for a failed exam looks a little different.

After failing a division, the Score Report notes performance levels in addition to the information on the pass report above. The role of the performance levels is to give the candidate an assessment of competency for the divisions from level one to level four. Levels three and four do not qualify for a passing competency, while levels one and two qualify. Where one’s score falls into a particular level, it is indicated by a filled circle. If within levels one and two, the circle will be blue. If three or four, the circle will be grey.

Input on a failed section is provided with the division statements above the performance. It gives the description of the division sections and the content covered. If the candidate failed that section, they could reference the division statement to see the content of that section and focus more of their studying on failed sections.

Should the candidate not agree with the score, they have the option to pay a fee and have their exam validated. The charge is $100, and an NCARB staff architect will review all questions and performance. There is a limited amount of time to request this verification. Should the feedback from NCARB not be accurate pending the review, NCARB will refund the exam and verification fee and the score report will be adjusted.

An exam review is another option for the candidate. In this case, the jurisdiction for the exam will review the exam. Questions missed will be issued but their answers will not. It is up to the local jurisdiction to challenge and it also involves a fee.

EduMind offers exam prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive review courses and select the format that best suits your needs.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:26 AM

The Best Time to Take the ARE® 5.0

  • 14 August, 2020

By Maggie Kirk, Associate AIA

The process of becoming an architect is not an easy one. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), after 5.6 years of education, data shows that it takes about 4.6 years to satisfy the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) requirements needed to sit for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®).

At that time, the average age of a candidate is around 33 years old. In addition to that, it takes an average of 2.2 years to complete all six divisions of the exam. One of the most common concerns I hear about the exams is that life is well underway when a candidate becomes eligible to sit for them. In addition to work obligations (the hours and demands of the profession), a candidate often has a busy personal life as well, typically with a young family. This can get discouraging when faced with the task of completing the exams and becoming a licensed architect. The question is: When is the best time to take the exams given the time needed to study, and the time needed to take—and potentially retake—the exams? My answer: There is none.

Now, my answer is not meant to be discouraging but it is meant to demonstrate that there is no magic date or year in that definition of time. Consider my response setting an expectation. There is no missed boat because there just is no right time to take the exams and everyone’s situations and constraints are different. And that is OK. What works for one may often not work for all.

Best Time to take ARE 5.0

So, before hands are thrown into the air and frustration ensues, let me offer this bit of advice. Understand that while there is no best time in terms of date or year, it takes dedication. The best ‘time’ is time well-spent. I recommend setting aside 2-3 hours per day to study, and sometimes more. It is not a sprint, but a marathon and should be a consistent practice. Any small breaks in studying could lead to bigger breaks and then studying can become sporadic. These study sessions should not only be reserved for reviewing the content of the division—third-party study material, recommended readings, flashcards, and practice exams—but should be a time of dedicated concentration. Distracted learning makes it difficult for the material to sink in.

The best “time” is the time when your family and friends can support your journey. Often, the exam journey is not a solo expedition but involves the support of others. If the situation cannot lend that support, maybe it is not the best time to start. However, once started, the best “time” is completing the exams within the five years of the rolling clock so that exams aren’t at risk of expiring.

So, while there is no magic formula, understand that it takes the journey of ourselves and those closest to us. When everyone's on board, then that is the best time.

EduMind offers exam prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive review courses and select the format that best suits your needs.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:31 AM

Best Way to Reinforce ARE® 5.0 Study Material

  • 11 August, 2020

By Maggie Kirk, Associate AIA

Studying for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) is a daunting task. When embarking on the journey, the hardest part is figuring out where to start. The value of an exam preparation course is that it gives organization to the vast amount of content these exams cover. On top of that, reputable prep courses are developed by those who are experienced in the profession and with the ARE 5.0.

However, third-party materials should not be the only part of the process. Studying is reinforced through multiple other resources including readings, resources, flashcards, practice exams, videos, and more. It is necessary to access other resources when studying for these exams.

The ARE® 5.0 Handbook provides a list of resources and references to study for each division of the exam. What is often daunting about the list is that, combined, the resources are thousands of pages and thousands of dollars. Researching which select resources are recommended for the exam can start to whittle down the list. Many of these recommendations come from the ARE® 5.0 Community from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) website is a valuable resource in regard to model contracts and model documents. Free samples are provided that help familiarize the exam candidate with the contracts most common to the architectural profession, as well as understanding roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in a project and within the matrix of various contracts.

Flashcards are another valuable resource in reinforcing and understanding concepts and terminology. The terminology in the building industry is specific and meaningful, and flashcards help provide the terms and processes referenced within the industry and on the exam. Flashcards can be sourced through various resources including apps. However, the exam candidate should also make their own flashcards. Creating custom flashcards is a great way to keep track of various terminologies and concepts to reinforce the content of the exams from readings, resources, and other sources to tailor your study.

Last but certainly not least, the ARE® 5.0 Community is what I consider a “go-to” when studying for the ARE 5.0. Accessed through the NCARB website, the community space is divided into topics: those related to specific exam divisions and otherwise. Within the community, you will find an eager and excited bunch of professionals and moderators, helping each other with content, giving moral support, and just being all-around cheerleaders. I highly recommend it as a resource to find best practices, exam tips and tricks, suggested resources, and content clarification from those who are in the process or who have completed their exam journey. It reinforces that this journey is not one to be taken alone, but that the exam candidate is part of a much larger community.

No matter the path of that journey, there is more than meets the eye. Casting a wide net of resources and materials will support a universal understanding of topics and a better understanding of exam content.

EduMind offers exam prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive review courses and select the format that best suits your needs.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:42 AM

Ultimate Guide to the Five Primary Documents of Any Project

  • 07 August, 2020

By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP

Projects are document intensive. Project documentation serves a myriad of purposes including project selection, design, engineering, management, implementation, and control to name a few. One indicator of the density of project documentation is the 1,600-plus hits returned when the latest edition of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is searched using “document” as the keyword. That number tells the story of how interrelated and interwoven documents are in the many actions and activities of a project. No matter the use or need, project documents have one thing in common. At their core, documents are communications tools. Their purpose is to transfer project understanding and knowledge.

Project documentation is divided into two groups: “primary” and “secondary.” Primary documentation contains information not previously created or used before. Primary documents are the original and “first-source” of the information they contain. Secondary documents are derivatives of primary documents. Secondary documents are often a combination of two or more primary ones. Primary documents are indispensable and considered “essential” for any project. In order of their development:

1. Strategic traceability document. A project is never “just a project.” A project is always a part of a larger organization and always undertaken to achieve one or more organizational goal. In that sense, projects are really “instruments of strategy.” We know this is true because projects can either enhance or diminish a firm’s competitive advantage. Knowing how a project fits into an organization and contributes to its strategy is key to understanding the role and importance of the project. A strategic traceability document is an effective method to do that.

To create it, you will need to identify the following strategic elements: An organization’s strategic vision, its strategic goals or objectives, any legal mandates, as well as the goals of the project itself. With those in hand, show and explain their relative alignment. In other words, “trace” how each element contributes to the achievement of the next higher element. Applications like “Smart Art” do a nice job of documenting strategic traceability. Once created, the strategic traceability document is tantamount to the “north star” of the project. Never lose sight of it.

2. Project scope statement including a Work-Breakdown Structure (WBS). The scope statement is the most important document of a project. Without scope, there is nothing to “project manage.” Ideally, this document is a detailed description that paints the best possible picture of the intended result and outcome of the project. Part and parcel to the scope statement is a WBS. The WBS compliments the scope statement by providing structure and logic. The WBS serves as a framework for the scope statement and is critical to explaining it. As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” A well-prepared scope statement and WBS will ensure you can do the former, while helping others with the later. Using an “organization chart” as a template does an effective job creating a basic WBS. A scope statement is only as good as its WBS.

3. Schedule. The schedule document follows the scope statement and WBS. A project schedule is a two-dimensional representation which depicts units of work on the Y-axis and units of future-time on the X-axis. Ideally, the units of work are correlated with the WBS. Carrying the WBS structure into the schedule document significantly enhances the schedule’s communications value. The most common displays of a schedule are the Gantt, PERT, or GERT formats.

As an aside, an important thing to know about any project schedule is the existence of the “time-monster.” He is invisible, yet very real. He also has an insatiable appetite… and delights in eating any flavor of project whether in minutes, hours, and days. If you have ever uttered the words, “where has the time gone?” now you know.

4. Cost estimate. Created next is the cost estimate document. Coming after schedule (which comes after scope) makes sense. Logically, the cost of something cannot be known without first identifying what it is (from the scope), and second, identifying when you will need it (from the schedule). When this sequence changes, warning alarms should sound.

One often-overlooked component of any professional cost estimate is the basis of estimate, or “BoE.” The BoE is often much longer and richer than the numerical estimate itself. Like the relationship of the WBS to the scope statement, the BoE is the indispensable explanation of the cost estimate. The BoE details everything that factors in or influences the estimate including assumptions, constraints, sources of cost information, contributors, and any other important details not otherwise shown in the numbers. A cost estimate without a BoE is only half an estimate. The undisputed king of applications used to create a cost estimate is Microsoft Excel.

5. Communications plan. Ending on the same note as we began, communications is the heart of all project documentation. The communications plan is therefore essential as it is the very “plan” to make sure that all documents, primary, and secondary are doing their job. The communications plan is the pumping heart of a project. Too little information and the project becomes faint, too much information and the project can seize, and if the information stops altogether the project dies. An effective communication plan makes firm commitments to every action or activity related to communications including all routine project meetings; executive briefings; client presentations; all scope, schedule, or cost updates; all social media announcements and marketing updates; and anything else that communicates project information. Never leave the dates for these items “TBD.” Commit to them and include them in the schedule for best results.

While there are many more documents that are important in a project, without these it is unlikely a project will ever start or finish. They are the “essential documents.” While a project may get by without others, it will not get far without these.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:51 AM

Why should I get a PMP?

  • 04 August, 2020

By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP

There are many reasons to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP)® designation. One is its global appeal. The number of PMP holders has now reached 1 million, across more than 200 countries, according to the issuing organization, the U.S.-based Project Management Institute (PMI). By comparison, a similar designation issued by the International Project Management Association (IPMA), headquartered in the Netherlands, has a fraction of the holders, and represents far fewer countries (approximately 70).

Many consider the PMP to be the de facto world-standard in project management. Supporting its strong multinational use is the availability of the PMP examination in many languages. Whereas the IPMA examination is currently available in English, German, and Polish, PMI offers the PMP examination in 14 languages including Chinese. Earning a PMP means recognition as a Project Management Professional no matter where your next project takes you.

Another reason to earn the PMP, and much more importantly, is the credibility it confers on its holders. Few efforts bestow standing like earning a professional credential. Whether in information technology, software programming, or another discipline, credentials symbolize knowledge, skills, abilities, and even work ethic.

Not all credentials are equal, however. The credibility of a given designation stems from the standing of the organization behind it and the rigor of the requirements to obtain it. As a leading practitioner, academic, and research organization, PMI is not only the largest dedicated project management organization, the standards it has set for obtaining its credential are among the most stringent. PMI has considerable standing among professional organizations as does its PMP credential. As a direct result, PMP holders enjoy the trust and confidence of their peers and clients.

While recognition and credibility are two important reasons the PMP is worth earning, there is another reason that is frequently talked about: increased earnings potential. So, “how much does a project manager with a PMP make?”

Project managers with or without PMI’s credential can earn attractive salaries. Those with a PMP distinction can earn even more. Those with the credential made 23% more than their non-credentialed counterparts, according to a 2019 survey conducted by PMI. For example, the average salary of project managers without PMI’s credential earned approximately $100,000.00 per year as compared to the median U.S. household income of $56,516.00 per year. However, with a PMP, project manager salaries increase significantly, with an average salary in the U.S. of $123,314. Holding the PMP pays off financially for those that have earned it!

Three good reasons to earn the PMP designation: Global acceptance, professional credibility, and the opportunity to earn high salaries. Like most professional credentials, the PMP represents an investment that pays strong dividends to those that earn it.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:00 AM

What to Do When You Fail a Section of the ARE® 5.0 Exam?

  • 31 July, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB

As the old saying goes, “Embrace discomfort, because it is an opportunity to grow.” This perspective is something that I have carried with me as I have progressed through my career in architecture. Let’s face it, failure is just about guaranteed in the architectural profession. Whether it is failing a section of the ARE® exam, a design idea that the client didn’t accept, or a proposal for new work that was rejected, failure will become part of any career in architecture.

What can you do with failure? Isn’t failure, to some degree, a diagnosis that you weren’t quite ready? After processing the emotions that come with any form of failure, the thing that I fall back on time and time again is to embrace it as an opportunity to get stronger, better, and more advanced. Looking at it another way, how can you grow if you already know everything? Failure, if embraced, can be an opportunity to grow! Make the most of it.

If you find yourself in the position of failing a section of the ARE, your self-confidence can certainly take a hit. I once heard a college football coach say following a loss the previous week: “We don’t want to let them continue to beat us all season.” The coach wasn’t referring to playing the same team each week. Instead, he was talking about not letting that one loss creep into the heads of the players to the extent that they lost the motivation needed for taking on their next opponent. The same thing applies to the ARE. To some extent, you need to shake off the disappointment and move forward.

My advice for what to do when you fail a section of the ARE has a few aspects to it. First, if you can recall specific areas where you know you struggled during the exam, jot them down as targets for re-study. Then, hit the books with a vengeance. Push yourself hard. Make a new goal to not only pass, but to get a high score. Challenge yourself to master the material. This will not only result in improving your chances for the next exam attempt, but it will also help you get stronger as a professional.

Next, look at your failing score. How close were you from a passing score? If you were close, it’s an indication that you weren’t that far off, and perhaps only a modest amount of additional preparation is required before you make another attempt. If you had a low score, it could be an indication of a couple of issues related to an understanding of content or comfort with the exam format itself. In my experience, it usually is a combination of both. Again, the best remedy that I have found is a relentless effort to master the content. Nothing is more effective for navigating the “land mines” the exam writers embed into the exam format than a high level of content knowledge. In addition, mastering content builds the confidence you will need when you make your next attempt.

What to do when you fail ARE5.0 Exam

Lastly, I recommend that you share your experience with peers and highly trained architects. There are often a few benefits to this: One is that talking about failing will help you get past the disappointment; Another is that you may learn from others about their experiences with the exam, and perhaps those insights will help you focus your re-study efforts.

Failure isn’t initially something that feels satisfying. But, with enough work and effort, it certainly can be.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:59 AM

The Project Management Plan: Topics to Learn for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 28 July, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

You know what they say about project management: “plan the work and work the plan.” While that adage is a bit out of date with the advancement of agile and adaptive project development techniques, planning is still at the core of any successful project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), the ultimate tool for planning, managing, and monitoring and controlling your project is the project management plan.

Think of the project management plan as the ultimate “how-to guide” for your project, defining and describing how the project work will be determined, managed, monitored and controlled, and closed. This includes information on change management, configuration management, what project life cycle and approach will be used, and how all aspects of the project management will be handled. Depending on the complexity of the project and the environment, the project management plan may be a simple high-level document or something much more in depth.

There are two primary components of the project management plan: the subsidiary plans and the project management performance measurement baselines.

Subsidiary Plans

The word subsidiary refers to being a part of something bigger. That is exactly what these plans are: a component of the overall project management plan. Subsidiary plans provide a more detailed level of information and direction around a specific area or aspect of the project. Subsidiary plans may be developed for any of the knowledge areas, such as a cost management plan, a schedule management plan, a stakeholder engagement plan, a scope management plan, a communication management plan, etc.

Subsidiary plans may be simple bulleted lists or much more detailed, depending on the complexity of the project. Not all subsidiary plans will necessarily be used on every project. For example, if you will not be working with any sellers or vendors, a procurement management plan would be unnecessary.

Baselines

Performance measurement baselines are developed at the start of the project and define the intended performance of the project. There are three primary baselines: scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline. Consider these baselines as the measuring sticks, against which you will measure the performance of your project. The baselines are created through the planning processes and are considered a key component of the project management plan.

To accurately assess project performance, the baselines are “frozen” and only updated when there is a significant authorized change to the scope of the project. This could include adding scope or work to the project or removing work from the project. These baselines are used during the monitoring and controlling processes to assess the performance and progression of the project and determine the need for any type of corrective or preventive actions.

Summary

The project management plan is one of the essential tools for managing any project, from simple endeavors to large, complex engagements. PMI considers the project management plan to be mandatory as it reduces risk to the organization while also providing clear guidance. Should the project manager or a key team member leave the project, the project management plan enables successors to get up to speed quickly on project specifics.

On the PMP® exam, many of the questions ask, “what is the first thing/best thing/next thing you do?” and frequently, the correct answer is “check the project management plan.” On the exam, PMI may refer to the project management plan as the project plan, removing the word management.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:12 AM

How to Ace the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 24 July, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The PMP exam is challenging, even for the most experienced project managers. But with the proper preparation and some keen insight, you can pass the exam and earn this industry-leading credential. It takes time, focus, and commitment, but passing this important exam will make the effort worth it.

The first step toward acing your exam is verifying the current exam specification and content. Ensure that any study material you are planning to use is updated and aligned with the current version of the exam. You can find this information at www.PMI.org to confirm the exam version. The PMP exam changes every two to three years, either due to an update of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)® Guide or to incorporate the results of a role delineation study.

Some project managers mistakenly believe their experience in managing projects will be enough to pass the exam. However, experience alone will not provide the insight and context you will need to answer the 200 questions. Creating a deliberate and comprehensive study plan and approach will help you develop a strong foundation for answering the questions from the PMI perspective.

As part of your study plan, be sure to incorporate plenty of practice questions that reflect the types of questions and the content that will be on the exam. To add to your preparation, it is beneficial to use timed questions, giving you a better feel for the actual exam. The majority of questions on the PMP exam are situational, asking things like “What’s the first thing you do,” “What’s the next thing you do,” or “What’s the best way to handle this situation?” Reliable mock exams will include a number of these types of questions. To ensure readiness, you should be scoring at least 75% to 80% on these practice tests.

While preparation is incredibly important, do not minimize the impact of your behavior during your exam. Most people have at least some level of exam anxiety, but with the right approach and a few behavioral hacks, you can still be successful on this exam. Anxiety is fear of the unknown, which can plunge us into a ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response. However, this is not conducive to answering 200 questions!

When we are in that heightened state of anxiety, our prefrontal cortex (the logical part of our brain) is left out of the communication loop. What you want to do is bring the adrenaline and other stress hormones down to a level where they can help you versus hurt you. The most effective approach is to skim through the questions, only answering those you can answer within a few seconds. Moving through the 200 questions removes the fear of the unknown because now you’ve seen all the questions, and it is reducing your adrenaline down to a more functional level.

Once you get through all the questions, you will have the option to filter by the ones you left blank. Cycle through again, answering what you can. Continue this way until all questions are answered. Be careful to leave no questions blank! Go with your gut if you’re not sure. If you leave a question blank, it will count against your total score. Do not change your original answers unless you are 100% certain the first answer is incorrect. Frequently, our first answer is the correct one, even if we are unsure about it.

It is helpful to have a well-thought-out approach to taking the exam. For more complex questions, read the actual question at the bottom first. This will allow you to work through all of the details more efficiently. Remember to read all four possible answers and see how they work with the actual question. Do not just assume the first answer that sounds good is correct.

Finally, do not get distracted with your subject matter expertise. The PMP exam is a generalist exam, meaning that project managers from all industries are being tested. Identify the project management concept they are asking you about and ignore any content that may appear to be industry specific.

How to Ace the PMP Exam

With a solid plan for preparation and sound techniques for approaching the questions, you will be better prepared to ace your PMP exam. EduMind’s comprehensive PMP exam review courses can help you get ready with confidence! Click here for more information.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:29 AM

Project Development and Documentation (PDD): Roof Design and Details

  • 21 July, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB

Based on my observations of hundreds of architectural staff working on literally thousands of projects over the decades, I think it’s safe to say that of all the components of a building envelop, the roof is perhaps one of the “less popular” design elements to develop. The plans and elevations normally take the top spot in the interest category among the team, at least initially. After all, if the project has a “flat roof,” especially with a parapet, it’s not normally visible from adjacent grade. If it is a simple sloped roof, it is something that often fades away from street view at an angle, and not likely to draw much attention.

These factors are among several that contribute to the delay of developing the roof design until a bit later in the project, which can cause problems down the line. As an example, I recall one municipal building project that had a simple shed roof over the entry, forming a sort of canopy. Because this portion of the roof was visible from the interior of the building, as the entry lobby was open to the second-floor level and had windows overlooking the front of the building, the designer wanted to use a standing seam metal roof for a clean appearance.

The details were developed late in the project, and the project went out to bid. In the construction phase, the roofing subcontractor noted that the roof was “too flat” to comply with the warranty of the standing metal roof that was detailed and specified. With all the framing in place, the alternative was to use a standing seam membrane system that would look similar in appearance. The kicker was that it cost the client an additional $10,000! Since public projects have very tight—if not fixed—construction budgets, this situation resulted in much grief all around.

In the situation above, had the designer done their homework early enough in schematic design, they could have used the originally specified standing seam metal roof if they adjusted the roof pitch just slightly. Having been in practice for well over 40 years, I have seen many roof issues that could have been resolved with the proper attention given to it early in design.

In another example, I know of a flat-roof distribution center project that used perimeter roof scuppers, leader boxes, and downspouts to provide the proper roof drainage. This is actually a very common approach with industrial buildings, especially in wet climates. However, in this case, the roof design was developed a bit late in the project, and the downspout locations became a difficult challenge. Among the elements to coordinate for the positioning roof scuppers were rooftop equipment and overhead door locations along the building elevation.

This became so difficult that the team decided to reduce the number of scuppers and downspouts required by instead opting to provide the needed capacity by upsizing fewer drainage components. That approach worked out well until the required bend in the upsized downspouts (now 10-inches in diameter instead of the standard 6- or 8-inch diameter) to coordinate with structural footings and connect with the lateral storm line created a condition where portions up to 6-feet in pipe length were exposed above-finished grade! It turns out that the “standard detail” for downspout bends at footing locations was developed for pipe sizes of 8-inches or fewer.

This all could have been avoided had the roof drainage been thought about earlier in the project, and mechanical equipment, overhead doors, and footings could have all been coordinated to work with the number of 8-inch downspouts needed to provide the proper drainage.

These are just two reminders of how important it is to consider the roof design early in the project. While a roof may not be the most exciting of architectural features, it is one that requires attention early on.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:13 AM

Passing the PMP® Exam

  • 17 July, 2020

Getting your PMP certification is important for professional project managers and essential for consultants. For consulting, the PMP is often required to be eligible for consideration. Much like the CPA for accountants, the PMP represents a common level of understanding of concepts, standard principles, and vocabulary. Ample preparation for the exam is critical.

Choosing the right approach for you is half the battle. For some, it may be as simple as getting the current Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and reading it from cover to cover. However, this approach has a low probability of success in passing the exam for most examinees.

You might buy a book that is designed for exam preparation. This is a low-cost approach with a reasonable chance for success for those who learn well by reading. However, this requires a lot of perseverance and discipline and may become problematic if you get stuck on or misunderstand something. In addition to the inherent risks of self-teaching, you also risk using information that may be out-of-date or not relevant to the exam. If the outcome is not a certification, you will need to determine what went wrong and how to take corrective action.

The best approach for most people is to take an exam preparation course from a Registered Education Provider (REP). REPs provide the best opportunity for success for several reasons. They have access to the most current materials and experience in helping students successfully prepare. They also have resources proven effective in preparation, such as practice exams and study aids. Additionally, most REPs include remedial action if things don’t go well during the certification exam. We all have one of those days from time to time. Having someone in your corner if that happens during your exam is invaluable!

So now that you’ve decided on the right approach for you, what’s next?

First, establish your regimen for studying and preparation. If possible, set up an area where you can spend some time every day reading and practicing your preparation approach with everything you need, such as references, paper for notes, index cards (for flashcards), etc. Schedule when and where you will take the exam, allowing yourself plenty of time for preparation.

If you take a preparation course, you should consider taking the exam shortly after the class is concluded, but probably not the very next day. You will want to spend some time taking practice exams. Do them as many times as it takes until you consistently pass with a comfortable margin.

Avoid the urge to cram the night before your exam is scheduled. Like our muscles recover from working out to be stronger, your brain needs to de-stress for improved memory. The night before you take the exam, make sure you get some light exercise, eat something healthy, and get a good night’s sleep.

During the exam, take advantage of the tools available to you along with a strategic approach. If you have memorized equations, images, phrases, or a mnemonic to recall useful terms or concepts, you can use the online whiteboard if taking an online exam. For onsite testing, you will not be permitted to bring calculators or scrap paper into the test site. However, according to the PMI handbook, the following items will be provided for you by the test center on the day of the exam:

· Calculators are built into the CBT exam and will be provided to those candidates taking a PBT exam.

· Writing materials for taking notes during the examination: either scrap paper and pencils or erasable board and markers

On your first pass through the exam, read each question carefully and be sure to note any negatives, such as “Which of these are NOT…” Answer the questions you know and mark those of which you are less certain.

Passing the PMP Exam

Next, go back to the unanswered questions. Resist the urge to change a prior answer unless you have a clear and specific reason to change it. Often, people change from the right answer to a wrong answer unless they realize they overlooked a “not” or come across another question that contradicts their first answer.

Frequently we find that some questions in the exam may answer another question in the way the question is posed. Answer all the marked questions using the information you gathered from the rest of the exam. In some cases, you will find the answer outright, while others you will know enough to exclude one or more wrong answers. Using this process of elimination will help improve your odds of choosing the best answer from those remaining.

Do NOT leave any questions unanswered. Even if you just guess, you still have a 25% chance of getting it right. Using the process of elimination can improve that to 33% or even 50%. An unanswered question is automatically wrong.

Following the study approach with a REP and following these steps is the best way to achieve your desired outcome—becoming a certified Project Management Professional. EduMind is a REP that can help you achieve your goal with comprehensive exam review courses offered in a variety of formats. Click here for more information and to determine which option is best for you.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:24 AM

Monitoring and Controlling the Project: Topics to Learn for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 14 July, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), 6th Edition, there are 12 processes within the monitoring and controlling process group. These processes are performed throughout the project, from inception to completion, and are essential to managing and monitoring the progress of the project. Twenty-five percent of the questions on the PMP® exam will be from these 12 processes.

As the project manager, you want to be diligent and proactive in understanding the health of your project and, thus, the importance of these monitoring and controlling processes. Monitoring and controlling provide the project manager and the team with critical insight to enable proactive decision-making versus succumbing to reactive actions.

Baseline Variances

When planning the project, the project manager develops a plan that incorporates the subsidiary plans and the scope, schedule, and cost performance measurement baselines. These baselines represent the intended progress of the project and are the ideal tool for assessing any variances from realized risks or other unforeseen project events. The control scope, control schedule, and control cost processes will evaluate the project’s progress against these performance baselines to determine the need for any type of corrective or preventive actions.

Earned Value Analysis and Forecasting

To calculate the impact of any variances, the project manager can use an earned value analysis to determine the cost variance and schedule variance of the project. This earned value analysis is conducted at set intervals throughout the project to reveal project trending data.

In addition to an earned value analysis, several forecasting techniques can be used to determine the estimate to complete (ETC) the project work and the estimate at completion (EAC) forecast. When the EAC is compared to the budget at completion (BAC), the project manager can determine if there will be a negative variance at completion (VAC). A negative VAC indicates the project will exceed the given budget.

Integrated Change Control

Critical to the management of any project, is a defined and communicated change control process. Integrated change control is considered a component of project monitoring and controlling. While ideally changes to your project are limited, realistically, changes will be requested or necessary. The integrated change control process evaluates the change requests, leveraging a change control board (CCB). The CCB includes the key stakeholders and the project sponsor, and it is generally facilitated by the project manager.

Reporting and Communication

Effectively managing stakeholder expectations throughout the project increases the likelihood of project success and product acceptance. The work performance information generated throughout the monitoring and controlling processes is used to create the work performance reports (also known as status reports). Following the agreed-upon protocol in the communications management plan, the work performance reports are distributed to the appropriate parties on a consistent schedule. If, at any time, there is an indication that communication is not adequate, the communication processes should be revisited.

The project manager is expected to be honest and transparent in their communications with the sponsor and stakeholders regarding the status of the project, any variances that have been identified, the impacts of those variances, and the recommended and implemented actions.

In Summary

Mature and skillful project managers understand the critical importance of project monitoring and controlling to gain insight into the health of their project. The information gained from monitoring and controlling, evaluating progress against the project baselines, and a strong change control process, enables the project manager to be proactive in making recommendations and changes.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:01 AM

Getting Ready for Your Next Career Step

  • 10 July, 2020

Organizations that predominantly operate using a project construct are undergoing a substantial shift to a product approach. In practice and theory, we more collectively refer to the flow of value through our organizations. This becomes a disruption driver in the digital reality unfolding before us.

As this happens, there are several pertinent shifts in the landscape of our organizations. Efficiency is not king at the moment because we should first be aware of our relative effectiveness. To be efficient without effectiveness is to waste resources faster. Those who are digitally inclined will be those who reconsider their value propositions as value streams and manage them appropriately.

This is apparent in several of our professional areas or domains—such as project managers, operations, technology, and even organizational structures—as we increasingly implement Agile, DevOps, or ITIL v4 in a cloud environment where essentially everything is available as a service (XaaS).

1. Recognize Opportunity

Unfortunately, there may be fewer PMs in the future than we have today. The role is evolving to be closer to its roots as a means of developing and delivering a new product or capability, largely because of shifts in how work is defined and executed.

The next step for most is to move from a matrixed functional organization to a team-based, iterative, value-focused organization with virtuous cycles that we can sustain indefinitely. Organizations that have done this have consistently disrupted their markets. This will mean a significant reduction in the number of projects that are needed. Most of the kinds of work we projectize will become managed as a product where we have the consistency of team and eliminate the start-stop inefficiencies in favor of a pull-based flow of value.

Work item management shifts to teams and product owners via backlogs. Forecasting is replaced with projections and financial reporting is completely automated. Many project managers are perfect candidates for product owners.

2. Look at the Big Picture

Product ownership is a leadership opportunity with an increasingly critical role as organizations grow and scale. Product owners are charged with understanding the current and future term needs of the consumers of their value and how we can best deliver that value in a mutually beneficial value exchange. PMs must have big-picture skills along with the ability to manage the details. Having experience and exposure in a wide range of domains is a strong indicator of the ability to manage the diverse demands in managing value streams. Look for product roles as increasingly occurring and in-demand opportunities for good PMs.

3. Build Transformation Skills as a Core Competency

US Navy Seals say, “The only easy day was yesterday.” Change is that way for everyone. The frequency and amplitude of change will only increase, with possible temporary plateaus. Understanding your resilience mechanisms and being prepared to adjust or evolve will be life-changing for the better. Like so many other things, awareness and maintaining situational awareness are key drivers. Keeping up to date professionally, especially from a technology perspective (DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering, Agile Product Owner, for example) will enable you to be proactive in recognizing the right role and opportunity.

4. Take Control of Your Future

With the current COVID-19 crisis still in full swing, there is much doubt regarding what tomorrow may bring. Life will eventually go back to normal for some, but for many, the new normal will be a bumpy ride. What will prevail is impossible to know at this point.

Having current training and certifications makes you more competitive in the marketplace over those who are still operating under the old model. During this time of pause, where most work is being done remotely, do your research and consider the “what if” of becoming part of the gig economy.

Remember:

“The best defense is a strong offense.”[1]
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”[2]



References:


Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:19 AM

Determining Appropriate Documentation: Code Requirements

  • 07 July, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB

One of the most common misunderstandings about building codes is that the requirements are always “black and white” and very clear to follow. That is simply not true.

Let’s start with the perception that code is set, fixed, and 100 percent clear. While there are certainly some elements of the code that are clear and direct, there often is much room for interpretation. This makes sense if one considers that it would be nearly impossible to develop codes to govern each condition encountered in an architectural project. Instead, the code normally addresses the biggest issues, often those impacting or influencing the health, safety, and welfare of the site/building users.

Sometimes, the design team finds itself in the position of not knowing exactly how to comply with code. Here is an example that I encountered a few years back: My project was a municipal government office building that included a strong, public-facing entry which was required to be part of the accessible path to the building. This meant (among other things) that wheelchair access needed to be provided from the front directly to the building entry. The grades were a bit challenging, but a switchback layout provided the needed compliance for maximum ramp slope and landings.

One modest “bend” in the ramp was required to navigate around stormwater and landscape features close to the building entry. The bend was very slight, something close to a 15-degree pivot at a landing. The accessibility code for this project noted that 90-degree turns in ramps required a full 60 inches of clear wheelchair turning diameter. A very clear diagram was provided in the code to facilitate compliance. However, the design team considered the ramp pivot for our design as very minor, and not requiring the full 60-inch clearance at the landing. The thought process was that, while it made sense to have the 60-inch clearance for a wheelchair to safely navigate a hard 90-degree turn, the ramp as designed had only a 15-degree bend and would not require any special maneuver by someone in a wheelchair. As a result, the ramp was designed and submitted for permit review without the 60-inch clearance at the landing.

When we received our plan check comments during building permit review, the issue was raised by the building official. He felt that a 60-inch-diameter turning clearance was required at the landing because the ramp had a bend. He agreed that the code didn’t address ramp landing width requirements beyond those that included 90-degree bends, but our ramp had “a bend,” so his interpretation was that we needed to provide the 60-inch turning clearance at the landing.

OK, game over! The local building official stated his case and we needed to comply, right? Not exactly. The design team then submitted the issue for a state-level building code interpretation, and the state building official determined that our ramp, as designed, met the intent of the code. We presented our findings to the local building official and he accepted them.

In the end, the design team did devise a simple tweak to one side of the ramp to create a slight “V” at the landing. This provided the 60-inch clearance anyway, while not compromising the design objectives. As I eluded to before, the building code is often “gray” as opposed to “black and white,” leaving many issues up for interpretation as a project is designed.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:13 AM

Predicting a Passing Score on the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 03 July, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

The Project Management Professional® exam is undeniably tough, and passing the exam requires dedicated attention and a focused study plan. But how do you know if you are ready to pass the exam? And can you predict a passing score? While a passing result cannot be guaranteed, there are some things that you can do to significantly increase the probability of success.

Let’s start with understanding what it takes to pass the PMP exam, because it is not as simple as having a set score or percentage of questions correct. In the earlier years of the PMP exam, the Project Management Institute (PMI) assigned a passing score to the exam. This score was communicated to the candidates.

At one point, PMI decided to increase the passing percentage, making the exam much more difficult. There was an adverse public reaction to this, and it was shortly after this situation that PMI made the decision not to release the passing score. To make it even more of a mystery to candidates, PMI did away with a defined percent score and moved to a weighted model.

Today’s PMP exam is scored based on a weighted model that is applied to each candidate’s set of questions. There are hundreds of questions in PMI’s question bank, and each question has been evaluated and assessed for difficulty. Questions that are deemed to be more difficult will have a higher weight and vice versa. Hypothetically, if your exam has more difficult questions, the required passing score will be lower. If your exam has more straightforward questions, the required passing score will be higher.

The best indicator of your success on the exam is going to be practice exams. But not just any practice exams. They must:

· Be based on the most current version of the exam. Verify that the questions are reflective of the current version and are not out of date. PMI changes the PMP exam every few years.

· Include lengthy and detailed questions. Get practice working through wordy questions, identifying the keywords and concepts.

· Ask scenario-based or sequencing questions, such as “what’s the next thing / best thing / first thing you do?” or “how would you handle this situation?” This is an excellent reminder that the PMP exam is not a test of memorization, but rather an application of the concepts.

· Have a timed element that corresponds to the timing of the actual exam. The exam is a 4-hour, 200-question exam, meaning you have less than a minute and a half per question. Practice working under time pressure!

· Be provided by a reputable source. Using an unreliable set of questions can cause much more harm than good in your preparation. EduMind provides a comprehensive PMP exam review course taught by industry experts to help you prepare, practice, and pass your exam.

