[PMP Exam Changes] How PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Affect PMP Aspirants in 2017?


How PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Affect PMP Aspirants in 2017? PMP Exam Changes in 2018

PMI is currently working on the finalization of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Sixth Edition). As announced by PMI, the PMBOK® Guide 6 has been  published on 6th September 2017. It is a practice for PMI to continually review and update the PMBOK® Guide to reflect the latest trend and changes in the field of project management and to amend any omissions/errors/inconsistencies of the previous PMBOK® Guide edition (as a reference, here are the details of the update of PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition to PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition). Like previous changes to PMBOK® Guide, the PMP® Exam will also be changed upon the publication of the new PMBOK® Guide.

Key Dates for PMBOK® Guide 6 and new PMP® Exam

  • Draft Release of PMBOK® Guide 6 — June 2016
  • Launch Date of PMBOK® Guide 6 — 6th September 2017
  • Launch Date of practice guide for Agile — 6th September 2017
  • Launch Date of new PMP® Exam — 26th March 2018

If you would like to get PMP® Certified in 2017 and early 2018, this article is for you.

Important Note: If you are PMP® certified with the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition syllabus, you will remain as a PMP® for the rest of your life without having to take the exam again provided that you fulfil the PDU requirements for re-certification. But it is highly recommended to study the new PMBOK® Guide 6th edition once it is published (you will be able to earn PDUs) to stay abreast of the latest development in project management..

Every years, tens of thousands of Aspirants begin their exam prep journey in the hope of getting certified (hopefully with the first attempt). The year of 2017 is certainly no exception. However, 2017 is also very different.

PMI has published the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition on 6th Sep 2017 and the PMP® Exam may adopt a new exam syllabus based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition from 26th March 2018.

To most Aspirants, To Take Exam before the PMP® Exam Change? That’s the Question.

If you are now thinking whether to take the plunge to get Certified now, I understand the worries and uncertainties as I have been there before. Hope this article will give you some useful advice.

I passed the PMP® Exam in first try with 4 Proficient / 1 Moderately Proficient, here are my study notes, plan, resources and tips for Aspirants.

How the Publication of PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition Affect Aspirants in 2017? What Changes to the Exam in 2017 will be Expected?

Fortunately, the answer is little if not none. Rest assured all the currently available Exam Prep materials, including PMP® Exam online training courses, Resources and Books are still useful and relevant for the current Exam in 2017.

The publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition does not have major adverse effect on Aspirants in 2017. And the only effect of the publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition is more on the psychological aspect.

The PMP® Exam will still be based on the current edition of PMBOK® Guide 5 (i.e. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Fifth Edition) before 26th March 2018. And the PMP® Exam may only be updated to be based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition from 26th March 2018 onwards. Aspirants who begin their exam journey now will be able to complete their exam based on the current exam syllabus and PMBOK® Guide version — nothing has changed. My free PMP® Exam study notes and lessons learned can still be relevant for your exam journey.

The only adverse psychological effect of the publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition to Aspirants in 2017 is that if they can’t get a pass, they will not be able to take the same version of PMP® Exam in after 26th March 2018 — as the exam syllabus would have been changed at that time. They would need to study for the exam again based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th version.

It seems that Aspirants in 2017 may have less time and opportunities (as each exam taker is given a maximum of 3 tries to clear the exam) than usual which is a disadvantage. But every cloud has its silver lining. The positive effect of this is that Aspirants are pushed more than ever to get certified in 2017 — which is a good thing as “procrastination” is the top reason for not getting PMP® Certified earlier!

Why Getting PMP® Certified in 2017?

If you would like to get certified in 2017, you are highly advised to take action NOW as a kind of risk management:

