Exercise and Certification Exam Peformance

Posted on July 21, 2009 by


Cover of "Spark: The Revolutionary New Sc...

Cover via Amazon


From David Kohrell (aka CoachDaveK)

As of July 21, 2009, there are 124 core descriptions of project management.  We’ve indexed over 500 core learning objects across business analysis, human resource management, information technology, project management and quality management  disciplines.  A good number of those objects cross over those disciplines – for example group formation and development (forming, storming, norming, performing and reforming).

To help your understanding and mastery of those objects, over the last six months I’ve been researching the  impact of physical, spiritual and mental performance on each other. The gate swings all ways.  There’s some solid, reliable research out there to back it up.  Call it the body, spirit and mind game.   My interest is twofold:

  • from our work to help professionals achieve certification results as efficiently as possible and
  • my passion for exercise – primarily in triathlons, marathons and quests to reach milestones in each.

Exam Day

What started as “ten things to do before your PMP exam” five years ago has grown into a deeper passion of mine.  In looking at 9 certification exam experiences of mine since 2000, I did very well on 8 and so/so on 1.   One of the factors on the so/so one in 2004 was taking exam after a period of 2 weeks of semi activity and on depleted resources (lack of sleep, stress and poor nutrition).

Before my most recent exam (CBAP – certified business analyst professional –  in April of 2008) I purposely ran two miles (7 minute pace) , 30 minutes prior to the exam.  I had a good overall aerobic and anaerobic exercise week (30 mile running week and 3 strength training sessions).  I felt pumped, though sweaty.  Pity my fellow exam takers ;-).  My pulse was moderate through the experience – not spiking up. I got up twice to grab some water and finished the exam rather fast.  Now, my mental preparation wasn’t necessarily text book – I crammed during a 6 hour lay over at the St Louis airport.  Granted I had been immersed in the BA jargon for 15 years –still not the ideal prep.

So what?  We coach and recommend that exam takers get up and move around during an exam.  Prior to entering the exam we recommend aerobic exercise commensurate with the exam takers current level of fitness. It helps the different pieces and parts of the brain.    It will not replace adequate preparation!  It does help you reach the optimum mental state.

Day to Day Performance

I’ll share more on later blogs in terms of how it does that.  The essence of it is that we’re wired to move; as we move our brain thinks and learns better; as we move we also touch a spiritual pulse inside and the spirit and mind also propel our body to move.  The three are connected.

To complete this first “exermindspir” blog – I want to share two links to one of the works I’ve studied from Dr. John Ratey’s “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.”  Take a peek and let me know what you think!