· Include at least 100 questions in one sitting. The PMP exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Practice with an extended set of questions to replicate the exam experience.

If the practice exams you are taking meet all of the above criteria, a score higher than 80% indicates that you are very well prepared and will most likely be successful on the actual exam. Now, even though you may have achieved a comfortable score, do not sabotage yourself on test day. To further improve your chances of success:

· Take your test within a short timeframe after achieving a good practice test score. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

· Get a good night’s sleep the night before your exam. Forfeiting sleep for some last-minute studying is counterproductive. You will function at a much higher level when you are well rested.

· Remember proper nutrition and hydration. Feed and hydrate your brain to tackle this 4-hour exam.

· Employ proven strategies for dealing with exam anxiety, arrive early at your test center, and remember—most importantly—to breathe.

With a focused and dedicated study plan, a wide variety of practice exams, and proper self-care, you can be successful on your PMP exam.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:08 AM

ARE Prep: Using Cognitive Skills to Improve Learning

  • 30 June, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB

In architecture, as well as just about any profession, there is a great deal of information to process, understand, and retain. The range varies from highly technical processes to subjective theories, to common-sense communications. With so many different forms of knowledge to process, understand, and retain, it becomes challenging to just rely on simple memorization.

Over the course of my career, I have developed cognitive skills to help me develop understanding and to retain and communicate the knowledge that I have gained. Specifically, these skills are based on making connections between things I encounter in the profession and everyday life. I have found if I do that, I can improve my ability to retain knowledge and, perhaps more importantly, recall that knowledge when I need it.

As a physical example, let’s take the rather technical concept of resolving for reactions at supports of beams that are carrying a known load. This involves the calculations needed to sum moments (the force multiplied by the distance from a point). When I was first presented with this information in architectural school, it was a bit challenging to understand. What exactly are moments, and how do they relate to rotation of the beams at the supports? To help me lock-in to this, I experimented with a long stick with a weight suspended by a string. I was able to draw the load close to my hand (the support) and slide it further out to the end of the stick (away from the support). Doing this, I could see how different it felt in both positions. With the weight close to my hand, I could easily support it. The further the weight was moved toward the end of the stick, the more the load increased and was causing the support (my hand) to resist the force of the stick to rotate. With this simple physical example, I could better understand the concepts of resolving for moment loads on beams. That has stuck with me for the past 45 years, so I can tell you it works.

Now let’s consider more of a “mental” example, specifically using analogies to make connections. My firm is a multi-disciplined practice with architects, interior designers, planners, landscape designers, and both structural and civil engineers. A few years back, we made a concerted effort to have each discipline manage their scope independently. The idea was to create a higher sense of ownership of the work being produced by each discipline. To a degree, this worked, but there were also some unintended consequences that resulted. After a while, we noticed that gaps were forming in work jointly produced by two or more disciplines. Basically, each discipline was drawing a boundary around what they were to do, and where the next discipline had to pick it up.

This was resulting in increases in errors and omissions in our work, and that was impacting our financial performance. As the lead principal in our company, I had to examine what was going on and try to explain it to others in a way that we all could understand and retain. The analogy that I came up with was “silo-ing.” The classic silo used in agriculture was the mental picture that I needed not only for my understanding of the problems, but for the entire company. I used my example of silos to represent each discipline and the spacing of the silos represented the gaps in our collective work. The analogy caught on and soon each discipline was making efforts to eliminate silo-ing.

These physical and mental pictures are examples of cognitive concepts that have helped me make the connections that I need to learn, retain, and communicate the vast array of information that exists in the architectural profession.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:22 AM

Qualitative versus Quantitative Risk Analysis: Topics to Learn for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 26 June, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Managing risk is a crucial aspect of managing projects. It is wise to anticipate multiple questions on the exam about project risk management and the processes from the risk knowledge area within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Two of those processes that are commonly confused are Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis. For exam success, it is vital to understand the differences between these two processes.

Project risk management involves:

  1. Planning the approach to risk management for the project
  2. Identifying the risks to the project, including both negative risks (threats) and positive risks (opportunities)
  3. Analyzing the identified risks, qualitatively and perhaps quantitatively
  4. Planning and implementing the risk responses
  5. Monitoring risk throughout the project

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis

All risks that have been identified on the project will be qualitatively analyzed. This analysis is performed on both threats and opportunities to assess and establish the priority of the risks, as well as determine the need for possible quantitative analysis and risk responses.

A qualitative risk analysis involves subjectively assessing the probability, or likelihood, the risk event will occur as well as the impact, or effect, if it does occur. The probability and impact scales are numerical scales that are agreed-upon and documented in the risk management plan.

For example, the probability may be assessed on a 0 to 1 scale, where 0.3 would correspond to a 30% probability. The impact may be assessed on a 0 to 1, 1 to 5, 1 to 10, or another agreed-upon scale. Multiplying the probability score by the impact score will return the individual risk score. For example, a risk is assessed as a 0.2 probability and an impact score of 4. The overall risk score would 0.8. It is the risk scores that allow the risks to be prioritized, with the highest rated risks being considered for quantitative analysis and risk response planning.

Because a qualitative analysis is subjective, the biases, attitudes, and opinions of the assessors should be considered. However, having documented criteria that correspond to the impact level can assist with minimizing the subjectivity of the evaluation.

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

While all risks are evaluated through a qualitative risk analysis, only the highest priority risks will be analyzed quantitatively. While a qualitative analysis is a subjective numerical scale, a quantitative analysis, in contrast, assesses the project risk impact in terms of dollars and/or time. For example, qualitatively, the risk impact may have been assessed as a “3,” whereas quantitatively, the risk is assessed as having an impact of $3,000 or an impact of a 20-day delay.

Quantitative analyses are dependent upon high-quality data, fully loaded project models, and possibly high-end tools and software. Therefore, it is not typical to perform a quantitative analysis on all risks, but instead, it is performed on a subset of risks, such as those deemed to be the most impactful.

Unlike a qualitative analysis that is relatively quick and easy to perform, a quantitative analysis is typically more time-consuming. Techniques used to perform a quantitative analysis include Monte Carlo simulations, decision tree and expected monetary value (EMV) analyses, and sensitivity analyses.

In Summary

The perform qualitative risk analysis and perform quantitative risk analysis are both processes within the PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition risk management knowledge area. A qualitative analysis assesses all risks that have been identified, is subjective, quick and easy to perform, and prioritizes the risks for further action by assessing the probability of the risk occurring and the numerical assessment of the impact if it does occur.

A quantitative analysis, on the other hand, is more time-consuming, requires good data and robust tools, and is only applied to those risks that have been prioritized through a qualitative risk analysis. In a quantitative risk analysis, the impact is evaluated in terms of financial and/or schedule impact, not merely a numerical scale.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:07 AM

Estimating Techniques: Topics to Learn for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 23 June, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

As a project manager, you are most likely responsible for estimating the duration of the project activities and the costs for the project. As part of the PMP® exam, you will be tested on the various estimating techniques. This requires that you have a strong understanding of the differences between the techniques and even possibly calculating some estimates based on the data provided.

There are four techniques used for both cost and duration estimating: analogous, parametric, three-point, and bottom-up.

Analogous Estimating

Analogous estimating is used when there is very little detailed information about the current project, so we leverage a similar, past project as the basis for the estimate. Think of analogous as an analogy: we are comparing two similar items. Because it considers an overall project or segment of the project for the estimate, it is considered top-down. On the exam, they may use either term to describe this technique. The past project must be as similar as possible to the current project. Analogous estimating is a combination of historical information and expert judgment, is quick and easy to do, but will not be as accurate as other estimating techniques.

The website project last year took three months and cost $6,000. To launch a similar website this year, the project manager estimates that it will take three months and also cost $6,000.

Parametric Estimating

Parametric estimating uses a statistical relationship between variables to calculate the cost or duration. The statistical relationship could be a unit cost or productivity rate. As with analogous estimating, parametric estimating also relies on historical data and expert judgment. The underlying data must be stable and scalable.

Based on previous projects, the editor can complete 20 pages per hour at a rate of $25 per hour. For a 100-page user guide, the project manager estimates that it will take five hours at a cost of $125.

Three-Point Estimating

Also known as a PERT (program evaluation and review technique), a three-point estimate factors uncertainty into the estimate by considering the average of the optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic estimates. There are two PERT estimates: triangular and beta. For a triangular estimate, the calculation is (optimistic + most likely + pessimistic) ÷ 3. For a beta estimate, the most likely duration or cost is weighted by a product of four; therefore, it is divided by six instead of three: (optimistic + 4(most likely) + pessimistic) ÷ 6.

The activity has an optimistic duration of 6 days, a most likely duration of 10 days, and a pessimistic duration of 15 days.

The triangular estimate would be: 10.3 days

The beta estimate would be: 10.2 days

The activity has an optimistic cost of $700, a most likely cost of $1,000, and a pessimistic cost of $1,600.

The triangular estimate would be: $1,100

The beta estimate would be: $1,050

Bottom-Up Estimate

The opposite of an analogous estimate is a bottom-up estimate. The most time consuming, but also the most accurate, a bottom-up estimate involves determining the cost and/or duration estimate for each activity and then rolling that up into an overall estimate. For costs, the sum of all of the estimates would provide the overall estimate. For the duration, however, the project manager needs to consider which activities are happening concurrently to come up with the most accurate overall project duration.

The employee orientation project will involve the following costs:

Lunches $50, handbooks $30, badges $20, laptops $900 = $1,000 estimate

Based on the duration of each activity, and the dependencies and sequencing of the activities, the duration estimate for the project is six weeks.

Understanding these estimating techniques, how they differ and compare to each other, and also knowing how to calculate the estimates will be vital in passing the PMP exam.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:58 AM

Design Development Phase, Achieving Design Continuity

  • 19 June, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA

This is the third article in a series on “A Day in the Life of an Architect,” this time focused on the design development phase and how to improve design continuity. To some, if not many, the design development phase of an architectural project might be a bit of a “lost phase.”

These days, there seems to be a rather accelerated project progression from schematic design to construction documents without taking the time to improve design continuity or to determine what elements of a project need further development.

Like many processes with the advent of technology, some traditional practices are fading away while being regarded as unnecessary. With the many software options used today in architectural practice, design concepts can almost automatically be converted into something that nearly represents a completed set of construction document details. This phenomenon has contributed to the diminishment (if not elimination) of the design development phase.

One might ask, “So, is that a bad thing?” To get at that answer, I will attempt to describe the traditional approach to the design development phase, and some of the positive impacts that would result when it was a thriving phase of an architectural project.

First, as practiced in the past, the design development phase was more of a design phase than a “document phase.” The project designer could set the big idea for the project with minimal plans and sketches and turn it over to the team to develop the design. For those developing the design, it was a very rewarding experience because there was a great deal of design challenge remaining in this phase. As an example, often in the schematic design phase the designer would establish only a singular view of the building—normally the “front”—that left at least three other sides to examine and refine to achieve continuity of the design throughout the building exterior. The challenge was to resolve potential conflicts by providing continuity of the design concept on each side of the building as windows, brick coursing, reveals, canopies, doors, etc., were explored.

For those of us that experienced this traditional approach to design development, it was exciting to be participating in the design process at such a significant level. Normally, the same team members that developed the design would stay with the project through the construction document phase and even through construction. I can tell you that this traditional approach created a strong sense of participation and ownership in the design among the team members. That sense of ownership also contributed to fewer errors and omissions in the construction documents. This shared sense of ownership of design is something that is fading out with the more-technically advanced methods of practice used today.

Another benefit of a more traditional approach to design development was in the discovery of what needed to be drawn and why it was needed for the construction documents. One of the first steps in the traditional design development phase was to quickly cut hand drawn sections in larger scale drawings (plans and elevations) and identify areas requiring further refinement. The key was to cut a section at every changed condition in the plan or elevation. This was not an exhaustive effort, often just a single line section providing a reasonable outline or profile of the building at this location. Doing this allowed the design team to quickly see where they could standardize many details and eliminate other unnecessary drawings. This yielded two primary benefits: One was that the details developed were stronger, more consistent, and gave the contractor clear direction. This helped reduce questions during bidding and construction. The second benefit was that this approach allowed the design team to eliminate unnecessary drawings that could overly complicate the bidding and construction process.

All of this isn’t to say that today’s approach to design development doesn’t have its benefits, but wouldn’t it be great if we could recapture some of what has been lost from the past?

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:19 AM

Schematic Design Phase, Getting to Closure

  • 16 June, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA

Obtaining an education in architecture is certainly a broad and challenging experience. As students, we are immersed in all things related to architecture. We learn about art and architectural history, we study design and engineering, and we are enlightened by many courses intended to develop our capacity to be creative. While all of this may provide a great foundation to build a career in architecture, if you are like me, you’ll discover that there is so much more to learn as you practice in the profession.

That brings me around to this second article in a series on “A Day in the Life of an Architect,” this time focused on the Schematic Design Phase and how you reach closure with a client. In my experience, one of the biggest barriers to project profitability often occurs in the Schematic Design Phase, and that is an inability to reach closure or obtain well-informed approvals by the client.

Schematic Design Phase

It turns out that it is not just about the strength of a specific design concept, and it isn’t necessarily just about how innovative the solution may be. Over my 41 years in this profession, I have found that having some abilities to persuade and sell are just as critical as any architectural-specific skill set. Selling design includes being persuasive in presenting to the client, team members, and other stakeholders in such a way as to achieve understanding and approval of design before proceeding with future phases of a project.

Now, don’t get me wrong, clients need to have their programs and design criteria addressed. They also need to have construction cost and schedule aspects resolved. Even if all of that is provided, the client might still be unsure if they are “sold.”

Over the years, I have observed that not reaching closure with the client in the design phase can lead to project delays, a higher probability for committing errors, and the need to re-work design solutions in more advanced phases of the project, all of which can be very costly for the architect. Sometimes, not reaching closure with the client in a timely manner can result in a tremendous financial hit to the project, and a firm overall.

So, how do you reach closure with a client beyond providing sound design solutions? In my experience, there are two critical elements to closure: confidence and engagement.

Let’s start with confidence. From a client’s perspective, the design process (and the practice of architecture) can be bit mysterious and unknown. As such, clients often lean heavily on the experience of an architect to provide them with advice and a clear direction. It’s only natural then to expect that the client needs to sense that the architect is conveying a great deal of confidence in the solutions they are presenting. How an architect talks about the process and how persuasive they are in presenting become critical. The best way to build confidence in presenting is to practice, and practice often. There are people all around who could role play as a client in practice sessions. They include co-workers, other design team members, and even other clients that are not directly engaged in the project. During presentation rehearsals, the “mock clients” can ask questions and provide feedback. Doing this regularly should result in increased confidence, and improve reaching closure.

The second aspect to gaining closure is creating a high level of client engagement during schematic design. The client needs to feel that they were brought along at each step in the process. If the architect gets too far ahead of the client, they could be presenting solutions that leave the client wondering about the exploration of other options (even if the architect has already considered and discarded them). This could result in doubt developing in the client’s mind—and worse—the client may not share their doubt with the architect until much later in the project. Obtaining closure and approvals will improve if the architect engages the client and paces them through the design process. Doing so will avoid gaps that can often occur when an architect is too far in front of the client.

Remember, you will learn a lot of things as you practice architecture and sharpening your communication skills will be one of the most important among them.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:09 AM

General Area of Professional Practice (ARE): Pre-Design

  • 12 June, 2020

Topic: Day in the life of an Architect - During the Programming Phase

Recently, I was asked to consider what a typical day is like for an architect. As I thought about this, I quickly concluded that really, no two days are the same. It is constantly changing. This constant change has made for a very interesting and challenging career for me personally, and I have to say, that the time seems to fly by when each day brings new problems, analysis, and solutions.

As I thought more about how to describe a typical day for an architect, I decided that perhaps the best way to proceed is to progress through the different phases of a project. So, this first view of “a day in the life of an architect” is through the lens of the Programming Phase (or Pre-Design).

First, what is programming as it relates to the practice of architecture? Early-on in my career, I learned to think of architectural programming as the phase when an architectural problem gets defined. After all, it is very difficult (and extremely inefficient) to try to problem solve without knowing as much as you can about the problem itself. Too often, architects rush to design solutions for problems that are not fully explored, and the result is that the problem gets exposed in “slow-roll” fashion throughout the project, resulting in a great deal of back and forth and redesign. I’m sure that this phenomenon is at least partly why architects struggle to be consistently profitable in their businesses.

Through my experiences, I’d say that a day in the life of an architect during the Programming Phase is always very interesting. It’s when the architect works with the client team to define the project in broad terms. Often, this begins with developing a solid understanding of the big picture goals for the project. As an example, in a recent fire station project (which was a full replacement of an existing fire station), the high-level goal was to get a new station funded. Without funding, there would be no project. To get funding, voters had to approve and pass a bond measure, which means they had to support the project so much that they were willing to vote to increase their own property taxes. That challenge required a unique strategy to programming, one that engaged the community from the beginning, so that there would be an opportunity to develop a strong sense of buy-in for the project.

This programming process began by sitting down with the client and mapping-out how and when to engage the community, then develop a project schedule so that each touch point was identified and coordinated with our overall programming efforts. We then evaluated the current fire station for overall status of conditions, noting how it stacked-up against today’s essential facility standards, and developing opinions on life expectancy of various building and system components. We also developed a cost estimate to remodel the current fire station and complete with seismic and other essential facility upgrades to bring it up to current standards.

At this point, we held our first meeting with the community to share our findings, including our estimate of costs to remodel the current station. We held an “open house” at the fire station and invited the community in for a presentation. We began by sharing our findings, and then conducted tours through the station so that people (voters) could get the best understanding possible regarding the need to either upgrade the current facility or replace it altogether.

Next, we worked with a diverse team of Fire District staff to develop typical program criteria including identifying space needs, adjacencies, and high-level site criteria for a full replacement fire station. Armed with this, we could develop very preliminary “block” site and building plans. We then held our second public forum at the existing fire station and invited in the community once again. At this meeting, we presented our preliminary block plans (pre-design plans) and engaged the audience in a discussion about aesthetics for public buildings in their community. This was not a detailed discussion, but enough to provide an opportunity for the community voices to be heard.

Day in the life of an Architect

Based on the feedback we received in the second community meeting, we then developed conceptual level plans and renderings for a new fire station and produced a full project cost estimate. This was all presented at a third public meeting, and by then, we could see from responses we were receiving that support for replacing the current fire station with a new one was growing strong.

A few months later, the project was on the local ballot, and the bond measure for the design and construction of a new fire station was passed with an 80% approval rating!

Now, back to that idea of a “day in the life of an architect”. If you consider that every project has it’s own unique properties including the type of project, who will use the project when it is completed, and how it will be funded (among many other variables), it is safe to say that no two days are quite alike, and all are very interesting indeed!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:01 AM

Four Keys to Project Management Career Growth

  • 09 June, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

There is a continually increasing demand for skilled project managers across all industries. Senior project managers are not only at the forefront of driving change for their organizations, but their position typically involves a substantial salary base. There are four keys to successful career growth and development within the project management field of expertise:

· Knowledge of various approaches to project management
· Well-developed leadership skills
· Strategic thinking with tactical application
· Certification

Project Management Approaches

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to project management. As the project manager, you will need to have a strong understanding of the project constraints, environmental considerations, and product development options to select the best approach when working on a project. Traditional or plan-driven approaches are appropriate when the work is well-defined: plan the work and work the plan. In environments with increased uncertainty and a perceived level of complexity, adaptive or agile approaches may be more appropriate. In today’s business environments, it is common to see project managers applying hybrid approaches. A strong project manager understands the different approaches, the pros and cons of them, and what would best serve the project needs.

Leadership Skills

A project manager is no longer a task-manager but rather a strategic leader that is guiding and influencing not only their team members but also the organization. The project manager is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in all directions. Having solid leadership or soft skills is at the core of successful project management. Soft skills to be developed include emotional intelligence, communication (both written and verbal), creating a vision, inspiring others, giving and receiving feedback, and meeting facilitation. Regardless of title or authority, the project manager is in a position to be a leader to those involved in and impacted by the project.

Strategic Thinking

In the early days of project management, the project managers were considered to be task managers, not leaders. However, in today’s complex environment, organizations expect their project managers to be considering their projects from a strategic alignment perspective. As projects are selected, initiated, and monitored and controlled, the project manager is responsible for benefits management to validate that the project results will return a benefit to the organization, while aligning with the strategic direction of that organization.

While it is essential to think strategically and create a vision, a skilled project manager must also be able to put together a technical and tactical plan for achieving that vision. This may include leveraging expertise outside of their own, building a strong team, and engaging stakeholders throughout the project, taking all of the steps necessary to deliver the project that supports that vision.

Certification

One of the most credible methods of establishing yourself as an experienced and skilled project manager is to pursue and achieve one or more project management certifications. The most globally recognized certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP)® issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMP® credential signifies that the project managers have not only met the educational and experience requirements for certification but they have also passed a rigorous 200-question exam.

Project Management Career Growth
PMI also offers other specialized project management certifications that can further elevate your status as a skilled project manager, such as the PMI Risk Management Professional, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, Program Management Professional, and the PMI Scheduling Professional. More information on the various project management certifications can be found at www.PMI.org.

Project management is an ever-growing and ever-changing field that provides significant opportunities for project professionals. By creating a deliberate plan for growth and personal development, you can continue to progress in this lucrative professional role!

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:00 PM

Cost of Quality: Topics to Learn for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam

  • 05 June, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Project success is determined, in part, by the quality of the product being produced as well as the quality of the project itself. The quality of the product is determined by how well the product, service, or project outcome meets the stakeholders’ needs and expectations. The quality of the project is determined by the ability to deliver the project within the defined constraints of schedule and cost, while also providing the intended value to the organization.

Project quality management involves managing, estimating, and controlling the costs associated with product quality. The cost of quality can be categorized as the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. Costs associated with both conformance and non-conformance should be considered, analyzed, and monitored throughout the project. The costs of conformance and costs of non-conformance are inversely related, meaning that theoretically, the more we spend on conformance, the less we will have to spend on non-conformance.

Cost of Conformance

The cost of conformance is money spent to ensure quality, for both prevention and appraisal activities. The cost of conformance for prevention includes process documentation, training, and quality activities. The cost of conformance for appraisal involves activities such as testing, audits, and inspections. The cost of activities that fall under the umbrella of quality assurance is also considered the cost of conformance. Quality assurance typically involves evaluating and auditing the processes that are in place to ensure they support producing high-quality products or results.

During project planning, quality and acceptance criteria and quality risks should be evaluated and analyzed to determine the acceptable level of spending associated with the quality activities on the project. This budget will vary from project to project depending on the project outputs and deliverables. For example, a project to develop a $3 item will most likely spend less on quality activities than a project that is developing a $1 million product.

Cost of Non-Conformance

The cost of non-conformance is money spent because of failures. Non-conformance are those costs associated with failures, including those discovered by the project and those discovered by the customer or end-user (escaped defects). Within the project, non-conformance costs may come from inconsistent results, scrap, and rework, for example. External failure costs may stem from damage to the organization’s reputation, paying for warranties, or having returned items or send-backs.

The challenge with the cost of non-conformance is that it is often difficult to estimate those costs until after the non-conformance has occurred. Therefore, the project manager must balance what they spend proactively on the cost of conformance to keep the cost of non-conformance within an acceptable range.

In Summary

Quality management is and should be a significant focus for any project manager. Being able to analyze, estimate, and monitor the costs associated with quality activities is an expectation of all skilled project managers. Cost estimating and budgeting must include the cost of quality, encompassing both the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. As with all project work, the project manager should consistently monitor any variances between the expected costs of quality and the actual money spent on conformance and non-conformance.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:34 AM

ARE Prep: Additional Sources/Resources for Study Materials

  • 02 June, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB

Being an architectural intern can be stressful. Having graduated from a much more structured learning environment (college) means that a shift to a more “self-directed” education is needed to prepare for the ARE exam. One question you might have: “What are the resources for study materials?”

Certainly, there are many study guides and lectures/webinars for purchase online, and most are well done and very effective. Some companies have been producing written materials since the ‘70s, and they do a good job of assembling the basic information needed to get ready to take the architectural exam. But in my experience, those resources aren’t quite enough by themselves. Below are some ideas of additional resources and tips to help you further navigate self-directed study.

First, if you are like me, you probably saved some of your old college textbooks. Perhaps not on all subjects, but those that addressed more technical content. In my case, I kept all my structural engineering materials from college. These ranged from the text for statics class, to lecture notebooks, and the timber, concrete, and steel manuals. I even saved examples of homework and tests/quizzes that were more complex and addressed resolving truss reactions, wind problems, calculating bending and shear forces in beams, and solving for deflection in complex monolithic concrete design.

I also saved much of my texts and class materials from the environmental control systems (ECS) course. This covered a great deal about a range of subjects such as rainwater harvesting, passive solar design, natural ventilation, and daylighting strategies to name just a few. If you didn’t retain these materials from college, I’d recommend contacting your old college professors and asking them what version of the texts they are using now and see if you can obtain a copy to study.

Other sources that may be helpful include materials readily available at the office. Most architectural firms have standards, policies, and procedures that are well documented and vetted by years of experience. These resources are also likely to be based on industry standards, which are very likely to be encountered in the ARE.

Another great resource for architectural practice in general is the AIA’s Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 15th edition. This handbook covers just about all aspects of architectural practice and in a way that is easy to absorb and understand. Topics include narratives addressing all phases of architectural services, office/business operations, and documents of service (including contracts). Again, in my experience, information provided in the handbook has appeared in the ARE in some form or another, making it “must read” on my list of recommended ARE preparation materials.

Lastly, I have one non-conventional resource to recommend, which I used myself some 40 years ago. I recommend that you find and connect with architects inside and/or outside the office who have recently taken and passed the ARE. Interview them, ask them questions about the exam. Ask them about their experience with what worked well, and what didn’t work for them. When I was preparing for the ARE, I probably had eight to 10 individuals that I would pepper with questions about preparing for the ARE. I was careful not to exhaust any one individual resource, hence the large number of architects that I had in my resource pool. Often, I could frame my questions about the ARE around projects that I was working on in the office. I found that this was an effective way for me to get—and retain—information.

ARE Prep Materials

The key to finding the appropriate materials to study for the ARE is to diversify and get creative. It is surprising how much information is right in front of us and available for use. Good luck!

EduMind offers comprehensive exam review courses covering all six divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)® 5.0. Learn more about our classes and study materials on our website.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:14 AM

Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Details and Process

  • 29 May, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the highest industry-recognized project management credential. The PMP recognizes individuals who have demonstrated competencies and experience in leading project initiatives. Along with documented experience and education, candidates for the PMP must pass a rigorous 200-question exam.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Experience

Evaluate your Experience

The first step toward obtaining your PMP certification is to evaluate your project management experience. That experience must be within the last eight years and within a professional context, meaning you were compensated for your work. Projects are considered temporary initiatives that create unique products, services, or results. If you have a four-year degree or higher, you will need to document 4,500 hours / 36 months of project experience. Without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to 7,500 hours / 60 months of project experience. You will also need 35 hours of project management education or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification.

Step 2: Submit Your Application

Once you have confirmed that you meet all requirements, you can complete your application on the Project Management Institute (PMI) website. It is highly recommended that you have all your information gathered and handy when you start your application. The application will stay open for 90 days for you to enter the required information. After 90 days, it will close.

Submit your Application

PMI will conduct an application review to verify that what you submitted on your application is appropriate and valid. The application process typically takes about five days, at which time you will be notified via email of the result. PMI may contact you for additional information during this time, or you may be selected for an audit.

If you are selected for an audit, you will be instructed to provide proof of the work and education that you submitted on your application. Education audit requirements are fulfilled by supplying a copy of your training transcript, certificates of completion, or copies of your diploma. A supervisor or manager will be required to submit signed experience verification forms confirming that your experience is accurate. All audit materials must be submitted to PMI in a hard-copy format.

Step 3: Schedule Your Exam

Once your application is approved, you can pay your PMP exam fees. As of April 2020, the PMP exam fee is $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-PMI members. Your eligibility year begins on the day PMI approves your application. After your fees are paid, PMI will email you your eligibility ID, which is required to schedule your exam at a local Pearson VUE location.

Schedule your Exam

Step 4: Complete Your Exam

The four-hour PMP exam is administered by Pearson VUE and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of the 200 questions, 25 are considered pretest, meaning they do not count against you if you miss them. However, there is no indication during the exam regarding which questions are pretest.

Before beginning your exam, you will have 15 minutes during which you will take the test tutorial. After the tutorial, you can start your test. You will be given one question at a time and will have the option to answer the question, leave it blank, or answer it and mark it for review. After the last question, you will be provided with a review screen, indicating which questions you have answered and which have been left blank or marked for review. Be sure to answer all questions, as those left blank will count against you.

When you have answered all questions, submit your exam. The testing system will evaluate your exam answers and return your pass or fail results. The exam proctor will provide you with a hard copy of your test results. In addition to the pass or fail, you will receive one of four proficiency ratings for each domain: above target, at target, below target, or needs improvement. If you do not pass your exam on the first try, you will have two additional attempts available within your eligibility year.

Complete your Exam

If you are interested in PMP certification, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass your exam. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:05 AM

How Difficult is the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam and Certification?

  • 28 May, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

If you are a project manager who has considered certification, you have likely heard horror stories about how difficult the exam is to pass. As certification and credentialing exams go, there is no doubt that the Project Management Professional (PMP) is one of the more difficult ones to attempt. But even getting approved to take the exam poses a challenge.

To be approved to sit for the exam, candidates must demonstrate either three years (4,500 hours) of experience with a four-year degree or five years (7,500 hours) of experience without a four-year degree, plus experience leading and directing project activities. While the application simply asks for the description of the project work, approximately 25% of applicants are randomly selected for audit. Audited applications require further documentation of their experience.

The PMP exam is based on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and “other relevant sources,” which contribute to the difficulty of the exam. The PMBOK Guide is a large text with 49 processes that all have inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. Realistically, it is very unusual that a typical project manager will have experience with most of those processes, let alone have a sound understanding of the various tools and techniques. As such, it can be intimidating to learn all of these details and the vocabulary. The “other relevant sources” are not identified by the Project Management Institute (PMI), so there is an inherent level of ambiguity in fully and adequately preparing for the test.

The next factor contributing to the difficulty is the questions themselves. The vast majority of the questions on the PMP exam are scenario-based or application questions. You will find that many of those questions will ask, “What is the first thing you do,” “What is the next thing you do,” or “What is the best action to take?” So even if you have a strong knowledge of the processes and the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs, the questions will want to validate the appropriate sequencing and application of those processes. Typically, you will find that there will be one incorrect answer, one answer that is not entirely right, and two that may both seem correct. You’ll have to choose the best right answer.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the exam is that you will need to answer the questions from the PMI perspective, not based on your own experience. Likely, you may fundamentally disagree with the correct answer to some questions. However, to be successful on this exam, you must answer in alignment with the PMI approach. It has been said that the more experienced project managers find the exam more difficult than those who just barely meet the experience requirements. As a seasoned project manager, you may have developed your own approach and best practices, which may or may not align exactly with PMI. You will need to challenge yourself to answer in alignment with PMI instead of your own point of view.

Finally, the wording of the questions themselves also proves challenging. The majority of the questions and even the answers will likely be very wordy. Working your way through these particular questions can cause anxiety, especially considering that you only have about one minute and 20 seconds per question. Leaving these long or confusing questions to the end of your exam is often helpful.

How difficult is PMP Exam and Certification

There is absolutely no doubt that the PMP application and exam are notoriously difficult. However, with the proper preparation and leveraging the right tools, you can and will be successful. Create a strong study plan with the appropriate coursework and mentoring, use mock exams, and have an excellent “dump sheet” of memorized formulas to increase your chances of success.

If you are interested in becoming a certified PMP, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass your exam. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” and “PMBOK” are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:37 AM

Determining Structural Systems

  • 22 May, 2020

By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA

One of the most fundamental architectural design processes is to decide on the most appropriate structural system for a project. There are several factors involved and, let’s face it, it’s not always a clear-cut decision.

In fact, sometimes considerations compete with others making the weighing of priorities even more important. Is “first cost” the most important consideration for the project? How about life-cycle costs? Can those two be at odds with each other? The answer is often yes. Now about sustainability? Would a material’s recycled content outweigh the other considerations like durability or aesthetics? Certainly, there is a lot to process in the early stages of architectural design, and there almost always is a bit of give and take (compromise).

In my career, the prominent factors in determining the most appropriate structural system include:

  1. The building code: Fire-resistive, non-combustible, heavy timber, ordinary/composite system construction, etc.
  2. Costs: Both first costs and life-cycle costs
  3. Fit with the architectural concept and design criteria
  4. Sustainability: Material content, resource extraction, contribution to carbon footprint, and thermal performance, etc.
This is not the complete list of considerations, but simply a very general summary of the ones that I have experienced the most often.

To better understand the decision process, here are a couple of examples of very different projects with widely different drivers for selecting the appropriate structural system:

Recently, I worked on a fire station project in a rural community of about 25,000 residents just a few miles outside of Seattle. Most of the buildings in the community were of a variety of materials, but wood is the most predominant. This community also had a general appreciation for what they called “the Northwest style,” which is a term given to buildings with sloped roof forms and a fair amount of exposed wood structure. These drivers were generally compatible with several other considerations including lower first costs, sustainability (locally and sustainably resourced), and code requirements as the building footprint, overall size, and occupancy would allow for wood construction.

However, there were also other factors at odds with the considerations mentioned above such as life cycle costs and durability. These were in conflict as wood buildings can deteriorate faster over time than those of other materials and can require greater levels of maintenance. In this case, the Fire District established their priorities and opted for a wood structure with the acknowledgement that they may have a greater level of maintenance (or even a shorter lifespan for the building).

Another project with a very different focus was a high-tech, clean technology building that prioritized flexibility over all else. The client for this project often retools their manufacturing floor to adapt to changes in technology and to meet market demands for their products. In this case, the materials under consideration were mainly steel or concrete. Ultimately, concrete was preferred for its mass and resistance to vibration, but which concrete structural system (of the many possibilities) to use? It turns out that this client needed to have a floor slab that allowed for the flexibility to make penetrations over most of the floor area from underneath without diminishing the capacity of the slab. Very quickly, the choice narrowed to a two-way waffle slab to satisfy the criteria for penetrations. With the waffle slab system, the client could visibly see where they could make penetrations (from the floor below) without compromising the capacity of the slab. Penetrations could occur in the pan areas as the steel reinforcing was primarily located in the two-way beams and at the column capitals.

This decision to use a two-way waffle slab was not driven by costs or code requirements. In fact, the waffle slab was one of the most expensive first cost options available. But for this client, the flexibility meant everything, and totally outweighed any of the differences in cost.

With all the many factors to consider when determining the appropriate structural system, for the architect, it becomes a process of exploration of options balanced against the priorities of the project. The key is to navigate the design team and client to achieving the highest priorities first and establish a willingness to accept compromise.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:09 AM

Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Tips and Tricks

  • 19 May, 2020

The PMP exam is notoriously difficult, but there are some strategies you can employ to increase your chances of passing on the first attempt. While there is no shortcut on the road to PMP success, here are the top ten strategies to pass your exam!

Tip #1: Commit to a Date – If you put off your exam until you are 100% confident, you might never take it. Your brain and behavior will perform better when you have a set date that you are working toward.
Commit to a Date

Tip #2: Take Practice Tests – Merely reading books, blogs, and other materials will only get you so far in your preparation. You must practice by taking mock exams to help you identify any gaps and deficiencies. This includes an evaluation of your timing, your knowledge of the material, and your test-taking capabilities.

Take Practice Tests

Tip #3: Understand Versus Memorize – You may have heard that memorization is the key to passing any exam. However, memorization is not enough, especially on the scenario-based questions. Instead of memorizing, work to truly understand the concepts, tools, and techniques and how and when they are applied.

Understand vs Memorize

Tip #4: Master Your Dump Sheet – When your exam clock starts, you can jot down what is referred to as a dump sheet, which should include all of the earned value, forecasting, and estimating formulas you have memorized in preparation for the exam. Be careful not to make the dump sheet too extensive because it could eat into your allocated exam time.

