Category: Training for students preparing for Project Management Professional (
BrainBOK is an online, reasonably-priced project management training program and toolkit for students preparing for
I’ve reviewed the product in depth so I can confidently recommend it. In this review, I’ll share more about
Cost and plans
There’s a free version to allow you to test out a limited number of features.
It’s also cheaper if you take the pack for a shorter period of time, but I wouldn’t recommend it: 90 days (3 months) is the commonly-recommended time to get ready for your exam.
If you don’t want all the training materials, you can buy the elements separately:
- an exam pack to work through the exam simulator and test yourself
- the ITTO pack
- the flashcards pack.
Oh, and there’s a money back guarantee!
BrainBOK is an app from Harwinder Singh, the project management expert behind the
Inside the BrainBOK app you have:
Understanding the ITTOs with
Now the Seventh Edition of the
It shows you the complete set of processes and the ITTOs that go with them.
Click a process and you’ll get the description and details of that process. You’ll also see the inputs, outputs, tools and techniques, plus a list of where the data flows in from and goes out to. Drill down and see the page reference number from A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (
Within the Explorer, you can toggle between grouping them by Process Group or Knowledge Area so you can test yourself in different ways. However… again it’s worth repeating that process groups and knowledge areas do not exist in the 2021
- Project management models
- Common project management artifacts
- Performance domains
- Project management principles
The ITTO Explorer is all clickable so you can explore the processes and how they interact with each other, and it works perfectly on mobile! So important for when you want to study on the move.
Take A Quiz
The whole point of online training systems is to learn things, so you want to know how well you are doing at retaining the knowledge, right?
You can test yourself on all areas where questions come up in the
Here’s an example of a quiz question. Don’t look at my score! I promise that in real life I’m better at stakeholder management than that.
I’m not a massive fan of flashcards although I know they work for some people. Personally I prefer to write out my own as the process of creating them helps me remember them.
However, for your commute or when you’re on the go it can be helpful to have digital flashcards as a memory jog.
You can bookmark them and note that you got the answer correct or incorrect. If flashcards are your thing,
PMP Mock Exam Questions
One of the things that has helped me most in the past is taking a mock exam and practice questions. Practicing under exam conditions gives you a feel for what the real exam is going to be like.
I would definitely advocate taking
BrainBOK has 6
The simulator is fun to use and easy, and I found it did not have a learning curve to get going. But the questions aren’t going to be 100% representative of what you see on the exam.
A unique feature is Mastery Mode that tracks and records areas that you need to work on, helping you improve as you study.
Whenever you get a question wrong or mark an exam question for review it gets added to your Mastery Mode personal database. Then go to take the Mastery Mode exam – this is a personalized exam for you based on what the system knows you have struggled with in the past.
Get the question right and it’s removed from your Mastery Mode database. Get it wrong and that area will continue to be tested until you’ve mastered the skill.
This is a really good way to make technology work for you and to minimize the amount of tracking you have to do yourself about areas that you find easy or hard.
Pros and cons
- Very affordable
- Provides 35 contact hours of formal training for your
PMPapplication (and therefore also meets the contact hours requirement for CAPM) — if you plan to apply for either certification you’ll know what a big stress reliever having your contact hours will be.
- Good range of exam questions
- Excellent ITTO explorer that really makes it clear what goes into which process and how the processes interact
- Flashcards save you the effort of having to make your own
- Fantastic reports and analytics that help you understand where you should be spending more study time.
There are a few things that I would like to see in
- More explanation of why you would choose to use each process and what they are for
- It’s purely self-study material: you have to be very disciplined about using the resources
- Wouldn’t it help you study more if you made your own flashcards? (Although I agree having them on mobile is a huge benefit for my commute)
- There are no video courses or tutor-led material, which you typically find with other online
- The ITTO Explorer is less relevant to the 2021 Exam Content Outline, although it is still good material to be familiar with for the actual ‘doing’ of being a project manager.
- No evidence that
BrainBOKmaterials reflect the 7th edition.
BrainBOK is a great way of making the
However, to be a great project manager in real life, I think you’d still benefit from other training material too.
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (also known as the PMBOK® Guide -- 7th Edition) is core reading as prep for PMI exams.
It's also a useful overview of ways of working, and this version includes The Standard for Project Managers too.
If you are new to project management, you would benefit from knowing this because it will help you do your job and give you more confidence in the workplace. It will also help you answer some of the exam questions, because you’ll be able to apply your everyday knowledge to the situations in the questions.
You can get this sort of background information from a companion
And if you are going for the
- Are studying towards
- Are self-motivated enough to create a study plan and use the materials
- Are prepared to read PMBOK 7 as well to supplement the material provided, for rounded exam prep.
- Are on a limited budget, or don’t want to spend too much money to get an easy way to meet your contact hours requirement.
If you like the idea of having a trainer guide you through the material, I recommend The PM PrepCast. If you need the interaction of a classroom and a live setting, check out what courses or prep classes are offered by your local PMI Chapter.
The strength of BrainBOK is in the performance analytics. Whether it is quiz questions, flashcards or exams, it’s easy to see your strengths and weaknesses with the data you get out of the tool.
This will help you spend more time on the areas that you struggle with. The mock
CAPM and PMP Prep Books
- The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try by Andy Crowe
- PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy
- CAPM Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide from PMI
- The 50 PMP Exam Questions Everyone Gets Wrong by Cornelius Fichtner