List of Best FREE PMP Exam Prep Resources Every Aspirant Should Know
Free is bad? Free is GOOD! One would not believe high quality PMP® Exam Prep materials can be found online for FREE. I made use of most of the following free resources during my exam preparation and I passed on first attempt. I recommend the following free resources wholeheartedly to fellow Aspirants.
Free PMP® Exam Prep Resources
Certification Exam Application Guide
These are the resources that help you to know what the PMP® Certification is and the application process involved. Since the rules set out by PMI must be strictly observed while applying and sitting for the exam, the following is a list of must-read resources for every Aspirants:
- PMI PMP® Handbook
This is the official application guide published by the publisher of PMP® Exam. Every PMP® aspirant should study this guide thoroughly to understand the ins and outs of the PMP® Certification and how to get certified. Ideally speaking, it covers everything every Aspirant would need to know in order to apply and sit for the exam and maintain the credential after getting certified (i.e. PDU). It is available for free on the PMI website.
- The Step-by-Step PMP® Certification and Study Guide
As the PMP® Handbook is written in official language, newcomers for the certification would find it a hard time to comprehend the official guide, let alone have their own queries answered. This guide is an attempt by me to “decode” the official guide into “plain everyday English”. The whole certification journey is decomposed into 10 easy-to-follow steps. An infographic is included to further explain the certification process. It also provides the top FAQ of the Certification, i.e. certification cost. This guide also includes lots of questions raised by fellow Aspirants collected throughout the lifetime of the guide and you may be able to find answers to your pressing application questions.
Reference Books and Study Guide
After you have applied for the exam, you will need to study for it. To most, the PMP® exam is considered quite difficult. The following is a list of FREE exam prep books that are most useful [note: there are also some paid exam study books that are considered to be very useful by many PMP® aspirants]:
- The PMBOK® Guide (5th Edition)
The PMBOK® Guide is the de facto textbook for the exam. Literally, the PMBOK® Guide is NOT free. However, every member of the PMI would be able to download the PMBOK® Guide for FREE. According to unofficial figures, over 90% of Aspirants would apply to become a PMI member for at least one year (i.e. the year in which they apply to sit for the exam as the discounted exam fee for members alone justifies the PMI membership fee).
- EdWel Exam Prep Boot Camp Textbook
EdWel is one of the leading Exam Boot Camp provider in the United States. When I first browsed its website, I could not believe that it was offering the very textbook it provides to its students for FREE. Yes, the 400-page EdWel Textbook can be downloaded instantly by clicking on the book cover on this webpage. It is a no-brainer to download this book as one of your exam prep resources. It organizes the materials of the PMBOK® Guide in a more structured and readily understandable way with lots of charts and diagrams. It highlight the most important parts of the exam content that need to be memorized. In addition, it includes lots of practice questions as well as fill-in-the-blank type questions for you to assess your understanding of the content materials. What could you ask for more from a free exam prep resources?
[However, beware that when I studied this guide during my exam preparation, there are quite a number of typos and errors (primarily due to some parts not updated to the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition). I do hope that they have all the errata made already.]
- ITTO Mind Map
This ITTO Mind Map was developed by Kim Synder during her exam preparation. Mind maps are effective tools to help learners understand and memorize difficult concepts and associations. it is especially useful to study and remember the ITTO of the PMBOK® Guide using mind maps.
- PMP® Study Notes (for the 5th Edition) of Edward Chung
Yes, that’s my own notes. I wrote my exam last November and got 4 proficient levels and 1 moderately proficient level on the real exam. The study note is based on the latest edition of the PMBOK® Guide (the 5th Edition). You may use my notes as your last minute revision notes or as a prelude to your exam study. I tried to write down the most important subject matters of the Certification in my study notes.
- Project Management Processes Chart (PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition)
All the project management processes mentioned in the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition are included in this information chart. It makes use of color-coding to vividly show you how the project management processes are grouped together. You can even print it out as a poster to be put in a highly visible place for you to refer to it from time to time.
Free Mock Exams
It is often said that the best way to understand whether you are ready to take and pass the exam is to get over 80% from mock exams. The following is a list of the highest quality FREE practice exam available on the internet. You may refer to this post for more detailed descriptions: list of FREE sample exams
- Head First free sample exam – a 200-question online practice exam
- Oliver Lehmann 175 questions – can be downloaded as a PDF file
- Oliver Lehmann 75 questions – an online practice exam with 75 questions, most aspirants consider this to be very difficult
- PM Study Mock Exam 1 – PM Study provides a free 200-question online practice exam
- PM Exam Simulator – from the publisher of the PM PrepCast™, this PM Exam Simulator provides a 3-day trial period that provides you with 170 questions
- Edwel Mock Exam – in addition to the FREE Exam Prep book, Edwel also gives away a 200-question online practice exam for free
Discussion Forum and Lessons Learned
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” ~ Isaac Newton
Why fight the PMP® Certification war alone when you can make alliance with other Aspirants as well as those who have been there before? You will be able to learn tremendously from the experiences and advices of successful exam-takers offered through the following discussion forums / lessons learned websites:
- Exam Preparation and Study Tips by Edward and other Aspirants
- PMZilla Forum – the most popular exam forum on the internet
- PM Hangout – another popular PMP® exam forum
- O’Reilly Head First Forum – yet another popular exam forum
- 100+ Tips on Certification Training & Study by 100+ Recent PMP® – this is a summary of 100+ Exam lessons learned, about their preparation and exam strategy
- 100 Exam “Lessons Learned” Posts… All In One! – lots of practical tips and advices
- PMP® Cert Online Study Group (Google)
- I want to be a PMP® (LinkedIn)
- Exam Study Group (LinkedIn)
- CAPM®/PMP® Certification Study Group – Silicon Valley (MeetUp)
More Exam Prep Resources
- Rita’s Process Game [UNOFFICIAL]
Rita is one of the most popular author for exam prep books (Rita Mulcahy’s PMP® Exam Prep Eighth Edition). One of the readers of the Rita’s book turned a game from the book into an interactive online game. This game will help you understand the correct sequence of all project management processes and well as the proper order of planning processes.