Master Your Dump Sheet

Tip #5: Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Do not underestimate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep before your exam. This is not the time to pull an all-nighter! Lack of sleep has a significant detrimental impact on your logical processing, and you’ll need all the brainpower you can get.

Get Good Night's Sleep

Tip #6: Stay Hydrated – Given that your exam clock keeps ticking even when you use the restroom, you may be tempted to skip getting a drink of water as well. But don’t! Being fully hydrated increases the flow of information within your brain, improves recollection, and increases attention. Keep in mind that your brain is made up of more water than your body, so by the time you feel thirsty, your brain is already dehydrated!

Stay Hydrated

Tip #7: Know Your Circadian Rhythm – All creatures have natural circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. It is essential to work with your body and not against it for your exam. Recognize what time of day you are at your peak analytically. If you are a morning person, schedule your exam for an early slot. Night owl? Look for a late-afternoon exam time.

Know Your Circadian Rhythm

Tip #8: Eat Well – Nourish your body, nourish your brain! Choose your meals wisely the day before and the day of your exam to give yourself the proper nutrients and stamina to power through this four-hour exam. Remember, this is a marathon exam, not a sprint! You don’t want to crash halfway through.

Eat Well

Tip #9: Arrive Early – The Pearson Vue exam centers reserve their computer terminals based on the length of your exam. If you are late, you will likely be asked to reschedule your exam, costing you money and time. Plan to arrive early and minimize the potential for traffic or other unforeseen delays. This will enable you to enter as relaxed as possible. Use the extra time to visit the restroom, review some notes, and maybe have a quick, healthy snack.

Arrive Early

Tip #10: Dress Comfortably – Dress in something that will keep you comfortable for four hours in a test room. You will not be allowed to take any type of sweater or jacket off and on during your exam, so it is best to wear something light with long sleeves that can be pushed up if you get warm or pushed down if you get chilly.

Dress Comfortably

When you are ready to take the PMP exam, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass it with confidence. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:54 AM

ARE® 5.0 Tips and Tricks: Time Is of the Essence

  • 12 May, 2020

My best advice related to taking the ARE 5.0 is to do it as soon as possible following graduation from architecture school. Too often, intern architects put off taking the ARE, only to later find themselves so short on time or unfamiliar with the material that it becomes an even greater challenge.

When I graduated from college in 1981, there was a culture in architectural internship that has long since faded. That culture included being anointed as part of an internship class. Since internship lasted three years on average, you were part of an internship class immediately upon graduation from college. I was part of the internship class of 1984 (the sum of 1981 plus a three-year internship). The culture included an expectation that you took the ARE for the first time somewhere within those first three years. Ideally, you would be successful and become an architect at the end of year 3. That was me—architect by 1984. That was nothing special nor exceptional—I was just doing what everyone else was doing and what was expected. Honestly, if you were out of school and not licensed by year 5, others in the profession would begin to wonder if something was wrong. It was real.

My point of telling you all of this is really two points:

1. Today, there is no architectural internship culture like the one I experienced (for many reasons, not the least of which include changes in the exam itself). Interns often get around to getting licensed (if they do at all) by their mid-thirties.

2. The second point is that when interns do begin to study and take the ARE, they now have a steep re-learning curve. They will need to regain the knowledge they likely had as they graduated from college but that has faded with the passing of time.

ARE 5.0 Tips and Tricks

The exam may have changed formats over the years, but the information that an architect must know has not. The exam will cover the essential areas of engineering that we all studied in college. I took four full years of structural engineering classes. I had classes in basic statics and materials and designing with wood, steel, and monolithic concrete. I learned to size beams, columns, footings, trusses, shear walls—you name it. We checked for bending moments, shear, deflection, and bearing for just about all the basic approaches to structural engineering. In addition, I took courses in long-span structures and composite systems. Guess what? All of this was on the ARE but none of it was covered in my experience as an intern.

How about mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering (MEP) systems? In college, I took a year-long course in environmental control systems (ECS). We learned to design passive cooling, heating, ventilating, and daylighting systems. We also learned to design active energy systems as well as rain collection and harvesting. Again, all these topics appeared on the ARE, but none were enhanced by my internship experience. This was not a unique situation. Truthfully, if I were to estimate the percentage of material on the ARE that was linked to my experience as an intern, it might be 10% to 15%. That means that a minimum of 85% of the content of the ARE consisted of topics I learned only in college.

The bottom line is to take the exam as soon as possible upon graduation from college, and I bet you will be so glad you did. You’ll avoid having to re-learn things like how to calculate bending stresses and shear in beams when you are ten plus years out of college and perhaps seriously time challenged by life.

There is a definite correlation between the length of time between graduation from architectural school and the ability to successfully pass the ARE. So why leave it to chance? I know, many are burned out at the end of college, tired of studying and taking exams. But didn’t you go to college to become an architect? Isn’t becoming registered as an architect still the goal? If it is for you, please take my advice. Don’t put it off—it only gets tougher with time.

Regardless of when you decide to take the exam, we can help! EduMind’s ARE® 5.0 exam review courses cover all six divisions of the exam so you can get ready with confidence. Click here for more information.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:38 AM

What Are the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification Requirements?

  • 05 May, 2020

Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

If you’re an experienced, professional project manager, you may qualify to earn your PMP certification. You will need to meet both project management experience and project management education requirements in order to take the exam. Keep in mind that you do not have to hold a formal project manager title. You do, however, have to be in a position of responsibility for leading and directing project activities or a subset of project activities.

A project with a unique outcome is considered a temporary initiative. Eligible projects are those conducted within a professional setting for which you were compensated. In other words, personal and volunteer projects would not be applicable.

Depending on your achieved college education, there are two sets of PMP certification requirements. If you hold a four-year degree or higher, you will need three years of experience (4,500 hours) leading and directing project activities in addition to 35 hours of project management education or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) certification. Without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to five years (7,500 hours) leading and directing projects along with the 35 hours of education or CAPM.

Your experience must be within the last eight years and does not need to be sequential. Although you may work overtime on your projects, Project Management Institute (PMI) will allow you to claim no more than 40 hours per week toward the eligibility requirement. Your projects must not only span the calendar months required (36 or 60) but also provide you with the requisite number of hours.

For example, if you managed two projects full time from January to December 2019 and split your time equally between them, you would be eligible to claim approximately 1,000 hours for each project (or 2,000 hours). However, you would only be eligible to claim 12 months of experience, as the two projects were happening concurrently.

In documenting your project management experience, you will need to demonstrate that you have work hours in each of the project management domains of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Although you do not need hours in all domains for every project, you must cumulatively show that you have had hours across them all. For example, if you are submitting a project that is currently in process, you may have no hours in the closing domain, so you would need closing hours on another project.

Unlike your project management experience, there is no eligibility window for project management education, other than that it must be completed before submitting your application. Your project management education may be one class or a combination of courses on any project management topic. If you have your CAPM, you will not need to provide proof of education.

Upon submitting your PMP application, PMI will do a review to ensure that the experience and education you have claimed meet their criteria. This process typically takes about five calendar days. Some applications are selected for audit. To successfully and easily navigate the audit process, ensure that all information you have provided can be verified.

PMP Certification Requirements

Once PMI approves your application, you will be instructed to pay your exam fees. PMI will then provide you with an eligibility ID, which is required to schedule your exam at a Pearson VUE location. Your eligibility year begins on the date your application is approved by PMI. The final requirement to achieving your PMP certification is passing the 200-question exam, which must be completed within your eligibility year. To maintain your PMP, you must submit 60 hours of education (professional development units) every three years.

If you are interested in PMP certification, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass your exam with confidence. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:03 AM

ARE® 5.0 Tips and Tricks: Approach to Study

  • 28 April, 2020

In preparing to take the ARE, the first thing I did was make a high-level study plan. I organized it around the six divisions of the ARE and the content each would address. I then gathered all my own resources that I still had from college, including textbooks, manuals, notebooks, old exams, graded homework assignments, and pretty much anything that I thought could help me. I assessed what I had and what I would need to cover all the content in the exam itself, and I researched where to purchase exam prep materials. Fortunately, there were (and still are) several providers of exam prep materials, including books organized into chapters with quizzes and a full mock exam at the end.

I then set aside a period (usually a month) to focus entirely on just one division of the exam. I read all the materials that I had on the subject, using a highlighter to identify stronger points and concepts presented in the materials and underlining what I considered key points. After each chapter of study, I took the quiz. My rule of thumb was, if I scored 80% or higher, I would move on to the next chapter. If I scored less than 80%, I re-read the materials and tried again. When I finished reading a study guide as well as all the content that I had from college related to the subject, I would take the full mock exam at the end of the study guide. Again, if I scored 80% or higher, I would consider myself done (for now). If not, I would re-read sections and re-take the mock exam a few days later with fresh eyes.

I basically repeated this approach for each division until I had made it through all the study materials. I then went back through each study guide and the materials that I had from college, and re-read all the highlighted sections, paying even more attention to the things that I had underlined. As I was doing this, I started a handwritten notebook summarizing all the content that I thought represented the most important concepts, formulas, ideas, and so on. I made one of these notebooks for each division of the ARE. Then a few days before taking a given division of the exam, I would only re-read my notebooks. I did not go back and review the study guides or the large college textbooks. I really wanted to have the strongest concepts and points related to each topic in the forefront of my mind as I was about to take the exam.

This approach worked well for me. I passed all of my exams with scores in the 90s. I took the studying very seriously. I did not get paid time off from work to take the exams, and I had to pay for the exam and my study materials myself. So, with my money on the line, I wanted to give each exam all that I had to avoid further expense, both in time and money.

ARE® 5.0 Tips and Tricks

In the end, this all worked well for me for several reasons. First, it was an organized approach that broke things down into manageable pieces (areas of study). I never felt overwhelmed because I was taking things one step at a time. Another reason my approach worked was because I forced myself to identify the key concepts and most important aspects related to each section of the exam. I was conservative for sure, and probably over-highlighted my study guides, but in the end, it worked!

I hope this will be helpful to you as you prepare to take the ARE. Just as a career in architecture is complicated and demanding but can be highly rewarding, the same can be said for preparing for the ARE.

When you feel ready to take the exam, we can help! EduMind’s ARE 5.0 exam review courses cover all six divisions of the exam so you can prepare with confidence. Click here for more information.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:56 AM

Project Management: Projects on Hold During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • 21 April, 2020

During these uncertain times, it is important to make sure that you clearly communicate with your clients. This is especially true when the client puts a project on hold. There are several assumptions the client could be making when they put a project on hold, and it can be critical to your firm’s operations that the client has all the facts.

This is especially true when it comes to accounts receivable. The client may be assuming that since the project was put on hold, they won’t be seeing any invoices until the project restarts. That is most likely an incorrect assumption, and something you’ll want to proactively correct. Most firms issue invoices every 30 days and allow the client another 30 days to pay without accruing interest for late payment. This means that at the time a client puts a project on hold, they could be just about to get one of two invoices. This compounds if the client is on a longer payment cycle such as 60 days. The best approach to take is at the time the client puts the project on hold, coordinate with your accounting team, and make sure to inform the client of how many invoices they can expect, (and provide an approximate amount). Taking this step will eliminate any confusion about invoices during the project hold.

In addition, it is a good practice to inform your client that there will be additional efforts involved in properly putting the project on hold for a while. The original scope of the project likely assumed a progressive flow to developing the design and construction documents, and stopping the project suddenly was not anticipated. You should encourage the client to consider that it will take some effort to wrap up elements of the project that are in midstream and to close it down in a way that facilitates a smoother project restart. These efforts and the related fees are normally outside the scope of work identified in the contract, and the architect is entitled to be compensated for them. Having this discussion at the time the project is put on hold will have better results for all involved.

Projects on Hold During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Another subject to discuss with the client is what to expect at project restart. Architectural projects are very complex, and it’s not practical to expect that a project can be simply activated without some challenges. For one, there is the issue of staff availability. Can you get the same staff on your team that you had when the project was put on hold? Will you have to bring new team members up to speed? What about the project schedule? When states relax the stay-at-home orders and people begin to return to work, will there be new conditions in the workplace that present challenges to staffing your project? You might not know the answers to these questions now, but it’s best to have an open dialog with the client as the project is being put on hold to addresses the possible challenges to project restart, most of which will likely impact the schedule.

In the end, best practices related to project management require a strong emphasis on clear communication with your client, especially in these uncertain times. Doing so could greatly improve your firm’s ability to resume normal operations and to thrive in the future.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:50 AM

Programming and Analysis: Building Setbacks

  • 14 April, 2020

Long ago, buildings were constructed with the excitement of technology—meaning buildings could be as tall as technology allowed. The Equitable Building in New York City is one of the most famous examples of this. A large, bulky building, it seemed like a giant fortress (at almost 600 feet tall) but there were no regulations governing setbacks at the time.

The Equitable Building is a behemoth, constructed in 1915. A new building code for New York City would be issued in 1916, changing the form of buildings for centuries to come. This new era of building code ushered in the advent of the wedding cake building—a style of building to be the new vernacular of the New York City skyline.

The wedding cake building style was not a commentary on aesthetic deliciousness but was, rather, a commentary on the necessity of buildings to take on that form due to the new code. Although any proponent of the building code will emphatically deny that it dictates the aesthetics of buildings, the wedding cake shape is a result of important function and developing urban living.

Programming and Analysis - Building Setbacks

Wall Street serves as an infamous example for the case of sunlight being accessible to all. It is often said that due to the wall-like nature of Wall Street in lower Manhattan (pre-wedding cake), the sun and other resources were blocked out from the street level, creating a cavernous experience and potentially unhealthy conditions.

The turn of the century also brought concerns with the increasing height of buildings and the potential for fire. In 1904, the city of Baltimore suffered a devastating fire during which more than 1,500 buildings were completely leveled, and more approximately 1,000 more were severely damaged. The property loss from this disaster was an estimated $100 million. Consequently, building codes were adopted stressing fireproof construction. The wedding cake building style refers to the typology of building that resulted from this new code. These buildings got their name because they are stepped to acknowledge the setbacks required to allow light down to the street level and to accommodate separation between buildings to make them safer as they rose higher.

The separation between buildings is an important component in the high-rise building. The setbacks allow for distance should a fire break out in one building. That distance impedes the spread of fire while disabling or slowing it from spreading from one building to the next. This is particularly important, as the resources for firefighting were not as advanced as they are now.

Slowing or stopping the spread of fire is not the only task of building setbacks. As noted above, they also provide access to light and fresh air at street level and afford some privacy—especially as distance grows between tiers—creating easier access for building maintenance.

Although setbacks still exist with the modern building code, access to light and air, as well as safety are rights that should be afforded every community member of a municipality and are recognized as imperative in promoting healthy, urban living.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:31 AM

Project Management: Client Reduction of Scope

  • 07 April, 2020

A client comes to an architect with a project. During the process, the client agrees to the design and budget and signs a contract with the contractor for a stipulated sum. While under construction, the client says they are unable to afford the project and reduces scope. What is the team supposed to do?

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a gray area and a very tricky situation. At the time of construction, the contract between the owner and contractor is based on a stipulated sum—that which is set by the cost of work issued via the schedule of values. That is the basis for their contract and, if the architect’s fees are a percentage of cost of construction, that serves as the basis for the architect’s fees as well.

It is the right of the contractor to request that the owner provides proof that they can financially support the cost of the project; however, that often does not happen on smaller projects.

There are instances when the client, after the contract is signed, says they want to reduce scope—not only to lower construction costs but often to avoid architect’s fees as well. I wish this was the exception in the industry, but I have seen it time and time again. What to do?

First and foremost, this is considered a breach of contract, as it should be. The client has not only committed to a contractual cost via the bidding and negotiation phase but has committed to a scope of work. Contracts aside, an architect has set aside time and could be missing out on potential work due to the commitment to this project. Should a project not live up to its promise (or contractual duties), the risk reaches further into the architecture firm, allocating additional resources (money) to cover work being performed, etc. The AIA contracts provide verbiage concerning the termination of the contract, but that is just that—the contract termination, which the client can do for no apparent reason.

Project Management - Client Reduction of Scope

If the client does not terminate the contract, they are obligated to adhere to the agreed-upon conditions. They essentially have two options: to stay the course and fulfill their contractual duties, or to terminate the contract. In terminating the contract, they may very well end up with an unfinished project and increased costs due to restarting the work after it has been stopped. It may be in their best interest, then, to continue with the project and stay on track. The unfortunate part of contracts is that the architect and contractor can only terminate the contract if the client does not pay within due notice. They are not allowed recourse in this situation, whereas the client can terminate the work at any time for any reason.

Should this happen, it is best to educate the client on the issues that arise from reducing scope and fees, as they may be unaware as to how it affects an architect’s business.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:40 AM

Project Management: Instruments of Service

  • 31 March, 2020

A client comes to an architect asking for his drawings, models, and everything else that he has created to design a building. The client’s justification is that they paid for those materials, so they should rightfully be theirs.

The materials used to create the design and development of a building project are not owned outright by the client. This is a common misconception because those materials are classified as instruments of service. What is necessary in understanding the concept of instruments of service is what the architect provides—and that is a service. Although architects design buildings, they do not provide the product of the building but rather the service of designing the building. The instruments of service are a part of providing that service, not a product.

Per the agreements and contracts between the architect and the owner, the owner is given the right to use the instruments of service for their project at a certain location within a certain timeframe. There are instances when the contracts may be amended to be able to use these instruments of service as derivative works—commonly for developments—but that necessitates an agreed-upon change to the formal contract through negotiation.

The risk the architect runs in surrendering the instruments of service could be personal or professional. It could be personal if the architect is not being compensated for the derivative works should the client build multiple versions of the design. The professional liability is presented when the derivative works are built—built to substandard conditions (especially if the architect is not involved), does not follow the regulations of the local AHJ (authority having jurisdiction), and is not designed for specific considerations like a building designed within an area of high earthquake activity. These reasons could have serious consequences for the architect.

Federal copyright law covers not only the instruments of service but also the building itself from being copied. This verbiage is also included in the contract between owner and contractor to ensure that the contractor is also aware of this provision.

That is not to say that the instruments of service are not released. As noted above, often for development projects where repetition is necessary as part of the business model, instruments of service are issued for replicating a model project. For the architect, however, this type of situation should be compensated fairly and should be addressed within the contracts. This situation should necessitate the acknowledgment of this repetition and legally, how to cover this instance in regard to the responsibility of the architect.

Transfer agreements are also issued to outline the responsibilities of the owner and the architect in the event of transfer.

In all, it is imperative that the architect understands what constitutes an instrument of service and its role in regard to the services the architect provides. It is not a right of ownership by the client but can be an opportunity for developing a project further with the client without assuming liability.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:34 AM

Project Management: Value Engineering

  • 24 March, 2020

A building project has undergone a substantial design process; however, when it comes to the bidding and negotiation phase, it is discovered that the project is grossly over budget. Uh oh. First of all, contractually, it is the architect’s responsibility to keep track of costs with each phase. During schematic design, these costs may be square footage or unit costs, which are very general. Design development adds more detail and costs may be associated with the quantity of square feet for specific materials or assembly costs—the cost of a certain assembly per linear foot.

The bidding and negotiating phase is when a prospective contractor assigns actual costs to compile the cost of work. This is the most accurate cost for the work; however, the architect should always track costs throughout the process.

So, the costs come in grossly over budget. What to do? It is the responsibility of the architect to be mindful of budget. The architect can solicit the owner for additional funding, or else they turn to value engineering. Value engineering often has a negative connotation because it is commonly associated with replacing a material or system with an often-inferior material or system due to cost. However, that is not how value engineering should be perceived.

Value engineering is a concept in which, by definition, a substitution occurs embodying a relationship to the value of function and cost. Although part of the equation with value engineering is to provide a substitution at a lower cost, that cost cannot and should not compromise the function of the material or system to be substituted.

A poor model of value engineering would be the example of replacing a wall system in an acoustically sensitive area. Should a particular wall assembly be replaced with one that is substantially less expensive but does not manage acoustics as well as the original proposed assembly, the assembly sacrifices functionality, which can greatly affect the use of the space. This is not conducive to the original intent and can require extra, future costs to remedy the inefficiency.

A good model of value engineering would seek solutions to balance cost, value, and function. Value is somewhat hard to define as it contains varying objectives but, most often, it connects cost and function. For example, the value, which could attach an extra cost, is necessary due to the function it provides for that extra cost. In that case, it may not be best to value engineer that assembly out of the project. An element that may not have such a weight on function and be more aesthetic is a good place to start with value engineering. Costly marble may be substituted with a less costly engineered stone.

Whatever the change, the process necessitates that the contractor provides substitutions for approval by the architect. The contractor cannot perform the value engineering as it is the responsibility of the architect to confirm—and subsequently approve—the appropriateness of the substitution, which should be value based, not strictly based on cost.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:21 AM

Practice Management: Direct vs. Consequential Damages

  • 20 March, 2020

Per AIA contracts , there is a lot of verbiage regarding damages. Often, all parties agree to the waiver of claims due to damages in the AIA contract A201, the general conditions of the contract for construction.

The waiver of claims means that all parties bound together by this contract agree to hold the other parties harmless should damages be claimed. This is done for many reasons, but let’s first look at the matter of definition.

First, what is a claim and what makes it direct or consequential? A claim is a formal request to a surety (an insurance company) to be compensated for damages. A direct damage is one that can be directly connected to damage. A common example is that of a roof that has caved in. This would assume that the roof was newly constructed and has failed due to the incompetence of the design. A claim for direct damages would request that the roof be rebuilt if it is found that there was negligence in the design of the roof. Consequential damage is damage that is a theoretical or disconnected effect due to the failure of the roof. An example of consequential damage would be the loss of rent due to the roof failure and the loss of rent to come due to its repair. The cost of rent is not directly connected to the roof damage and is, therefore, consequential—a result of the consequence. It should be noted that contract breaches could be considered consequential damages but, in court, the definition is wide and varied, and often consequential damages are limited to those defined as a result of a loss or consequence.

As noted, in the AIA’s A201 contract, these are waived among parties. One reason could be that, with consequential damages, especially, they could be ill defined and could lead to contentious relationships within the contract. However, the contract should anticipate the worst and set up for the best—the best way to deal with unknowns and with contingencies to cover costs should something happen that leads to delays and added costs, etc. Building projects carry risks, and those risks should be managed by all parties. A contract based on rosy situations that does not anticipate issues can be problematic.

However, a main reason for waiving claims for damages is due to business. A construction company or an architecture firm often does not have the assets of wealthy clients or development companies. Bringing claims such as these could bankrupt construction companies and architecture firms. At the very least, the damages could far exceed the profit for the particular project. It is for this reason that many companies will not work with an owner who suggests striking that waiver from the contract.

Practice Management

How to deal with these situations? Coming up with alternative methodologies for covering such issues, other than a striking of the waiver, is what is best in these situations. However, this is often covered by professional liability insurance. No matter what, changes to the contract need to be reviewed by lawyers experienced in the construction process so that everyone is mutually covered in these agreements.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 03:28 AM

Project Development and Documentation: Refrigeration Cycles

  • 17 March, 2020

Refrigeration cycles are used in many mechanical systems and can be somewhat difficult to understand at first. There are four main components to the refrigeration cycle: compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator. A refrigerant flows within the lines (pipes) of the system and enters through those components. To start at a point (since it is a cycle), the vapor leaves the low-pressure side of the evaporator to the high-pressure side via the compressor. The compressor compresses the refrigerant, making the vapor the hottest at that point. After the vapor leaves the compressor, it enters the condenser where the condenser rejects the heat and the vapor turns into liquid state. The liquid then travels to the expansion valve/thermal expansion valve where it enters the low-pressure side of the system and through the expansion valve to turn back to liquid state. It then travels through the evaporator, where heat is absorbed and continues in the loop to the compressor. There is a phase change between liquid and gas with the mediating substance.

Why a refrigeration cycle? For one, it creates a closed loop system that supplies both heating and cooling—potentially. It is most common in smaller systems like a through-wall air-conditioning unit. The compression and expansion of the refrigerant (which is designed to do this efficiently) work to create cooling by removing the heat from the system. That is an important concept in cooling systems. Cooling is created by removing the heat from the system, not by adding actual cooling, which is a common misconception. The refrigeration cycle removes the heat from the interior to the exterior (this works the same in refrigerators). Pressure is employed to create this system—when the pressure compresses, heat is created. When pressure is released and the agent is expanded, cooling occurs. This all happens within the coils of the system. Fans are employed to run air over the coils and expel cool or warm air, depending on the cycle. Often, units with a refrigerant cycle work in one direction, supplying heating or cooling. However, there are reversible systems that supply both heating and cooling by reversing the loop.

Refrigeration Cycles

The medium within the coils—the refrigerant—is an engineered substance in which the properties of the substance meet operating pressures. Traditionally, these substances have been considered toxic or harmful for the environment as well as contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer. Because of this, refrigerants are assigned classifications and ratings of OPD (Ozone Depletion Potential) and (GWP) Global Warming Potential.

In regard to the larger system/unit, a COP (or coefficient of performance) is determined, which is a measure of efficiency for the mechanical unit. The COP is measured by the amount of heat removed as a ratio to the amount of work needed to do so; however, the COP differs between the heating and cooling cycles. Often, the COP or other energy-efficient measurement (SEER) is requested by AHJs to prove the efficiency of mechanical equipment.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:24 AM

Project Management: Billing and Fees

  • 13 March, 2020

It is often said that billing and fees for architectural services are nothing short of an art form. It is a balance between the work to be performed, fair compensation, and the satisfaction of the client. Whatever the outcome, the fees set by the architecture firm should be measured against recordkeeping but also must acknowledge that an architecture firm is also a business and needs to be viable as such.

That viability includes maintaining a profit with every job. No matter the fee structure—hourly, percentage of construction cost, and so on—there should be an added profit calculated into the fee. If you look at a fee schedule, there is a billable rate that is much higher than what actually appears on a paycheck. For example, a project manager may earn an annual salary of $83,200, which equates to an hourly wage of $40/hour. However, the fee schedule for the firm may charge the client $120/hour for their services. Why? Should they feel cheated that they are not getting full compensation for work?

Businesses should charge more for the hourly services of their employees—in fact, an architecture firm on average charges about three times as much. Doing so ensures that the business can pay its bills and then some. Concepts like the break-even rate and overhead rate, as well as an additional percentage for profit, all play into setting the fees for a firm.

Before these fees can be calculated, the expenses of the firm must be determined. These are the indirect expenses—expenses that cannot be billed directly to a job/client—and include utilities, software, rent, insurance, etc. These numbers determine many things for a firm. Are there too many expenses? Are the indirect expenses benefitting the firm? These are matters of everyday business. On top of that, overhead rate is a factor to give the break-even rate. However, that does not account for profit. A typical business—and an architecture firm should be no different—aims for a 20% profit. This is also added to the hourly rate to ensure that the firm is making a profit off of every hour of wage.

Project Management - Billing and Fees

Profit is not a bad thing, and I have known many architects who sell themselves short thinking that they are being greedy trying to make a 20% profit or any profit! But it’s business. Profit is needed to keep a firm alive, and that is actually for the benefit of the client. If a firm cannot stay viable, that may actually affect the client because if a firm folds and closes due to mismanaged finances, it could have very bad effects for the client, the job, and everyone involved (which I have also seen). It is with this mindset that projects should have a healthy financial base to maintain the growth of the firm and to ensure the success of a project.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:53 AM

Programming and Analysis: Net, Usable, Rentable Areas and Efficiencies

  • 10 March, 2020

When designing buildings, architects are often employed by clients who are concerned about the efficiency of space. Building efficiencies look at the ratio of net assignable space to gross area for the overall building, usable versus gross for the base efficiency, and even how large a building should be (gross square feet) in relation to the net assignable square footage versus the percentage of efficiency. What these all compare, in different ways, is the relationship of usable space to unusable or unassignable space.

Net area or net assignable space is the usable space subtracting secondary circulation. In an office, for example, this may be the area of the actual office space versus building corridors. Usable area is the net assignable area plus the secondary circulation, and the rentable area is the usable area, area for services and circulation, and excludes elevator shafts and stairs.

The reason for determining efficiencies has many benefits to the client. For example, a client may want to develop a building to rent to others (in the case of an office building). In that case, if their goal is to make the most rent from this office building, they may ask the architect to design with the least amount of circulation, which can affect the floorplate configuration for the building and its core.

A corporate office building tends to have the least efficiency and a warehouse the most. Why is that? There must be circulation and means of egress by code. If the calculation for the overall efficiency is net assignable square feet divided by the gross area, and the net assignable square feet is about half of the gross, a building with a gross square footage of 50,000 square feet would have an efficiency of 50% (overall efficiency = 25,000 ft2/50,000 ft2). Alternately, a warehouse is essentially all circulation and all net assignable square feet simultaneously. A 50,000-ft2 warehouse (using the same calculation) would produce almost 100% efficiency (or close to, it since net square footage does not account for the area of the exterior facade).

Programming and Analysis

Efficiencies can serve as a very useful tool in determining if enough space is being allocated within a building for certain programs. They can also turn the design discussion to consider space planning as well as determining the choice of mechanical system (a central system versus split/local systems or a hydronic versus air-system), structural system, envelope system, and anything that could greatly affect space. It is also important to consider that just because these are termed efficiencies, that does not always equate to better. It may actually be in the best interest of a company to have less office space and more health-based space. A healthier space (such as yoga rooms, or room for a ping-pong table) can create a more efficient staff. A company may opt for less employees but a higher level of production with such amenities. These efficiency equations cannot account for the qualitative experience of space, however, and should be used solely as a quantitative tool.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:06 AM

Programming and Analysis: How to Size a Building

  • 06 March, 2020

With the construction of increasingly taller buildings, how does one determine how large a building can be? That comes down to the codes. There is not one but many codes to reference for the design and construction of a building. For sizing a building, there are a few main codes to reference— zoning code, the IBC building code, and local codes/deeds that may include provisions for easements and the like.

Easements determine if there are any utilities or other services for the public or special site conditions that necessitate the dedication of a portion of private land for its function. These often restrict blocking, removing, or building on certain areas.

Zoning codes are municipal codes that determine the density and character of cities—usually more urban areas. Zoning codes spell out the ability to build on a lot including the floor area ratio (FAR) and building height limitations. FAR determines how much a site can be built upon, which can start to determine the number of stories, etc. For example, in an R-1 residential zone, there may be a FAR of 0.5. R-1 zones are low-density, typically detached single-family homes. A FAR of 0.5 indicates that the building can only occupy 0.5 or 50% of the lot square footage. So, if there is a lot of 2,400 square feet, the allowed floor area of the building is 1,200 square feet. Zoning also indicates how much of the lot can be developed, including the width of front, rear, and side yards, etc. The FAR is different from the footprint of the building. If the footprint of the building is restricted to 600 square feet (as an extreme example, but it makes the math easy) and the building is allowed 1,200 square feet, does that mean I have to give up 600 square feet? No. It means that the building can be two stories (or more) with a total of 1,200 square feet for the building. What counts toward FAR is defined in the definitions of the zoning code, since spaces like mechanical rooms are typically not counted toward the FAR.

How to Size a Building

However, there are often height limitations. Those are included in the zoning code along with restrictions due to the sky-exposure plane, height of street walls to maintain, occupancy classification, types of construction, building frontage, the requirement of sprinklers, parking requirements, etc.

The IBC building code also includes provisions for height and area limitations due to the type of construction, occupancy, and sprinklers.

These two codes work hand in hand to define the buildable area for a structure and should be referenced at the beginning of the process. The most stringent code is the one that takes precedence and codes—especially zoning codes—change. It is very common practice for areas of a municipality to be rezoned, allowing for different occupancies/mixed-use program, and constructing taller buildings. Designing a building is a network of information and knowing how the zoning code interfaces with the building code and vice versa is the strongest start to the process.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:12 AM

Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency, Part 3

  • 03 March, 2020

I write this blog post as a personal reflection about the additional effects of terrain and how they can affect building construction and planning. Although this post is not directly connected to climate and energy efficiency per se, it demonstrates the necessity of understanding how the concepts of wind flow, temperature, and terrain can affect building design and development in both a positive and a negative way.

I saw firsthand the devastating effects of fire in the community of Paradise, California a couple of months after the infamous wildfire left the town in a charred entanglement of destruction. I was not there for my own personal gain but to offer an academic discourse to propose rebuilding the community through the proposals of my design students. More importantly, I was there to offer solidarity and hope for rebuilding. From what I saw, and through the stories I heard from the survivors, it was incredible that so few lives were lost.

I am not a stranger to the aftermath of natural disasters, having also witnessed the destruction of communities due to hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. However, nothing could have prepared me for the destruction at Paradise.

The question that was continually asked by the community was how to make communities safer, especially in areas prone to wildfire. As this is my profession, I could not help but have that in the back of my mind and I pose it to you, the reader because I have yet to find that answer.

To understand rebuilding is to understand the source of destruction. Much like the illustration of the previous blog post of wind, air temperature, and terrain, the same can be applied with natural disasters like wildfire.

Air rises when heated. As air is heated in a valley (via sun or fire), it flows through the valley with increased speed, constricted by valley walls (the Venturi effect) and rises up and over the valley walls. Paradise is situated at the top of multiple valleys, and the fire was exacerbated by the strong winds blowing through those valleys, causing it to spread at great speed.

Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency

This is not to gloss over the great complexities of this particular disaster—there are a multitude. The first two parts of this post examine the role of the environment in building design and siting for energy efficiency. However, architects are also charged with protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. In that light, it is imperative to understand the potential negative effects of building siting with these factors, especially in regard to microclimates. The ARE® exam will almost certainly not get into these complexities but rather will focus primarily on strategies for energy efficiency. However, in practice, it is important to have a universal understanding of these strategies and to weigh the pluses and minuses in order to balance energy efficiency, design, and the duty of the architect to the public—especially in areas prone to disaster.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:39 AM

Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency, Part 2

  • 28 February, 2020

Part 1 of Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency examined the role of building siting and passive strategies according to the major climatic regions. As a recap, those four major climatic regions are: cold, temperate, hot-arid and hot-humid.

We covered the orientation in plan regarding sun exposure and internal heat gains for the benefit (or detriment) of the building. In addition to location in plan on the site, the vertical orientation of a building—especially on a hill—is also as important.

Air moves with temperature and terrain. Different terrains channel the wind in varying paths. These—along with the climate regions—create microclimates, which are essentially the climates of the immediate site based on a very local set of conditions. Besides the terrain channeling or dispersing/moving wind in unique ways, we must also recognize how temperature affects air movement.

Hot air rises because it is less dense than cold air. During the day, air moves over land and through valleys and rises as the sun warms it. Because of this, air moves uphill in valleys throughout the day. As that air cools during the evening and night, the direction reverses as the land cools. This is due to the loss of heat in the air resulting in the air flowing down the valley walls and settling in the valley floor, only to start the process again once when the sun comes up.

Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency

The temperature changes in the air and land can create different effects throughout the day and in different seasons. For example, in a cold climatic region, buildings placed on the tops of hills (especially within narrow valleys) should be avoided, especially without a windbreak. This is because of the cold winds to which the building would be exposed in those locations. Assuming conventional construction (not air-tight or similar), cold air can infiltrate a building and introduce cold air into a warm interior, making it inefficient to heat the building on the interior (cold climates need higher internal heat gains as they are heat dominated). Additionally, buildings should not be located at the bottom of a hill, where cold air can pool in valleys, etc. for the same reasons.

Buildings in hot-humid climates are often lifted off the ground to promote air movement around and through them for natural ventilation and to keep them away from the humid ground covered in vegetation.

Buildings in hot-arid climates benefit from being located at the bottom of a hill/valley because of the pooling of cooler air and the potential of shadows from the valley walls that may block harsh sun.

