Every three to five years, the Project Management Institute (PMI) updates the content for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. Starting January 2, 2021, a new exam will roll out based on the sixth edition of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide in combination with content contained in a new PMP Examination Content Outline document.
Why is there a change to the PMP exam?
PMI conducted a market research study of project management practitioners as part of the process of determining if updates were required to the PMP exam. The results of the study revealed current trends in the profession weren’t reflected in the older version of the exam. The updated version of the exam was created to reflect these salient trends.
Although the change to the exam might first seem like a hassle, it’s actually a good thing. By updating the exam regularly so that it reflects the current specific knowledge and skills required to function as a project management practitioner, PMI maintains the high level of credibility associated with the PMP certification (for example, it’s ISO-certified). Therefore, those who earn it can rest assured that the PMP certification will retain its value and clout over time.
Why is this important for preparing for the PMP exam?
There are noticeable differences between the PMP Examination Content Outline and the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide. Be sure to understand where the differences lie so that you can tackle all of the content when you’re studying.
Based on my experience, the best way to ace the PMP exam is to memorize the study content (FYI, I passed it on the first try in 2018). Cross-reference the PMP Examination Content Outline and the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide and make sure you’ve identified all of the information that can be on the exam so that you don’t feel ambushed with new information while writing it.
How will this impact you if you’re planning to take the PMP exam this year?
If you’re planning to write the PMP exam, the January 2, 2021 change to the exam content might put you in one of two boats:
- You’ve been intensively studying for a while based solely on the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide. If this describes you, make it your top priority to apply for the exam and set your exam date as soon as you can! Exam dates can fill up, and having a buffer of time between your exam date and December 31, 2020, will allow you to re-take the old version of the exam if you fail.
- You want to take the exam, but haven’t plunged into intensive studying yet. If this describes you, integrate both the PMP Examination Content Outline and the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide into your studying. Schedule your exam for January 2, 2021 or later.
Have a question about the PMP exam? Share it in the comments and I’ll get back to you.
This post was edited on April 9, 2020 to reflect the new date for the change to the exam due to COVID-19.
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