[Just Updated] What to Do to Prepare for the New PMP Exam in 2020?

Breaking News: PMI has just announced that the new PMP Exam to be put forward from December 2019 will be postponed to July 2020 following feedback received from the project management community, below is the announcement:

In June, PMI announced a significant change to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam. Stakeholders began sharing feedback immediately and the consensus has been they feel they need more time to prepare. We are responding to this feedback with a decision to delay the PMP exam change.

The last day for candidates to take the current version of the PMP exam is now 30 June, 2020. Starting 1 July, 2020, the PMP exam will reflect the new exam content. If you have any questions about how this date change may affect you, please contact Customer Care.

The PMP Exam Outline on PMI website has also been updated accordingly for the July 2020 PMP Exam. Please read this article on the latest update and what to do in early 2020 before the change.

Following the update of PMBOK® Guide to 6th edition in 2018, PMI has announced to publish a new PMP Exam Content Outline later in June 2019 and the new PMP Exam based on this Exam Content Outline will begin to implement from Jul 2020. This would be a bad news to Aspirants, right? Nothing to worry too much indeed.

The good news is: Since the new PMP Exam 2020 is still based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition, it is expected that the changes to the PMP Exam will be relatively minor. If you have already begun your PMP journey, just go ahead and get certified as planned. There is no need to panic. We will discuss the changes once more details are released.

I have set up this PMP Exam website from early 2013 when I was among the first few to prepare for the new PMP Exam based on the then “new” PMBOK® Guide (5th edition). Afterwards, I continually update my website including study notes and resources in response to the changes to the PMP Exam as introduced by PMI. Over the years, I have observed the following pattern:

  • Every changes to the PMBOK® Guide is a major change to the PMP Exam (i.e. from PMBOK® Guide 4th to 5th and from 5th to 6th edition). I have to rewritten almost every single post of my website to update the contents to fit for the latest version. And in the actually PMP Exam, almost every exam questions were updated to reflect the changes.
  • Every changes to the PMP Exam Content Outline is usually a minor one. Last time when the new PMP Exam Content Outline was published in 2015, we published only a post or two to cover the latest changes (mostly about the responsibilities and skillsets of project managers only, no changes to the PMBOK® Guide knowledge). Last time PMI made an update to the PMP Exam Content Outline in 2015, PMI estimated that 25% of the exam questions were updated (mostly on wordings).

Why is the PMP Exam is changing Every Year?

The PMP Exam is largely based on i) The PMP Exam Content Outline and ii) The PMBOK® Guide. PMI updates these document every several years alternatively, meaningly that there are continual changes introduced to the PMP Exam every year or so.

According to PMI:

Every 3-5 years PMI conducts research to understand how the project management profession has progressed, the impact of emerging trends, and how the responsibilities of project managers have changed over the years. The last round of research was conducted in 2015 and resulted in a PMP exam content outline which is currently in use. And PMI is currently finalizing a new version of the PMP Exam Content Outline which will be published in June 2019 and be effective from July 2020.

Following this update to the Exam Content Outline, no more changes would be expected soon. And as it would take several years for the new PMBOK® Guide (7th edition) to be released, no further changes to the PMP Exam would be expected until 2023.

What Changes will be Expected?

We are still waiting for the release of the new PMP Exam Content Outline. This post will be updated once details are known. However, it is expected that the following will be updated:

  • New responsibilities and skills for project managers
  • Agile project management knowledge
  • Changes to be made to be in-line with the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition

To learn more about the PMP Exam Content Outline changes, visit the PMI website here.

What to Do during the Transition Period before the PMP Exam 2020 is Launched?

For those taking the PMP exam on or before July 2020

  • which is highly recommended and do-able as it normally takes around 2 months to be fully prepared for the PMP Exam
  • Read on the PMP Exam Content Outline published in 2015 (not the new outline even if it is published)
  • Study for the exam based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition and all current study resources
  • You will NOT be affected by this PMP Exam update, just go ahed with your revision and doing practice questions
  • Better if you can take the exam by early December to avoid unexpected glitches

For those planning to take the PMP exam after July 2020

  • Study for the exam based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition and all current study resources
  • but keep an eye on the addendums to be released in response to the new PMP Exam Content Outline (last time, many major PMP Exam reference books and courses publisher made available the additional materials for FREE on their websites)
  • (If you have previously purchased the PM PrepCast™ / PMP Exam Simulator), ask the publisher for the FREE update to the PM PrepCast™ and PMP Exam Simulator once available – in fact the PMP Exam Simulator will automatically updated after July 2020 as it is a subscription based service.
  • Read on the PMP Exam Content Outline once published in June 2019

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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2 Responses

  1. Freddy Yvan says:

    Hey Sir.
    Thank you for this article. But I have a question. Do the conditions to take the PMP exam change ? I am referring to the 3 years (36 months) of non-overlapping professional project management experience and particularly that we have to show that we have worked on the 5 process groups (IPECC) whereas those process groups will no longer exist in pmbok 7th edition.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Freddy,

      At the time of writing, PMI has not announced that the requirements will be changing. I doubt that this will ever be changed as the 5 process groups are still relevant but the PMP exam will no longer be structured according to this only. The PMBOK 7th edition will not be published this year either.

      Wish you PMP success!