Often, when siting buildings for construction, the solar path takes the dominant priority. However, siting in regard to the environment, is complex. Sun and shading are two factors. Wind movement and terrain profile are equally as important in considering the factors that can affect a building’s performance.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:30 AM

Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency, Part 1

  • 25 February, 2020

Mechanical systems consume a lot of energy in buildings—approximately 35% of a building’s total energy use. While HVAC equipment is becoming more efficient, the main strategies that can reduce building energy consumption start at building planning and siting.

There are four major categories for climatic regions: hot-arid, cold, temperate, and hot-humid. Each of these regions offers a unique set of climate conditions when designing a building. Regarding the design of mechanical systems, these regions determine if the building needs more heating, more cooling, more or less humidification, or a balanced system. Not understanding this and designing a building without considering its integration with the climate could potentially create an environment that is inefficient and more taxing on the environment and resources.

Designing an efficient building begins with the building site. One of the first steps that the designer should consider is the climatic region of the project, as it can affect the building form depending on the particular region.

In cold regions, the concern for building design is the loss of heat as well as infiltration through the building envelope. Building form should be compact to minimize the surface area and should be oriented to allow for the maximum exposure to solar radiation.

Temperate regions favor a building that is elongated in the east-west axis allowing for maximum solar exposure in the cooler season while employing shading devices to keep out the hot summer sun. This introduces the natural heat of the sun during the times of the year when it is needed and keeping it out when it is not needed—designed using the solar angles of the sun determined by the solar path. The building orientation for this region minimizes exposure on the east and west facades, which are harder to control with shading, and gains are far greater in summer months.

Building Orientation and Energy Efficiency

Hot-arid regions suffer from exposure to hot air and harsh sun. In these climates, the building should be well-shaded (not only through shading devices but vegetation, if possible). Inner courtyards are an effective design feature that may employ water features to promote evaporative cooling as the wind travels over them creating cooler air that enters adjacent building spaces. As an aside, what I find particularly interesting about this methodology is that it can be found back in ancient times. Windcatchers were prominent in desert regions, and this passive strategy is still relevant today.

Lastly, there are hot and humid regions. For these regions, like temperate regions, buildings are elongated in the east-west axis reducing the east and west facade exposure. Shading devices are used to reduce solar heat gain. Additionally, the incorporation of inner courtyards promotes the movement of air through spaces providing cooling through evaporation and making the hot air more comfortable with air movement. A schematic of this orientation is given in the above figure.

While there are other passive strategies that can also reduce the need for mechanical systems, these focus on integrating the building with the climate for determining site strategies. Part 2 on this topic covers the location of a building vertically regarding climatic regions.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:02 AM

Thermal Comfort

  • 21 February, 2020

What makes the human body thermally comfortable? It’s not just temperature alone. A common misconception is that thermal comfort—the state in which the mind is comfortable with the thermal environment—is strictly due to air temperature. However, our bodies are complex organisms and as such, it takes a lot more to make us comfortable or uncomfortable.

In addition to air temperature—that is just one puzzle piece—factors such as relative humidity, activity, mean radiant temperature, and air motion all play into comfort. Air temperature is the temperature of the air measured as the dry-bulb temperature—the temperature of the air without humidity or moisture. Relative humidity accounts for the moisture, or humidity, in the air. The mean radiant temperature measures the temperature radiating off of surfaces. Then there is the movement of air. Oftentimes, the weather seems a lot cooler due to increased wind speeds (wind chill) on a cool or cold day (or vice versa). In addition to the above factors is our individual bodies’ metabolism, which may make some people feel warmer or cooler than others.

Because everyone is different and has their own thresholds of thermal comfort, it is nearly impossible to assign a thermal comfort level to all people. A classic example is air conditioning within an office environment. When it is turned on, some people may still be too warm, others may be just right, and others may resort to wearing a sweater (another factor considered for thermal comfort)!

In fact, the standards for setting thermal comfort only account for most of the occupants of a particular space. ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) sets the thermal comfort standards for office spaces and other programs. This is outlined in the ASHRAE 55 standard, which is based on the predicted mean vote (PMV) and predicted percentage of dissatisfied (PPD)—a method devised from a percentage of people who are thermally dissatisfied. From this, the thermal comfort of a space is essentially geared toward about 80% of the population of a certain space. The range of thermal comfort in temperature is about 68° to 72°F but can be shifted due to the other factors noted above.

With thermal comfort, however, physical comfort is not the only consideration in the design of spaces and integration of building systems, such as mechanical systems. The body’s thermal comfort can play a substantial role in the physical and mental well-being of a person, especially in promoting a healthy indoor environment and experience. A hot or stuffy indoor environment due to poor air circulation or high humidity can have adverse effects, making the indoor air quality poor and subsequently affecting the performance of those occupying that space. It is because of this that many healthy building standards promote a high-quality indoor environment. Thermal comfort and a person’s well-being are intertwined and, therefore, involves a lot more than simply air temperature.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:00 PM

IIC vs STC

  • 18 February, 2020

When it comes to sound, there are multiple ways to determine the movement of noise through assemblies. Sound travels in many different ways and as waves. Different ratings depend on the medium through which the sound waves travel. The emphasis tends to be placed on STC (sound transmission class) ratings, but others are just as important—or maybe more applicable—depending on the situation. This post will focus on the difference between IIC and STC—both very common ways to measure the transmission of sound through assemblies but approaching the source of sound differently.

The STC rating is concerned with the travel of sound or noise (sound above a certain threshold for which it is considered unwanted) through the air. The STC measures how well an assembly of materials absorbs the transmission of airborne sound/noise. Assemblies not only include interior partition walls, ceilings/floors, and exterior walls, but also include windows, doors, and so on.

However, sound waves do not just travel through the air, but are also transmitted through waves moving through materials. In this case, it may be more appropriate to focus on the IIC (impact insulation class) rating, which is more concerned with the travel of sound through materials and measures how well an assembly blocks impact noise. The IIC rating—although applied to assemblies—is more appropriate for floor/ceiling assemblies because that is where the impact noise will most likely occur.

Depending on a variety of factors—but most likely which assembly (such as the wall, floor, or ceiling) is being rated and for which program—the employment of one rating over another may be better suited for measuring the impact of noise in a space and the design of assemblies. For example, in a dense, urban area, while there is a lot of noise traveling between walls, there may be more concern for the sound that is traveling through floors and ceilings within a building. In this case, it may be more appropriate to review IIC because that noise not only comes from side to side but also from above and below as well. In the case of offices, the clicking of high heels (always a common example when discussing sound) travels through structural members and flooring (typically wood in older construction), which may affect the space more so than airborne sounds. In this case, it would be more appropriate to be concerned with the IIC since it focuses on the sound transferred via materials through floors and ceilings. Conversely, STC may be more appropriate in isolating spaces from each other due to program—such as a wall between a quiet office and adjoining loud conference room, when the noise will most likely travel through the air.

Not all sound is created equal, and when addressing acoustics, knowing the source is just as important as the rating because the sound comes from all over. Recognizing that and applying the ratings appropriately will allow for more successful strategies in alleviating the transfer of noise.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:00 PM

Gross Versus Net Square Feet with Code

  • 14 February, 2020

There are some instances when gross and net square footage are calculated. Gross square footage generally refers to all of the square feet, whereas the net square footage accounts for some subtractions. An example for this could pertain to cost estimating, where gross square feet would include the interior floor space as well as interior and exterior walls. It would account for “all” of it, with the exception of open courts within a building, walls that extend outside of the footprint of the building/roof overhang at ground level, and so on.

With net square footage, there is typically an accounting of some loss. Again, considering cost estimating, net square footage accounts for floor space but does not account for exterior walls and other elements such as corridors, toilets, mechanical rooms.

With gross square footage and how it pertains to code... Well, this is where it gets a little tricky because it does not follow that typical definition and tends to trip up a lot of people in application.

For measuring gross square feet per the code—and, again, this pertains to this particular instance— the gross square footage does not include the exterior walls. The gross square footage regarding code is measured to the interior face of the exterior walls.

Don’t believe it? Let’s reference it.

The International Building Code (IBC) gives definitions to certain terminology that can be found in Chapter 2—the chapter designated for definitions. If a term is not found in this chapter, it is assumed that the definition of that term is consistent with practice and the industry and is well understood making further and/or specific definition unnecessary. The terminology for these definitions is italicized throughout the code indicating that there is a specific meaning for each italicized term. Per the definition in Chapter 2 of the IBC, the gross floor area is listed as “Floor Area, Gross”. This definition states that the gross floor area, per code, is, “The floor area within the inside perimeter of the exterior walls of the building…”

This is tricky, but again, it’s a matter of definition and can be especially tricky compared with all the ways to measure space. What is important to know is that this definition differs and that the code defines it in a way that it does not include the exterior walls. So, when determining occupancy, for example, the code allots a certain area for certain occupancies. Some are measured in net square feet and others in gross square feet. For the latter, that measurement would be the gross square feet; the entirety—excluding vent shafts and courts but including corridors, closets, ramps, stairways, and so on—to the interior perimeter of the exterior walls. It may not be consistent in the way that it is measured with other instances and with other tasks, but concerning code, gross square feet is to the interior of the exterior walls.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:30 PM

Project Management: Change Orders

  • 11 February, 2020

One of the most frustrating parts of a construction project can be change orders. They have given a building project a bad reputation but oftentimes, they are inevitable. Things change. This can be due to field conditions and uncovering something unexpected, or it can be due to a design change per to a client or the architect. Rather than not accept any changes whatsoever (which is, more often than not, unrealistic), changes are accounted for and built into the process. In architects’ contracts, contingencies are often included to cover design changes should they arise. Contingencies may also be included in construction contracts to cover construction costs associated with changes. In documentation, changes are handled using three different methods to formally change the contract for construction/contract documents:

1.An architect’s supplemental instruction (ASI)
2.(Formal) change orders
3.Construction change directive

Any change will have a connection to cost, schedule, and scope.

If there is no change in cost, schedule, or scope, then an ASI is issued (AIA document G710-2017 or a version thereof). It is only to be used for minor changes and oftentimes serves to provide clarification.

If there is a change in cost, schedule, or scope, a change can be handled in two ways: through a formal change order or a construction change directive. Despite being treated as two separate entities, they are essentially two different ways of getting to the same place—authorizing a change through a formal change order. To clarify that point, the end goal is to have the change approved and work performed and compensated. A formal change order (AIA document G701-2017) is straightforward. It lists the change in scope and the time and/or costs associated with the change. It is an agreement between the owner, architect, and contractor that is signed by all parties. When it has been signed, the work is done and compensated to cover the extra costs (and may be covered by the contingencies added to contracts).

However, sometimes this process does not run so smoothly. Sometimes a contractor may issue a change order for approval, but the owner does not agree with the cost or time. Any disagreement could delay the project further. The contractor could be liable for any change in schedule or projection completion could be delayed. This is the role of the construction change directive (G714-2017), which directs the changes to be made while the terms (cost and time) are being hammered out. This is an efficient way of performing the work and keeping the project on schedule, even in a time of conflict and discord. It is recommended that the construction change directive, when approved, is superseded by a formal change order, which is why they are two ways of getting to the ultimate goal: an approved change order.

These documents not only track the changes in the work (possibly with an accompanying log) but are the three ways to formally change the contract for construction.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:00 PM

Programming and Analysis: Owner’s Responsibilities/Surveys

  • 07 February, 2020

The roles of the parties involved in a construction project are of critical importance. Clear responsibilities contribute to a process that runs more smoothly, promotes better communication, and hopefully makes the process less contentious. The roles of the owner, architect, and contractor are outlined in the AIA contracts. In general, the architect is responsible for the design intent, the contractor for the work and construction site, and the owner for the site.

The owner’s responsibilities to the site include possessing the information necessary to understand site conditions. This includes (but may not be exclusive to) geotechnical reports and surveys. The reason why the owner is responsible for the site is essentially tied to risk. The Owner, in regard to the existing site conditions, is the party to whom it is most appropriate to assign that risk.

There is not one but multiple surveys to consider. The most common surveys are metes and bounds, plat of survey, and American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys.

Metes and bounds surveys measure off of benchmarks. Between the benchmarks are distances/ dimensions and angles noted from the cardinal points. What benchmarks are chosen depends on the site. Common benchmarks include trees, water features, rock piles, etc.

A plat of survey, also called a plat survey or boundary survey, is a much more accurate survey and serves in an official capacity. Plats of the survey are connected to property deeds and are compared against the deed when created. For instance, iron bars are installed at different corners to set up points of reference. What I find interesting about these (and ALTA) surveys is that because they are used in an official capacity, the procedures and requirements are outlined in standards of practice issued by the responsible jurisdiction and/or organization. These standards include the size and type of iron bar to use, the depth to which they are to be installed, soil conditions for installation, and so on. These plats of the survey are performed by a licensed, professional land surveyor and require a seal and signature on the survey.

An ALTA survey is much more detailed than a plat of survey and is recommended particularly for commercial properties where risk is higher. Due to a higher level of detail, they are also more expensive but offer more protection in case of disputes. ALTA surveys follow standards per ALTA and American Congress of Surveying and Mapping (ACSM).

The types of surveys needed for a project depend on the project type, location, if it is on vacant land or in a dense urban area, insurance requirements, acquisition, etc. Although it is the responsibility of the owner to provide the survey, the architect absolutely must know about the different types and the level of detail, as they often make recommendations. Often, the owner will ask the architect to order the survey, but that should be discouraged because in doing so, the architect assumes the risk that should be allocated to the owner and could be held liable.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:00 PM

AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

  • 04 February, 2020

A membership in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in any capacity brings with it an expectation for the highest standards in competency, professionalism, and integrity. The AIA lays out what is expected of its members through the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (“the Code of Ethics”). It is important for both candidates taking the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE) and those with an AIA professional affiliation to understand this Code of Ethics because noncompliance can lead to disciplinary action. To understand compliance, the Code of Ethics must be understood. You can access this code for free on the AIA’s website (aia.org).

Code of Ethics

The AIA’s Code of Ethics begins with a preamble which, among other information, includes descriptions of its three tiers. I am not going to elaborate on the rest of the information beyond the three tiers, with a little explanation, but what is interesting is the history of the AIA and antitrust. Due to this, they cannot control setting service fees, etc. I think it is a fascinating part of the AIA’s history and recommend learning about it to any candidate or AIA member.

The AIA’s Code of Ethics is separated into three tiers:

1.Canons
2.Ethical standards
3.Rules of conduct

There are six canons, which essentially note the larger topic with a bit of an explanation. They are listed in order of precedence. Beyond the general obligations, the obligations are to the public, client, profession, colleagues, and the environment. This means that the obligations to the public are listed first after general obligations, and that is the first order of obligation according to this Code of Ethics. It may seem odd that the public is considered before a paying client, but the AIA member is obliged to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public first and foremost. Often, in doing so, you are protecting the client as well, but the first order of responsibility is to the public.

The ethical standards, or goals, follow the canons. They list the goals in short and then follow up with a short expectation of the member.

The rules of conduct are what make the AIA Code of Ethics enforceable. To underscore that point, they are in bright red in the Code of Ethics—you can’t miss them. The rules of conduct (“Rule(s)”) note what is expected of the member. Sometimes a Rule includes a commentary, which is not always included, nor is it considered a tier. The commentary elaborates on a Rule giving more specificity/clarification to a point/term.

Knowing and understanding the Code of Ethics is essential, in my opinion, not only in preparing for the ARE but in understanding what could be disciplined by the AIA.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:00 PM

ARE Practice and Business Content

  • 16 January, 2020

When taking the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE), I often wondered why it included content that I felt was more relevant to business and out of place on an exam for licensing architects.

Over time, it became clear to me that it all goes back to the architect’s duty to the health, safety, and welfare of the public through licensure.

The health of a business is crucial in any instance, but it is even more important to keep an architectural business healthy. Not to negate the work of other businesses and the importance of what they do, but an architect takes on some pretty hefty work. Architects shoulder a heavy responsibility, which is not always immediately apparent in schooling and training, and one that should not be taken lightly. The best explanation I have heard was by comparing architecture with medicine. The backstory was the question of why architects have to go through such rigorous schooling, training, licensure, and exams that are comparable with those of medical professionals. The response was that while a doctor is responsible for one person at a time, architects are responsible for potentially thousands of people at a time!

When an architect designs a building and/or supervises its construction, it must be secure for the health, safety, and welfare of the public, which is why it is imperative to have the necessary knowledge for licensure. Think of it this way: if an architectural firm goes belly-up in the middle of a job (which, unfortunately, is not uncommon), what happens? There could be restructuring and/or the owner may have to hire another firm to finish the work, which could lead to delays, changes in relationships, degradation of a site due to weather conditions and exposure, etc. Maybe the client does not have the funding for a new contract due to inflation or added costs of starting up work again (which could take years to solve), which could lead to choosing sub-par materials, sub-par contractors/subcontractors, and so on. During the interstitial time, codes could change, causing the proposed building to no longer be up to code. The job site could potentially be abandoned during this period and could have unauthorized occupants using the unfinished space. This might expose them to potentially dangerous conditions, or they might create dangerous conditions on that unfinished site, posing a threat to the larger public.

ARE Practice and Business Content

This is all purely conjecture, of course, and much more complicated than what is suggested here. But hopefully it illustrates the importance of the business content of the exams and why every licensed architect should have the tools to build and maintain a successful business—not just for themselves but for their duty to the public.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:18 AM

Practice Management: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Budgets

  • 14 January, 2020

Budgeting and contracts are nothing short of an artform when applying them to the practice of architecture. They are always trying to hit a moving target—you never know what the outcome will be.

With budgets, the moving target is the work needed to perform the services and allocating them in order to make a profit. In the following example, we are looking at the budgets for an architectural firm’s services.

Top-Down Budget

Referencing the example above, top-down budgets start with the estimated cost of construction and the allocation of the architect’s fee from a percentage of estimated construction costs (note that this assumes that the architect’s contract is based on a percentage of construction costs for their service fee). That gross fee then subtracts the consultant’s fees (per the B101-2017 contract, the architect’s services includes consultants: structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers) in order to produce a net service revenue. The net service revenue is the monies that should be allocated for the architect’s services. However, the direct expense budget and the contingency budget should also be considered. Direct expenses are billable to a specific project and should be set aside as there are always direct expenses for a project. Contingencies cover any expenses should there be design changes. Top-down budgets set aside a direct expense budget and a contingency budget to cover unexpected expenses as a safeguard, so they don’t come out of the service revenue—the monies needed for the actual services of the contract to be performed. If they are not used, they are considered profit. Those expense budgets subtracted from the net service revenue results in the project labor budget, which is then broken down per phase and service percentages (e.g., 5% may go to bidding and negotiation because that is the typical percentage breakdown of that service phase).

With bottom-up budgeting, services are broken out by how long the architect thinks it will take to perform the service per phase multiplied by an average service fee. A bottom-up budget is much more organic and relies on experience to be able to allocate the time per service.

What is important to remember is that, again, this is trying to hit a moving target. How do you know which method is right when, compared side by side, they can have a huge difference? What’s important is to recognize that difference in going through the exercise. It should be common practice to work with both budgets side by side and if differences are way off, more time may need to be added/ subtracted per phase (bottom-up) or a different percentage may be allocated (top-down). The point is to see if the budgets meet in the middle and how. However, it is also important to review this along with other business expenses to ensure that compensation is not only fair but attributes to the health of the business practice in other areas (covering benefits, payroll, overhead, etc.).

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:04 AM

How To Improve Reading Speed and Ace MCAT CARS Section

  • 29 August, 2019

How To Improve Reading Speed and Ace MCAT CARS Section































The infamous Verbal Reasoning, now known as CARS, has been difficult for most people taking the MCAT. Over a decade of English classes and several online MCAT classes later, something as simple as reading shouldn’t be hard to pull off right? Wrong! With the timer ticking away and the complexity of questions asked in the exam, many students buckle under the pressure.

Here’s how you can improve your reading speed and ace the dreaded MCAT CARS section:

Read every day
Begin your day by reading the newspaper. Don’t just stick to the entertainment, you’ll need to train your mind to read even the most boring pieces of information. Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes to reading, and make it a habit for at least 6 months prior to your MCAT exam.

Skim through the material
One of the most important tricks in speed reading is skimming. Force your eyes to move very fast and skim through each sentence, picking up only a few words before moving on to the next sentence. Keep practicing until you refine your technique.

Create questions
Speed readers are generally not good at comprehension. Take a look at the question asked and at the options provided. Create your own questions based on the options and speed read to find answers. This will help your mind become more focused and discard useless information.

Adapt your reading speed
You need to learn to change your reading speed according to the type of content you’re reading. A good reader must speed up while reading easier content and slow down while reading difficult content.

Take practice tests
The only way to overcome the nerves and become more adept at answering CARS questions is by taking practice tests. While online speed reading tests are a good place to start, it is better if you opt for practice tests that are tailored to fit the MCAT format.

Assess yourself regularly
Regular assessment is necessary to give you a good idea of where you stand. Try to keep track of your reading speed and record it every week. Work consistently to improve your score and test time.

If these steps are followed, you should notice an increase in your reading speed and CARS section score.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:23 AM

Making your way into the top league of medical schools with a perfect score

  • 16 July, 2019

If you ask any premed which medical school they’d like to get into, a common answer is “Any school I can get in”. Considering the complexity of the med-school admission procedure, there’s nothing unusual about it. However, there are quite a few premeds that tend to be high achievers and settle for nothing short of the best. Rather than taking on a casual ‘anything works’ attitude, these class of premeds take on a targeted approach when it comes to med-school admissions. Not only does this mean that they have a shot at getting into a program that interweaves with their goals and personality, but such premeds are generally happier than their counterparts. Here’s the kicker – it is not an easy feat. No matter how big your dreams are, it can all come crashing down if you don’t take the necessary steps to get there.

Benefits of getting into a top medical school:
  1. The learning curve is impressive
  2. Access to valuable resources, high-end labs and superior infrastructure
  3. Networking with elite alumni and other esteemed professionals possible
  4. Better visibility when applying to grad school
  5. Higher starting salary
Let’s take a look at what it takes to make your way into top medical schools:

The ultimate gateway into a top med-school:
Nothing speaks for you more than a near-perfect or perfect MCAT score and it is one of the best ways you can assure yourself a seat into a top medical school.

Here’s the correlation between MCAT review scores and med-school applications:


Average acceptable score for few med-schools
Average acceptable score for most med-schools
Average acceptable score for Ivy League med-schools
Qualitatively
Average MCAT score
Good MCAT score
High MCAT score
Sectional score – ‘Old’ MCAT
8-9
10-11
12
Total score – ‘Old’ MCAT
25-26
30-35
>36
Sectional score – new MCAT
125
127
129
Total score – new MCAT
500
507
>514

Getting a perfect score requires extensive knowledge, attending a rigorous MCAT exam review course and spending months for dedicated prep

Is a perfect score possible?
With the MCAT being revamped entirely, the old scoring system no longer applies. 45 is no longer the standard of perfection – 528 is! Take a look at the statistics shown below – it’s quite clear that the percentile of high achievers on the MCAT is quite low.
Making your way into the top league of medical schools with a perfect score
















Does that mean the end of your elite medical school dreams? No! Despite the odds being against you, there’s still a chance of making the cut.

Although there’s no proven success formula for getting a 528 MCAT review score, our experts recommend a few principles that can increase your chances of getting a top score:

1) Get your base right
Ensure that you maintain an excellent academic record throughout undergrad. Working hard in your foundation classes gives you the base to excel at the MCAT.

2) Don’t settle for less
If your goal is to hit the 528 mark, do not enroll into crash courses. Take a wide range of advanced upper-level MCAT review classes instead.

3) Stick to a regimen
It takes immense discipline to master the MCAT review material. Give yourself enough time to work your way through the theory and science. Following a strict study regimen is a must.

4) Give yourself some ‘me’ time
Don’t go over the top in the pursuit of perfection. Take time out for yourself and engage in activities you love from time to time.

Unless you’re a high-achieving sportsmen or have excellent community work to show for, a high MCAT score is your only way to getting into a top med-school. Good luck!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 10:31 AM

Six Lifestyle Tips for MCAT Prep

  • 12 June, 2019

As the famous saying goes “a sound body keeps a sound mind”, it takes good health to keep the mind sound and well-functioning. Likewise, the best way to approach MCAT prep is with the combined effort of a sound mind and a sound body. Here is a list of handy tips that can help students to be well prepared to take on this responsibility.

Early to bed, early to rise
Plan the study schedule in such a way that the body is allowed sufficient sleep. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to focus and results in students spending additional hours readying the same topics over and over again. A preset plan must be followed and sleep should never be compromised on or before the day of the exam.

Follow a healthy diet
Research indicates that food has a direct impact on the functioning of the brain. Careful choice of food intake can help tremendously throughout the MCAT prep time. Students are advised to avoid food items that may cause allergies or are high in sugar content that could elevate insulin levels which cause a sugar crash. Vitamin supplements such as B complex, - A, and E play a vital role in enhancing the concentration and memory of the students. The food you take helps the mind to concentrate and therefore will help you study more efficiently.

Avoid excessive pressure
MCAT is a challenging exam but it can be overcome by choosing the correct prep courses and streamlined preparations. This starts with a customized study plan that fulfills the particular need of the student. 30-60 minutes in a day must be allotted to focus on the topics that were taught on a specific day, as this kind of memory reinforcement improves test performance. If opting for MCAT training in the weekends, allow few hours of socializing in between in order to avoid any burning out.

Do not postpone
A common yet often overlooked problem of exam prep is the tendency to postpone. Learning difficult concepts, details, or any exam-related activities like getting your questions answered with the tutor, completing a practice test within the stipulated time and so on must be completed in time. This ensures that you will feel comfortable with the exam before the test date.

Form a study group
MCAT study groups are considered as an effective study technique that aids in the sharing of ideas and useful information. A dedicated group of 4-6 members from different academic backgrounds create the opportunity to leverage on each other’s skill. Study groups are also an important way of enhancing communication skills and team skills which will ultimately help students when moving on to medical school.

Learn to trust yourself
Finally, self-confidence is the key to success in any examination and individuals must learn to trust their abilities and commitment towards the big challenge.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:28 AM

Getting ready for the MCAT? Flashcards may be your favorite learning tool!

  • 29 March, 2019

Flashcards are often dismissed as a learning tool meant for children. In fact, flashcards can be used by anyone because they can strongly influence memory and season it for the most overwhelming examinations like the MCAT. Flash cards are more than a fancy learning tool and have the ability to create a strong impact on the learning experience of a student.
Getting ready for the MCAT? Flashcards may be your favorite learning tool!

What is a flash card?

Flashcards are paper cards with questions on one side and the corresponding answers on the other. They are easy to carry around, can be stored easily and have been in use since the 19th century. MCAT flashcards have become an integral part of MCAT drill sessions. Reputed global educators have used the concept of flashcards in building mobile applications in order to satisfy the needs of tech-savvy students today.

How do flash cards help prepare for MCAT?

• Studies indicate that students can use two types of methods to recall what they have learnt – passive recall and active recall.

1) Passive recall like reading and watching a video helps to passively recollect the subject learnt so far.
2) Flash cards can also be used for active recall which stimulates the brain to think and then compels it to retrieve information learnt earlier. Experts recommend active recall as a more effective way of studying.

• Flash cards help students to learn the important concepts of MCAT at their own pace. Flash cards can be carried around easily and can be easily used to learn and recall lessons on the move. They help to break down big chunks of information into smaller and easier pieces of facts.

• Flash cards help in self-testing one’s knowledge and research shows that self-testing one’s knowledge continually, can improve retention of information for a longer time period.

• Image flash cards built through online mobile application deliver the power of visual learning and helps MCAT students to build their comprehension power.

• The MCAT exam tests the verbal ability of students and the subjects like chemistry and physics are filled with new definitions and facts. Research reveals that flash cards are ideal for learning new words and definitions.

• Ultimately, drill sessions on MCAT that use flash cards allow students to score better marks by having a strong psychological impact on them.

Students preparing for MCAT exam must include the flash cards as part of the toolkit in order to take advantage of all the above benefits.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:36 AM

MCAT online exam course

  • 06 January, 2019

The MCAT exam - Overview
The MCAT score is a globally upheld yardstick for assessment of candidate’s eligibility into a medical school. The exam is phased into multiple choice questions on Critical Analysis Reasoning Skills, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Behavioral sciences. Students can be assured MCAT will not be a cakewalk and demands intense preparation, to come out with a high score. The MCAT composite score is grouped into different slabs of percentage for each section.

MCAT online exam course
MCAT Exam Course
The saying that a positive beginning is as good as half the journey is apt in the case of the MCAT. Exam courses are offered by major educational institutes across the world. The courses are available in both online and classroom platforms. They can be taken in normal pace or on demand which can be at the pace for the student. Students need to be more careful about choosing the right course.

An ideal course should impart race-horse type intense preparation where the minds of students are tuned to take the test, focus on the content, attempt all questions and complete the test on time.

Online exam prep MCAT
Online courses are ideal for students since they do not have to waste time to travel and sit down in classrooms. The influence of multimedia based training can engage them better. The courses cover all the four sections of the exam encompassing subjects like, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, Biology, Psychology and Sociology. They are packed with hundreds of practice questions, challenging situations, and strategy sessions. Students can assess for themselves their strengths and weaknesses with regards to preparation and identify areas for improvement.

Online Videos and eBooks
Online MCAT prep classes will feature videos on passage solving skills on all the relevant sections . Watching the videos can be educating and students stay focused on results. The eBooks can be downloaded by students or accessed by them even on smart phones.

Practice Tests
It is an essential pre-requisite that a student takes an optimum number of practice tests in order to orient his mind to the exam structure and to manage time. Scores are communicated instantly. The tests taken are saved online for reference of students.

Single user exam attempts
Most institutes offer unlimited number of attempts for a student to take the exam during their online course sessions.

Question Banks
Question banks containing complete range of questions posed in the previous examinations are made available for the students. The full length practice exams contain different questions each time.

Course Duration and study material
Normal mode courses may span up to six months with flexible payment options. Fast track courses are available and can be tailored to meet the requirements of student. Online study material include access to tutoring video libraries, chat sessions and informative seminars, supplemented by tangible aids such as CDs, DVDs and textbooks.

In a nutshell
The MCAT applicants should enroll for the MCAT online exam course on basis of time, Affordability, Course Coverage, Quality of instructors, Track records and reviews of the educational institute.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:03 AM

Taking the Stress Out of the PMP Exam

  • 15 November, 2018

There are many benefits to becoming a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®). However, the process of becoming certified can be stressful. In order to manage the stresses of taking the PMP exam, project managers should adhere to the following PMP exam tips:

Review Information About the Exam

Project Management Institute (PMI®) offers several resources to help project managers prepare for the PMP exam. The current PMP exam content outline explains the percentage of questions on the exam from each domain. Reviewing the outline will help you understand where you should focus your efforts when studying. The PMP Handbook includes information about applying to take the exam, exam policies and procedures, and certification policies and procedures. Learning as much as you can about the PMP exam and what to expect on exam day will help ease some stress the morning of the exam.

Study the PMBOK® Guide

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) is an important resource for preparing for the PMP exam. The PMP exam was updated in the beginning of 2018 to align with the release of the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the project management concepts that are discussed in the PMBOK Guide and have this resource available as you are preparing for the exam.

Take Practice Exams

Knowing the types of questions that will appear on the PMP exam and being familiar with the format of the exam will help you to be better prepared and feel more confident when you are taking the actual exam. PMI provides PMP sample test questions. You can also find practice questions and exam simulators as part of select PMP prep courses.

Enroll in a PMP Prep Course

If you feel stressed about preparing on your own, you can sign up for an online PMP exam prep course. A good exam prep course should include lecture notes and PMP practice exam questions. Another benefit of taking a course is that it can count toward the 35 contact hours of formal project management education prerequisite, which PMI requires for PMP eligibility.

By knowing what to expect on exam day, reviewing the important concepts that will appear on the exam, practicing sample exam questions, and preparing for the exam with a prep course, you should feel confident about taking and passing the PMP exam.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 11:18 PM

Benefits of PMP Certification

  • 09 November, 2018

Becoming a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) is not an easy task. Doing so requires thousands of hours of leading and directing projects and passing a difficult exam. However, the benefits of PMP certification far exceed the effort required to become a PMP.

According to Project Management Institute (PMI®), the PMP “is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers.”i It is not a simple task to earn this industry-recognized certification. In order to even sit for the PMP exam, project managers must meet certain criteria. The application process requires information about education attained and project management experience. In fact, project managers with a four-year degree need 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects while project managers with a secondary degree must have accrued 7,500 hours of leading and directing projects. By completing the PMP exam application, being approved to take the exam, and passing the exam, PMP-certified project managers set themselves apart. Being a PMP shows that project managers have the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively manage projects.

Not only does obtaining PMP certification prove project management experience but preparing for the PMP exam provides project managers with additional project management knowledge. Project management professionals who are applying to take the PMP exam must have 35 hours of project management education. This education is critical for passing the PMP exam, but it can also be applied in the workplace and can increase a project manager’s skillset.

A higher salary is another benefit of PMP certification. In a survey of nearly 11,000 project management professionals in the United States, PMP holders had a median salary that was 25% higher than the median salary of project management professionals who were not PMP certified. The median salary for PMP holders was $115,000 compared to $92,000 for non-PMP project management professionals.ii

Whether a project management professional is seeking a way to stand out in the industry, is wanting to learn new project management knowledge and skills, or is looking to make more money, becoming a PMP can help achieve these goals. Start applying to take and preparing for the PMP exam to gain the benefits of PMP certification.

References

iProject Management Professional (PMP). Retrieved from

iiProject Management Salary Survey (2018). Retrieved from

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:49 AM

The Unique Demands of Being an Anaesthesiologist

  • 03 November, 2018

The life of a medical student starts with carefully choosing a school major and goes on to handling rigorous MCAT training in the weekends / weekdays, accommodating lucrative volunteer programs and finally entering into the preferred medical school.

While admission into the medical school is often considered as the ultimate event in the life of a student, there is another crucial decision to make that will determine the course of a student’s career in the long run – the choice of medical speciality.

Most students talk about specialities like radiology, paediatrics, cardiology, gynaecology, dermatology and oncology. However, it is a fact that the truly unique area of anaesthesiology is yet to make it to the list of the most preferred areas of medical practice.

The reason behind the trend is neither the lack of demand for anaesthesiologists nor the complexity of the profession but the need to embrace some unique features of the practice.

The Unique Demands of Being an Anaesthesiologist
What does it take to be a successful anaesthesiologist?
Anaesthetists may not spend 40 hours a week sitting in a clinic, talking to patients and scheduling surgeries. But they offer acute care that demands different set of abilities to survive. Read on to find out what they are,

Great team player: The anaesthesia care team is made of both physicians as well as non physicians. The physician anaesthesiologist must play along with other members in order to provide optimal care for patients.

Good sense of humour: Co-existing with surgeons in the same room for hours may not be an easy task. It takes grace, confidence and a hands down approach to cope up with the environment.

Fantastic communicator: An anaesthesiologist has less than 15 minutes to interact with his / her patients. His ability to cajole them into an intense conversation during this short time span and make the patients feel comfortable and confident before the surgery counts.

Enjoy playing with gadgets: Modern medical technology has imposed the use of computerized patient monitoring system on anaesthesiologists. Therefore, it is important for an anaesthetists to know the gadget he / she is going to use, extremely well.

Alert and available always: Emergency surgeries could be scheduled at any time of the day or night. The need for an anaesthetist may take place in the early hours of the morning or even on Christmas day! Anaesthesiologists must be present well before the scheduled time to get the surgical procedure organized.

To be a good anaesthesiologist you need to love the operation theatre and deal with unconscious patients. As an anaesthesiologist you may not prescribe medicines or diagnose conditions but you have an exciting job of controlling a patient’s breath and blood circulation!

Can physician anaesthesiologists be replaced by nurse anaesthetists?
Can a physician anaesthesiologist who has strived hard with MCAT training in the weekends / weekdays, participated in leadership programs, completed residency and undergone multiple hours of clinical training be replaced by a nurse anaesthetic? The answer is NO!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:08 AM

Is effective communication mandatory in the medical field?

