PMP Study Materials: PMBOK, Reference Books and Practice Exams

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Among PMBOK® Guide Guide, PMP® exam prep books and practice exams, many consider the PMBOK® Guide Guide as necessary for the PMP® Certification exam as it is published by the PMI® which includes the body of knowledge for project management. However, as said in the PMP® Exam Content Outline:

Although many of the domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills outlined by the PMP® Examination Content Outline are also covered by the PMBOK® Guide Guide, there are some that are unique to the PMP® Examination Content Outline. Candidates studying for the examination will certainly want to include the current edition of the PMBOK® Guide Guide as one of their references, and would be well advised to read other current titles on project management.

PMP® candidates are advised to study the PMBOK® Guide Guide as well as other current titles on project management. But which are the “current titles”? How to know if I have read the “correct” current title? This is where the PMP® exam prep books come to the rescue. Some PMP®s say that the PMBOK® Guide Guide might include around 80% (according to their exam experience) of the materials for the PMP® Exam, the PMP® exam prep books they read provides the rest 15% of the materials. Therefore the combination of the PMBOK® Guide Guide and one or two additional PMP® exam prep book(s) should be sufficient to help candidates to pass the PMP® exam.

The PMBOK® Guide Guide

An FREE electronic copy of the PMBOK® Guide Guide can be downloaded from the PMI® website once you become a member. But you should note that it is a encrypted password-protected watermarked PDF file which you cannot copy the text. But it allows you to print out a copy for offline use.

In the survey with 100 PMP®s, only around 5% of them did not read the PMBOK® Guide Guide for the PMP® exam. The majority of them (54%) read it once while others read the Guide twice or more. It is highly advisable that you read the PMBOK® Guide Guide at least once for your PMP® exam preparation.

When reading the PMBOK® Guide Guide, chances are that you cannot make sense of it and would like to give up on your PMP® Certification preparation. Hold on, many candidates feel the same, this is the reason why there are so many PMP® Exam prep books and guides on the market. Read the section below.


PMP® Exam Prep Books / PMP® Exam Study Guide

Many PMP® candidates find reading and understanding the PMBOK® Guide Guide alone really hard if not impossible. If you are one of them, the following PMP® Certification reference books may help you. These exam prep books aim to make the PMBOK® Guide Guide more accessible by explaining the concepts in an easier-to-understand manner. Some books also give more background information and try to organize the concepts of the PMBOK® Guide Guide in a more memorable way.

In addition, many of these PMP® exam prep books include more related concepts and facts that might be tested on the PMP® exam. Listed below are the most popular and recommended PMP® Exam prep books (again from the survey) – (note that Rita’s PMP® Exam Prep book has been updated to the ‘8th Updated Edition’ which in fact is 99% identical to the previous version):

Nearly everyone preparing for the PMP® Certification will know Rita’s PMP® Book either by reading others’ lessons learned or by recommendations of PMP®s. Yet the feedback on this reference book varies widely. Some say it is helpful while others abandon it for easier ones. Likewise, Head First is called a savior by some while others say the format is too chaotic to read.

Which PMP® Exam Study Guide for Me?

The following simple test will help you choose the most suitable PMP® exam prep book:

  1. Does the PMBOK® Guide make sense to you? Do you ‘leave no stone unturned’ in your quest of knowledge?
    Yes – Rita’s

  2. Are you a visual learner?
    Yes – Head First
    No – Andy Crowe

More comparison of these PMP® prep books can found from the survey report.

Practice Exams

Practice makes perfect. It is even so when we are talking about the PMP® exam with 200 questions for 4 hours. Taking several PMP® practice exams will no only help you to find the knowledge gap between what you have known with the PMBOK® Guide Guide but also prepare you psychologically (4 hours of sitting) and physically (when to take bathroom break, etc.)  for the exam.

There are a number of quality free examination available on the internet free of charge:

If you would like to get more practice, the following paid options are the most recommended as they rival or even surpass the level of difficulties of the real PMP® exam so that if you can successful pass these practice exams with 70%+, you are almost assured of a pass in the real PMP® exam!

More PMP® Study Tips

Compiling lessons learned after projects is a concept highly advocated by the PMI®. It is equally useful for PMP® aspirants for the PMP® Exam. The section 100+ Tips on PMI® PMP® Certification Training & Study by 100+ Recent PMP®s is a good starting point for you to plan your PMP® Certification study as it is a compilation of 100 lessons learned by successful PMP® Exam takers.

The Next Step >>

You should now have all the necessary tools to help you with your PMP® study. It’s time to apply for the PMP® Certification.

Notable Achievements

5 Proficient Pass 2nd Try