What to Do to Prepare for the New PMP Exam (beyond March 2018) Now?


Tips on Studying for the PMP Exam beyond March 2018

PMI has confirmed the new PMP® Exam (based on the new PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition) will begin from 26th March 2018. That means Aspirants taking the PMP® Exam on or after 26th March 2018 will need to prepare for the exam with new PMP® Exam prep materials that are based on the new PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition as well as the new PMP® Exam Outline.

The bad news is: those new PMP® Exam Prep materials are still unavailable at the time of writing. How then?

I began planning for my PMP® Exam prep in early 2013 when the “new” PMBOK® Guide (5th edition) was published in late 2013 and the then “new” PMP® Exam was scheduled to be effective on 31st July 2013. Perhaps my lessons learned during the PMP® change transition period may be able to shed some lights to those Aspirants who are considering whether to prepare for the new PMP® Exam (ver. March 2018) now or what to do during this transition period.

What to Do during the Transition Period before the PMP® Exam 2018 is launched?

Let me share my experience during the transition time. At the time when I felt strongly of getting PMP® Certified, I just came to know that the current version of PMBOK® Guide would be obsolete in a few weeks and the PMP® Exam will be switched to the new PMBOK® Guide version.

I was very hesitant of whether to begin my exam prep then or later, for the current or the new PMP® Exam versions. I didn’t want to wait (a.k.a. waste) such a long time for the new version but I only had 2 to 3 months for the current exam version. I did a lot of internet search at that time but to no avail. Not much help there.

I finally passed the PMP® Exam based on PMBOK® Guide 5th edition in Nov 2013 in first try — less than 4 months after the PMP® Exam change. I learnt many of the lessons learned below the hard way.

Hope my lessons learned would be useful to fellow Aspirants who are still struggling with what to do now if they have decided to take the new PMP® Exam instead of the current one.

1. Read the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition Now

  • The PMBOK® Guide 6th edition has been published now. It can be purchased from PMI website / Amazon / leading online bookstores. It can also be downloaded as a secure PDF file from PMI website.
  • It makes sense as well as is very logical to purchase / download it now and start reading through it.
    • It is highly advisable to join the PMI membership by paying US$129 + US$10 (first-time application fee). You will get an immediate saving of the cost of the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition plus more than US$129 for the discount for the PMP® Exam fee (more on the benefits of PMI membership here).
  • The PMBOK® Guide 6th edition is, in fact, an evolution (not revolution) from the previous PMBOK® Guide 5th edition. There are some changes in the new edition but the organization and principles of the whole book are in fact quite similar.
  • By reading through the PMBOK® Guide 6, Aspirants can make best use of the waiting time now and then before the publication of new PMP® Exam Prep courses or books. The only downside is that the PMBOK® Guide is quite a “heavy” publication and first-time readers may find it very hard and dry to go through it.
    • It is more recommended to read the PMBOK® Guide alongside the PMP® Contact Hours courses as more guidance and introduction would be available then. And that was my approach at that time — but I wasted several months’ time with this approach.

2. Purchase PMP® Exam Prep Course BEFORE the Change

  • I did not purchase the PM PrepCast™ (my online PMP® course to obtain the 35 Contact Hours) before the exam change at the time but wait for the “formal” release of the course for the new syllabus. HOWEVER, I found out that this is not a good choice later:
    • the online PMP® course saw a price hike immediately at the release of the new version (which is more expensive for about 15%+)
    • if I had purchased the course before the change, I latter came to the understanding that the publisher of the online course would offer a FREE upgrade to the most current exam version!
  • Go through the PMP® Exam Prep Course

3. NOT to Purchase a PMP® Exam Prep Book ASAP when Available

  • This may seem counter-intuitive but it is based on my personal and many other Aspirants’ experience — learned through the hard way.
  • The first impressions of the new PMP® Exam books often contain tonnes of errors — many of the errors are originated from overlooking of the differences between the previous and the new PMP® Exam versions.
  • It is estimated that during the first few months of the new PMP® Exam, more questions would be focussed on the differences between the previous and the new PMP® Exam versions — would lose quite a few marks if Aspirants cannot understand the new version correctly. However, the errors in the PMP® Exam prep books would be there to confuse (rather than help) the readers.

My Recommendation to Fellow Aspirants

According to past experiences of PMP® Exam takers, the average time required to be well prepared for the exam is around 2 months (with around 3 hours of study each day on average). It is therefore highly recommended to take the current PMP® Exam in 2017/early 2018 before the change considering there are several months from the change. If you begin now and you will be able to get PMP® certified in Feb or early March 2018. Please refer this guide

However, if you cannot afford the time (especially as Christmas and New Year is around the corner, much time would need to be spent with family), it is perfectly okay to prepare for your exam now with the following tasks:

  • Read the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition now (which is available as a free download from PMI website for PMI members — it is definitely a MUST for Aspirants to become a member).
  • Check with online PMP® Exam Prep courses publishers whether FREE upgrade to PMBOK® Guide 6th edition (for the new PMP® Exam) will be provided if the purchase is made now.
  • Look out for the updates to most popular PMP® Exam prep books — Andy Crowe, Rita, HeadFirst, etc. (but beware that the 1st impressions of the new prep books often contain lots of errors/typos) — according to experience, the new PMP® exam books may be available early 2018.

I will be watching out the latter two of above for fellow Aspirants and make announcements on this website to let you know the most updated news on the new versions of PMP® exam prep courses and books! Please stay tuned.

Wish you PMP® success!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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April 9, 2014