The fifth edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® Guide) was published in December of 2012. It is the latest edition of this global project management standard published by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. The release of this new edition has consequences for anyone who is preparing for (or thinking about preparing for) the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam.
In a nutshell: On July 31st 2013 the PMP exam will be revised to be consistent with the PMBOK® Guide fifth edition. Here are my recommendations for all PMP aspirants out there:
There is no better time than now. If you want to get PMP certified then start studying right away and plan on taking your exam before June 30th 2013. You want to get your exam out of the way at least one month before the actual exam change, because the last 4 weeks before the changeover will see a “mad rush”. PMP candidates all over the world will be scrambling to “squeeze” their exam dates into July, so seats at the testing centers will be hard to get.
You are taking the PMP exam before July 31st 2013
If you are taking your PMP exam before the changeover, then you are taking the “current” PMP Exam. This exam is based on the PMBOK® Guide fourth edition (published 2008). Minor updates have been made to this exam in 2011. You must ensure the following:
– Study the PMBOK® Guide fourth (4th) edition
– Ensure that all your study materials are based on the PMBOK® Guide fourth (4th) edition
– Ensure that any online or in-classroom prep courses you take are based on the PMBOK® Guide fourth (4th) edition
You are taking the PMP exam on/after July 31st 2013
If you are planning to take your PMP exam after the changeover, then you are taking the “new” PMP Exam. This exam will be based on the PMBOK® Guide fifth edition (published 2012). You must ensure the following:
– Study the PMBOK® Guide fifth (5th) edition – it’s already available in stores
– Ensure that all your study materials are based on the PMBOK® Guide fifth (5th) edition
– Ensure that any online or in-classroom prep courses you take are based on the PMBOK® Guide fifth (5th) edition
– Contact your training material provider before you buy any materials that aren’t clearly marked with “Updated for PMBOK® Guide fifth (5th) edition” or a similar notice.
You should also avoid scheduling your exam exactly on July 31st 2013. This is the day of the changeover and who knows what might happen. Furthermore, in the past PMI has used the first few weeks after introducing a new exam to update its examination reporting processes. This meant that for a short period of time examination results were not available immediately following the examination. So in essence you won’t know right away if you have passed or not. If you fall into this period then what you should do is smile: Yes! Smile with the knowledge that you are helping PMI to assess the new exam. You have just done a great service to PMI and all other PMP exam takers coming after you. Thank you.
Ask about PMP Exam Prep Product Updates
PMP exam training providers across the globe are currently working hard to update their products. Ask your training provider by when their new materials will be available and if you get a discount as a current customer. Remember that even though you may plan on taking your exam before the changeover there is a chance that you may get delayed and then you’ll have to take the “new” exam. So you want to make sure that you don’t have to pay the full price again to buy all the updated material. Expect to pay some, but not full. As an example, here is how we do it:
Our company is a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) and we offer a suite of PMP exam preparation products. It is our objective to have all products updated for PMBOK® Guide fifth edition and available for purchase by June 30th 2013. Customers who have purchased our current training materials and who need to purchase the updated materials for the “new” PMP Exam will be able to purchase the updated materials at 1/3rd of the retail price. This upgrade offer is available until October 31st 2013.
My final recommendation to all PMP candidates is that you should plan ahead. Look at your schedule availability for the coming months and factor in time for personal and professional activities like vacations, trade shows, family gatherings, weekend work, etc. If you determine that you can commit about 1-3 hours every day for 10 weeks and study for your PMP exam, then go ahead and get your certification done now. But if you have the slightest doubt about your schedule availability then postpone your exam until after July 31st 2013.
About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 20,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast and The PMP Exam Simulator.
In addition to the changes in the exam content due to PMBOK 5th Edition, the requirements for experience have also been changed.
In the latest PMP Handbook, the experience criteria have changed from “…experience leading & managing project tasks” to “…experience leading & directing projects.”
This could be a serious game-changer for many applicants.