Looking for Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® training for your PMI certification?
You’re probably checking out a lot of training options and you’re here because you want to know if Brain Sensei is right for you. It might be… I’ve been through the course and I’ve got opinions about Brain Sensei!
In this review of Brain Sensei’s CAPM training , I’ll share who the course is most appropriate for, what to expect, the cost, the pros and cons and all the features you get included.
I’ve been working as a project manager for over 20 years (gulp) and I’ve written a pile of books about it, plus I’ve spent hours going through project management training so I can confidently share my thoughts on courses and providers. All to help you make the right choice about who to invest money with.
So could Brain Sensei be the perfect CAPM® course for you? Let’s find out!
Before we get started… some housekeeping.
What you need to know about the CAPM exam changes
PMI hasn’t yet announced a specific date for the CAPM 2023 exam changes, although we know some are coming. They changes will likely reflect the same changes that we saw for the PMP exam, to update the material in line with PMBOK 7 while still keeping PMBOK 6 as a reference text.
Until the exam officially changes, the Brain Sensei CAPM course is still valid. The team behind the Brain Sensei materials are also working in parallel to prepare for the changes, so if you purchase the CAPM exam prep package you’ll get access to all the updates within your subscription period.
Overview of Brain Sensei CAPM® Training
When I went through the first Module I was drawn in from the beginning – who doesn’t want to be the project manager who rallies the community to build a castle to protect our children and the village?
|Exam simulator included?||Yes|
|Education (contact) hours||35|
|Practice exam questions||4 practice exams (600 questions)|
|Guarantee||30-day refund guarantee and 100% “pass satisfaction” (terms apply)|
|Support||Facebook group, email sequence, and a full Brain Sensei FAQ section on their website. I didn’t have a reason to use the use the support, but other reviews say they provide awesome service.|
It’s online, video-based training that provides the 23 contact hours required to be eligible for the exam. I thought the course itself was really well put together. It actually made me want to learn about process groups, which is a rare thing. I can’t resist a puzzle.
Brain Sensei started out as a self-paced CAPM/PMP exam prep course, but now they offer a range of study options for people taking PMI certifications. The self-paced CAPM course is still a favorite of mine. It includes:
- 9 modules (same as their PMP course)
- A year of access to the content
- Exam simulator
- Knowledge assessments to test yourself
- The ‘storyline challenges’ are quite fun
- Spaced repetition system (this is really helpful for improving retention, which is the main thing you need to pass the exam: the ability to recall the key project management terms and concepts)
Complete CAPM® content
There are 9 modules which cover the full expectations from the CAPM exam content outline. I think you would also benefit from having a copy of the PMBOK® Guide (6th edition at the moment). You can get a PDF of that for free if you are a PMI member .
Each module is made up of lessons and they are short, which is helpful if you are juggling your exam prep and revision with work or family commitments.
The course takes you through the story and you find yourself learning (and remembering) the project management principles and key concepts.
You don’t have to take the modules in the order they are presented, but I would recommend it, as the content builds on what is covered in the previous modules.
So far, so expected. I have to say that most of the CAPM (and PMP) online self-paced courses provide the required contact hours and training materials that cover the exam content outline. The Brain Sensei difference is really in how the materials are presented; the story-based interactive video training. That’s a big advantage, but let me tell you about some of the other pros and cons now.
There is a lot of content to read on screen but it’s built on the Articulate platform and it’s highly interactive.
If you aren’t sure what that means, it means you get to touch the screen, select options, do self-assessment quizzes, drag and drop and all those kind of things.
Interactivity means you are more likely to remember what you’re learning, which should increase your chances of passing the exam. Having to engage with the materials means you improve your recall, because, you know, science.
Working through the key knowledge areas doesn’t feel like a chore.
Exam simulator and practice questions
There are also built-in knowledge assessments, that are designed to help you understand what you don’t know so you can focus in on revising those topics. This is really helpful to cut down the amount of time you spend studying.
Once you know you have a solid grasp of a topic, you can stop going over that module (for now anyway, I think it’s helpful to do a quick refresh before the exam) and move on to topics where you need more support.
There are also 4 full practice exams (with 600 realistic exam questions). I think it’s incredibly important to do full mock exams as well as work through quizzes because the exam is long and you need to be good at managing your time.
I highly recommend using an exam simulator – and Brain Sensei’s training package includes access out of the box with no additional charge.
They offer a 100% pass guarantee and will extend your access to the course if you don’t pass the certification exam. With a 99.6% pass rate, it seems unlikely that you will have to take advantage of it, but it is nice to know it is available.
Plus they have a 30-day refund policy if you decide it isn’t the course for you after you purchase – as long as you have only take one (or no) practice exam.
If you are an Apple Podcast user, you can watch a video walkthrough of the learning modules when you are offline. Both Android and Apple users can stream the animated stories via the Spotify and Apple Podcast apps.
Slow page load times
Some of the pages took a while to load. This probably says more about my internet connection on the shocking wifi in our house than the product, but do make sure you’ve got a decent connection before you start a study session – as you would with any online training course.