  • 16 October, 2018

The medical profession is often associated with profound knowledge, reasoning skills, analytical capabilities and team work. However, the one factor that often seems to be underplayed is effective communication for doctors and medical students. Students who are on their way to make a mark in the medical field e invest their time and effort into part time volunteer programs and onsite or online MCAT training classes on the weekends Another way to become an excelled physician is to pause and explore how important effective communication is in the life of a doctor!

Is effective communication mandatory in the medical field?
What does effective communication for doctors mean?
Is effective communication all about maximizing the amount of information shared with team mates and patients? The answer is no! Effective communication involves making use of the right opportunity to communicate the right things, at the right time to colleagues and to patients. It involves,
•Encouraging team members
•Showing care and concern for patients
•Taking responsibility of a situation
•Delivering vital information in the most concise manner to all members within the healthcare setup

Even, while attending an onsite or online training class, it is important for students to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently. Effective communication will only help student’s clear doubts, discuss about the subject with clarity and understand the responses with more clarity.

Benefits of being a good communicator?
Good communication skills start to pay off even before a student enters the desired medical school. No matter how hard an applicant works to gain the best scores, it is the ability to convey the intended message with the right attitude during the interview moves the student onto a strong medical career path.

For a practicing doctor, effective communication helps to achieve,
•Increased patient satisfaction
•Higher credibility among patients
•Great working relationships with colleagues and mutual support
•Higher job satisfaction
•Enhanced patient safety
•Minimal chance of clinical errors that may arise due to miscommunication.
In short, the communicating style of a doctor greatly draws the attention of the patient and makes them feel comfortable while working with the doctors. Doctors who communicate well are reported to be better at handling critical situations and can avoid the burnout situation too.

What measures can be adopted by students to emerge as successful communicators in the medical field?
Students who are expected to juggle between school activities, online MCAT training classes on the weekends and volunteer programs can also work on their communication skills simultaneously by using the following tips.
•Use simple and clear language and avoid the use of complex medical jargon while handling patients.
•Empathize with your patients.
•Apologize when there is a mistake on your part.

Lastly, listen to patients, team mates, hospital management and other fellow doctors. A good listener will always be a good communicator.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:00 AM

MCAT Study Guide

  • 12 September, 2018

Most educational institutes cover how to take the MCAT during undergrad. The education market is abundant with a number of MCAT study books e and it forms an indispensable part of the number of MCAT study materials available.

MCAT Exam study materials
MCAT exam is a 8 hour standardized exam, which consists of multiple choice questions in Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Behavioral sciences, and Critical Analysis Reasoning Skills. The exam requires physical and mental endurance in abundance to sit through the rigorous 8 hours of the MCAT. . The important material that are needed to do well on the MCAT are depicted here:

MCAT Study Guide












The MCAT study guide
The official MCAT guide is a storehouse of all vital information regarding registration with AAMC, the exam, its question paper content, evaluation process. It also contains as many as 120 practice questions from all the four sections. Other guides from subject matter experts give the students valuable insight into disciplines of Physical Sciences and Biological sciences. Passages given in the Critical Analysis Reasoning Skills section are very useful to students.The guide contains various strategies to crack the MCAT so a student can achieve the score they desire.

The MCAT Mini-Test EBook
This Mini Text book that can be downloaded into PCs and consists of about 30 sample questions and allows the student to quickly understand the toughness and complexity of questions asked.

Question Packs
The AAMC publishes question packs on Physics, Biology, Chemistry, critical analysis and reasoning skills, that form the bulk of study material. The online version is also student friendly. Various online practice items like test papers, informative sessions and practice exams are also available.

Study schedule Guide and other online study material
This is a guide enabling students to estimate the total time available before the exam and to form a concrete schedule to harness their studying resources to the fullest. In addition to this, self-assessment packages, subject oriented quizzes, supplemental lessons, recorded tutoring sessions are available once students subscribe to the online courses.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:37 AM

All You Need to Know About Retaking the MCAT Exam

  • 15 April, 2018

After weeks of waiting, when you finally get your MCAT results and you feel down because they are not what you want them to be. , what do you do? Most premeds, like you, tear themselves down over not getting the expected scores. After several months of intensive prep , a disappointing score is bound to make any hopeful premed unhappy. With medical schools expecting students to achieve high MCAT scores, your entire future as a med-school student seems to hanging by a very fine thread.

All You Need to Know About Retaking the MCAT Exam
If you’re really serious about getting into a good medical school, sitting and moping about the poor score is pointless. Here’s what we recommend doing if your first MCAT exam didn’t go down too well:

1) Drop the pessimistic attitude
From disappointment to anger, there is a broad range of emotions that you’ll experience. For those who’re passionate about getting into a good med-school, these feelings are quite understandable. However, it is imperative that you do not let the unsatisfactory results pull you down to the depths of despair. Give yourself a week off to take your mind off the MCAT results and engage in activities you enjoy. This will give you enough time to put your emotions under control and think with more clarity.

2) Do you really need a retake?
Before you jump into any conclusions about retaking the MCAT exam, ask yourself if you really need it. Your MCAT score isn’t the only criteria based on which med-schools will judge you. If you have an excellent GPA or are an outstanding sportsperson, or have excellent community leadership skills chances are, an average MCAT scores can be overlooked. Prepare for a retake only if you’re sure you do not have anything else to speak for, during med-school admissions.

3) Plan a course of action
There’s no way you can go back in time and boost your MCAT score. Focus on the “now” rather than the “has been”. Weigh out all your options. Do you have enough time for an on demand MCAT training course and practice tests? Will you be able to retake the exam and get your scores before med-school admissions deadline ? If not, are you willing to enroll into a medical school the next year? Plan a course of action based on the time availability and other constraints.

4) Right the wrongs
Why were your MCAT scores below par? Most of the time the answer to this question is improper preparation. There’s no point in retaking the MCAT exam if you do nothing to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. You don’t have to prep for the MCAT exam from scratch. Instead identify your weak areas and take appropriate action to amend them. Opting for on demand MCAT training courses is highly recommended as it can help you review selected subject areas.

5) Work harder
Since you’ve already experienced the MCAT exam first-hand, you know things that most first time test-takers do not. Do not play down the advantage by taking the MCAT retake for granted. Instead, channel all your energy towards working harder for the MCAT than you did before. Engaging in regular drill sessions provided with your On demand MCAT training course can be of help. You need to ensure that you score at least 10% higher than your expected scores during your ondemand MCAT training course practice sessions.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:01 AM

Techniques To Improve Your MCAT CARS Scores

  • 10 February, 2018

Techniques To Improve Your MCAT CARS Scores






























Critical Analysis and reasoning skills notoriously known as CARS has been treated as a dreadful subject by many medical aspirants. The primary rule to follow when it comes to tackling the MCAT CARS is to recognize the problems first.

You need to ask yourself these questions
1.Am I running out of time?
2.Am I not reading enough?
3.Am I reading through the material quickly?
4.Do I spend time to understand the question?

Once you’ve recognized these problem areas, all you need to do is to understand and implement the techniques that will definitely help you improve your MCAT scores.

Train your mind to read fast Read a subject of non-interest for 30 minutes every day. Soon you will read faster and understand the complexities of MCAT CARS.

Invest time in reading the passages Get a prep book or CARS practice bundles comprising of practice passages. Find a confusing passage, stop and go back to read it again.

Adopting these techniques will help you score well when the time comes to appear for the MCAT CARS exam.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:31 AM

Project Management Office (PMO) – Responsibilities for Effective Project Management

  • 20 October, 2017

Introduction

A project management office (PMO) can be broadly defined as a management structure that standardizes project-related tasks within an organization. A PMO facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques among the projects under their guidance or control. For those who are preparing for the CAPM® exam, an understanding of the need for, formation of, and duties of a PMO is essential.


Duties of a PMO

Some of the duties and responsibilities of PMOs include the following:
  • Set standards for how projects are run
  • Ensure project management standards are followed
  • Gather project data
  • Produce required information for management review
  • Guide and advise project managers
  • Manage and facilitate the portfolio management process
PMO Roles

· Supportive: These PMOs play a consultative role to projects and assist the project managers by providing templates, updated best practices of project management, training as per requirements, access to available information, and lessons learned from earlier or similar projects. The degree of power and control for these PMOs is considered low. When a PMO’s power is low, project managers have full power to manage projects.

· Controlling: The PMOs under this category, apart from providing support to projects as is done in in the supportive role, also seek compliance from project managers on the templates, methodologies, tools, and techniques provided to them. This form of PMO has a little more power than supportive PMOs and can be categorized as having moderate power. In this category, the project manager also has moderate power.

· Directive: Directive PMOs have complete control of the projects, which includes organizing and managing the projects. In this role, the PMO acts as a direct liaison for the organization's portfolios, programs, and projects. In this category, the project managers have little or no power in decision making. The importance of a directive PMO is thoroughly discussed in our CAPM exam review course.

Need for a PMO

The parameters involved in the project management function include people, technology, communication, and resources. Unless these functions are governed judiciously, the project management function by senior management can be risky, and therefore, the use of a PMO can be beneficial. Our CAPM exam review course fully recaps the importance of and functions of a PMO.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:13 AM

The Best Tips to Gain Clinical and Research Experience for Med School

  • 16 August, 2017

An impressive medical school application carries a good MCAT score and a high GPA. While these two factors are primarily considered the most important student assessment metrics, the medical knowledge gained through relevant clinical and research experience also makes an application stand out.

Here is a list of tips that can help students gain valuable clinical and research experience before starting their medical career path.

Tips To Gain Clinical Experince

Choose wisely from the wide range of opportunities available

Opportunities that can qualify as valid clinical experience can be both - paid as well as volunteer service. Some common examples of paid positions include emergency room assistants, practical nurses, pharmacy assistants and phlebotomists. Most paid positions involve work that is conducted inside the hospital and require various licenses too. The good news is that, these jobs are not time-demanding and can be easily be done along with regular undergrad classes.

Students with no formal training in the medical field may opt for volunteer work that is still counted as valid clinical experience. Volunteering may not necessarily involve work inside a health center. Internships and participation in support programs in medical centers, hospices, assisted-living homes and emergency departments are some of the options worth exploring. Another common opportunity is to shadow a known physician and gain guided patient care knowledge and experience.

Focus on the ultimate goal of obtaining clinical experience

MCAT exam prep courses prepare students academically to shine in the field of health care. Clinical experience teaches students about the life of a medical professional and their everyday interactions with their patients. Thus, through the course of the clinical work, students must be prepared psychologically for the career and garner valuable insights which can be shared during the interview process.

Quick Tip: Clinical opportunities must not be simply taken as another exam requirement but must be considered as the best chance to understand the essence of the medical profession.

Approach professors for research assistant positions

Research experience is not mandatory for the medical application but is considered to be of high value by the admission committee. The best way to obtain research experience is to look for assistant roles with the science professors in school. If the positions have already been filled, students can request professor for references with their colleagues. If the university offers summer programs that are research based, grab it without a second thought.

Be prepared with all basic information about the research

Not every research ends with a detailed published paper. However, students who were a part of the research will be expected to know the basic background of the research, the methodologies used and the inferences drawn. The admission committee would be keen to learn the role of the student in the research and questions around the research experience will form a significant part of the medical interview. Experts recommend student to be prepared with a brief account or presentation about the research along with all details and a valid conclusion.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 03:36 AM

Common Experiences in the Lives of Pre-Med Students

  • 01 June, 2017

The ultimate goal for pre-medical students is to get past the admission committees and secure a place in their desired medical school. Students in this phase of life undergo several experiences that lay the foundation for a great career. From spending ample time on MCAT training on the weekends to making volunteer activities a part of their routine, pre-med students must make some crucial decisions during this stage of their life.

Listed here are some of the common experiences and critical decision points that go into shaping the attitude, approach, and future of a pre-med student.

Common Experiences in the Lives of Pre-Med Students

Choosing the right pre-med major

General convention says that biology and chemistry are the most significant majors that can prepare a student for a great career. However, statistics show that only 63% of students with these majors are accepted into medical schools. The admissions committee is not highly influenced by the choice of the pre-med major. This implies that there are no additional points awarded for choosing a difficult pre-med major. While pre-med students are often advised to choose biology-related majors in order to ease their MCAT preparations, students with unrelated majors, like engineering and sociology, have succeeded as well. College is a good time and place to explore one’s interests as time may not permit such flexibility later on in life.

Gaining ample clinical experience

Quite often, pre-medical students are disappointed with their clinical opportunities in a hospital or a physician’s office. While their expectations may focus on gaining direct patient experience, their duties are more often limited to managing paperwork, monitoring stock supplies, and delivering meals. This, however, does not make the experience less worthwhile. Spending time in a hospital environment is an experience itself, which mentally prepares the student to thrive in such a demanding environment. As a dedicated pre-med, students must spend their valuable time interacting with nurses, lab technicians, and occupational therapists to understand the bigger picture of healthcare delivery.

Preparing for the MCAT

Pre-med students’ GPA and MCAT scores are the two most important factors that determine their journey into medical school. MCAT preparation becomes a second full-time job into the already-busy life of a pre-med student. Experts recommend taking a MCAT prep course on the weekends to ease the pressure of multitasking during the week.

Volunteer experience adds value

Community service is yet another box that must be checked by pre-med students despite their overwhelming schedules. Campaigning for public health, tutoring, and working with charities are some of the common practices that pre-med students often opt to participate in to showcase their skills including team building, leadership, and people management. Volunteering to foster community growth is certainly a way to make a medical application stand out.

Choosing the right major, preparing for the MCAT, gaining clinical experience, and volunteering are all activities that define the life of a pre-med student. Due to their hectic schedules, pre-med students must be sufficient at planning and must be dedicated in order to achieve their medical dreams.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:10 AM

Is Biochemistry an Ideal Major for Medical School?

  • 03 May, 2017

Choosing an appropriate undergraduate major can be one of the biggest decisions for students who wish to pursue medicine as their long term career. Torn between the passion for a certain subject and the need to outperform competition by opting for a science major, students are often confused at this stage of the academic journey.
Luckily, medical schools accept students from all types of educational background. In fact 50% of students who are accepted into medical schools major in subjects like math, physics, humanity and so on. Both group of students perform well in their MCAT have good GPAs and surpass the others in delivering outstanding applications.

However, the choice of a science major does offer certain positive consequences in the later pre med years and this is undeniable.

Is Biochemistry an Ideal Major for Medical School?

Let us explore how Biochemistry, which is one of the most preferred science majors, impacts a pre med student and his way of learning to be a successful medical practitioner.

The experiences of a Biochemistry major as a pre med student

In the US, 43% of students who major in Biochemistry get admitted into a medical school followed by general biology (35%). Biochemistry involves a certain level of math and is considered one of the most rigorous major of life sciences.
A student with a strong foundation in biochemistry experiences the following,

• Medical schools make biochemistry as a part of requirements for successful admissions. Students may have to take up additional coursework in medical school to compensate for the lack of biochemistry experience in their lower levels of study.

• Students coming from a biochemistry major have a better hold over statistical methods than other science majors and this can be beneficial in the long run.

• A biochemistry student handles the demanding subjects of pathology, microbiology and molecular biology much better than others in the course as several concepts in these subjects are closely related to biochemistry.

• Having a biochemistry background as the subject helps understand the formulation of different drugs and medical treatments when students becoming practicing doctors.

Above all, the demand for biochemists is expected to increase by 31% (one of the highest in the life sciences sector) by 2020. Thus, if the dream of being admitted into a good medical school does not happen for any reason, biochemists have several options to go back to.

In a nutshell, biochemistry majors do find certain benefits in their learning experience at the med school. But remember that hard work always pays and irrespective of the major you choose, you need to partner with the MCAT training program and push for higher GPAs in your respective field of study in order to be accepted into a reputed medical school.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:25 AM

The Saga of a Medical Student and his Financial Struggle

  • 27 March, 2017

The Saga of a Medical Student and his Financial Struggle

Make loan repayment a priority:

The first item on the priority list must be to repay off the loan as this helps to save the interest amount.

Consider refinancing your loan:

By dropping the interest loan from 9% to 6% or 5% with another provider, students can gain significant financial benefits.

Opt for federal loan forgiveness programs and scholarships:

These programs can be availed by a medical school newbie, resident students as well as by students who are looking out for a job after graduation.

Offer your services to the Military:
Students who draw agreement with the military for a specific number of years are also offered grants. Experts recommend students to enter the onsite MCAT training course phase with a financial plan in place. This helps smooth sailing through the medical school years and later on too.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:48 AM

Project Management and Time Management

  • 01 March, 2017

Project management is classified as a set of techniques, tools, and skills that are applied to achieve a specific project goal. Every project is under a time constraint, regardless of the size. If the speculated time for the project lapses before the project is complete, the purpose of the project is defeated. Since every project is on a deadline, it is important to be extremely conscious of time to effectively complete the project.

One on One PMP Tutoring
One on One PMP Tutoring

Why is Time Management Important to Project Management?

Time management is the deliberate act of knowing, tracking, and keeping time. The importance of
time management cannot be overemphasized. When the true value of time is recognized, it immensely helps with the proper allocation of tasks to be completed for a project.

Here’s how time management can guarantee a smooth workflow:

1. Helps in the setting of priorities
2. Ensures that careful, deliberate steps are taken towards achieving a set of goals
3. Reduces wasting time and energy and leads to more productivity
4. Assists individuals pay close attention to deadlines

Despite being the most important aspect of project management, time management is often neglected. Individuals tend to pay more attention to the deadline of a project rather than proper allocation of time. Overlooking any part of a project can have overall detrimental effects. Proper time management ensures that project is not just completed, but that it is successfully completed.

Things to Consider for Effective Time Management

Enrolling for a PMP review course or One-on-One PMP tutoring sessions will teach multiple methods to effectively manage time in a project. Following are tips for proper time management:

1. Decide what goals are to be achieved.
2. A list of tasks should be created after goal determination. The important and most pressing requirements should be highlighted on the list.
3. Measures should be taken to ensure that the highlighted tasks are performed first.
4. Consistent monitoring must be undertaken to ensure that all tasks are performed in accordance with the planned schedule.

If one wishes to enhance their project management skills, One-on-One PMP tutoring can be of great tool for learning the ropes of effective time management.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 02:30 AM

Why A PMP On Demand Review Course is Recommended for Test Takers?

  • 28 February, 2017

PMP Ondemand review courses are becoming more popular. PMP Ondemand review courses offer individuals many great features when preparing for the PMP exam.

One of the features of a PMP Ondemand Course is that students can access the course material at any time. Traditional onsite review courses require students to rearrange their work schedule so that that they can attend the course. An Ondemand course doesn’t require students to rearrange work schedules or take time off.

PMP On Demand Training



Prepare at Your Own Pace.

Ondemand allows you to study at your own pace and when it is convenient for you. Each Knowledge area is broken down into small pieces which allow students to absorb the information in smaller bites. This is more effective as studies show that most people can only stayed focus for around 30 minutes before their mind begins to wonder.

Spend More Time Studying

The PMP ondemand review courses eliminate the need for traveling to and from an onsite training location. This allows student to spend more time studying, without worrying about having to commute back and forth. The Ondemand option also allows students to study on the go as you can access the material anytime and anywhere. This option is the perfect choice for people who want to study at their own pace and when it is convenient for them.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:07 AM

The Saga of a Medical Student and his Financial Struggle

  • 23 February, 2017

In 2014, the Association of American Medical Colleges conducted a survey and revealed that an average medical school graduate faces a debt of about $183,000. While this number came as a shock for most people in the industry, this is indeed the reality of medical education.

It is true that physicians earn high incomes when they graduate successfully out of medical school but that does not make repaying loans easy. Increasing costs and decreasing physician reimbursements have made the financial facet of the medical profession an important factor to be considered before taking the plunge.

Medical school expenses start right from enrolling into an onsite MCAT training course or review course and goes on to until they graduate successfully.

 Saga of a Medical Student and his Financial Struggle

Ways to handle the burden of student loan

Make loan repayment a priority: Upon graduation, medical school students are often tempted to upgrade their car or move into a better home. However, the first item on the priority list must be to repay off the loan as this helps to save the interest amount. Make a repayment plan and avoid the high interest payments strategically.

Consider refinancing your loan: If you have private student loans that cost you more than 9% interest rate, then refinancing is a good option. By dropping the interest loan from 9% to 6% or 5% with another provider, students can gain significant financial benefits. To be able to avail a refinancing loan, students must have a good credit score and must be prepared to pay off the interest at the right time.

Opt for federal loan forgiveness programs and scholarships: The Association of American Medical Colleges has published a list of loan forgiveness programs that is specific to each state. Have a look through the list to check your eligibility for the program and the conditions to be satisfied in order to leverage its benefits. These programs can be availed by a medical school newbie, resident students as well as by students who are looking out for a job after graduation.

Offer your services to the Military: Offer your services to the military and have them pay your tuition fees and also provide you with a stipend during your resident years. Students who draw agreement with the military for a specific number of years are also offered grants. Generally, the number of service years varies between 3 and 5 and during this period students will be expected to treat the people serving the country.

Experts recommend students to enter the onsite MCAT training course phase with a financial plan in place. This helps smooth sailing through the medical school years and later on too.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:12 AM

The Top Industries that Have a Demand for PMP Certification

  • 17 February, 2017

As global demand for project managers continues to grow at a rampant pace, it is essential for a candidate to know the industries that are offering the best options for project managers.

We have compiled a list of 5 high-paying industries that are growing in their project management job opportunities.

Onsite PMP Training
Onsite PMP Training


AEROSPACE & DEFENSE

Aerospace manufacturing hubs across the globe are increasingly embracing project management business processes to achieve project goals. Project managers are in high demand and are required to:
Identify key tasks
Devise strategic goals
Monitor progress to achieve milestones

With complex and stringent regulations followed in the aerospace industry, a qualified project manager is a necessity.

ENGINEERING

In the engineering industry, more than 75% of projects have schedule overruns, 55% have budget overruns and 37% fail to meet the goals. The primary reason attributed to these pitfalls is a short supply of project managers with professional training and experience. Project managers who are PMP certified can revive the industry by adding professional experience to projects.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Project management as a discipline has seen rapid growth and development in information technology. In fact, major IT corporations are now providing PMP onsite bootcamp training in order to help retain their employees and meet the increasing need for project managers. The need for qualified project managers has increased by 20% in recent years in the IT industry.

FINANCE

Project managers with risk identification and management skills are in high demand. From handling mergers and acquisitions to monitoring stock underwritings, project managers will become key decision makers in banking, financial services and insurance.

HEALTHCARE

The healthcare market is growing at a steady pace of 10-15% and is becoming one of the major sources of project management activity.

MEDIAN SALARY


The median salary of these industries is depicted below.




All of these stats and discussions lead to one conclusion: Aerospace, Engineering, IT, Finance and Healthcare industries are set for growth, which project managers can tap into for fulfilling employment.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:09 AM

Six Lifestyle Tips for MCAT Prep

  • 13 February, 2017


Six Lifestyle Tips for MCAT Prep

As the saying goes “a sound body keeps a sound mind”, the best way to approach MCAT prep is with the combined effort of a sound mind and a sound body.

Early to bed, early to rise
Lack of sleep makes it difficult to focus and results in spending additional hours preparing the same topics over and over again.

Follow a healthy diet
Research indicates that food has a direct impact on the functioning of the brain. Vitamin supplements such as B complex, - A, and E play a vital role in enhancing the concentration and memory of the students.

Avoid excessive pressure
MCAT is a challenging exam but it can be overcome by streamlined preparations. 60 minutes a day must be allotted to focus on topics, as this kind of memory reinforcement improves performance.

Do not postpone
A common yet often overlooked problem of exam prep is the tendency to postpone. Learning difficult concepts, details, or any exam-related activities must be completed in time.

Form a study group
A dedicated group of 4-6 members from different academic backgrounds create the opportunity to leverage on each others' skill.

Learn to trust yourself
Finally, self-confidence is the key to success in any examination.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:40 AM

Tackling PMP with Your Coach

  • 06 February, 2017

While we bring forth the most common answers, to the most important questions, your PMP coach has better
Knowledge about every individual’s strengths and weaknesses and can offer precise solutions.

How can I handle the long scenario-based questions in the PMP exam?

Read the last sentence first as often times that are enough to answer the question and you avoid the fluff and distractions. Incorporate these strategies while preparing for the PMP® exam.



How can I best manage my time during the actual exam?
• Put an answer for every questions
• Answer the easy questions first, marking the more difficult questions for review
• Mark the questions that need to be reviewed at the end of the exam.

Discuss the following with your PMP coach to learn other ways to be successful on the PMP® exam.

How can I effectively cover the entire course content with a plan?
• Reading and obtaining information through a study guide
• Audio or visual aids or classes through media players
• Group study with other students or instructors in person or online
• Mentor or coaching institute through regular classes or online sessions

How many times should I take practice tests and what scores should I aim for?

Track your progress by recording your score on each practice test your PMP coach to track progress through every test and to assess the quality of mock tests.

PMP exam prep requires a lot of time and effort to achieve the desired results. A PMP coach plays a significant role in preparing the student to take on the challenge.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 11:47 PM

Easy Steps to Crack the PMP Corporate Training

  • 04 January, 2017

In the corporate world, growth is the only constant. Organizations are continually working towards developing their skill set to match the dynamic demands of the business landscape.
As a part of the initiatives taken towards the growth of employees, several corporate companies are now offering the exclusive corporate PMP onlinetraining course to their workforce. The online course leverages the ubiquity of Internet to cross all geographical boundaries and unite employees through world-class training.
Here is a set of easy tips that can help crack the PMP corporate training.

Corporate PMP Training
Corporate PMP Training

Start with the right and relevant information
In order to ace the PMP exam, one must gather sufficient information regarding the subjects to be covered, time demands of the course, the fees involved, the scope of the exam in their relevant field of work and finally evaluate how appearing for the PMP exam can elevate their career. No matter how experienced an individual is, PMP prep is important and one must be willing to dedicate sufficient time and effort to clear the exam.

Choose the right training center for the PMP course
Not all training centers offering corporate PMP online training course are made the same. Therefore the first step would be to figure out which center to choose. Check for some important factors like reputation of the center, experience in the industry and competency of instructors. The chosen center must be able to tailor the schedule of the course and perfectly match it with the organization’s needs.

Balance out the time appropriately
Once you have enrolled for an online course, plan your schedule to accommodate your work responsibilities, personal commitments, PMP preparation and practice sessions. Ensure you have well-defined time slots for each activity and without overlaps. The online course will cut out the need to travel to faraway places for PMP prep and students can use this time to engage in further intense learning.

Take up sufficient number of practice sessions
Practice sessions of PMP help to familiarize with the kind of questions, the approach to be applied for each type and the time required in resolving them. Practice sessions boost the confidence level of the students and make the PMP platform a much known place to work with.

Ask questions to your trainer
Reputed training centers that offer corporate PMP online training course are home to a team of skilled trainers who can help catalyze one’s PMP preparation. Talk to the trainer to have all queries addressed then and there. Learn a tip or two about time management, efficient preparation and subject-based topics too.
PMP can be a game changing move in one’s career. With these simple yet effective steps in place, cracking the exam can be easier and efficient.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:35 AM

Preparation for RMP Exam

  • 16 December, 2016

Risk Management is an important aspect of project management and a professional credential in this specific area arms an individual with all the abilities to cope diversity, complexity and global challenges.

RMP Exam

A project cycle encompasses different phases and each of them require proper planning to handle risks and uncertainties. With dynamic industrial changes it has become essential for an organization to engage a professional who has expertise in recognizing threats, mitigating risks and planning possible solutions. The role of a risk manager is integral to the completion of each phase and plays an important part in meeting objectives of the project.

The PMI-RMP exam reflects accurately the practices of the project risk management professionals. Preparation for this examination offers the practitioner deep insight into industrial practices and standards and provide access to important resources.

Here are few things that a PMI-RMP pursuant should know while preparing for the exam:

PMI-RMP exam process: Before beginning the preparation for the examination it is important to understand the process developed by PMI specifically for this exam. The process uses knowledge and task-driven guidelines to assess competence of a practitioner and determines the level of salience, criticality and frequency of knowledge, tasks and skills required to be a project-risk manager. The process has been designed according to best practices of test development and based upon inputs from practitioners who establish those standards. All questions are written and reviewed by qualified PMI-RMP credential holders.

RMP Exam

Process of Exam

Five Important Domains: The PMI-RMP exam is focused on five key domains and tasks related to each domain appear on the multiple-choice format examination. Thorough practice and extensive knowledge of each domain becomes crucial for candidates to pass the exam. Study of five domains, namely, Risk and Strategy Planning, Stakeholder Engagement, Risk Process Facilitation, Risk Monitoring and Reporting, and Perform Specialized Risk Activities, provides knowledge about specific roles associated with each domain and responsibilities that are expected to be performed within that role.

Proportion of questions: PMI has created a clear outline of the exam by concentrating specific proportion of questions from each domain. The preparation for the exam becomes easier if the candidate gains proper knowledge of the exam outline and key aspects from each domain.



Importance of PMI-RMP preparation course: PMI requires the candidate to have project risk management education of total 30-hours (if you have a bachelor’s degree) or 40-hours (if you have a secondary degree). This could be met either with a project risk management course or with a PMI-RMP preparation course.

Study Resources: The exam requires rigorous preparation and access to useful resources to pass it. The candidates need to have idea of real-world risk management situations since several questions are based on real world scenarios. Preparatory course, training programs, self-study and study groups can become extremely beneficial for the candidate. PMP exam reference books along with PMBOK Guide also provide all important information and resources.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:17 AM

Professionals from Five Different Industries Who can Benefit from PMP Boot Camp Course

  • 17 November, 2016

Enrolling for classes to train and prepare for PMP exam is a decision that requires a little rescheduling of routine. The trick is to accomplish the same without affecting the regular course of work.

Read on to find out about the five types of people who can best benefit from PMP boot camp courses.

PMP Boot Camp Course


The Travelling Professional

Working professionals are always on the move, giving presentations, meeting clients, resolving issues, visiting sites etc. This category includes managers and senior executives in charge of regional marketing, sales and new projects in software and construction. It may appear impossible to take up courses, but quite on the contrary, it is easy for this category to fit in the PMP boot camp course. With outstanding flexibility and commendable coverage, the course is specially designed for all those who have jobs that demand busy travelling schedules.

High Stress Jobs

Some jobs are highly stressful in nature, and lead to burnout or attrition. This category includes managers with very high and competitive targets in the financial markets and people from the technical field. A professional who wishes to clear the PMP exam needs to plan in such a way that the stress from the work place does not move into his/her preparations too. Such busy stressed professionals enhance their chance for a positive career change by enrolling for the PMP boot camp courses. The course covers a whole set of features like simulation practice, workshops and free question bank access to ensure that the professionals are prepared for the exam just like any other student.

Students working part time

Many students pursuing regular academic courses also take up a part time job in order to mitigate the financial burden at home. Students in this category need to manage time in a careful manner and make both ends meet. The best way to compensate for the loss of time at work is to choose the PMP boot camp course. Students get to interact with their peers through the online medium and share experiences too. These courses are much affordable and can easily place the student on a stronger career path.

Women Resuming a Career After a Maternity Break

Mothers who are on a break from work, but wish to restart their career, may use PMP as a platform to begin the race. However balancing between preparation and the numerous responsibilities of being a new mother is never easy. In such cases, the PMP boot camp courses conducted by highly trained professionals helps them to fast track their preparation and the four weeks intense preparation enhances the chances of success too.

Mid-Career Professionals

The time to make minor re-alignments in career is at mid-level. Included in this category are senior managers in software, financial services and construction. With sufficient experience as backup and scope to grow as a PMP, mid-level is the ideal time to opt for a PMP course. The only aspects that need to be taken care of are time and not letting present job profile influence the interpretations. Clearly the onsite PMP boot camp classes are the perfect fit to get the best of both worlds.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 02:33 AM

Preparation for PMP Exam

  • 15 November, 2016

PMI-RMP is a globally recognised credential that helps an individual become a specialist in risk management
Here are few things a PMI-RMP pursuant should know while preparing for the exam:
PMI-RMP Exam process: Before beginning the preparation for the examination it is important to understand the process developed by PMI specifically for this exam .

Five important domains: The PMI-RMP exam i focused on five key domains
  • Risk and Strategy Planning
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Risk Process Facilitation
  • Risk Monitoring and Reporting
  • Performing Specialised Risk Activities


PMI-RMP


Proportion of Question:

PMI has created a clear outline of the exam by concentrating specific proportion of questions from each domain

Importance of PMI-RMP Preparation Course: PMI requires the candidate to have project risk management education of total 30 - hours (if you have bachelor's degree) or 40 hours (if you have a secondary degree)

Study Resources: The exam requires rigorous preparation and access to useful resources to pass it. The candidates need to have idea of real-world risk management situations since several questions are base on real world scenarios.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:32 AM

Drug Shortages: Every Physician’s Worst Nightmare!

  • 27 October, 2016

The journey to achieving excellence in the medical career is marked by lessons from multiple sources. For instance, the online / onsite MCAT training course teaches the significance of analytical thinking, the volunteer programs showcase the need for empathy and the shadowing experience helps show them the reality of the medical world. Above all these traits and characteristic features of a physician lies his/her promise with the ethics of the profession. Drug shortages in the US have existed for more than a decade and have proved to be a real challenge to the ethical practice of a doctor.

Drug Shortages: Every Physician’s Worst Nightmare!

What is drug shortage?

The US healthcare sector has been battling insufficient supply of all types of drugs such as painkillers, antibiotics, oncology drugs anaesthetics and more in the past few years. The inability to face the demand for drugs is termed as “drug shortage”. Drug shortage may be due to several reasons like,

•Pharmaceutical supply chain problems
•Manufacturing troubles
•Drug manufacturers abandoning low-profit products
•Compliance and safety issues

How do physicians tackle the drug shortage problem?

During a drug shortage crisis, physicians are faced with the challenge of choosing one patient over another and the intensity of such a situation can never be easy on the doctor. Some hospitals have a formal committee in place to decide who gets the drugs and who doesn’t! Some hospitals give preference to kids and some hospitals try to work their own logic of drug administration which increases the chances of medically questionable practices. Alternative treatments (alternative drugs or type of treatment) can also be administered to patients during drug shortages but studies indicate the occurrence of adverse consequences like side effects, medication errors and deaths in some cases.

Drug shortages test the ethics of physicians

How can a physician value the life of one patient over another? During drug shortages difficult decisions are required to be made by physicians despite how harsh it sounds. Almost every hospital in the US faces drug shortage troubles and doctors have no standard ethical guidelines to prescribe medicines during such critical situations. Another facet of the problem is the need to let patients know that they are being administered an alternative drug or their normal course of nutritional supplement is lacking a particular component due to the drug shortage. The pharmaceutical industry and the government must work towards meeting the demands of the nation. However, it is important for doctors to be assisted with the right guidelines and use a patient representative to tackle such a situation.

As a student who is inspired by the nobility of the medical profession and is taking the pressure from multiple activities like an onsite / online MCAT training course, volunteer programs, school tests etc. one must understand the fact that professional ethics does not come from the written rules of healthcare but from within a medical practitioner.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:45 AM

Why Should Project Managers Emphasize Effective Communication?

  • 24 October, 2016

Managing an important project with no form of communication can yield disastrous results. For a project to be successful several aspects have to be taken care of such as – meticulous planning, resource utilization, decision making abilities and regular communication with team members.
Most often, a project manager’s inability to communicate well results in the failure or several shortcomings in a project. A customized one-on-one PMP tutoring class can contribute immensely towards tackling this challenge. A PMP certified project manager at the end of the course is confident, able to communicate effectively and execute the project tasks efficiently.

