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Friday, 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.

EduMind Inc at 09:05

Thursday, 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.

EduMind Inc at 01:37

Friday, 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.

EduMind Inc at 08:09

Tuesday, 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.

EduMind Inc at 08:54

Tuesday, 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.

EduMind Inc at 08:38

Tuesday, 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. 

EduMind Inc at 09:03

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