  • the current edition of the PMBOK® Guide and the exam are very familiar and Aspirants can find lots of lessons learned and study resources/materials readily at their hands (i.e. no changes to the exam in 2017). As the PMBOK® Guide is not changing until the 3rd quarter of the year and the exam will be based on the current PMBOK® Guide version (i.e. PMBOK® Guide 5) until 26th March 2018 — there is still plenty of time to study and prepare for your it based on the current exam version.
  • the PMP® Exam fee may see a hike in 2018 following the introduction of the new exam
  • the format of the exam may be changed
  • the exam may be getting more difficult as there are quite a few complaints that the quality of PMP® holders is decreasing over the previous years as getting certified is becoming easier
  • the publishers of the PMP® online courses and exam prep books may not be ready to release the update versions of their study resources with the introduction of the new PMP® Exam (this has happened in 2016 when PMI updated the PMP® Exam Content Outline and the new exam was forced to defer)
  • some of the previously highly recommended study resources/materials may not live up to expectation for the new exam as the depth of their understanding of the new exam may not be the same as before (owing to change of the authors/editors, etc.) — it would take more time to search for the best exam prep materials
  • it is expected lots of errors in terminology and project management processes would be spotted in the early release of the exam prep materials based on the new PMBOK® Guide 6th edition as PMBOK® Guide 6 has quite a few updates from PMBOK® Guide 5
  • major exam prep books will take time to get published — if you would like to get PMP® certified in the first quarter of 2018, you may NOT even be able to find a book for your exam study and you would be forced to delay getting certified for 3 months or more
  • the exam results for the first few weeks after the introduction of the new PMP® Exam may not be released immediately after the submission of the exam paper answers as PMI needs to adjust the passing marks — this would create extract psychological burden to Aspirants
  • the exam prep courses may be more expensive (my exam prep course saw an over 20% increase… I should have made the purchase earlier as the publisher of the course has a free upgrade policy to the latest exam version provided the course is purchased within 3 months of the PMP® update…)
  • for the new exam version, all the exam prep books, mock exams and online training course will see a price increase FOR SURE (maybe over 15% or more) — if you begin now, you can lock in the current price level without worrying about requiring to spend more for the same title

Talking about the push factors:

  • lots of tried and tested exam preparation materials (based on PMBOK® Guide 5) are around now, with many available for FREE — it really takes time to build up such a wealth of resources for the new PMP® Exam version
  • according to many PMP® aspirants, it usually takes around 2 – 3 months to complete the exam preparation — if you begin now, you will almost certainly get certified in 2017
  • don’t worry and take action, if you are qualified for the experience requirements, why not get the required 35 contact hours of project management education right away? (as a bonus, the 35 contact hours are VALID FOREVER — meaning that you will not be required to take another project management course even if the exam has changed). My very first step is to take an online course (the PM PrepCast™ — my review here)

The conclusion is: if you don’t get certified in 2017, it is highly likely that you cannot get certified in the first or even second quarter of 2018 — your career plan may be adversely affected.

According to the experiences of many Aspirants, the average duration of exam study is around 2 months (between 1 – 3 months for most of us).

  • if you can devote at least 2 hours of daily study continuously for 2 months, you are highly advised to begin your Certification journey before September 2017 as there is still plenty of time for you to succeed!
    • Is September 2017 a bit too late? I would consider the time to be quite enough. If given the chance for my own certification journey, I would rather begin to prepare for my exam at the beginning of the year rather than have to wait several months. You know the psychological burden.
  • however, if you are quite uncertain about your time (I have personally known someone who took over 2 years to complete their Certification owing to sudden surge in workload from their daily jobs and personal emergencies), you may better have to wait for the new PMP® Exam which is based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition.
  • or if it is already October 2017, then it is more prudent to wait; otherwise the money spent on exam prep courses or exam prep books would be wasted when the new Exam becomes effective.

Conclusion: Begin Your Preparation Now

The first step to success is BEGIN. If you don’t even try, your success rate is 0%.

This is my personal story: I was hesitant to begin my PMP® Journey for fear of not finding the time to study, not getting the required project management education contact hours, not passing the PMI audit… these had hindered my certification attempt for several years. At the same time, I kept on reading the success stories of other Aspirants with jealousy. I really wanted to get Certified, but I was too worried to try — but until I actually tried, I was able to get PMP® Certified in the first try with 2 months’ study.

I was thinking why I had wasted such time in worrying without action. I began my research of the Certification in early 2013 when the Exam was still based on PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition. I was still thinking about whether to take the exam that year when, unknown to me, the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide has been published and I did not have enough time for the then current version. I needed to wait a few months for all the new exam prep guides and courses based on the latest PMBOK® Guide edition be made available. Eventually I got Certified in November 2013 after more than half a year.

I then made up my mind to help fellow Aspirants not to procrastinate by sharing all I know about the exam here in this website — this is my way of contributing back to the project management community.

If you are taking your exam before March 26, 2018, you should continue to study from and prepare for your examination using the Fifth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide along with the examination content outline PMI makes available. If you are taking your exam after March 26, 2018, the PMP® Exam will be changed and you should plan to study from and prepare for your examination using the Sixth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

Don’t worry too much if you have begun your preparation in 2017 but cannot finish it. The bottom line is: if you have understood PMBOK® Guide 5 well and you will find the structure of PMBOK® Guide 6 very familiar — just learn several new project management processes and changes of naming of the processes/knowledge areas. And as the PMP® Exam is not just restricted to the PMBOK® Guide only, your training, knowledge and experience in project management will still be useful for clearing the PMP® Exam whatever the version of PMBOK® Guide it is based on.