You can get cheaper courses. The PM PrepCast CAPM is cheaper but also has disadvantages. There are also cheaper courses on Udemy and LinkedIn Learning, but not necessarily ones I would recommend!
If cost is an issue for you, be wary of buying something that is cheap but not capable of doing the job of getting you prepared. Be very careful about choosing something that is a good fit so you can be sure you won’t have to invest in anything else afterwards.
Because it’s so interactive, there are lots of places to click. If you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts like me, then you’ll have to turn to the mouse.
Having said that, I now have a touch-screen laptop so that makes this level of interactivity more manageable as I can just touch the screen instead of having to use the mouse, and that’s easier on my hands than constant clicking.
12 months access
You only get access to the course materials for 12 months. Is that long enough? It should be.
Actually, this is an advantage, because if you can’t motivate yourself to study and sit the exam in a year, then CAPM probably isn’t for you.
If you do want access to the materials for longer, I expect you could reach out to the provider for an extension (and there may be a fee for this). However, you really should be aiming to study and take the exam within a fixed time period. The deadline on access to the training helps focus the mind.
How long does it take to complete Brain Sensei?
The content will take you 23 hours to get through the CAPM course. That doesn’t seem very long but you’ll still need to make a study plan to fit the exam prep into your life .
The course online help section says most people complete the material in 1-2 months (for PMP, they don’t specify a time frame for CAPM). I would say you can definitely be done in 3 months if you can make the time to study.
I should also point out that there is a monthly subscription option, so if you just wanted to buy it by the month for 2 months and cram all the content (for example, if you are currently out of work and using the time to get a project management certification), then you can do that too and it works out cheaper than buying the annual option.
The fact that you can access the materials on your tablet or phone makes it easy to fit learning around the rest of your responsibilities.
Is Brain Sensei approved by PMI?
Brain Sensei was approved by PMI under the Registered Education Provider (REP) scheme, and that’s how I first found out about them. The new accreditation scheme is the Authorized Training Provider program and Brain Sensei is not part of that.
However, you don’t need to take a course from an accredited program, and many people don’t. In fact, all the online, self-paced courses I have checked out are no longer accredited under the ATP scheme as it really seems designed for accrediting in-person training.
Rest assured that if you choose to do the Brain Sensei CAPM course, you will still get your 23 hours eligibility certificate and cover all the relevant content for the exam.
Who is Brain Sensei’s CAPM course best for?
Brain Sensei is best for people who know they have the self-motivation to want to study, and know they need exercises and interactivity to keep them engaged.
If you just want to play videos and listen to the materials without interacting, then there are other courses (PM PrepCast is my top alternative to Brain Sensei, although their CAPM self-paced course is being phased out) that will give you that.
Brain Sensei is great for people who don’t have a photographic memory! The whole learning approach is based around the science of remembering. The teaching philosophy is great and I really enjoyed working through the course materials.
If you are concerned that you won’t be able to memorize the content required for the exam, then don’t be. Brain Sensei’s advantage is that it is built from the ground up to help you recall and understand instead of just learning by rote.
- Self-motivated people
- Students who are concerned about being able to memorize everything for the test!
- Video learning is not for you
- The cartoon and story-based learning is too cutesy for you (although do the free trial and make that call based on your actual reaction, not how you think you might react to the content)
- Your employer will only pay for an accredited course
- You’ve already got enough experience to go straight for PMP. Check out Brain Sensei’s PMP training instead.
You might find their instructor-led course a better option, which is still delivered virtually but with a ‘real’ trainer.
Brain Sensei product comparison
The table below shows the different options available from Brain Sensei.
|Product Name / Primary Rating / Price||Best For / Primary Button|
Engaging Prep Course
Instructor-led Virtual Course Option
They also offer an instructor-led course that offers a few different options including a 5-day bootcamp style class, a weekend course, and a twice a week course spread over 5 weeks. This style of class gives you the opportunity to interact with other project managers and the instructor. It also comes with the self-study course.
Brain Sensei free trial
You can sign up for a free trial and click around inside the course to see what it’s like. I highly recommend you do that, because it will either give you the confidence to take the course or make you realize that it isn’t a good fit for your learning style. If you’re about to embark on your CAPM exam prep then check it out on the Brain Sensei website .
The trial will give you a sense of what the full course material is going to be like. You’ll get a taste of the full exam prep course, and be in a better position to make an informed decision about whether this is the course for you.
Summary: Is Brain Sensei CAPM training good?
I’ve never seen a project management training course with so much interactivity and engagement built into the course materials. Studying feels easy. The storyline is great. I was worried the cartoon-y-ness would be a bit childish but it was quite gripping.
Well, as gripping as project management training can be, let’s be realistic. It’s not a movie.
It’s a cost-effective course in comparison to live classroom courses, so sign up for the free trial and see how you get on!
If you learn well through video but need a good story to keep you engrossed in the material, this course will be perfect to help you prepare for the CAPM exam.
Ready to check it out? Use the discount coupon RGPM10 to get 10% off your purchase!
This article first appeared at Rebel’s Guide to Project Management