Hurry, the PMP exam is changing, again! Should you care?

It is time again, time to change the PMP exam.

It is time again, where organizations who thrive on exam preparation classes, to start intensifying their marketing. “Last chance”, “Hurry”, “the exam is changing so why wait”, and comments like this. This is an effort to drive business and we understand that.

Our post is for those who are considering the PMP, or CAPM, or any other certification for that matter. Should you care?

It depends!

What we know?

  • What we know is that the exams change, because the main standard that they refer to is changing
  • This standard, or guide, is the PMBOK Guide
  • The PMBOK Guide include a small section (part of chapter 3 in the last edition and now an appendix in the 5th edition) is an ANSI standard
  • ANSI is the American National Standard Institute
  • Because part of the PMBOK is an ANSI standard it has to be revised every four years
  • Even though the PMI exams are not totally dependent on the PMBOK, the PMBOK does influence it so as a result of the PMBOK changing the exam also changes.

Great – but still why should I worry?

In our humble opinion, you should worry or care. However, you need to know of the change, so you know which book you use to study.

Are the changes significant?

In term of the guide itself, it changes every four years. Most of the time the changes are minor, or at least no significant change in the structure. The changes are typically:

  • Adding or deleting a few processes
  • Moving a process from one process group to another
  • Moving a process from one knowledge area to another
  • Renaming some of the processes
  • Adding text to a section or adding a new definition
  • Since the original PMBOK twice there were an addition of a knowledge area (Integration in 2000 and Stakeholders in 2012)
  • For more information about the changes from the 4th to 5th edition, refer to the 5th edition, there is an appendix that explain these changes.

Great, we know all of the above – what else should i know or why the marketing rush?

Ignore the marketing rush, all you need to know is the following:

  • Depend on your level of expertise and knowledge of PMBOK, you might need 3 to 6 months to prepare for the PMP
  • If you have been studying and have made good progress then you should ask yourself – TODAY – “do I think I can be ready in May or June, at the latest”? If yes, then continue to study with existing materials and ignore all else.
  • On the other hand, if you have not been studying, then we advise you to wait and take a course or study based on the newest edition.

The marketing hype, may implicitly push an idea that the new exam might be more difficult. Or capitalize on uncertainty and the fear of uncertainty. Again – IGNORE all. The PMP has been around for almost 30 years and the exam change every 4 years – so big deal.

To close – you should only be concerned if you have been studying but not ready to commit. In that case, when you are ready to commit and start studying – you can start – what you learned so far is NOT changing in any significant manner.


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About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.