The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is widely recognized as a benchmark for project management expertise. Recently, the PMP exam underwent significant changes, necessitating an understanding of what has changed and what remains the same. In this article, we will explore the new PMP exam, including updates to the content outline, exam format, and provide valuable tips to help you prepare for the PMP certification.
Understanding the New PMP Exam
The new PMP exam reflects the evolving landscape of project management practices and aligns with the latest edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide. It incorporates changes to ensure the exam remains relevant and validates the skills and knowledge required for successful project management.
What was Included in the previous PMP Exam?
2015 was the year of the biggest PMP Exam change. After this point the exam was based on five main areas with PMP exam questions weighted towards different ones. The five domains are listed below:
- Initiating – 13% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Planning – 24% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Executing – 31% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Monitoring / Controlling – 25% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Closing – 7% of Questions on the PMP Exam
The 2015 PMP Exam aimed its questions at a project’s lifecycle and the various stages it goes through, where there would be several tasks and questions within the previously mentioned 5 domains regarding it.
As you can see, the PMP Exam Content is designed to test the knowledge skills and experience of a Project Manager in order to certify that they can manage high level projects to industry standards.
Changes in the PMP Exam Content Outline
The PMP exam content outline underwent revisions to better align with the current project management practices. Some key changes include:
- Introduction of Agile and Hybrid Approaches: The new content outline emphasizes the inclusion of Agile and Hybrid project management methodologies, reflecting their growing prominence in the industry.
- Domain Changes: The content outline underwent modifications, resulting in a shift from five domains to three domains: People, Process, and Business Environment.
- Task Updates: The tasks within each domain were refined to reflect the evolving project management landscape and ensure relevance to real-world scenarios.
- Emphasis on Leadership Skills: The updated content outline places increased emphasis on leadership skills, highlighting their importance for successful project delivery.
Exam Format and Structure
The new PMP exam follows a revised format and structure. Key aspects include:
- 180 Questions: The exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions that cover the three domains.
- Exam Duration: The exam has a time limit of 230 minutes, providing approximately 1.28 minutes per question.
- Focus on Scenarios: The exam presents questions in the form of scenarios, testing your ability to apply project management knowledge to real-world situations.
- Computer-Based Testing: The new PMP exam is computer-based, offering a streamlined and efficient testing experience.
The Content Crossover Map and How This Involves the 2021 New PMP Exam
The Project Management Institute released a content crossover map to support candidates in discovering and understanding how the PMP Exam content areas have changed.
This helps both candidates and training providers understand what exactly is new, what can still be used as well as what no longer applies in the newest PMP Exam. It is important that candidates take advantage of this document to see what areas they may need to practice, study or review before taking on the newest PMP exam.
PMP Exam Content: How do the new domains reflect the 2015 Exam Content?
As mentioned, the five domains have been refined into three, which has resulted in a complete reorganization of the exam. However, there are certain areas that connect and can be reused.
For example: The process domain should be fairly familiar to anybody that has taken a previous test or worked with the 2015 version. Half of the exam is based around processes, therefore it is important for a candidate to stay ahead of modern systems, but a lot of content already exists for this domain.
The people domain however is completely new, and with it filtering across 42% of the exam it is a very important domain to study. Note: The questions based around this domain are not in a cluster, they exist throughout the exam.
Additionally, the business environments domain also is a new system and so it is important to ensure candidates have studied adequate content to make sure they are familiar with this part of the exam.
Finally, the enablers are another new variable to consider for candidates when taking the new PMP Exam.
Below is a full list of the new enablers:
- Value servant leadership (e.g., relate the tenets of servant leadership to the team)
- Measure training outcomes
- Maintain team and knowledge transfer
- Assess behavior through the use of personality indicators
- Analyze personality indicators and adjust to the emotional needs of key project stakeholders
- Assess opportunities to deliver value incrementally
- Support the team to subdivide project tasks as necessary to find the Minimum Viable Product
- Coordinate with other projects and other operations
- Recommend a project methodology/approach (i.e, predictive, agile, hybrid)
- Use iterative, incremental practices throughout the project lifecycle (e.g., lessons learned, stakeholder engagement, risk)
- Confirm approach for knowledge transfers
- Classify compliance categories
- Determine potential threats to compliance
- Use methods to support compliance
- Analyze the consequences of noncompliance
- Determine the necessary approach and action to address compliance needs (e.g., risk, legal)
- Measure the extent to which the project is in compliance
- Verify measurement system is in place to track benefits
- Evaluate delivery options to demonstrate the value
- Assess and prioritize impact on project scope/backlog based on changes in an external business environment
- Recommend options for scope/backlog changes (e.g. schedule, cost changes)
- Continually review the external business environment for impacts on project scope/backlog
- Support organizational change
- Assess organizational culture
- Evaluate the impact of organizational change to project and determine required actions
- Evaluate the impact of the project on the organization and determine required actions
Tips for Preparing for the New PMP Exam
To effectively prepare for the new PMP exam, consider the following tips:
- Review the Updated Exam Content Outline: Familiarize yourself with the updated content outline to understand the domains, tasks, and knowledge areas covered in the exam.
- Update Study Materials: Ensure your study materials align with the latest edition of the PMBOK guide and cover the updated content outline.
- Emphasize Agile and Hybrid Approaches: Allocate sufficient study time to understand Agile and Hybrid methodologies, as they play a significant role in the new exam.
- Practice with Sample Questions: Engage in practice exams and sample questions to familiarize yourself with the question format and test your knowledge.
- Join Study Groups or Workshops: Collaborate with other PMP aspirants through study groups or workshops to gain different perspectives, discuss concepts, and clarify doubts.
- Leverage Exam Prep Resources: Utilize exam prep resources such as books, online courses, and practice tests designed specifically for the new PMP exam.
- Manage Your Time Effectively: Develop a study plan that allocates sufficient time for each domain, ensuring comprehensive coverage of all topics.
- Stay Updated with Exam Changes: Stay informed about any updates or changes to the exam through official sources to ensure you are well-prepared.
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial! Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial!
Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
The new PMP exam reflects the evolving landscape of project management practices and incorporates important changes to validate the skills and knowledge required for successful project management professionals. By understanding the changes in the content outline, exam format, and following the tips outlined in this article, you can effectively prepare for the new PMP exam and enhance your chances of achieving PMP certification. Embrace the updated exam structure, stay dedicated to your preparation, and embark on your journey to becoming a certified Project Management Professional.
Have you led projects and are looking to earn a project management certification? You might be interested in learning about how lucrative this can be. Check out these articles.
No experience leading projects but still want to get into project management? No problem! Check out these articles.