A good new for 2018 though: ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs) are now given less weight in PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition and Aspirants would worry much less in remembering all the ITTOs for their exams.


Appendix: What will be Changed in PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition?

As PMBOK® Guide 5 is already quite a comprehensive project management framework, the PMBOK® Guide 6 is considered an update rather than a revolution from PMBOK® Guide 5. Below are the key differences between PMBOK® Guide 5 and PMBOK® Guide 6:

  • Agile, adaptive and iterative project management practices are given more weights
  • The new PMI Talent Triangle (technical, leadership, strategic and business management) would be described in PMBOK® Guide 6. That is a new chapter on the role of the project manager has been added to focus on leading projects effectively – competencies, experience and skills that are all necessary.
  • Project Management processes are now described according to the 5 Process Groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing)
  • Name changes:
    • Project Schedule Management from Project Time Management
    • Project Resource Management from Project Human Resource Management
    • Manage Quality from Perform Quality Assurance
    • Plan Resource Management from Plan Human Resources Management
    • Monitor Communications from Control Communications
    • Plan Stakeholder Engagement from Plan Stakeholder Management
    • Monitor Stakeholder Engagement from Control Stakeholder Engagement
  • New and Removed Project Management Processes:
    • Manage Project Knowledge
    • Implement Risk Responses
    • Control Resources
    • Close Procurements
    • Estimate Activities Resources
  • Every Knowledge Area features four new sections:
    • Key Concepts
    • Trends and Emerging Practices
    • Tailoring Considerations (more related Agile project management)
    • Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments (more related Agile project management)

 

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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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48 Responses

  1. Sanchit Mehrotra says:

    Dear Edward,
    I would like to thank you for your contribution to this website.
    I took my PMP exam on 11th Oct and got ‘Above Target’ score overall and ‘Above Target’ in all the 5 sections.
    I read everything on your website related to PMP specially used all the free exams you have mentioned. It really helped me prepare well for the exam. Taking full length exam helped me build stamina for 4 hours long exam and helped me boast my confidence in solving complex questions . I also followed the strategies you mentioned regarding the breaks during the exam. I took first break after 120 questions in less than 2 hours into the exam. I was able to finish the exam 35 minutes before the finish time, then I tried to review all the questions from the start but could only review 67 questions. I clicked on the score button just 10 seconds before the end.
    All well that ends well that I got all 5 Above Targets!!
    Thank you very much once again.

    Regards,
    Sanchit Mehrotra

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Sanchit,

      Congratulations and thanks a lot for your comments! You did great! Would you like to share your lessons learned for your perfect scores with fellow PMP Aspirants? That would be very useful!

  2. JP says:

    I’m looking to start a prep course and get the 35 contact hours requirement. It’s already mid October and I’m wondering if I will have enough time to study the material, apply for the exam and take the exam before the “new” exam go into effect. How long does it typically take for the application to be approved? And hopefully this doesn’t happen, but if I fail the 1st try and have to re-take, it, how much time do I need to wait (or is there a limit per year) for re-take?

    I’m looking to do the Udemy PMP exam Prep and also sign up for PM PrepCast Elite (as per your recommendation).

    Thank you,

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi JP,

      Thanks for your comment. It is mid-October now and you still have almost 5 months before the PMP change. The average PMP aspirants take around 2-3months of studies (2-3 hours every day) to complete their exam prep. If you can sustain your prep schedule from now on, you will be able to take the exam sometime in Jan 2018.

      For the exam application, it takes around a week or two for PMI to approve (provided that you are not selected for an audit which may take an additional 2 weeks provided you could respond immediately.)

      In the unfortunate case of failing the first try, you can almost schedule your exam immediately after PMI has received the results of the first try. The wait time would be minimal. Hope that this info is not useful for you.

      Wish you PMP success!

  3. Hi Ed,

    I just started my 35 contact hours for the PMP (October 2017). I would like to take the exam before it changes to the 6th edition.

    At my pace 2 hours/day do you think i will be ready before March 26th?

    If I do not feel comfortable taking the exam by then , will it be difficult to catch up on all the new changes or will the overall be the same with a few new changes?

    What do you suggest is my best plan of action?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Hsreyas,

      Yes, I would highly suggest you to take and pass the PMP Exam before the change. At 2 hours per day, you should have more than enough time to finish you PMP Exam prep. The average PMP Aspirants take around 2-3 hours per day over a period of 2 months to finish their studies. If you are still worried, please try to get around 4 hours for Saturdays and Sundays. I am sure you can finish yours before the PMP Exam change in 26 March 2018.