One on One PMP Tutoring
One on One PMP Tutoring
What are the advantages of effective communication?
A team that collaborates, shares ideas and makes decisions together is the strongest. Getting a highly diverse team to perform these actions is not an easy feat. A good communicator who takes up project management enjoys the following benefits,
  • Communication helps build relationships and nurtures the trust factor among peers.
  • Undemanding, easy conversations with team members make more intense conversations simpler and getting the work done from them becomes smooth and hassle-free.
  • Helps sets expectations right.
  • Communication brings consistency into the project and keeps everyone informed about changes.
  • Regular communication with team members can motivate them to be more productive.
  • Communication with stakeholders keeps them in the loop and makes them feel secure.
How can project managers enhance the communication within their team?
  • Have a solid communication plan in place.
  • Listen to your peers and you will find them communicating their needs better.
  • Use more than one channel of communication (refer to Appendix A to learn about the different types of communication channels used within an organization)
  • For instance, when there is a new assignment, send out a formal mail explaining the requirements of the assignment, Additionally, share the excitement about the new assignment over a cup of coffee with your team members.
  • Share project details with your shareholders whenever possible. Transparency breeds trust.
  • Make your conversations intact and to-the-point. Convey the message appropriately and furnish details whenever necessary.
  • Create a forum that can be used as a social platform to exchange ideas, share opinions and raise queries whenever necessary.
  • Lastly, project managers must get the information flowing through the team always and allow no place for any guesswork. They must also keep their customers informed of all deliverables promptly.
Many individuals believe that modern project management tools and the online medium can compensate for the lack of communication skills in project managers. But remember that the ability to hold a real conversation with another individual starts right through the PMP one-on-one course training and is the base to nurturing professional relationships within an organization.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 01:28 AM

Physician Burnout – Key Things that Every PreMed Must Know !

  • 28 September, 2016

The medical profession is regarded as one of the most coveted lines of work and doctors are praised for their unselfish contribution towards the health of their patients. On the flip side of the coin, medical students and practicing doctors fight a very high level of stress which often leads to “burnout”.

Physician Burnout – Key Things that Every PreMed Must Know !
What is physician burnout?
The battle with stress starts when a student is first drawn towards the medical line of career. From managing the MCAT prep course to being accepted into a good medical school followed by the completion of residency and fellowship, a medical student has a lot of things to deal with. Practicing doctors face critical situations and death on a regular basis which ultimately leads to negative feelings. In short, the emotional exhaustion and depression experienced by medical students and doctors is referred to as “physician burnout”.

What factors contribute to the burnout situation?
•Lack of control over one’s schedule and time pressure
•A chaotic workplace
•Dissatisfaction with one’s own performance
•Poor sleep patterns, poor self-care and lack of family time
•Patient death
•Lack of resilience

What are the consequences of physician burnout?
When ignored, burnouts can lead to physician suicides too. Other unwarranted consequences include,
•Increased clinical errors
•Inability to interact with patients with empathy
•Increased intent to quit practice
•Physical exhaustion
•A lowered sense of personal accomplishment
•Depersonalization

How can students and doctors prevent the burnout?
The first step to prevent extreme burnout situation is to shred away the fear of exposing it. Seek help from the right resources. Others include,
•Establishing a work-life balance
•Understanding the ethical responsibilities of the profession (a topic that is emphasized right from the MCAT training course phase)
•Practice a hobby regularly and find any activity that can act as a source of releasing the pent up pressure.
•Establish a support system that may comprise of friends, family members or colleagues. This helps to discuss emotional experiences in the practice and derive the required support.

The life of a premedical student and the practicing doctor is undeniably stressful. The key to success lies in finding the ability to self-recharge and bounce back for yet another day of rewarding drudgeries!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:21 AM

5 Factors that will Change the Way You Approach A PMP On Demand Course

  • 27 September, 2016

Without a doubt, PMP is a challenging exam. But in order to ease the preparation phase of PMP exam, renowned training centers offer the ondemand PMP exam prep course. PMP is for anyone who wishes to make a mark in the project management field. Most often business professionals raise their doubts about the credibility of the on demand course modules and their effectiveness.
On Demand PMP Exam Prep Course
On Demand PMP Exam Prep Course
Here is a list of factors that can change one’s approach to the on demand PMP course

On demand classes are second to none
The on demand PMP exam prep course is a comprehensive package that comes with free practice tests and access to question bank. It is like any other form of training except that the lessons are all in the recorded form and can be accessed according to individual study plans

They offer the highest level of flexibility
Are you a marketing professional travelling to various places in a week? Are you a team lead who is resolving some major organizational issues? On demand PMP exam prep course is too flexible and can be fitted into the schedule of the busiest employees in an organization.

On demand courses cover all important topics
The recorded lectures are designed in such a way that all important topics for PMP are covered without fail. Professionals can therefore be confident about appearing for the exam if they have completed the on demand course successfully

The course suitable for on the go learning too
No matter how far you travel for work and how time constrained you are, PMP on demand course help you to tuck in the learning process wherever and whenever you can. With the on demand course and hindrances lying on the pathway to grand success are removed and unprecedented career growth is assured.

On demand courses help take on the challenge with expert guidance
The recorded lectures and guidelines offered by the on demand course are from expert resources and are 100% reliable. What can be better than having experts in the field help you to prepare for one of the most rewarding exams from any location in the world?

The benefits of on demand PMP exam prep course are innumerable and professionals who have availed the course in the past have enjoyed a very percentage of success. The best way to leverage the advantages of on demand PMP exam prep course is by enrolling for the course through a trusted educational center.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 03:07 AM

Has the Social Media Bug Bitten the Medical Profession Too?

  • 12 September, 2016

The use of social media for initiating customer conversations and building brand power has become commonplace in the corporate world. Incidentally, the same social bug has entered the world of physicians too. Exclusive social platforms like Sermo, Doximity and Figure 1 help medical professionals and students to share vital information, network and connect with patients too.

Has the Social Media Bug Bitten the Medical Profession Too?
The role of social media in medicine

The field of medicine is continually evolving, embracing the benefits of digital technologies and social media has certainly been one among them.

In general, physicians are expected to stay updated with all medical advancements right from the time they start out with their MCAT preparation books all the way up to successful completion of fellowship and throughout their career. With social media playing a dominant role in every segment, physicians can look forward to lifelong learning with absolute ease. Physicians are required to be up to date with new medical technologies and developments in the field and social media has proven to be a boon so far.

While this is the most important advantage of social media in healthcare, there are other benefits too.
• Enhanced patient care by restoring support, integrity and trust through social platforms.
• Use of social media for a number of clinical functions like appointment setting, test reporting, prescription notification and information sharing with patients.
• Social media helps physicians to build communities of common interest and intent and facilitates progressive communication between the members.
• Some physicians make smart use of social media to market their practice and disseminate their research.

Can social media interfere with professional ethics?

Of all the important things that are emphasized in the medical field, medical ethics is always an important area of discussion for both students who depend on MCAT study notes as well as practitioners with significant years of experience.

While social media offers a plethora of benefits, care must be taken to ensure that the use of the platform does not disrupt the ethics of the profession.

Here are some measures that helps physicians to use social media in the safest way.

• Physicians must never share personal information about their patients in a social forum. However, anonymous discussion about a patient’s condition or treatment solely for the purpose of educating others is considered ethical.
• Information about health practices must be posted only after exercising good judgement. This specially applies to students practising during their pre-med years.
• Social media can be used to offer relevant information to patients but without turning it into a channel of medical practice.

In short, social media is indeed an interesting tool that can rev up the professional life of a physician. But caution must be taken before expressing critical ideas and suggestions because the social media platform can hold a permanent record of all the information shared through it.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:55 AM

The Future of Project Management Amidst Technological Advancements

  • 06 September, 2016

PMP Exam Training Online
PMP Exam Training Online
Project management is one of the oldest business practices that has gained significant importance despite the technological advancements. Project management is more than Gantt charts, graphs and heaps of paperwork. It demands project manager to contribute intellectually, emotionally and psychologically to complete a task successfully.

In the recent years, several businesses have witnessed steep changes in the field of project management. The evolving technical tools of the trade have contributed to the changes in Project Management Profession. This evolution has become an emerging trend and project managers must be prepared to take on the challenges with a fail proof project management plan.

Here is what the future has in store for those planning to enroll for a PMP exam training online / onsite.


Project managers partner with business analysts to drive more value

The emerging forces of the 21st century like mobile phones, social media, digital disruption and technological advances have made project management more complex. In order to stay up-to-date with these forces, the traditional roles of the project manager and the business analyst will be redefined. The two entities will work hand in hand to drive better business value. Project managers who are willing to move from a tactical role to a more strategic function will be greatly regarded by CIOs around the world.

There will be a clear line of demarcation between organizations that consider project management as project administration

Some organizations will treat project managers as project administrators thereby implementing rigid processes. These organizations will follow a top down approach on project management and rely much on the use of project management tools. On the other hand, there will be organizations that will offer more autonomy to a project manager and push him / her to take the leadership position. Such organizations will use the agile method of project management. Project managers must understand and learn the specifics of this method to outshine competition.

Project managers must turn into cultural change agents to nurture innovation

Project managers handling innovation driven projects must understand that creativity brings change and change management becomes a business necessity. Project managers who are responsible for digitally disruptive projects or innovative projects in any field must make cultural change management as part of the project plan and play the role of the change agent too.

Project management to re-segment by domain

The role of a project manager in a bio tech project will never be the same as that of the one in a construction project. No two domains are the same and the future will witness stronger segmentation of these domain-specific roles. Thus enrolling in an outstanding PMP exam training online to ace the exam must be accompanied by garnering sufficient domain knowledge too.

Despite the evolving technology, project management will continue to be the realm of every business organization. Emerging project managers should adapt to the changing needs of the project to taste success.



Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:36 AM

Five Tips to Make your Medical Application Stand Out

  • 30 August, 2016

A strong medical school application is essential to receive interview invitations from the most coveted medical schools. Preparing the application takes ample time and students must focus on every part of the application to stand above the intense competition.

Read on to find out five tips that can help medical students prepare a complete medical application.

Five Tips to Make your Medical Application Stand Out
Tip #1
Start the process as early as possible
While pre med students have a lot of important things to attend to like research, extracurricular activities and the MCAT prep course, it is mandatory to start the medical school application process as early as possible. This allows the students ample time to build the application in the most favorable manner. For instance, earlier start allows more time for professors and research heads to offer a well crafted recommendation letter for the applicant.

Tip #2
Participate in a “study abroad” program
Less than 1% of the pre medical students group opts to take up a relevant study program overseas. While the initiative may be slightly more expensive, it is a great option to add diversity and build a competitive edge for an applicant. Students taking up a course abroad experience a different educational system, learn about the cultural variances and also get a great topic to discuss with the board during the interview process. Students who take up overseas programs are not guaranteed admission in a medical school but they have a better chance of getting into a reputed school compared to those who haven’t applied for one.

Tip #3
Believe in quality rather than quantity while choose extracurricular activities
The general rule while choosing an extracurricular activity is to pick the ones that you best enjoy doing. Indulge in activities that demonstrate your genuine interest in the field of medicine and speak about them passionately during the interview. Frame the activities in a comprehensive manner and ensure that they bring out your dedication towards the medical field. The admissions committee does not expect students to take up clinical research, volunteering activities, community work and shadowing a physician at the same time. Instead the quality of the chosen activity is immensely considered.

Tip #4
Non-medical extracurricular activities also count
There is no doubt that pre medical students have myriad responsibilities to handle. From enrolling for the best onsite MCAT training program to shadowing a physician, pre med students must be able to balance their time between the various tasks. A proof to establish one’s ability to hold such multiple duties efficiently is the inclusion of non-medical extracurricular activities in the application. A set of interesting non medical extracurricular activities coupled with the right medical extracurriculars can help differentiate a medical application.

Tip #5
Include a recommendation letter from a non-science professor
Most often students opt to secure the recommendation letter from a science professor or from a faculty from a major department. However it may be a good idea to approach a professor from a non science department like humanities. This helps to underline additional abilities like the power of comprehension, logical reasoning, and construction of arguments and so on.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:08 AM

The Future of Project Management and What You Need to Know Before Taking A PMP Course

  • 29 August, 2016

What really happens inside project management? How do project managers spend their time at work? What kind of tools are used, and how are they used in project management? These are some of the questions you should consider before signing up for a PMP training course.

Unlike other management areas, project management follows specific methodologies with their own defined set of standards. Each project methodology has its own way of dealing with resources and business requirements. A project manager must master these methodologies in order to deliver value to the project.

The most commonly adopted project methodologies include Waterfall, Scrum, and Agile. Agile is becoming the most commonly used project management methodology due to its cost-effectiveness and ability to achieve project milestones using minimal resources.

Project Management Tools and Software Frequently Used

Project management methodologies and tools/software are two different things. Many candidates signing up for PMP course mix up methodologies and software, which results in poor performance on the exam.

Project Management Training
Project Management Training

Project managers have many project management tools at their disposal. Project management software helps project managers take stock of all available resources, assign them to specific projects, link milestones to team efforts and monitor the progress. The dashboard of project management software provides the project manager with necessary information like work reports, defects, tests, issues, and changes made.

Project Management is More than just Managing Projects

Almost anyone can manage a project, but only very few will earn their PMI PMP® certification. In fact, research done by Wrike found that out of 1,464 workers, 94% were actively involved in project management. However, only 47% of the workforce actually hold a valid PMP certification. A lack of proper training and expertise in project management often costs businesses in terms of the project budget, schedule, and the ability to meet the project’s requirements.

Project management has evolved into a domain where managers have to keep up with rapid changes. For instance, in the future, project managers will have to rely more on remote project teams. In fact, more than 40% of the workforce in an organization is estimated to be freelancers, independent contractors, or temporary employees. Project managers have to increasingly become skilled at managing a remote workforce to achieve project goals.

Likewise, in the future, from project meetings to employee onboarding, most project activities will take place virtually. Room meetings will decline in number as virtual conferences and digital workplaces will take precedence.

Project management demands that a manager is able to multi-task. Project managers must be professionals who can constantly evolve and adapt to changing scenarios. Digitally equipped workplaces and staff working remotely or from remote areas are changing the conventional ways of working on a project, which is seen as an increasing trend that is likely to become the future of project management.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:03 AM

The Significance of Physics in the Life of a Doctor

  • 28 August, 2016

A large number of prospective doctors believe that the hard sciences like physics and chemistry do not apply to their chosen path. They start to develop an indifferent attitude towards the subjects even during the earliest stages of MCAT preparation. Nevertheless, medical schools have been insisting on mastering the basic principles of physics as part of the medical course and have also been using the subject as a tool of screening students through the MCAT.

Read on to find out how modern and nuclear physics can help a medical student gain a better understanding of the career they intend to pursue.
The Significance of Physics in the Life of a Doctor

Physics has played a huge role in revolutionizing the healthcare sector

Some of the greatest inventions in modern medicine like MRI (Medical Resonance Imaging), CT scans, ultrasounds and radiation therapy for cancers are based on the principles of physics.

For instance, the imaging test called PET scan (or Positron Emission Tomography) is used to detect tumours in the human body as well as to monitor the progress of a treatment that is currently being administered to the patient. PET scan involves the production of radionuclides in cyclotrons which decay to form photons. The images of these photons in the human body are captured to study patterns and draw relevant results.

Similarly, several cutting-edge technologies developed by physicists have been applied in the clinical environment. Modern ways of diagnosing illnesses and treating them have emerged and are in demand. A fair knowledge about nuclear physics (the basics of which is a part of the MCAT training sessions) is required to understand the working mechanism of PET scans and other modern diagnostic tests.

As a potential medical practitioner, students must work on understanding the basic principles of physics to be able to explain the significance and safety of these tests to their patients. Also, it is considered ideal to master the nuances in any profession and the medical sector is no exception.

Physics prepares students and doctors for cancer research roles too

With increasing rate of cancer occurrences globally and the obscure nature of the disease, Oncology has become one of the most highly-regarded areas of research in the medical field. During cancer research, medical practitioners are expected to work closely with medical physicists in planning radiation treatments for the patients. Again, physics comes into play by helping physicians to understand the right use of radiation equipment and to judge the effect of the radiation on various physiological activities of the human body.

Physics affects the most basic responsibilities of a medical student

Physics helps students to become more detail-oriented in their profession. It helps them to understand some of the procedures that they perform on a daily basis in a better and more clear manner. For instance, fluid dynamics is the underlying principle behind the circulatory system in the human body. Mechanics explains the movement of limbs and the motion of the joints. Heat transfer elucidates fevers and hypothermia.

In a nutshell, students who are gearing up for an outstanding career in the medical field are expected to focus on hard sciences like physics right from their MCAT training classes and all the way up to the completion of their medical school.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:39 AM

Staying Cool on the Day of Your MCAT Exam

  • 26 August, 2016

Staying Cool on the Day of Your MCAT Exam










































Stay Healthy
1.A good night sleep – Avoid trying to cram months of learning into a couple of hours
2.Healthy diet - A light dinner the previous night and a healthy full breakfast on the day of your exam.
3.Breathing techniques - Deep breathing is a great way to de-stress.
4.Exercise - To relieve stress, practice stretches that flexes your body and will help make you feel energized.

Review Only Key Concepts
It is best to go through just some of the key concepts instead of reviewing all that you set your eyes on. This helps you keep a relaxed mindset when you begin your MCAT exam.

Read Questions Carefully
Despite preparing well, some people do not score well. A main reason behind this is they fail to read questions carefully. Spending a few more seconds to re-read questions helps you answer them with better accuracy.

Manage Your Time Effectively
A good time-management technique is to avoid spending a lot of time on one question. If you find a question particularly difficult, proceed to another question. Once you have worked your way to the end of the exam, you can return to questions that haven’t been attempted yet.

Prepare Your Materials Ahead of Time
Prior to the day of your exam, ensure you have all the necessary tools and material ready. You also need to start early to be better prepared for situations that can delay your journey to the exam center.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:46 AM

Convince Your Employer to Sponsor Your PMP Training

  • 26 August, 2016

PMP Exam Review

For most project managers, getting PMP certified is regarded as an asset that can enhance their credentials and take their career to greater heights. However, despite the vast advantage they stand to gain, on further contemplation, the extent of investment that is required tends to hold them back. How do you get around this situation? The only way you can achieve what you want without shelling out money from your pockets is by acquiring company sponsorship

Here’s a step-by-step guide through which you can get your employer to cover your PMP certification expenses:

Step 1: Speak their language

The first question you’ll be asked by your employer is why. To answer this question, you need to be precise. This means that you’ll have to understand the cost involved, advantages and the returns the company stands to gain from the investment.

Step 2: Understanding the benefits

A PMP certification will indeed improve your marketability and skills, but at the same time, the organization you work for also gets a large share of the pie.

Step 3: Keep the costs to a minimum

No matter how fruitful your proposal may seem, a hefty bill is bound to get them thinking twice. Be careful when choosing a PMP exam review course. You can also opt for a PMI membership, which can lower your PMP exam registration fee.

Step 4: Drafting a business proposal

Once you have a clear picture of the facts in mind, you need to project your idea to your employer in the right way. Think like a business pro and not like a school student preparing a scholarship application.

Step 5: Seal the final impression

Most major organizations, however, will call you for a face-to-face meeting regarding the proposal. Remain confident, and stay firm and true to what you've stated in your business proposal.

With these simple steps, you can be assured of becoming PMP certified without bearing the costs alone.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:12 AM

The Unique Things You Must Know About a Medical School

  • 22 August, 2016

Medical schools differ from other undergraduate colleges in many ways. Students immerse themselves in clinical research and the online MCAT training course in the weekends during the pre med years and fail to learn more about the unique demands and features of a medical school.
As a curious pre-med, here are a few unique things about a medical school that you must know before taking the plunge.

The Unique Things You Must Know About a Medical School
Team work is always applauded

Unlike any other undergraduate college where individual assignments are given more importance, team projects in medical school act as a better source of learning and development. Most medical cases will demand students to work with colleagues, correct one another, share research ideas and come up with suitable solutions. This helps students to learn team work, master the art of people management and develop a sense of patience while dealing with other cases in the future.

The format of teaching and learning will differ

In a regular undergraduate college, professors teach concepts through detailed lectures, followed by assignments and tests. In a medical school, students will encounter case-based work in addition to lectures. Students will learn more from the past medical cases and absorb the most critical observations to be applied to real life patients. This type of learning is certainly unique to medical schools.

Social life continues to stay in the pause mode

While preparing for the MCAT exams and the medical school interviews, students generally avoid any form of social distraction. They ensure that their time is well balanced between school, online MCAT training course on the weekends, volunteering work and clinical research. Medical school expects students to understand, observe, critically analyse and apply the learning suitably within a short span of time. Thus medical students must avoid distraction that may come in the form of social parties, technology and entertainment.

Exams are evaluated without grades

Usually, the outcome of an exam is either a pass or a fail and no grades are generally associated with it. One of the most intimidating features about medical school is the fact that exams are not rated in grades like it is for other graduate programs. While some students feel, this method of rating exams will help eliminate competitiveness among colleagues, a handful of them do not seem to enjoy the stress.

A career in the field of medicine is rewarding and also considered noble. Students must justify their responsibility towards the profession by tackling challenges and accepting demands efficiently. The above mentioned list of features about medical school can offer an insight on the course and help prepare for the journey in medical field in a better manner.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:55 AM

5 Reasons to Sign Up for an Online PMP Training Course

  • 19 August, 2016

Effectively managing projects is an important element to the overall success of an organization.
Organizations that acquire talented and skilled project managers have a higher overall success rate when it comes to completing projects. Training is a key element to success, and here are some reasons why.
Online PMP Training

Helps with meeting deadlines

A Harvard Business Review report has found that one out of every six projects has a cost overrun of at least 200%. The report further stresses that these projects have a schedule over run of approximately 70%.

These shocking statistics show how poorly projects are run globally by non-qualified project managers. Trained project managers are able to set reasonable deadlines to achieve realistic goals. Attending an Online PMP training course will help project managers learn the standards set forth by the PMBOK.

Improves resource allocation skills

A project manager should be able to make the best use of the resources that are available. In some cases, the ideal set of resources may not be available at all. In such circumstances, project managers must put into practice their resource allocation skills acquired through training in order to complete the project.

Sharpens project documentation skills

On any given day, a project manager will sort through several project documents that need to go to stakeholders. The most commonly used project documents include:

Business case
Project management plan
Project charter
Statement of work
Risk register
Status reports
Project budget vs actuals

Each document has its own purpose and content. Preparing the documentation itself is a task that requires caution and attention. A project manager who has completed online PMP training will be able to complete the documentation part without any common mistakes.

Provides knowledge to use tools and resources

Information Systems and project management go hand in hand. In most business scenarios, the project manager will use Information Systems and reports generated by it to monitor the progress of multiple projects.

An online PMP prep course helps the project manager to become:

Well versed in Information Systems commonly used in project management
An expert in generating and archiving reports related to each project
Skilled in monitoring several metrics as provided by the Information Systems

Encourages proactive decision making

It is estimated that for every 100 projects, 94 projects are restarted due to poor planning and allocation of resources. Unqualified project managers who lack experience fail to have a long-term vision for project implementation, which causes delays in projects.

Organizations that provide online PMP training for their employees find themselves among the top 80% of high performing businesses. They are able to achieve 3.5 times better project results than those organizations without PMP training.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:49 AM

Preparing for LSAT with a Full-Time Job

  • 19 August, 2016

When you decide to go to law school (which is by the way a great decision), making time to study for the LSAT into your busy schedule becomes the top most priority. In the face of a full time job, this isn’t an easy task and demands some smart planning.
Here are some tips to crack the LSAT .

Preparing for LSAT with a Full-Time Job

Start with a feasible schedule

Proper planning prevents poor performance is a well-known saying. LSAT demands proper as well as proactive planning to reach the desired score. The first step is take the time to assess all your professional and personal commitments before selecting the LSAT exam date. Prepare a plan that includes all the events that demand time and ensure there is adequate time to handle unexpected tasks from work (project deadlines, team attendance and so on)!

Good faith and great work are born out of consistency

The LSAT tests the skills of a student but skills can get rusty if ignored for too long. The best way to master these skills is through consistent practice for about 2-3 hours every day. Make a rule that every morning you put aside some time for LSAT prep (choose a plan at night if you consider yourself nocturnal!). Most working professionals believe that they can cram all of it within the last few days before the exam. However, such stressful intellectual labor may not yield the desired results. Students who take the LSAT must make studying even a few hours a day a part of their daily routine and push some extra load for the weekends when a student may have more time.

Put quality above quantity

By now, it is clear that LSAT preparation needs adequate time and preparation. Experts recommend that the ideal LSAT prep time can be roughly translated to about 150-300 hours, which include personal understanding and analysis of concepts, practice tests as well as On demand LSAT classes.
However, the difference in performance does not arise only based on where the student is placed between the 150-300 hours bandwidth. It is the quality and efficient distribution of time among the various activities that play a pivotal role. Working professionals must not dedicate all their time on just one activity such as only taking practice tests or listening to audio classes. Instead they must focus on a more holistic approach to preparation.

Add some fun into your schedule

Yes, you read it right! While preparing for the LSAT with a full time job is no joke, you do not have to be too hard on yourself as the intense preparation may drain your enthusiasm out. Try simple tricks like finding a quiet café that serves great coffees while working on a practice test rather than sitting in the same location everyday. Another tip is to load your IPod with some LSAT classes before you set out on a refreshing morning walk. Change in scenery can help remember things better. At the end, the learning is all that matters!

To wrap it up, you may either be at the crossroads of a career change or you may be considering a law degree as the most natural step towards your career growth. In any case, the LSAT lays the path to a lucrative future in the world of law. Consider working with one-on-one tutors and pick an on demand LSAT course to ease the pressure of the exam and march ahead effortlessly with these tips.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:03 AM

Everything You Must Know About the Onsite MCAT Training Course

  • 05 August, 2016

Preparing for MCAT exam needs dedication and abundant time. The onsite MCAT training course offers a customized study plan that will meet your learning style and schedule.

The effective steps taken in an Onsite MCAT training course acts as a definite guide for MCAT prep.

Everything You Must Know About the Onsite MCAT Training Course
Lets you Comprehend

The students are provided with the basic guidelines about the MCAT exam such as: tests, score and more. Complete information about the exam registration, policies and procedures, scoring details are provided to help you prepare for the exam. The onsite MCAT training course guide provides practice questions and answers to give the basic idea of the exam pattern.

Beginning of the course

Identify your comprehensive skills by taking a pre-test that will help you in planning your studies. The pretest allows you to understand your weaknesses and strengths and helps you to overcome the weaknesses. The sample test is prepared by the onsite MCAT training course that is similar to the actual MCAT exam. This test can be taken multiple times to know your performance.

Study

Focus on your studies by preparing the study plan and schedule. Use the onsite MCAT training course to brush up your basics and learn the topic quickly. Students are exposed to new material of questions and answers, which is yet to be cover in the present course. These study materials are prepared by the team of experts by digging the research library and extracting the content. The well-experienced tutors having a wide range of experience ensure that the students perceive the scientific concepts well.

Resources

Collaborative resources are made available to you, which include textbooks, class notes, library, research books, academic work and study groups. Several publishers have contributed to this training course to enable the students to build a career. A roadmap and clear description is provided to access the particular MCAT content.

Improved Practice Sessions

Enhance your skills by practicing the MCAT question in different methods. Logical thinking is very much involved in solving the questions. Take advantage of onsite MCAT training course to test your knowledge by accessing various test prep question papers. Detailed answers are provided after completion of the test. Students can cross check the same with the references and can learn more to improve the score while taking the test next time.

Simulate

After practicing many sets of question papers, it is time to mimic the actual exam day experience. This final step helps increase the confidence while appearing for the exam. This option will let students get a better view of how exams are conducted and how they have to perform on the day of the test. A timer similar to actual exam timer is set. Upon finishing the exam, you can review your progress from the day of admission to this course by comparing your scores.

The onsite MCAT training course has described the steps for students to make the choice easier. Benefits and convenience are intertwined for exam preparation.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:22 AM

The Four Important Questions You Need To Ask Your PMP Coach

  • 26 July, 2016

Cracking the PMP exam demands intense preparation, proactive planning and the right guidance. Students appearing for this exam must be prepared academically as well as psychologically to handle the challenge in the best manner possible. Anxiety is a part of the PMP preparatory phase and acquiring the right guidance from your PMP coach can help combat these psychological obstacles easily.

Read on to find out about the most important questions that must be discussed with the PMP coach online in our PMP exam prep course or in a regular classroom setting. While we bring forth the most common answers, the PMP coach who has better knowledge about every individual’s strengths and weaknesses can offer precise solutions.

PMP Exam Prep Course

How can I handle the long scenario-based questions in the PMP exam?

Reading through the long paragraphs and locating the correct answers for the tricky questions can be a pain indeed. While quick judgment is often the only option in a time constrained situation, the technique is not always dependable. PMP coaches recommend the bottom-upward technique where the students first get to read the last few lines of the question and then work their way upwards to finding the right answers. Coaches also recommend paying attention to these kinds of questions while attending PMP exam prep with a simulator.

How can I manage time during the actual exam?

The four long hours of PMP exam time is reported to be sufficient to complete all the questions featured in the exam. Some expert time management exam tricks include,
  • Answer the easiest questions and keep difficult ones for later.
  • Plan the time to include a few minutes of review at the end of the exam.
  • Mark the questions that need to be reviewed at the end of the exam
Talk to your PMP coach to secure some more specific time management ideas based on your areas of expertise.

How can I effectively cover the entire course content with a plan?

A PMP coach is often the best person to help build a solid preparation plan for PMP. Students can work along with the coach and customize their study plan which can include,
  • Reading and obtaining information through a study guide
  • Audio or visual aids or classes through media players
  • Group study with other students or instructors in person or online
  • Mentor or coaching institute through regular classes or online sessions
How many times should I take mock tests and what scores should I aim for?

Experts provide no definite answer to this question other than take as many as time permits and aim for the highest score each time.. However, it is important to note that the quality of questions in practice tests are of more importance than the number of tests itself. Students can work with the PMP coach to track progress through every test and to assess the quality of mock tests.

PMP exam prep requires a lot of time and effort to achieve the desired results. A PMP coach plays a significant role in preparing the student to take up the challenge.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:52 AM

A Project Manager’s Guide to Stress Management

  • 12 July, 2016

In any line of work you are prone to get stressed with your job. Stress is a reality for project managers. From meeting project deadlines to prepping for the PMP exam, project managers have a lot of responsibility and are held accountable for the outcome of the project. Project managers dismiss stress as an ‘everyday routine’. However, what most PMs fail to realize is that it may eventually build up and wreak havoc on their personal and professional life.

PMP Stress Management

The impact of stress on a PM:

Stress will take a toll on one’s health, career and relationships. Stress on a project manager will affect negatively on the entire team and may sentence the project to doom if not kept in check. In contrast, studies have shown that stress in a small amount can actually drive one’s performance in a positive direction. Striking a balance between the two extremes and maintaining optimum levels of stress is the key to achieving project management success.

Here are a few ways you can manage stress in your team as a PM:

1) Recognize the first signs of stress

A drop in your concentration levels, sudden fits of anger, and overthinking are all indicators of stress slowly victimizing you. As stressful as a PM’s job is, knowing where to draw the line is crucial. Identifying the factors that contribute to stress and taking up necessary remedial action is crucial. For instance, if your PMP prep is too demanding, opt for on demand PMP training, instead of onsite classes. Alternatively, if you find yourself on the verge of burnout, meditation can help you keep your stress-levels under control.

2) Tackle every situation like a pro

Unpleasant and unwarranted situations can pop up anytime. What’s important is the manner in which they’re dealt with. There’s an old saying: There’s no use crying over spilt milk. Most PMs tend to dwell on the “what ifs” and focus more on past events rather than taking corrective measures. Project managers must maintain focus on the positives and continue keeping the project on task.

3) Engage in well-being practices

Remaining work-oriented is a good trait and is something you’ll learn during your On demand PMP prep course. However, overdoing it will have negative results for your project. Personal development tools like resilience training, physical exercise and other renewal activities outside of work can act as great stress busters. Stress can be contagious. It is advisable to engage in well-being practices and encourage the same among other team members, in order to keep the entire team happy.

4) Use tools to make project management easier

Being disorganized may not help you set up an appropriate pace to meet the rising demands of clients. This is where management tools come in handy! Project management tools are the ‘in’ thing these days. It can help you create an organized work space wherein you can share work, centralize information access and oversee the functioning of the team. Enroll into an On demand PMP training course to learn more about the latest tools used by successful PMs

5) Switch to mono-tasking

Though multi-tasking helps showcase your versatility, it is advised that as a project manager you switch to mono -tasking. Focus on one aspect that is likely to yield better result. Parallel processing is something best left to the computers. Studies have shown that multi-tasking not only doubles the task-handling time but it also triggers an inflated stress response. Prioritize the tasks at hand and do it one at a time. Set realistic goals and define milestones that don’t overlap to keep the stress-levels of the entire team under control.

From On demand PMP certification classes to improving conflict resolution skills, there are several ways you can maintain your stress levels. Know what works for you the best and find your way to manage stress.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 04:50 AM

The Significance of Project Management in the Government Sector

  • 05 July, 2016

Project Management practices have a very high success rate when implemented in Government sectors.

And the reasons are?

The volume and scale of Government projects when streamlined, translate into impressive results.

Introduction of legislation

In this context, The National Academy of Public Administration supported the passage of a resolution HR 2144—The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act of 2015— that directed:

Creating a formal job series and career path for Program Managers in Federal Government

Development of a standard based model for program management

Designating a senior executive in each agency for overall management

Establishment of an inter agency council to align approaches across government bodies.

The NAPA in its findings have also stated that institutionalizing Program Management in the Federal Government was a priority.

Project Management – the crux

Mega projects have components that need to be integrated together. While each component may be on schedule, planning the overall or high level integration is vital to the project. Project Managers will be the lynch pins that hold the projects together.

Monitoring project health

Projects funded by taxpayers are under scrutiny and pressure to improve performance. Infusing proven practices of Project Management, monitoring and assessing the status of projects at various life cycles has proved vital for project implementation, empowering managers to steer the projects out of cost overruns and delayed schedules, while meeting the objectives.

PM in NASA

The fact that NASA has embraced Project Management should not come as a surprise. With mission critical goals and projects involving technology that make news headlines, PM must have a role in the success of all projects. NASA manages projects on a four point basis - project formulation, approval, implementation and evaluation. NASA has partnered with private enterprise to push the envelope on new projects and has implemented PM practices. With many projects, hiring at NASA will involve seeking out high quality project management skills.

Government initiatives at PM

Project management in government projects involves prevailing practices like leveraging, setting standards and establishing performance markers for all stake holders to achieve. Two instances of US government projects that were managed successfully are:

The U.S. Department of Defense initiated reforms in buying, through effective project management, resulting in savings of close to 300 million USD for the US Navy.

The US Department of Homeland Security restructured the management of all large acquisitions increasing awareness at higher hierarchy and lending credibility to the program.
Benefits of Project Management Credentials

Project Management Certification significantly improves the chances of being hired by the Federal Government with the passage of the legislation and implementation of Project Management practices.

A Project Management Professional with credentials is likely to receive 10% more salary in the private sector than a Project Manager without credentials.

A PMP certified candidate attracts the attention of a recruiter- How?

1. Recruiter Checks for the skills and commitment acquired by the candidate

2. PMP certification is proof of honing excellent project management skills that job recruiters covet in potential prospects.

3. Having invested time and money in certification the probability of a candidate switching jobs is minimal- recruiters prefer candidates with longer tenures with a particular firm

4. The role of a PM in a government agency is considered as crucial in the successful completion of a project. Recruiters mostly prefer a PMP compared to a PM.


Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:38 AM

Preparing for PMP with a Night Job

  • 24 June, 2016

Night jobs can be stressful. Pursuing PMP training while working as a full-time professional with night shifts will demand additional effort and dedication.

Here are some simple tips that can help prepare for the PMP exam and manage your full time night job successfully.

Making the most of it

Time management is the key to managing a full time job during the night while taking a professional course during the day. Most professionals that work at night spend their days sleeping and tending to personal tasks. . Therefore, it is important to draw the line between sleep time and being awake. . It is imperative that the night shift working professional distribute the available waking hours between personal chores and preparation for the PMP exam.

Weekend training sessions

It may be necessary to attend classes to clear any uncertainties or brainstorm with tutors, and night shifts might be a barrier to attending the regular week day sessions. The best way to get around this would be to enroll for weekend sessions. Many seasoned PMP training providers offer weekend sessions to cater to the growing demand from professionals working on night shifts.

