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Studying for Your PMP Exam: August 2011 Changes

written by: dansar • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/8/2011

If you're preparing to get your PMP credential, you already know about the 4th Edition PMBOK guide, the source for most of the questions on the exam. Even though there have been no changes to the latest PMBOK guide, the exam changes again on 31-August-2011. Find out what this means to you.

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    PMBOK Guide Updates

    Pencil You’re thinking of taking your PMP exam sometime soon. And you know that the exam is based on the latest edition of the PMBOK guide, and that's the 4th Edition, which is pretty stable and no new edition is expected for a while...but still, you may want to hurry it along a bit and get your test taken soon. Why?

    In this update, I will advise you regarding the new version of the exam which is not based on any change to the PMBOK guide, but rather on the Role Delineation Study done recently by PMI.

    A little background: the PMI (Project Management Institute) is the certifying body for several of the hottest credentials available today. Two of them, the CAPM (Certification in Applied Project Management) and the PMP (Project Management Professional) are given after an application process which requires proof of education and experience followed by a rigorous 200 question, 4 hour exam. The exams are about 80% based on the PMBOK guides. So you can see their relevance and the reason to pay attention to any changes in them.

    Here are some facts:

    • The exams changed on June 30, 2009, based on the change from 3rd to 4th Edition. But that change is well understood by the PM population and vendors.
    • Good prep materials are available for this 4th Edition PMBOK Guide (of course this varies by vendor, but as a general rule, materials are stable and good).
    • Normally the exam only changes when the PMBOK Guide changes.
    • Vendors of PMP prep materials take a little while to reconcile any changes to the exam, so there is a lag between any changes and 100% solid study materials, in my opinion.

    The new Role Delineation Study may change the exam. And that's what's happening now. There are changes to the exam – to the tune of 30% of the questions (!) – and those changes take place on August 31, 2011.

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    Here's My Advice

    If you promised yourself that you would get your PMP credential in 2011, do not wait until the end of the year. Do not even wait until the fall. Do it now!


    • The changes PMI will make to the August 31, 2011 version of the exam are NOT found in any body of knowledge, you will have to go to the PMI website and read the information.
    • The changes are subtle, having to do with moving questions on ethics and code of conduct "into" the other domains (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing).
    • The vendors who create materials for the exam have good material available now. They will be playing catch up for the exams which are given after August 31, 2011.

    Special tip: On PMI's website, you will find a document called, "PMP Examination Content Outline", dated September 2010 (or later). Use that document if you do indeed slip to a post-August 2011 exam.

    Good luck in your preparation and, of course, on the exam itself!

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    Project Management Institute,

    • Visit the website and look under the Certification section for the latest info.
    • Remember to review the "PMP Examination Content Outline." Consider it additional study material for the exam.

    Fichtner, Cornelius, via the South Florida PMI Chapter, "The PMP Exam Changes on 31 August 2011. What This Means For You,"

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