      But, it will be glad to know that the PMBOK 6 is actually built on PMBOK 5 with not many changes. You can easily bridge to PMBOK 6 syllabus with a bit additional studies.

      Wish you PMP success!

  4. Brett S says:

    Hi PMI has announced the date the 6th edition will go into effect for exam purposes, March 26th 2018. Reference: https://www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp/update

  5. Lorenzo says:

    Hi Ed,

    I am attending now an in-house training for PMP in the Company I work for. I plan to have exam around end of 2017. In case I will fail the exam- as I will have other 2 attempts will happen in my case in 2018- do you think I will have then to change the exam following 6th edition or do you think I can repeat the exam with the same previous 5th edition?
    Thanks

    • Edward Chung says:

      It is highly recommended to take the 1st exam a bit earlier to leave several weeks for re-exam if needed before the exam change as all candidates need to take the new exam after the change.

      We are still waiting the exact switch date of the PMP Exam to be announced by PMI.

      Wish you PMP success!

      • Edward Chung says:

        Good news, PMI has just announced that the PMP Exam will change from 26th March 2018. You still have plenty of time to get certified based on PMBOK 5 and current PMP Exam syllabus.

        Wish you PMP success!

  6. Lorenzo Roncoroni says:

    Hi, I am doing an in house PMP training in my Company where I work for. This training started in September and will last in October 2017. I plan to have my PMP exam most probably around end of 2017. In case I will fail the exam, if then exam change in the course of 2018, does it mean I have to repeat it by the new version or do you think in such circumstance I can repeat the exam still with previous format, namely on the basis of 5th edition?
    Thanks

    • Edward Chung says:

      Yes, the PMP Exam will be updated to be based on the new PMBOK Guide 6 some time in the 1st quarter of 2018 (exact date still unknown). In the unfortunate event of failing the exam just before the switch, one will have to take the re-exam in the new updated syllabus (i.e. the 6th edition PMBOK Guide). This was the practice of PMI last time and is likely to repeat this time.

      So, try your best and pass the exam in first try! Just take more practice exams until you have reached the 75-80% mark and get certified!

      Wish you PMP success!

  7. john says:

    Hi Ed

    Thanks for the explanation!

    I’m not done with my PMP application and I am worried that application might be rejected or audited. At this point of time, do you think I should take the exams or I should wait til next year? And I have not attended the 35hours PDUs yet. (looks like i have to complete 35 PDU before i can complete the application?)

    Note that The 2 months study assumption will hit end Nov 2017

    • Edward Chung says:

      Yes John, you will need to have the 35 Contact Hours before your application. And you are advised to take your Contact Hours course asap in order to enable you to take the PMP Exam in 2017 (this should usually take around 35 hours only). I would highly suggest you to take the exam in 2017 as all your previous study has been based on the current PMBOK Guide version. There will be quite a few changes in the new PMBOK Guide that may be confusing to you.

      Plus, PMI has yet to announce the launch date of the new PMP Exam. You may have more time to take the current PMP Exam than you think.

      Wish you PMP success!

  8. Amit says:

    Hi Ed,
    Your way of explaining makes things simple.

    I want a suggestion from you. It’s already 30th Aug 2017 and I want to start with pmp course. So my first question is it ok and do u think a person who do not know anything about PMP and it’s course can still go ahead and give pmp certification? Or he should wait for next year?..

    Second question if I want to give what could be my approach it.

    How much time I should at least give to make it successful.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Amit,

      It took me around 2 months from knowing nothing about PMP to passing the PMP Exam. I am sure you can do it too. There is still at least 3 months’ time for you to take the PMP Exam for the current edition (the exact time for the change to new exam version is still yet to announce). I would suggest not taking the new exam version as there is still lots of unknown.

      It may take an average aspirant around 3 hours per day for 2 months to be well prepared for the exam (ref: https://edward-designer.com/web/pmp-certification-study-inputs/ ). But this really depends on individual’s needs.

      Wish you PMP success!

  9. ashis says:

    Don’t you feel you are scaring people not to delay – I believe it is always good to be latest then the outdated.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Sorry that I don’t mean to scare fellow aspirants. What I am talking about is risk management. And one can always learn the latest PMBOK Guide 6th edition and get PDUs for re-certification after passing the PMP Exam.

      But this really depends on individual preferences.

      Anyway, wish you PMP success!

  10. Kavindi says:

    Hi Edward,

    I am just starting preparing for PMP, and have scheduled my exam in December 2017. I am going through PMBOK 5 and Rita Exam prep book (which is also based on PMBOK 5). Is it safe to assume that December 2017 exam will still be based on PMBOK 5?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Sure, the PMP Exam will only be changed in the first quarter of 2018 (may or may not be in January 2018). Therefore you will still get the current version of the PMP Exam in December 2017.

