Want PMP® exam tips and tricks that you’ve probably never seen? Want to improve your PMBOK® memory dramatically in the next 10 minutes and all the PMP® acronym / mnemonic / memory aids in one place?

Good. Let’s get started.

The “skeleton” of the PMBOK® guide is the process chart. It is a good idea to have this memorized before your PMP® exam. For information on how to memorize this chart, check out our article here.

Using mnemonics will decrease your study time because your brain works in association. If you associate a concept that your brain already knows with a concept that it is trying to learn, your learning curve decreases dramatically.

Although you do not need remember all of the ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs) for all the processes, you do need to know the definition and function of all of the ITTOs.

Here are 3 mnemonic or memory aid to help you remember some ITTOs:  

Tip #1: Use BIRDS and CSI to remember the Tools and Techniques for Identify Risks.

In the Identify Risk process, two of the Tools and Techniques are Information Gathering Techniques and Diagramming Techniques.

  1. To remember the components of Information Gathering Techniques, use the acronym BIRDS.

Information Gathering Techniques = BIRDS




Root cause identification

Delphi technique

SWOT analysis

2) To remember the components of Diagramming Techniques, use the acronym CSI.

Diagramming Techniques = CSI


Cause and effect analysis

System or process flow charts

Influence diagrams

Tip #2: Use PIE and MEDS to remember the Tools and Techniques for Quantitative Risk Analysis.

In the Quantitative Risk Analysis process, two of the Tools and Techniques are Data Gathering and Representation Techniques and Quantitative Risk Analysis and Modelling.

  1. The components of Data Gathering and Representation Techniques can be memorized using the acronym PIE.

Data Gathering and Representation Techniques = PIE


Probability distribution


Expert Judgment

2) The components of Quantitative Risk Analysis and Modelling can be memorized using the acronym MEDS.

Quantitative Risk Analysis and Modelling = MEDS


Modeling and simulation (Monte Carlo simulation)

EMV analysis

Decision tree analysis

Sensitivity analysis (e.g. tornado diagram)

Tip #3: Use APES to remember the Tools and Techniques for Define Scope.

The tools and techniques for Define Scope are:

Alternative identification

Product analysis

Expert judgment

Stakeholder analysis


Tip #4: Use ATM and SEE to remember the tools and techniques for Risk Response Planning.

  1. Strategies for Negative Risks / Threats = ATM





2) Strategies for Positive Risks / Threats = SEE





From these 4 examples, I hope you are starting to see that to pass the PMP® exam, you need to come up with acronyms or mnemonics to help you remember project management concepts faster.

If you’ve already gone through the PMBOK® more than once, you have probably already started seeing many repeating ITTOs. Here are some of the most common ITTOs that you see in almost all the processes.

Common Inputs

  • Enterprise environmental factors (EEF)
    • The environment that your project is operating in
    • E.g. company culture, organizational structure, internal politics, PMIS
  • Organizational process assets (OPA)
    • The policies, procedures, and plans that you must follow for your project

Common Tools & Techniques

  • Meetings
    • When you gather stakeholders, team members or SMEs together to make decisions
  • Expert judgement
    • Experts or individuals or groups with specialized knowledge in a particular field (e.g. project sponsor, consultants, SMEs, team leaders, etc.)

Common Outputs

  • Change requests
    • Changes are inevitable on projects. All changes to your project management plan must be approved by the Change Control Board before they are implemented on the project.
  • Management plan updates
    • When a change is approved, the appropriate management plan must be updated to reflect this change before it is implemented. Execution cannot begin before planning is finished.

Other PMP® exam tips and tricks

Here are 7 other PMP® exam tips and tricks to help you understand definitions and differences between key related terms in the PMBOK®.

  1. Use this acronym to memorize the 7 basic quality tools: CCFRHPS

Take a Check Collection Form and Run to Hyderabad Public School.

Cause and Effect Diagrams.

Control Charts.

Flow charting

Run Chart


Pareto Chart

Scatter Diagram


For an in-depth article on the 7 basic quality tools, read it here.

  1. Constraints for human planning = CEO


Collective bargaining agreements

Economic conditions

Organizational Structure

  1. Project Statement of Work (SOW) describes:


Business Needed

Product Scope Description

Strategic Plan

  1. Quality assurance verse Quality control

Quality Assurance focusses on preventing defects in the process while the product is being created. On the other hand, Quality control is focussed on identifying defects in the product before it gets into the hands of the customers.

  1. Attribute sampling vs. Variable sampling

Attribute sampling is a binary Yes/No question. The purpose is to test for conformity. For example, is this product over 150g? If yes, accept. If no, reject.

Variable sampling takes into account the degree of conformity. It takes measurements along a continuous scale, and answers the questions “how much,” “how good,” or how bad.” E.g. What is the weight of the acceptable products (over 150g)?

  1. Common causes vs. Special causes

Common causes for variation are considered normal and part of the process. Special causes are not a normal part of the process and need to be fixed immediately.

  1. Precision vs. Accuracy

Precision is how many times you can hit the same point, not necessarily the target. Accuracy is how close you are to hitting the target. Accuracy measure the distance, while precision measures repeatability.  


Come up with your own memory aid?

I hope by going through this article, you can see how much faster you can remember the concepts in the PMBOK® by using memory aids. If you are having trouble remember a concept, make it a game for yourself and associate that concept with something that you are already familiar with.

In this way, you will remember things much faster and be closer to getting PMP® certified. To your success!


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