Online classes

One option that should be seriously considered is to take up PMP Training Online from reputed institutes. Online classes give flexibility to learn for a longer time from the comfort of residences and without the restrictions of rigid time constraints.

Self tests

Taking mock tests periodically would be a great way to know the fruits of preparation. The tests should be timed and taken in a proper atmosphere, to give the feel of an actual test. Additionally, design your own tests that are not time bound. Use these tests to spend your free time at work to solve complex questions.

Analyze and appraise

The tests that one takes should be an indication of the preparedness. However, it would benefit immensely if the results of the tests and the difficulties faced are jotted down and analyzed. This would give a fair idea of the strengths and the areas which require additional attention. The analysis could indicate the areas or subject that need special attention, while confirming his or her strengths in a different area. This information can be used to redefine the preparation strategy with additional time on weaker areas.

Rest and nutrition

Given that working at night can cause increased fatigue if a proper cycle of rest is not followed, it would be a wise decision to allow the body and mind to rest. The days immediately preceding the exam should not be used for cramming subjects, but should ideally be devoted to reviewing and refocusing with adequate time allotted to rest in between. It is essential that the dietary requirements are fully met. Intense study sessions demand sufficient energy and nourishment which must be duly satisfied. The selection of food should NOT be exclusively based on easy availability or easy to prepare or comfort foods. Healthy and easy to digest food should be considered and consumed during preparations and prior to exams.

Work and studies can go together

Balancing heavy loads of work and studies is not on everyone’s wish list but the attempt gains momentum when a strong team is formed. Team work paves the way to fetch results that can be fulfilling and professionally beneficial.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:42 AM

Five Common Misconceptions About MCAT Cleared!

  • 22 June, 2016

Succeeding on the MCAT with outstanding scores is the dream of every pre-med. The right way to start conquering this exam is by acquiring a fair knowledge of what it is about, and how to tackle it within the time-limit. While much is said about MCAT preparations, there are still a few common misconceptions that can hinder your outcome.
Read on to learn more about these misconceptions and do not fall into their trap-

Myth #1
Memorizing is the key to succeeding in the MCAT exam

The main idea behind the MCAT exam is not to test one’s ability to cram information but instead, evaluate one’s ability to grasp and analyzing important concepts. While learning is only half the battle, putting in the right practice forms the rest of it. Online MCAT prep courses may encompass many of such practice tests and questions that can be used to assess where you stand in the course of your preparation.

Myth #2
Studying at your own pace leads to failure in MCAT

The approach to MCAT preparation varies with each student depending on their individual capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. It is, in fact a good idea for students to take the preparation based on their own schedule and opt for an OnDemand MCAT training course to fulfill their knowledge and practice needs.

Myth #3
Good performance in the pre-med course implies a relaxed approach to MCAT

Research indicates that 50% of outstanding performers in pre-med take the MCAT for the second time due to low scores the first time. Irrespective of one’s performance in the pre-med course, it is recommended to take studying for the MCAT seriously.

Myth #4
The science section of the MCAT exam is more important than the verbal section

Contrary to popular belief, medical schools give more weightage to the verbal section of MCAT rather than the other sections. This is because they believe that the verbal and analytical skills of a person indicates his or her power to learn and communicate efficiently.

Myth #5
Students preparing for their MCAT exam must sacrifice their involvement in sports and other extracurricular activities.

Quite understandably, students are thinned out with additional activities in their pre-med years. However, a good medical student is expected to have a well-rounded resume of academic achievement combined with extracurricular activities such as community service or leadership skills. Extracurricular activities that influence these characteristic features must be given a fair amount of time while preparing for MCAT exams. These activities may also act as a stress-buster during intense preparation.

Overall, once cleared of these conventional myths about the MCAT exam, you are elevated to a better position to prioritize your goals and study efficiently.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:38 AM

Best Tips to Choose the Right Area of Law Specialization

  • 22 June, 2016

The decision to pursue a career in law can transform the life trajectory of an individual significantly. The life of students hoping to join law school starts with an intense focus on an online LSAT course. This should be followed by psychological and financial resources being pooled into this powerful tool (what tool?) that can change your life forever. However, the journey does not stop there. Law students continue to battle to succeed during their difficult classes and at the end of the first year, find themselves in another important decision making phase. They are required to choose the specialization they’d like to pursue!

Gone are those days when students waited to explore various lines of law specialization after the completion of the degree. The present generation is smarter and knows to investigate the options right from the start . This well appreciated trend allows students more time to find an ideal career for themselves.

In order to ease the ordeal of analyzing the various law specializations, here are some simple yet effective tips.

Follow your interests

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is a saying for an impulsive law student. For a go getter it is advised that you align your personal interests to the specialization you choose and you will be surprised to find yourself outperforming your own expectations with absolute ease. Therefore, if you are interested in serving the under-represented groups in the community? Then you may want to consider public defense. If you have a science background and feel passionate about eco-friendly initiatives, you may find yourself suitable for environmental law.

Assess your abilities

While interests form one part of the story, your abilities must be in line to perfectly compliment them. For instance, someone with strong business acumen may be better off dealing with areas of law pertaining to corporate institutions. If public speaking is not your cup of tea then transactional law that concerns one-on-one interactions with clients is easier.

Network with the right people

Interactions with legal professionals practicing law in the vicinity may offer in-depth information on the lesser-known details of the job. Use resources from your own school such as career counselors and professors to garner more information. Tutors offering the best online LSAT prep course may also provide some insight into these areas. Additionally look for opportunities that may pave way to connect and communicate with attorneys and lawyers to capture the essence of various specializations.

Compare compensations and work-life balance between different legal areas

On the whole, a legal career is a lucrative choice. Some areas of practice may start with high yielding salaries but the growth might be limited involving a lot of travel that could impact both personal and professional life. In other cases, the starting salaries or benefits may not be too attractive. However, with experience, better avenues may open up thus leading to higher earnings for the future. With student loans and other personal commitments taking up much space in the mind, it is important for students to make an informed decision.

Successful law students have several areas of specialization to choose from. With the right guidance and some common sense, the task can be extremely simple and beneficial.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:33 AM

How to Convince Your Employer to Sponsor Your PMP Training?

  • 15 June, 2016

For most project managers, getting PMP certified is regarded as an asset that can enhance their credentials and take their career to greater heights. However, despite the vast advantage they stand to gain, on further contemplation, the extent of investment that is required tends to hold them back. The cost involved for registration, buying course materials and signing up for a PMP exam review course can amount to a staggering sum. It might well be beyond your personal finances. How do you get around this situation? The only way you can achieve what you want without shelling out money from your pockets is by acquiring company sponsorship.

With most employers implementing cost-cutting measures, what can make a stark difference in a project is placing your persuasive skills in action- this way things are sure to fall in an order.

Here’s a step-by-step guide through which you can get your employer to cover your PMP certification expenses:

Step 1: Speak their language

The first question you’ll be asked by your employer is why. Your employer will not be convinced with vague answers. To answer this question, you need to be precise. This means that you’ll have to understand the cost involved, advantages and the returns the company stands to gain from the investment.

Step 2: Understanding the benefits

Remember, the organization isn’t really doing you a favor by sponsoring your PMP exam review course and other training costs. A PMP certification will indeed improve your marketability and skills, but at the same time, the organization you work for also gets a large share of the pie. Your project management skills can help them save money, reduce project failures and boost company-client relationships.

Step 3: Keep the costs to a minimal

No matter how fruitful your proposal may seem, a hefty bill is bound to get them thinking twice. This is why you need to cut corners but without compromising on the quality of PMP exam review course training received. Be careful while choosing a PMP exam review course as most reputed educators, charge exorbitant sums. You can also opt for a PMI membership that can bring down your PMP exam registration fee

Step 4: Drafting a business proposal

Once you have a clear picture of the facts in mind, you need to project your idea to your employer in the right way. Think like a business pro, and not like a school student preparing a scholarship application. Set the tone right and pitch your idea in a succinct manner. Substantiating your claims with adequate documentation is an added plus. If you believe certified PMs perform better than their counterparts, prove your statement by pulling out relevant data. You can also tap into your company’s resources and pull out instances of projects that went wrong due to lack of trained PMPs in the company.

Step 5: Seal the final impression

If done right, the business proposal in itself can help you seal the deal. Most major organizations, however, will call you for a face-to-face meet regarding the proposal. Feel confident about yourself and stay firm and true to what you’ve stated in your business proposal. Also, elaborate further on various benefits the company stands to gain, if they sponsor your PMP exam review course and other costs.

With these simple steps, you can be assured of becoming PMP certified without bearing the costs alone.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 02:25 AM

Should You Join A Pre-Med Club?

  • 09 June, 2016

There are countless individuals who dream of getting into a good medical school and becoming a doctor. Right from MCAT exam reviews to maintaining excellent academic records, they’ve probably done everything it takes to reach their goal. So how do you ensure that you get noticed among tremendous other talented applicants? To start with, simply enrolling yourself in an MCAT prep course and getting a high MCAT score, but that alone is not sufficient. There are several other factors that can cause medical schools to take notice of your application. One such way you can get noticed is by joining a pre-med club.

Do you need it?

Some believe that joining a club is a waste of time. They think just getting good grades will get them into medical school. But the reality is quite different. Just like you absolutely need an MCAT exam review course to get good MCAT scores, you need a club membership to fare better in medical school interviews. If you’re still confused on whether or not you should join, read on to explore the benefits of joining a pre-med club

1) Exposure

Preparing for medical school simply demands too much. You might find yourself immersed in books and get completely cut off from social interaction. The biggest perk of joining a pre-med club or organization is that you’ll get to meet and interact with other pre-med hopefuls. This also facilitates knowledge-sharing and can help alleviate your fears regarding the med-school application process.

2) Gain Relevant experience

Pre-med clubs offer plenty of opportunities- starting from involving yourself in several programs to gaining relevant experience in the medical world. Simply signing up for a club with the aim of adding it to your resume isn’t going to help. You’re likely to be asked extensive questions during your medical school interview. The only way you’ll be able to answer such questions confidently is by getting completely involved in the club.

3) Improve your leadership ability

You do not have to opt for clubs that are related to the medical field. There’s always a choice for you to sign up for something you like and excel at it. Medical schools place individuals with leadership qualities in high regard. So if you manage to join a club you love, excel in every aspect and climb up the ranks to become a leader, your chances of success with the interview are high.

4) Get valuable assistance

Let’s face it: no matter how confident you are, having a support and mentoring group can assist you more than anything. A pre-med club can assist you in completing the medical school application process, help you with your MCAT prep course, acquire letters of recommendation etc., Nationally recognized clubs like the American Medical Student Association can also provide access to scholarship opportunities.

5) Access to resources

Is your preparation for medical school restricted to MCAT exam reviews? Sure enough, it will help you get an excellent MCAT score. But is that everything you need? Pre-med clubs can help you gain access to invaluable resources that can help you better yourself. Regular workshops are arranged wherein you can get a firsthand account of what it takes to survive in the medical industry from practicing doctors and experts.

Still debating on whether or not you should join a pre-med club? Remember, that while it is not mandatory, it is the most fun and enriching way of adding more value to your application.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:43 AM

A Project Manager Guide to Stress Management

  • 09 June, 2016

In any line of work you are prone to get stressed with your job. Stress is a reality for project managers. From meeting project deadlines to prepping for the PMP exam, project managers have a lot of responsibility and are held accountable for the outcome of the project. Project managers dismiss stress as an ‘everyday routine’. However, what most PMs fail to realize is that it may eventually build up and wreak havoc on their personal and professional life.

The impact of stress on a PM:

Stress will take a toll on one’s health, career and relationships. Stress on a project manager will affect negatively on the entire team and may sentence the project to doom if not kept in check. In contrast, studies have shown that stress in a small amount can actually drive one’s performance in a positive direction. Striking a balance between the two extremes and maintaining optimum levels of stress is the key to achieving project management success.

Here are a few ways you can manage stress in your team as a PM:

1) Recognize the first signs of stress
A drop in your concentration levels, sudden fits of anger, and overthinking are all indicators of stress slowly victimizing you. As stressful as a PM’s job is, knowing where to draw the line is crucial. Identifying the factors that contribute to stress and taking up necessary remedial action is crucial. For instance, if your PMP prep is too demanding, opt for Ondemand PMP training, instead of onsite classes. Alternatively, if you find yourself on the verge of burnout, meditation can help you keep your stress-levels under control.

2) Tackle every situation like a pro
Unpleasant and unwarranted situations can pop up anytime. What’s important is the manner in which they’re dealt with. There’s an old saying: There’s no use crying over spilt milk. Most PMs tend to dwell on the “what ifs” and focus more on past events rather than taking corrective measures. Project managers must maintain focus on the positives and continue keeping the project on task.

3) Engage in well-being practices
Remaining work-oriented is a good trait and is something you’ll learn during your Ondemand PMP prep course. However, overdoing it will have negative results for your project. Personal development tools like resilience training, physical exercise and other renewal activities outside of work can act as great stress busters. Stress can be contagious. It is advisable to engage in well-being practices and encourage the same among other team members, in order to keep the entire team happy.

4) Use tools to make project management easier
Being disorganized may not help you set up an appropriate pace to meet the rising demands of clients. This is where management tools come in handy! Project management tools are the ‘in’ thing these days. It can help you create an organized workspace wherein you can share work, centralize information access and oversee the functioning of the team. Enroll into an Ondemand PMP training course to learn more about the latest tools used by successful PMs

5) Switch to mono-tasking
Though multi-tasking helps showcase your versatility, it is advised that as a project manager you switch to mono -tasking. Focus on one aspect that is likely to yield better result. Parallel processing is something best left to the computers. Studies have shown that multi-tasking not only doubles the task-handling time but it also triggers an inflated stress response. Prioritize the tasks at hand and do it one at a time. Set realistic goals and define milestones that don’t overlap to keep the stress-levels of the entire team under control.

From On demand PMP certification classes to improving conflict resolution skills, there are several ways you can maintain your stress levels. Know what works for you the best and find your way to manage stress.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:30 AM

The Principles of Project Risk Management

  • 03 June, 2016

Identifying, anticipating and evaluating risks in a project in all its future stages, planning, and putting in place an effective response mechanism, to minimize, or avoid the impact of such risks is called Project Risk Management. PMP boot camp classes give a complete run down on Project Risk Management through a series of short, high impact sessions including case studies and cardinal rules of risk management, some of which are given below:


Inclusion of risk management from project inception

Risks in a project cannot be managed if plans for management of such risks are not on the drawing board of a project.

Identification of risks
Identifying risks does not require an actuary. Inputs from sessions with team members should be encouraged, and information generated from reports should be scrutinized to analyze and identify recorded risks of the past and possible risks of the future.

Being receptive to inputs
Keeping channels of communication open is necessary to receive inputs on unexpected developments.

Risks can also be opportunities
A risk is an unexpected event. Sometimes, the risks are outcomes of a particular sequence of events or circumstances that can be predicted. And sometimes, taking a risk can bring positive and beneficial results. It is essential to weigh the risks in a manner that includes looking at probable positive outcomes.

Tagging risks with response mechanisms
Risks and the response mechanisms need to be tagged together. The department or manager responsible to tackle a particular issue needs to be identified and delegated.

Grading risks
Risks have to be objectively assessed and graded as per priority. Likewise, response has to be initiated as per priority too.

Risk analysis
Analyzing the nature of risks, the sequence of events preceding it and the expected outcomes helps to plan a proper response to the risk, at various stages of the risk manifestation.

Implementing risk response
The final objective of risk management is to avoid or minimize a risk by accepting it. By evaluating and planning responses, the risk is to be either avoided, or the effects of the risk are to be minimized. Sometimes, unfortunately a bad project may have to be shelved on the basis of risks that develop en route. Implementing the risk response is hence the single most important aspect of Project Risk Management.

Logging project risks
Logs have to be maintained and they should list, tag, analyze and provide a response to all known and potential risks. and it should etc.long with a periodical review . Tshould accordinglyTeam leaders and members should periodically review these logs to assess progress and make project course corrections as necessary.

Tracking risks
Tracking the risks as they develop or manifest helps to be aware of any situation and initiate an appropriate response.

Effective Project Risk Management will ensure the success of a project through economical use of resources and onsite PMP boot camp classes are the best way to equip key personnel with effective project management skills. The onsite knowledge transfer ensures that the key concepts of project management help complete the project within the time frame, set budget and meets all mission objectives.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:20 AM

Benefits of Online PMP Exam Prep Course

  • 31 May, 2016

Edumind’s online PMP Exam Prep course is designed to offer busy professionals the flexibility to pursue their professional certification. The online PMP course is a well wrapped bundle handpicked by our instructors who carry several years of training expertise. The online PMP exam prep course is as interactive and beneficial as a conventional onsite class room training is.

You can be rest assured to receive all the knowledge and skill required to become a PMP certified. The online PMP exam prep course is extremely interactive and engaging. The attention and in depth knowledge share will keep you engaged and involved in the training session. Therefore, if you are pressed for time and can’t devote time enrolling for an onsite training course then online PMP prep course is the ideal solution for you.

The list of benefits you can avail by enrolling for the online PMP exam prep course is:

•You get to be part of interactive lecture and hands on workshop sessions
•You do not have to download any software to start the online course
•You can study from the convenience of your home, office, etc.
•You receive the most up to date study material
•You can interact with the trainers and clarify your doubts just you’d do in a conventional training set up.

Features of our EduMinds online PMP prep course:

•The training session conducted is interactive and not one sided
•The training focusses on teaching you about how to handle real life situations while handling a project and not just make you memorize
•By the end of the PMP prep course you will be confident and equipped with the right skills to carry out the project requirements effectively

EduMinds Online PMP course is definitely a boon for working professionals. IF you are crunched for time and need a certification that will open door to opportunities then the online PMP exam prep course will do the magic ensuring that you pass the PMP exam with flying colors.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:50 AM

4 Usual Mistakes that can Get Your Medical School Application Rejected

  • 30 May, 2016

4 Usual Mistakes that can Get Your Medical School Application Rejected
1. Applicants misjudge their deserving to a medical school

MCAT Scores are the primary yardstick to selection to a medical school. A candidate will get selected to a school only if he or she meets the minimum benchmark score as fixed by the medical school. If the score falls below the expectations of the schools, the application is rejected.

Quite often students make the mistake of applying to a medical school without having the faintest idea of their average MCAT score or GPA. If the scores are not adequate to meet the school’s standards it is ideal to narrow down the search to schools where the scores are considered deserving for admission.

2. Failing to prove enthusiasm towards the admission process

While scores are an essential ingredient for medical school admission, they are not the only factor that admission officers account for. A student must be able to prove his or her enthusiasm in candidacy for a medical school through proactive planning.

Online MCAT Training

This could include signing up for online MCAT training classes on the weekends, attending to volunteer programs that improve medical learning, signing up for webinars on related topics and so on. Such programs can possibly lead to instances where the student might even get experience in real life patient care or clinical research. Undoubtedly, they are the best ways to impress an admission officer even before the interview.

3. Writing lackluster applications

The application is an instrument that will best present the ability of a student for medical school admission. If the application is written in a mediocre manner without any listing of accomplishments, academic credentials, personal statements, etc. it is almost destined to be rejected outright.

The application must be written in a positive and confident tone that depicts why the individual deserves to be admitted to the school. Excellent performance in online MCAT training classes on the weekends, area of special interest in the medical profession, a well-defined personal statement, etc. counts for a brilliant medical school application.

4. Failing to master the art of giving interviews

Giving interview is an art. Students need to groom themselves for the interview early to be in sync when the dates near.

Applicants must feel comfortable talking to people of authority like admission officers with ease. They must not let their introversion or nervousness get in the way of giving a straight-A kind of interview.

To conclude

While applying to medical school admissions, students must be realistic about why they deserve to be in the school. They must start early to fall in groove for taking stressful interviews and must prepare applications that brim with active interest towards becoming a medical professional.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:55 AM

Debunking the Top Five Myths Surrounding the LSAT

  • 30 May, 2016

With law school admissions just around the corner, innumerable students are gripped with the LSAT fever. Considered to be one of the most nerve-racking tests in existence, the LSAT has sparked off quite a debate amidst first-time LSAT applicants. Do you have to be a born genius to ace the LSAT? Can you beat the odds with an onsite LSAT prep class? What defines a good LSAT score? With varied perceptions offered on these questions, we decided to break it down to the basics and debunk the top myths surrounding the LSAT

Myth #1 The LSAT is a test of your intelligence. One can never learn how to exude intellect.
Is it? Some of the world’s best minds were drop outs or performed so poorly that they were considered a lost-cause. Yet, they’ve managed to wade through different phases and have emerged as achievers. LSAT isn’t about rote memorization and regurgitation of facts and information. Rather, it tests your mental skills, which is why this myth has been doing the rounds a lot lately. A few geniuses are born, but most are made with time and effort. With practice even the worst sculptor can perfect his art. Why should the LSAT be any different?

Myth #2 An outstanding GPA can help you shine in your Law school admissions
Most applicants tend to take the LSAT lightly owing to the fact that they have an outstanding academic record. An excellent academic record indicates your dedication and learning calibre, but does it assure you a place in a law school? No. What you’ve learned throughout the years has minimal correlation with what you’re about to learn in law school. This is why your undergrad scores are most likely to be disregarded, while a good LSAT score does all the talking for you.

Myth #3: Nothing good ever comes out of LSAT prep classes
That’s purely subjective to the kind of online or onsite LSAT prep classes you take. Most LSAT prep classes are split into two categories; the ones that swindle your money and offer nothing in return and the ones that genuinely help you achieve good scores. Remember, one rotten egg, doesn’t compromise the sanctity of others in the basket. Choose the best LSAT prep class and watch how it helps you pave the way to LSAT success.

Myth #4: Retaking the LSAT exam can be disastrous
Whoever thought that retaking the LSAT exam puts their application at a disadvantage, couldn’t have been more wrong. Most law schools are considerate enough to disregard the lower first scores and take your LSAT retake scores into consideration. So if your first attempt didn’t go down well, don’t worry. Make sure you right your wrongs, register into the best LSAT prep class and retake the LSAT exam without any misgivings.

Myth #5 You can sail solo
There’s no doubt you are intelligent and you trust your instincts more than anything else. It’s easy to fall prey to the ‘know-it-all’ complex. But did you know that, ‘we’ works better than ‘I’? There are a lot of aspects of the LSAT, which you’d be unable to understand alone. In such a situation, you need the help of others to provide valuable insight. Right from your onsite LSAT prep class instructor to your friends – anyone who is not you – can help you set things in order.

Stay on top of the game, by getting your facts about the LSAT right!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:48 AM

Observe Everyday Life To Fine Tune Your MCAT Skills

  • 24 May, 2016

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a difficult exam. A student preparing for MCAT has to surpass his/her high school level of knowledge and skillsets in order to pass the exam. In other words, it demands you to develop typical skills through hard work and personal development.

And the sources are not very far. Our everyday day life itself is a great source of knowledge from where key inputs to MCAT preparation and exam presentation can be taken.

Understand data analysis through everyday science

The biology and physical sections of MCAT typically consists of passage based questions. Students will be presented with a passage regarding an experiment based on which questions will be asked. The student will be required to deduce patterns from the data and arrive at conclusions.

For students who have pursued majors like organic chemistry, general chemistry, microbiology, lab sciences, etc. this will be an easy affair. Others will have to spend some time brushing up their knowledge on general sciences by trying to identify their presence and role in everyday life. This building of fundamental skills will go a long way in solidifying the knowledge of the student in taking the MCAT.

Reading professional magazines related to general sciences will also serve well in understanding data analysis and how conclusions are arrived at using methods like t-test, statistical averages, chi-squared analysis, etc. Obviously there will be too many doubt induced instances which can be clarified in detail during a one on one MCAT prep training class.

Practice and become a maestro of speed reading

Speed matters, especially in MCAT where all the three sections are primed to be completed within tight timelines. A MCAT one on one prep class can only strengthen the learning of a student. The pace at which it is learnt is left to the ability of the student. It is here that an everyday skill like speed reading proves to be beneficial.

Speed reading, as the name suggests is the practice of reading quickly through the contents with the objective of important data memorization. The essence of the content is understood for the sake of reproduction. It serves exactly the same purpose that an MCAT aspirant undergoing one on one MCAT training has.

Speed reading can be practiced by trying to read medical magazines, medical columns in dailies, blogs and related content. It will not only expose the student to more knowledge but will also improve his or her ability to quick read passages, comprehend them and arrive at a logical conclusion.

Bringing it all together

These are the 2 major skills that a premed student can develop through observing the happenings of daily life. MCAT one on one training courses will further the learning from everyday life through personal interaction and clarifications from the tutor.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:05 AM

Five Best Industry Sectors to Showcase Project Management Skills

  • 20 May, 2016

While beating the conundrum of Project Management Triangle remains one of the way points to succeed as a Project Manager, PMP credentials are the pearls of any resume, outshining academics and achievements. The PMP Exam Training Online module is the final and best shot to achieve PMP Certification. The top five industry sectors where project management has made and will continue to make a huge impact are:

Energy Sector

The burgeoning population will drive the demand for energy to mind boggling levels. Global investments over the next 25 years are expected to touch a staggering 20 trillion USD. The pursuit of economical energy and lower carbon fuels will mean more mega projects tapping into unexploited reserves. Despite advances in alternate sources of energy, oil and natural gas will account for 60% of global energy consumption.

A whopping 55% of ongoing projects were found to have experienced overruns in cost and schedule. A properly managed project aligned with the company's objectives would have stayed out of the 55% circle. The slump in oil prices not with standing, the resilient energy sector will see countless projects to power the globe and project managers will hold the key to successful implementation of all projects.

Aviation

The five functions of management, according to Henry Fayol, appear tailor made to the aviation sector. Phenomenal growth is expected during the next 20 years, with addition of routes, flights and destinations to cover the increase in demand projected to touch the 7 billion people of the world. China, the U.S, India, Indonesia & Brazil will be the five fastest increasing markets during this two decade period. Project managers will be in demand in this industry that needs to run within the dimensions of time to stay relevant.

Healthcare

Projected to grow at around 5%, the healthcare industry will grow exponentially due to a global aging population, increased spending as a result of economic growth and better penetration of health insurance. With the pharmerging markets commandeering the projections pie chart, a very large number of new projects will be setup during this period by pharma majors, with reliance on project managers to man the cogs of project execution.

Construction

Robust growth is predicted as the construction sector bucks the trend and bounces back. A large number of project managers will be required to steer numerous projects without overruns in cost or time or compromising the quality and the objectives of the project.

Information Technology

IT was clearly the odd man among industries hit by the slowdown, progressing at the same frantic pace of development. The trend is expected to continue, driven by the growing needs in all sectors that are dependent on IT for applications and processes. Dynamic project managers will also be expected to manage a diverse workforce and align them with the objectives of companies.

Shortcuts to success, cuts short success

Project management has evolved from the simple Gantt Charts and the 14 principles of management to the present highly tuned system that has factored in all the metrics and parameters. The very act of a project manager seeking credentials is proof of commitment; sprint ahead in today's competitive world with the PMP.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:55 AM

How Successful Medical School Aspirants Differentiate Themselves From The Crowd

  • 19 May, 2016

Medical professionals are individuals who originate from diverse backgrounds of the society. Some of them have an upper hand in the admission process, thanks to their upbringing and education. Some others, fail to make it to successful admission for lack of communication skills, critical thinking attributes and certain other factors that admission officers look into while granting admission.

So here it is. The sure win formula of successful medical school aspirants. Broken down and explained in detail for all those who wish up their chances of successful medical school admission.

They Communicate and interact like professionals

Communication; which comprises of verbal, non-verbal and body language is what distinguishes an ordinary person from a professional. A medical professional, being somebody who needs to exercise acute attention to the words used and body language adopted by a patient must nevertheless be a master of communication.

The right choice of words, display of compassion, a professional tone of conduct all goes under review when a student presents for the medical school admission process. Adjusting them to the right standards is the first and foremost step to confirming a successful admission and that is what successful medical students get right always.

They apply critical thinking in every aspect of profession and life

Critical thinking is a must-have attribute for a medical professional. It helps medical professionals to take logical decisions under emotionally challenging situations. Each patient will be unique and significantly different from the other. The doctor has in his or her hands the responsibility of quick deduction of symptoms through critical thinking.

Hence, regardless of specialty, successful medical students apply critical thinking to assess large volumes of data and arrive at a decision that fares well for the patient under review. One on one MCAT training and personal mentorship are proven ways to expand the critical thinking abilities of a student.

They bear compassion as part of their personality

Compassion is not just displaying kindness and civility when required. It plays a far stretching role in the profession of a doctor. Successful medical students appreciate the fact that they will be practicing compassion as a daily way of life to treat those who come looking for a cure.

Patients actively seek for the warmth and care when they are in physical distress. It is the responsibility of a medical professional to show them compassion so that the healing process is quick and effective. Reading literature, having pets, volunteering for social work, etc. are proven to help a medical student develop the virtue of compassion.

They have a strong mental resilience

The medical profession is filled with moments that can move an average individual to the brim of mental breakdown. Patients die, children get gravely injured, limbs are removed, near and dear ones yell and much more drama takes place on a daily basis.

Successful medical students are aware of such situations and handle it with tact. They act with a mental resilience without letting any of these situations disturb their mental balance. Mental flexibility and suppleness is something that every medical aspirant must develop right from the beginning to have a healthy and successful medical career.

In a nutshell

To conclude, successful medical students have learnt to fine tune their character in line with their professional demands.They adopt effective communication, apply critical thinking before acting, display compassion and follow mental resilience for a healthy career.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:12 AM

The Need for Project Management Professionals (PMP) in NGO

  • 17 May, 2016

What is NGO?

“NGO”or non-governmental organization refers to many groups that do not operate under government with business objectives. NGO’s operate on humanitarian or cooperative grounds.

All operational NGOs must systematize their resources to buy material, labor charges etc. to ensure that their projects and programs are actively progressing. Finances received from the government in the form of contracts, foundations and companies require expertise in planning as well as balancing the finances and expenses. In order to manage the different verticals of planning, preparation, budgeting, accounting much more demand is placed upon the shoulders of project management professionals.

Make it Possible in NGO Sectors through PMP Certification Training

As one may not see the needs of NGOs that deal with the refugee problem, human rights, and life necessities in handling resources and funds efficiently. A Project Management Professional can streamline the overall project and programs of an NGO An existing project manager should consider getting trained and obtain the coveted PMP Certification in order to effectively maintain and run all NGO’s programs.

NGOs provide a wide range of opportunities to project managers wherein they are required to manage resources. A project manager that is an expert in all of an NGO’s divisions and branches will play an important role in the success of all of its projects.

With minimal budgets and growing demands from contributor and stakeholders, organizations need to implement the latest tools in project management in order to achieve superior results. Due to the growing demand for project management professionals in NGO, certified companies are providing Project Management Program (PMP) training to prepare individuals as project managers to work specifically in NGOs. Besides this, individuals are trained to have domain expertise knowledge on various issues that NGOs encounter. This successful approach enables the individuals to acquire the skills required to develop projects, huge and small, and manage the projects globally.

Every project needs logical evaluation to outline the big project from beginning till the end. Measuring the value of the project, pre-implementation, testing and executing the plan are the various steps involved in the evaluation process. Project managers with PMP training possess a distinctive skill set to manage all the processes and systems proficiently.

PMP Skills Utilization in ROI

The critical project management skills obtained through PMP training ensures that every penny donated by the donors is used to acquire maximum value through Return-on-Investment to the NGO. Many NGOs receive funds from external sources; generating these funds in an appropriate way to increase the returns by investing is possible through Project Management Professionals.

Benefits to PMPs through PMP Certification Training

PMP Training Programs are designed to provide competitive skill set and knowledge to individuals instilling the ability to handle all kinds of issues related to NGO projects and programs. Additionally, individuals can gain effectiveness to plan and execute the program. Improve performance after the completion of every project. NGOs can also view the overall improvement in their organization, better plans for fund-raising and great return-on-investment on attending the PMP certification training.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 03:39 AM

Staying Cool on the Day of Your MCAT Exam

  • 11 May, 2016

Stay Healthy

Staying healthy is the key during MCAT preparation as well as on the day of your examination. This includes:

1. A good night sleep before the day of the exam - avoid trying to cram months of learning within a couple of hours.

2. Healthy diet - a light dinner the previous night and a healthy full breakfast on the day of your exam is a good way to start the day. While a light dinner helps you sleep better, a full-fledged breakfast is a great way to kick start your day to get your energies flowing.

3. Breathing techniques - deep breathing is a great way to de-stress. Spend a few minutes just before your exam and breathe consciously and deeply. This gets rid of all the pre-exam jitters and will help bring you to a calmer state of mind.

4. Exercise - mental stress often results in body pain. To relieve stress, practice stretches that flexes your body and will help make you feel energized.

Revise Only Key Concepts
You might prefer to keep your revision sessions either the night before the exam or early morning next day. Either way, it is best to go through just the key concepts instead of revising all that you set your eyes on. Avoid revising anything an hour or two before your exam. This helps you keep a relaxed mindset when you begin your exam.

Read Questions Carefully
Despite preparing well, some people do not score well. A main reason behind this is they fail to read questions carefully. Spending a few more seconds to re-read questions helps you answer them with better accuracy.

Manage Your Time Effectively
A good time-management technique is to avoid spending a lot of time on one question. If you find a question particularly difficult, proceed to another question. This technique not only helps manage your time better, but also enables you to cover each section equally. Once you have worked your way to the end of the paper, you can revert to questions that haven’t been attempted yet. Also avoid drinking too much water during the exam, which can cause frequent bathroom visits, thereby eating up your precious time. Remember to carry spare material, such as pens and pencils—should one stop functioning, you can always use another.

Keep all Your Materials Ready
Prior to the day of your exam, ensure you have all the necessary tools and material ready. These include stationery items, calculators, MCAT study guide, clocks/watches, medicines etc. You also need to start early to be better prepared for situations that can delay your journey to the exam center.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:18 AM

Developing confidence as a project manager

  • 11 May, 2016

Confidence is extremely important in every sphere of life. Countless individuals are caught up in the struggle to find it and keep it. This is especially true for project management professionals who are put through grueling challenges that may shake up their confidence. Project management professionals starting out in their career often develop doubts about their abilities when working with more experienced people. Have you ever fallen into a similar confidence crisis? If so, you need to act now! A project manager with low confidence lowers his team’s morale and is unable to deliver his best to the project.

Here are a few ways you can overcome the odds by shedding the excess baggage of self-doubt and pushing ahead with full confidence:

1)Seek out constant improvement
The workplace can be an intimidating place. Countless individuals have more knowledge and experience than you. But remember, everyone started out the way you did, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, focus all your energy on learning about the business. Improve constantly and learn everything you need to know. This can help you perform better and, in turn, create a positive impact on your confidence level

2)Identify and play to your strengths
All project management professionals are not alike. Each one may have a different set of skills and a unique approach to tackling problems. While it is easier to choose the same path that has worked for previous Project Managers it is much more prudent to figure out what works the best for you as an individual. Even if you do your job extremely well, it rarely helps you gain confidence to follow in the footsteps of others rather than create your own identity Only when you are aware of your own competence could it translate itself into confidence.

3)Get Certified
Never underestimate the power of a certification in boosting your confidence. If you’re feeling insecure about the level of knowledge and skills you have, then try studying project management. Enroll yourself in a PMP exam review course and attempt the PMP exam. Not only will it improve your project management knowledge, but, the Project management certification will also be highly recognized by your peers. This, in turn, will empower you to compete confidently in the professional environment.

4)Fake it till you make it
If your confidence level is not up to the mark, do not let others on your team know it. Even if you pretend to be confident, you’ve won half the battle right there. Maintain a fresh attitude and the right body language. Dress smartly to work, stand tall, put on a smile and maintain a calm composure even in times of distress. Eventually, you’ll start to feel real confidence because your team will start believing in you.