      Wish you PMP success!

  11. Mohd Azmir says:

    Hi Edward,

    I find your site very helpful, resourceful since i stumbled upon your site then. have been reading up and referring alot.
    i’ve taken once the exam in 2014 however i didnt pass. i intend to take again after much thought and knowing PMBOOK 6 is around the corner.

    i was contemplating to take again a 35 hours prep course until i see a para in your post above on the Push Factor, “don’t worry and take action, if you are qualified for the experience requirements, why not get the required 35 contact hours of project management education right away? (as a bonus, the 35 contact hours are VALID FOREVER — meaning that you will not be required to take another project management course even if the exam has changed)”.

    which means if i have taken in once in 2014, i will not need to sit for a prep course again? i can prepare on my own with materials and exam tests until i sit for the PMP exam then? appreciate your reply Edward, look forward to your reply.

  12. Ore says:

    Hi,
    I plan on taking the exam later this year. What study materials would you do recommend besides the PMBOK 5th edition?

    Thanks

  13. Sheena says:

    In case I get certified PMP this year with PMBOK 5th edition, what will be a action item for me with the release of new edition? Do a PMP certified member has to give exam again when new edition is out? Since the whole purpose of brining new edition is to add more latest trends and new methodologies to it, how existing PMP certified professionals will get effected by not knowing the new edition?

    • Edward Chung says:

      There will be no action items to take. Once you are PMP certified, you will remain as a PMP for the rest of your life without having to take the exam again provided that you fulfil the PDU requirements for re-certification.

      But it is highly recommended to study the new PMBOK (you will be able to earn PDUs) to stay abreast of the latest development in project management..

  14. Alexanadra says:

    Hi Edward,

    Could you provide an example of the details you submitted for a project on PMP application form? There are so many suggestions out there on sites and I am looking for an example that was approved by PMI.

    Thanks!
    Alexandra

  15. Vi says:

    Many thanks to this great sharing Edward !

  16. Sirisha says:

    Thank you so.much for the above Information. It boosted my thoughts. Now please guide on one block point i.e
    PMP vs PMI-ACP.Which would I go first?? Thanks in Advance!!

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Sirisha,

      That really depends on whether you are mostly working in traditional or Agile project management. Traditional: PMP, Agile: PMI-ACP. But if you work BOTH with waterfall and Agile methodologies, then it is highly recommended to get PMP certified first as it will be easier to apply for the PMI-ACP Exam and the time spent on preparing for PMI-ACP can be counted towards PMP PDUs.

      Wish you PMP and PMI-ACP success!

  17. Lily says:

    Hello, thanks for sharing. I am a newbie looking to take the PMP course. Would you recommend I take the course this year or 2018 considering the new changes coming on board? The start dates for new enrolment this year is either August or October

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Lily,

      I would highly recommend you to take the PMP course based on the current PMBOK Guide in August. On average, it takes around 2 months to be well prepared for the PMP Exam. And talking about risk management, the current PMP Exam version has been attempted by many PMP Aspirants and the format/level of difficulty are well understood. There are also plenty of study resources/lessons learned available.

      However, for the new PMP Exam, there are lots of uncertainties. I would only take the exam at least a few months after the new exam has rolled out in order to understand the changes.

      As there is still enough time for you to ace the PMP exam, just go ahead and get certified in 2017!

      Wish you PMP success!

  18. Saeed says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience.

    My question is, I intend to start preparing for the exam this month (I am in search of video, tools and blogs… “discovering”), can I passe the exam before 2018? or I’m to late, and i will passe it on 2018?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Saeed,

      Yes, there is still plenty of time for you to get well prepared and pass the PMP Exam. The average PMP Aspirants take around 2 months for preparation. And there is at least 6 months before the new PMP Exam rolls out.

      Wish you PMP success!

  19. abram says:

    thnx a lot ..
    my question is :
    can I get the exam with 5th edition after September 2017 and before 2018 or I can’t after September 2017 ?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Abram,

      Yes, you can still take the PMP Exam based on PMBOK Guide 5th edition up till 1st quarter of 2018 (the exact date to be announced by PMI in September 2017). There is still plenty of time to complete your study and get PMP certified in 2017!

      Wish you PMP success!

  20. Nitin says:

    Thanks for sharing for these updates about pmp exam.

  21. Sanjay says:

    Thanks ,If we plan to take exam in 2017, no worries PMBOK 5th edition is good. is it?

  22. Terese Cocks says:

    Does the same hold true for those striving for the RPM certification?

January 6, 2017