5)Form a support system
As a project management professional, planning a project or making important decisions all comes down to you, right? Wrong! If you do not know something, it’s better to own up to it and seek from people who do know about it. Give importance to other experienced people, form a support system and value their contribution to the team. This approach not only makes you feel more confident in the decisions you make, but it also helps maintain a positive attitude in the team.

A sheer lack of confidence can be a stumbling block on your career path. Ups and downs are commonplace, but with a confident attitude and belief in your abilities you can steer the project to success.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:18 AM

Five Reasons for Failing the MCAT

  • 09 May, 2016

Perhaps the most dreaded word in the dictionary of pre-meds is the MCAT. With the power to decide the future of medical aspirants, the test is challenging and daunting at the same time. It is not unusual for first time test-takers to fail the MCAT. However, if you’re looking for ways to guarantee success on your first attempt, you should know where and why most pre-meds go wrong.

We give you the five common reasons for failing the MCAT:

The rushed up study routine
There’s a lot of difference between skillfully crafting a painting and hastily throwing a few colors together on canvas. The same goes for your MCAT prep. Cramming information a few weeks before your scheduled test is going to lead you nowhere. Not only do you skip key pieces of information, but you also end up doing a botched-up job of revision and practice.

What to do: Allot at least three months for your MCAT prep.

Wrong course material
The choice of study material is entirely dependent on what works for you the best. However, in a bid to save few bucks, pre-meds make the mistake of opting for free online course material. Such materials provided by un-reputed education service providers are often filled with errors.

What to do: Refer course materials recommended by top service providers only. EduMind’s online MCAT course provides students with customized handouts prepared by experts.

The ‘I’m invincible’ vibe
No war in the history of mankind was ever won single-handedly. If you think you can do your MCAT prep without help, then you can never be more wrong. You might have bought the right course books and charted the perfect study schedule. So, what could go wrong? First time test-takers need to be aware that the MCAT is unlike any other exam they’ve ever faced throughout their pre-med years. The right guidance is required in order to ace the MCAT.

What to do: Join EduMind’s Online MCAT prep classes to avail expert guidance and a comprehensive review of the course.

Not identifying strengths and weaknesses
Every individual has his/her own set of strengths and weaknesses that define him/her as a person. When it comes to MCAT prep, failing to identify your weakness and working at it, is one of the main reasons for failing the MCAT.

What to do: Avail EduMind’s Core Specific Training to gain a comprehensive overview on MCAT sections that you find difficult. From Physical Sciences to CARS, the online MCAT course helps you strengthen your core knowledge.

Exam jitters
Clearing MCAT is a Herculean task but it is also your doorway to becoming a doctor. It’s instinctive to be afraid, but letting fear override your senses is a no-go. Several pre-meds blamed a sheer lack of confidence as the main reason for failing. No matter how good your online MCAT prep is, you’ll need to keep your focus before and while taking the actual exam to succeed.

What to do: Talk to your peers to calm your nerves. EduMind allows students to avail the discussion forum feature with its online MCAT course. You can also take up meditation to deal with pre-MCAT stress

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:32 AM

The Outstanding Benefits of One-on-One MCAT Training

  • 05 May, 2016

Nurturing the medical career ambitions of a student starts with choosing the right MCAT prep course. While a long list of factors influence the choice of the course, a quality One-on-One training takes the highest priority.

One-on-One MCAT training motivates students towards better performance and most importantly equips them with the information to take on the exam . Read on to find more reasons to opt for this method of study.

The Outstanding Benefits of One-on-One MCAT Training
Personalized Attention
Every student is unique and so are their weaknesses and strengths. One-on-One MCAT training focuses on individual needs and fosters improvement with the help of an experienced tutor. This helps in reducing pressure and maximizing learning.

Easy access to subject experts
The tutor works closely with the student and guides him/her through every step towards success. With time, the student develops a stronger bond with the tutor which allows them to be comfortable making mistakes and correcting them. This leads to higher self-confidence and self-assurance.

Have every question answered
There will be no questions unanswered or no concept beyond comprehension while taking the One-on-One training . From specific subject-wise questions to clarifications related to presenting the MCAT, the course offers a wholesome solution to all types of students.

Customized learning schedule
It is imperative that one must allocate sufficient time to an exam like the MCAT where students are tested in-depth across an extensive area. Going through coursework, having a social life and extra-curricular activities and yet finding a suitable time slot to prepare for the MCAT is no easy task . With One-on-One training becomes flexible and the tutoring helps students to work through the multiple hours a day study at their convenience.

Interesting and innovative
Exciting features of the training like drill sessions, quizzes and crossword puzzles makes learning less monotonous and allows students to enjoy the process thoroughly. Most students in the past have in fact reviewed these innovative learning techniques and found it to be a strong boost to their confidence levels.

Forums for further discussions
While some students may fret over the fact that online courses deprive them of the chance of interaction with fellow students, the One-on-Onetraining sessions from reliable sources offer discussion forums for easy sharing of feedback and clarifications among the peer groups.

Sufficient Resources
The One-on-One training sessions are accompanied with many resources that include subject material, practice tests, question banks and simulation tests. There could probably be no better source of preparing for MCAT than the synergy that comes from great tutors, outstanding study material and focused learning methods.

An online One-on-One MCAT training course that has these features and offers the subsequent benefits can be the key to unravelling the multiple complexities of exam preparation. With the right selection of MCAT prep course, the rest will automatically fall in place.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:40 AM

5 Effective Tips to Prepare For PMP Exam as a New Mum

  • 04 May, 2016

As a new mom the chances of losing out on any lucrative opportunity is relatively higher. While going back to the routine of work, corporate parties, business meetings and lazy weekends take a backseat that shouldn’t deter a new mom from preparing for the moment when the time is right to pursue a challenging career again. The early phase of motherhood can also be used to prepare for better career opportunities.

Here is a list of tips to keep the young mother inspired and mentally determined to take on the PMP challenge.

Start with a reliable partnership
The PMP exam review course that is offered through a reliable organization with flexible timings and regular tests is the foremost step in preparing for the PMP exam. In fact PMP training organizations provides new mothers a positive approach to begin their career again after a long break.

Let your family know what you think
Family plays a vital role in empowering the woman of the home, be it in education, career or sports. Let your partner know your career plans in advance. Involve him in the decision making process as this inspires him to provide support. Talk to parents and other close family members (like siblings or cousins) and let them know what your next step is. Family extends its help by offering to babysit your little one at regular intervals, giving away some useful study tips and also helping you with the chores at home.

Eat healthy, stay fit
There is no way to crack the challenge without a healthy mind and body. While the last few months have been filled with days of lazing around and sleeping during odd hours with the baby, it is time to get some routine back into your life. Introduce some physical activity like yoga or a long walk with the baby to ensure you stay fit. Eat healthy and keep the mind fresh from unwanted thoughts. Focus on career goals and keep reminding yourself about what you want to achieve.

Look for audio resources or podcasts
Listening to a few lectures as you relax with your baby or make a meal to absorb key concepts effortlessly. This is efficient and also largely time-saving.

Be flexible and take time
Develop positive attitude and the adventurous spirit. Strike a balance between between professional activities and familial responsibilities. Enjoy an occasional trip to the beach side, spend time with family, bake a cake and do not be too harsh on yourself while preparing for the PMP exam. Relax and take each step slowly but steadily.

By the end of all this planning that goes into acing the PMP exam, you would have already acquired 50% of the best project management skills. The PMP review exam course and training will make the PMP exam as easy as pie.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:10 AM

The Feel Good Factors of PMP Boot Camp Courses

  • 29 April, 2016

Project Management Professional certification (PMP) provided by PMI is your key to a globally recognized professional career with growth unbound. The certification can be easily achieved by preparing for the exam by enrolling for PMP boot camp courses or PMP prep course training.

PMP boot camps are short-term rapid revision/training classes that help project managers and students gain a quick grip on the exam syllabus. PMP boot camp courses are usually conducted when the exam dates are approaching. This is the right time when revision under a learnt tutor is necessary. The benefits of PMP boot camp courses are plenty, some of which we are going to discuss in this article.

Training provided by highly qualified tutors
PMP boot camp training courses are handled by experienced tutors with high academic credentials. All of them happen to be PMP qualified project managers who have real life experience in project management. Their insights in the field does come to aid in improvising the learnability of aspirants. The tutors are also easily reachable through email and other online mediums, making it easy for you to clarify your doubts from a place convenient to you.

Effective revision within a short span of time
PMP boot camp courses are conducted in a span of four days or two to four weeks. You will receive a quick teaching session that covers important topics expected in the exam. Topics of high importance will be discussed in detail to strengthen the understanding of the student. PMP boot camp courses also help students prepare through an online program that benefit the merits of a short term classroom training easily.

Cost-effective and practical way of learning
PMP boot camp courses cost around one fourth of a full-fledged PMP training program. It cost varies from one fourth to half the price of a full course depending on the period of class you are going to enroll. Either ways, Boot camps are cost-effective and offer students value for money. The quality of the course is not compromised and is handled by qualified project managers who are subject matter experts as well as recognized education providers. Additionally, if you are a PMI member, the cost of PMP boot camp courses and study material could be far less than what others usually pay.

Aids continued professional education for project managers
Not every project manager will have the convenience of attending full scale PMP training program. PMP boot camp courses give them the opportunity to further their professional training without having to spend lengthy amounts time, usually in months for attaining the certification. PMP boot camp training serves the same purpose but in a shorter span of time, which is what a working professional requires.

Online PMP boot camp courses
Online training ensures that you are able to continue your learning from a place convenient to you. Online courses provide the ambiance of an actual training program and are beneficial to those who’ve attended classroom based training but feel the need for extra input from a different source.

Conclusion
PMP boot camp courses help students strengthen their learning in a short span of time. They provide effective learning with the help of a highly qualified tutor with experience in project management.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:14 AM

How to Deliver Quality On-Time and On-Budget

  • 20 April, 2016

In today’s rapid ever-changing world, businesses want more for less and fast. Projects are expected to be turned around in the shortest time, within the leanest budget, demanding the best of practices possible while maintaining the highest industry standards. To meet these seemingly implausible expectations, the right balance of planning, monitoring, evaluating and controlling can make all the difference in project management. It enables bringing projects to completion on-time, on-budget and on-quality. Project objectives can be achieved by aptly leveraging certain project management processes, guidelines and techniques effectually.

By implementing the following best practices of project management, it could phenomenally help you reach your project objectives:


Plan the Project Work Plan
The idea of immediately beginning work on the project and jumping right into it, needs to be set aside. Create a project work plan that constructs project deliverables and manages the project. The time invested in planning the project will pay off with end results of reduced costs, quick turnaround time, right resources assigned, reduced leeway for errors and improved quality of the project’s life. Once the work plan is approved, it becomes the foundation from which to build upon and grow. If you are not confident of how to manage a project plan, completing the PMP test will give you the push in the right direction. By completing the PMP test you get the opportunity to brush upon the fundamentals of project management.

Monitor the Work Plan’s Agenda and Budget
Now that the work plan is in place, execution of project work can commence. However, periodically and regularly, keep a tab on the Agenda created by the work plan and ensure the project timelines are not deviating from the set path. Constantly keep a check on the budget and update the statuses or raise flags if required. While challenges might come your way, proactively work towards completing the project within the original effort, cost, and duration. Cost and Time are crucial factors at any level of project management and these two important knowledge areas are covered in the PMP boot camp training class.

Evaluate Scope-change Management Procedures
Over and beyond the effectual management of the project’s agenda and budget, managing scope is another very important factor to look into. Effectively try to establish stringent scope-change management procedures in place. If you are unsure about how to go about it, a quick 4-day boot camp at a PMP class will greatly help you. Scope creep (a series of small scope changes) apparently is one of the top reasons that result in project failures resulting in projects to be not delivered on-time and on-budget. Ensure to focus and track scope creep.

Control Risks and Resolve Issues
By identifying the risks up front, it will help in quickly mitigating the impact the risk might have on the project without creating any further problems. The possible risks and its associated impacts needs to be gauged. The high-risk events that have been identified should have strong backup plans in place to ensure they do not occur. Along with the risk management and assessment process, ensure that on a constant basis the varied issues that rise up are immediately being given attention and resolved in a timely fashion. One must be equipped with good knowledge of risk management to handle such a situation. It would help to attend a 4-day classroom PMP boot camp training course, to quickly garner knowledge on one of the key PMP knowledge areas – Risk Procurement.

Therefore, by diligently planning, monitoring, evaluating and controlling at varied levels of the project, you are well on your way to deliver quality on-time and on-budget!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:58 AM

How To Improve Reading Speed and Ace MCAT CARS Section?

  • 14 April, 2016

The infamous Verbal Reasoning, now known as CARS, has been difficult for most people taking the MCAT. The reason is that the section doesn’t only test your pace of reading, but is purely based on how well you can read and comprehend. Over a decade of English classes and several online MCAT classes later, something as simple as reading shouldn’t be hard to pull off right? Wrong! With the timer ticking away and the complexity of questions asked in the exam, many students buckle under the pressure.

Here’s how you can improve your reading speed and ace the dreaded MCAT CARS section:

Read every day

Irrespective of whether you enjoy reading or not, you’ll need to read every day at least for the sake of your score on the MCAT. Begin your day by reading the newspaper. Don’t just stick to the entertainment section as you’ll need to train your mind to read even the most boring pieces of information. Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes to reading and make it a habit for at least 6 months prior to your MCAT exam.

How To Improve Reading Speed and Ace MCAT CARS Section?
Skim through the material

One of the most important tricks in speed reading is skimming. Force your eyes to move very fast and skim through each sentence, picking up only a few words before moving on to the next sentence. Keep practicing until you refine your technique. Although this technique may not give you more than 60% comprehension, it is enough to navigate through most of the questions in CARS.

Create questions

Speed readers are generally not good at comprehension. To improve your comprehension skills, learn to formulate questions. Take a look at the question asked and at the options provided. Create your own questions based on the options and speed read to find answers. This will help your mind become more focused and discard useless information.

Adapt your reading speed

You need to learn to change your reading speed according to the type of content you’re reading. Skimming through the material first should give you a good idea of the level of difficulty associated with it. A good reader must speed up while reading easier content and slow down while reading difficult content.

Take up practice tests

Even good readers lose their comprehension ability if they aren’t confident enough. The only way to overcome the nerves and become more adept at answering CARS questions is by taking practice tests. While online speed reading tests are a good place to start, it is better if you opt for practice tests that are tailored to fit the MCAT format. Enroll into an online MCAT prep course to take practice tests.

Assess yourself regularly

Regular assessment is necessary to give you a good idea of where you stand. Try to keep track of your reading speed and record it every week. Keeping tabs on your CARS section scores while taking up the practice tests accompanying your online MCAT classes. Work consistently to improve your score and test time.

If these steps are followed correctly, you can be sure of noticing a considerable increase in your reading speed and CARS section score.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:47 AM

Proven tips to improve your self-study habits

  • 14 April, 2016

If studying during your high school or college years was troubling for you then PMP training will be more challenging comparatively. As an aspirant of a self-study PMP exam prep training course, you will experience extreme pressure which needs to be dealt with effectively.

Here are some tips to ease your self-study PMP preparation that will improve your learning:

Automate your habits
It is a proven psychological fact that any habit which is repeated for three weeks regularly becomes routine. Make it a habit to wake up early, study at specific hours and follow a healthy diet regimen to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the grueling PMP exam.

Have conversations with qualified professionals
Qualified professionals are experienced sources of PM related information. You can get an insight on the key essential of how to pass the PMP Exam Review Course. Inquire about their study practices, strategies used and time management techniques that helped them achieve success.

Read and learn from various sources
Your PMBOK Guide is the holy grail for PMP certification. It is essential that you read from other sources- most importantly from industry related journals and magazines so that your learning improves significantly and your understanding of the subject is in par with a PMP certified professional.

Watch educational videos
Thanks to YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion and several other video sharing websites, education has become seamless. You can find thousands of training videos (both free and paid) to get maximum benefit out of your self-study PMP exam prep training course.

Link course learning to real life scenarios
PMP is applicable in daily life scenarios. Time management, resource allocation, deliverables management; every aspect of project management can be related to a real life scenario to deepen your understanding about project management.

Eliminate distractions
Too many distractions can hinder your learning ability. Social media, television, aimless chatting etc. can consume enormous amount of quality time that otherwise can be spent for studying. Eliminate them to improve your chances of obtaining a good grade in PMP certification.

Seek counsel
Learning is from a teacher and counsel is from an expert. As an aspiring Project Management Professional, it is necessary that you seek counsel from industry experts to gain a ground level understanding of what the present scenario requires of a PMP qualified professional.

Take a break
It is necessary for a student to take occasional breaks from the study regime. The brain needs some time recoup from the hard and tiring work it has been put through. Moreover, a break will strengthen your ability to remember concepts and theories after a short while. The ability to remember facts and concepts are integral to passing the PMP certification Training.

Conclusion
A self-study PMP exam prep training course is definitely useful for a student who is unable to attend classroom model courses. Self-study takes discipline and conscious effort from the student’s part. The above mentioned tips aim to improve the student’s self-studying abilities.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 06:54 AM

Key Factors of MCAT Training – Practice and Study Online

  • 13 April, 2016

There are many options for a prep course but what sets EduMind apart is the online study option. There are several factors that make online study and practice - better and convenient way to learn. Many students preparing for MCAT will agree that besides offering the convenience of studying from a location of their choice there are other aspects as well, that make MCAT online study a preferred method of studying.

If you are planning to take the MCAT for the first time or are attempting again, then the key factors of practicing and studying for the MCAT online will prove extremely beneficial and rewarding for you. Here’s why the factors will prove beneficial:

Economical

MCAT is an expensive test to take, but preparing for it online is definitely a small price to pay. You don’t have to travel or invest time in a classroom setting. Instead, you can benefit from a classroom like teaching experience and learn first hand from an engaging subject expert MCAT instructor. With several hours of instruction and practice, online resources, full length practice tests and access to practice material – preparing for MCAT doesn’t get any better than this.

Flexible schedule

Studying online can save a lot of time. Besides cutting down on travel time, the convenience of studying from a location of your choice serves as an added advantage. Travelling can be tiring and nerve racking sometimes, thus online studying offers the flexibility to schedule your study time at your own pace and convenience. Though, bad connectivity can also pose challenges to online studying, that’s a rare situation these days. Hands down, online studying offers the privacy and the appropriate ambiance for the demanding MCAT preparation.

Sample tests

Online tests are added incentives you can benefit from with online preparation. The option to assess your knowledge at any stage of the course helps you identify your strength and weakness. The assessment scores can help you prepare a customized plan and dedicate your time accordingly on the areas that need more attention.

Studying and practicing online tests give you an upper hand in tackling the actual exam.

At the end of the day, successful MCAT preparation starts when you put forward a well drafted study plan. Drafting a plan alone is not sufficient – executing it is also imperative. To sum it up these key factors of MCAT training make practicing and studying online easier and convenient.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:52 AM

Top 5 Lessons Learned from Successful Candidates Who Aced the PMP Exam

  • 11 April, 2016

Candidates who have taken the Project Management Professional certification (PMP) and have successfully passed it, hold a wealth of information that can be passed down. Learning from the experiences of professionals who have already passed the PMP certification is a huge step in the right direction of successfully taking the PMP Exam. Hearing what they have to say gives fresh insight on what to do or not to do, and accordingly you can create your own study plan. Finally, when it comes down to it, every individual has their own method of preparing for an exam, but it doesn’t hurt to see what worked for others.

The following are the top 5 lessons you can learn from and apply while preparing for your PMP exam:

Be thorough with the PMBOK Guide
First and foremost, it simply cannot be stressed enough how important the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide is for PMP exam preparation. This guide covers the essential fundamentals of project management in terms of knowledge, tools and processes. It is very important to read it cover to cover, as most of the questions in the exam come from this study material. It will greatly help you in answering most of the exam questions. The PMBOK Guide is one of the most important study materials you can ever review for passing the exam and achieving the PMP certification.

Invest in a Good Training Program and Good Course Material
Over and beyond the PMBOK Guide which is considered the single most important book, invest in a good training program and good course material. The internet is teeming with relevant information on the top training programs and course materials. You can choose one that seems to be well-reviewed and fits with your study plan and budget.

Disconnect between the PMI world and Real world
As a Project Manager, you will be incorporating your own management style. You might already have your own ideologies and views set on how to manage and succeed. While that is very well and good that it works for you, when appearing for the PMP exam, it’s a whole different scenario. There will be questions related to project management which can prompt varying answers and people tend to write from their own real-world experience. A disconnect presumably exists between the PMI way of project management and one’s real-world experience. A trick to getting through the PMP exam is to connect the real world with the PMI world.

Create a Study Plan
Chart out a study plan to help you stay on course. Try different sources of study material to achieve your goal. You could try to read books, download apps to your phone, listen to audio lessons, watch video material and so forth. The choices are plenty, and you can incorporate what works for you based on your busy life schedule and routine.

Dedicate Time towards Preparing for the Exam
Full-time professionals claim that to fare well in the exam, good amount of preparatory time is essential. The exam is neither difficult nor is it easy, but a good amount of preparation is indeed required. If you want time to be quantified, it seems around 150 hours comfortably spread over 3 months or so is likely to help you gather enough knowledge to tackle the PMP exam. So devote time towards PMP exam preparation.

In conclusion, by assimilating the information shared by successful candidates, it will help you garner a better grasp on the varied factors surrounding the PMP exam prep course and will make you feel more confident of the choices you make in preparing for the exam. All the best!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 08:58 AM

Importance of Communication in Project Management

  • 04 April, 2016

Communication plays an important role in any kind of project management. Failure to communicate in a timely manner will wreak chaos to any task and in the case of Project Management this can lead to delays or failure to complete the project. Project Managers who do not communicate effectively and efficiently are the reason behind the failure of most projects. Clearly, communication plays a quintessential role in any type of Project Management. By avoiding simple mistakes like “failure to communicate” bigger mishaps can be prevented ensuring the project is completed on time.

Aspiring Project Managers should enroll in a project management certification course to understand the know how’s of effective communication. PMI recognized institutes like EduMind help aspirants understand how to monitor the progress of a project. Effective communication is one of the parameters that’s prioritized and focused on, in project management training. Project management training will increase your chances to obtain better pay and achieve higher rank as well as further your ability to execute a plan that will result in project success.

Ideally in a project management training effective communication section would cover:

1 .Channels of communication
2. Information to be circulated
3. Information you should receive

Channels of Communication
It is important that open channels for communication of any sort related to the project are maintained. The channels of communication should be maintained with all levels of project staff and stakeholders. The delegation of any task should be done with clear communication to all levels of the staff. Failure to do so will lead to either the project failing or not starting at all.

Besides the job responsibilities, it is also important that the perils and precautions to be taken while carrying out a task is also communicated effectively. You do not want to be the one carrying the brunt if an unforeseen situation occurs.

Information to be circulated
Information to be circulated is another aspect that aspiring project managers can miss prioritizing. A well drafted project management training would showcase the importance of information that needs to be circulated as part of effective communication. Here is what the Project management training will guide you to do as a project manager

1. Emphasize the importance of keeping your team members from all levels well informed
2. Communicate your expectations from your team members- what, when and how things should be done.
3. Keep the seniors informed about the status of the project on a regular basis in order to carry out any risk assessment

Information to be received
Circulation of any job responsibility is imperative likewise receiving updates and changes in task should also happen in a timely manner to avoid wasting time and resources. Having complete access and receiving information on timely basis about a project is also part of effective communication. All that is required is prompt follow up in advance and check for any new changes before executing or delegating a particular task.

A project management training course would focus on the aspects that emphasize on adhering to a system of regular and focused communication. Effective two-way communication will avoid misinterpretation and delay resulting in successful project management.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:51 AM

How To Create The Perfect MCAT Study Schedule?

  • 21 March, 2016

Achieving success doesn’t come easily. No matter how great or trivial a task maybe, planning ahead shoots up your chances of success. The same goes for MCAT prep. With lot of time constraints, pre-meds find it extremely difficult to squeeze in 300+ hours for MCAT prep and online MCAT classes. The best way you can beat the odds and ace the MCAT is by planning a perfect study schedule.
While the perception of what’s “perfect” may differ from person to person, we bring you the ideal way you can chart a study plan:

How To Create The Perfect MCAT Study Schedule?


Familiarize
Before charting out a proper plan, it is wise to know what exactly you’ll be dealing with. Know how the exam will be administered, what will be asked, the number of sections and questions etc., before proceeding. The AAMC Official Guide to MCAT gives a detailed overview of what the MCAT is all about

Determine length of study
Ever wondered how there’s always that one kid in class who claims to study for a few hours and still gets an A+? This is purely based on an individual’s competence in the subject. While some may grasp concepts quickly, others may struggle with the same. So, give the outline a look and figure out the approximate amount of time you’ll need. After all, no one knows you better than yourself.

Weigh out your strength and weaknesses
Go through all the sections of the MCAT and rate each section according to their difficulty. Are you quite the whiz when it comes to Physical Sciences? Then push off your study for the section towards the very end of your planned prep. If you’re finding a section too difficult to cope with, don’t waste time trying to make sense of it. Instead, enroll into an online MCAT course like EduMind’s Core Specific Training at once and make your online MCAT prep easier.

Plan each day
Once you’ve followed all the above steps, here comes the most crucial part: How should your day begin and end? Most argue that studying hard every day is the key to passing the MCAT. However, we believe that studying smart is more important. Do not overdo it and keep the prep time per day to a minimum, say, 3 hours. Enrolling into an online MCAT course during the weekend is another way to minimize the prep time you spend each day.

Give it a rest
Remember, you do have a life beyond your MCAT prep. Your hobbies, your passion, your creative instincts – do not kill them all to give way for your MCAT prep and online MCAT classes. Dedicate at least one day in a week to do non-MCAT stuff. This will help your mind relax and eliminate pre-MCAT stress. So, while planning the study schedule, be kind to yourself and consider your other interests as well.

With these steps you can chart out the ‘perfect’ study schedule. Follow the study schedule sincerely and watch as MCAT success follows you.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 09:59 AM

How to find out your PMP exam eligibility?

  • 21 March, 2016

In the modern business setup, the entire functionality is divided into different project models. These are handled by skilled project managers and their teams. In such a scenario, the PMP credential is the most coveted and sought after. If you’re looking for a way to step up your career and acquire a PMP certification, it is first necessary to identify if you’re eligible for it. Individuals holding the title of Project Manager with years of relevant experience are eligible to take the PMP exam. However, what if you hold a position and you do a lot of project management even without the Project Manager title? What if you have several years of experience performing project management activities as a team member?


If you relate to the above mentioned scenarios, but are unable to figure out if you’re eligible for the PMP exam, then read on:

Read the handbook carefully

The first thing you need to do in order to figure out if you’re eligible is to download the PMP handbook provided by the Project Management Institute.

Focus on the sections that shed light on the eligibility and requirements for the PMP exam. The eligibility section speaks about the basic requirements such as educational background, project management education and project management experience. The handbook also contains sections that explain the application process in detail. Learn how work experience is counted when applying for the PMP Certification exam. Remember, it is not the title that’s important, but the project management duties that accompany your title. Project manager or not, you’re still eligible for the PMP exam, provided, you meet the guidelines mentioned in the handbook.

Overcoming the odds

While trying to go through the eligibility criteria, you may feel yourself lacking in some aspects. Determine whether it is possible to equip yourself with the necessary requirement to fulfil the eligibility criteria. If yes, figure out how you’re going to act upon it. For instance, PMI requires 35 contact hours as a minimum requirement to attempt the PMP test. If you do not have them, try attaining the contact hours through feasible means. EduMind’s PMP exam review courses provide the required 35 contact hours to fulfil your eligibility requirement.

Read the PMP content outline

It is important to identify whether the roles and responsibilities handled by you comply with the requirements of the course content. Download a copy of the PMP exam content outline from PMI’s website. The outline allows you to gain an understanding of the tasks described and compare with those you’ve most likely carried out at work. The outline covers the general tasks of a project manager in an organization. Although you’re not expected to be responsible for all the tasks described in the outline, you should be able to identify with a majority of them. This ensures that you meet the eligibility requirements of the PMP exam

Update resume and compare:

If you haven’t done it already, then it’s time to update your resume and list out all the recent projects you’ve been involved in. Give a detailed overview of the responsibilities that you were assigned and what your everyday tasks included. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself if you meet all the eligibility requirements from step 1. Have you worked to fill the gaps in the PMP exam requirement as mentioned in step 2? Do the roles and responsibilities listed out in your resume match a majority of the tasks from step 3? If your answer is ‘yes’ to these questions, then you most likely are eligible.

Call customer care to double check

If you’re still unsure and apprehensive about making a PMP application, contact PMI’s customer care to help you with any queries you may have. Send an email to customercare@pmi.org and the PMI’s helpful staff will put your worries to rest.

With these steps, you can determine if you’re eligible to take up the PMP exam and can proceed with the PMP application process.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 07:33 AM

Looking Beyond Getting a PMP Certification

  • 03 March, 2016

Obtaining PMP Certification demands dedication. From attending PMP training courses to passing the PMP tests a lot goes into becoming a PMP certified professional. However, looking beyond getting a PMP certification can also contribute towards your professional attributes as a project manager. Such as:

Developing Emotional Intelligence

An important trait of a project manager is emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to communicate one’s emotions in a pleasant manner, thereby handling interpersonal relationships tactfully. Without emotional intelligence, a person could act impulsively or overreact to situations. Such knee-jerk reactions could be detrimental to one’s career and burn-bridges with colleagues and acquaintances. In order to avoid these situations, it is important that an aspiring project manager consciously practices the craft of emotional intelligence throughout his or her professional journey.

Honing Your Soft Skills

While going through your PMP Certification training, you can also invest time in improving your soft skills. Honing soft skills can help you conduct yourself well at formal occasions. For instance:

Conversational etiquette - avoid certain topics at formal gatherings. This includes personal problems, politics, religion, and other touchy issues that could harm beliefs and sentiments of those present at formal gatherings.

Sense of humor - have a healthy sense of humor. This goes a long way in establishing good professional relations. While you may be fun to be with, it is important to time your humor appropriately to make a good impression on your colleagues. When attempting humor, ensure that you adhere to cultural, religious, and political sensitivities and keep your humor lighthearted and in good taste to make a positive impression on your colleagues.

You can observe people in formal and social settings however, perfecting soft skills comes only with constant practice.

Being Well Informed

While a PMP training equips you with knowledge about core project management, it is important to be well-informed about all that’s happening in the world around you. To stay abreast with latest news, you can adopt the following strategies:

•Talking to people from various cultures.
•Reading on local, national, and international issues.
•Subscribing to management-related magazines to keep pace with latest trends in your industry.
•Making use of social media to engage in healthy debates on key issues to gain more perspective.
•Having a constant thirst to know more.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 05:44 AM

All you need to know about the new PMP Exam

  • 29 February, 2016

As a project manager, if you want to take your career development to the next level, there’s only one way to do so - acquire the PMP certification. The PMP Exam is the only barrier that stands between you and your dreams of stepping out of your current corporate doorstep. PMI recently announced that the PMP exam has been revamped, with changes in effect from January 11, 2016. With several aspirants lining up to take the PMP exam, the fact that the PMP exam has been changed has raised a lot of questions amongst PMP aspirants.

If you’re concerned about what the new changes could mean for you, here’s an overview of what the new PMP exam is all about. Read on:

PMP Exam

Why the sudden change is necessary?

The PMP exam is an accurate reflection of the tasks carried out by project managers on a daily basis. Practices change over time and so does a project manager’s role. In order to keep pace with the changes, the PMI conducts a Role Delineation Study (RDS) every few years. If PMI didn’t regularly change the PMP Exam, PMP aspirants would still be tested on techniques that have long become obsolete and irrelevant.

What stays the same?
1. The eligibility criteria for taking the PMP exam remains unaltered

2. The new PMP exam remains a Computer-based test with 200 multiple choice questions to be answered

3. The reference book – PMBOK Guide fifth edition – remains the same.

4. The five domains – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing will be the same

5. The PMP Exam structure score report isn’t changing either

What has changed?
All the PMP aspirants who’ve been frantically looking for answers to this question can breathe a sigh of relief. The changes are minimal! So all the PMP exam prep courses you’ve attended and hours of PMP training you’ve acquired wasn’t for nothing.

Change 1:
Though the domains remain the same, the allocation of questions has slightly been altered. Specifically, percentage of questions in the Executing section has been raised to 31% while those in the Closing section have been brought down to 7%.

Change 2:
The new PMP Exam Outline includes modification of a few tasks and removal of a few. The most notable changes made are the addition of 8 new tasks, raising the number from 34 to 42.

Domain NameTask Number
Initiating3
Planning1
Executing 2
Monitoring & Controlling 2
ClosingNothing

The key changes made in the PMP exam based upon the new tasks include:
1. Emphasis on Business Strategy and Business realization

2. Project Charter Responsibility

3. Values of Lessons Learned

4. Enhancing Stakeholder relationships

Change 3:
Nearly 25% of the new PMP exam content is focused on the topic areas covered under the eight new tasks. This means that a sizeable number of questions will be based on entirely new areas.

Change 4:
Even though principles behind a majority of the tasks remain the same, some of the language and the terminology used have been altered.

What’s the best exam prep approach?
1. First, stay calm. The changes are minimal and there’s no need to push the panic button.

2. Read PMI’s updated Content Outline thoroughly

3. The reference book remains the same, but you’ll need to ensure that all your exam preparation material reflect what’s required for the new PMP exam.

4. We have updated our study materials to fit the current PMP exam model. This means that if you’re enrolling into a PMP exam prep course with us, you don’t have to worry about the new changes at all!

5. If you’ve already undergone PMP training and are looking for ways to update yourself on the new topics, consider enrolling yourself for a PMP boot camp.

6. Take the practice tests that have been updated with new questions.

Remember, you already have years of extensive knowledge and work experience. Add a few study hours and PMP training to the mix, and that’s it, you’re all set to take on the new PMP exam!

Posted by EduMind Inc - 12:29 AM

5 Tips To Make Preparation for The MCAT Exam Effective

  • 16 February, 2016

Tip 1: Give Yourself Enough Time
MCAT preparation involves a laundry list of tasks—from registering for MCAT Exam Preparation courses to gaining study material, devising your own preparation strategy and multiple practice sessions. Therefore, having decided to become a medical professional, it is wise to give yourself enough time to prepare for the MCAT So start early, take your time, and study smart and efficiently.

Tip 2: Take Measured Breaks to Keep Yourself Refreshed
Once you start on MCAT Exam Review Courses, it is important to study at a constant pace. So when it is one of those days when you just don’t feel like studying, it is important that you don’t give in to the urge. Instead, do something fun for a while, get energized, and then continue with your study schedule. For instance, listen to one of your favorite playlists, catch up on a movie, or just take a nap before you begin with your preparation for the day.

Tip 3: Prepare with the Focus of Gaining Knowledge
Most successful medical professionals never really aim at the average score. Instead, they focus on gaining insight into subjects that they love. So when you look at an MCAT study guide, consider it as a book of knowledge that is meant to fascinate and inspire you to learn, and not just help you reach your ideal score. It’s imperative that you focus on gaining knowledge and in depth understanding of the subject and not just the intention to score well.

Tip 4: Practice Tests with Friends
It is a good idea to enroll into an MCAT prep class. It is even better to network with your classmates and study together. As part of group studies, you can also take up practice MCAT tests with your friends and discuss the answers at the end of every test. By doing so, you end up learning more in less time and you don’t feel the pressure of preparation.
Tip 5: Keep Healthy
Studies reveal that after hours of studying, taking a nap helps retain knowledge better. Additionally, it is also important to keep your brain healthy by staying hydrated, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and keeping a relaxed mindset throughout your MCAT preparation period.

Tip 6: Learn From Your Mistakes
After attempting every MCAT practice test, it is important to analyze your areas of strengths and weaknesses. This helps you to steer your MCAT preparation in the right direction. For example, if you score low in a particular subject in an MCAT practice test, you can opt for an EduMind core-specific program that can strengthen your grasp on that particular subject.

Posted by EduMind Inc - 10:03 AM