Step-by-step PMP Certification Guide 2017 and early 2018 (for PMBOK Guide 5th Ed.)

PDF Download: The Complete PMI PMP Certification Guide can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Step-by-step PMP Certification Guide 2016 (for PMBOK Guide 5th Ed.)

Breaking news: PMI has announced that the new PMP® Exam will only be in effect from 26th March 2018. This means that Aspirants would have nearly 3 more months to prepare and pass the PMP® Exam based on PMBOK® Guide 5! It is highly advised to get certified in 2017 and there is still enough time to achieve your PMP® dream. Remember: once you are PMP® certified, you can continue to be a PMP® for the rest of your life (by earning PDUs only) without the need to take any more exams for the new exam syllabus!

~ All you need to know about the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification of the Project Management Institute (PMI) that the PMP® Handbook doesn’t tell you clearly

This Complete PMP® Certification and Study Guide is dedicated to the many thousands of PMP® aspirants visiting my blog in the search of the best way to achieve PMP® success.

Your feedback and questions have prompted me to prepare this special guide to help all project managers aiming to gain the initials “PMP®” after their titles easier.

It is my humble wish to provide all Aspirants with the most detailed online guide to familiarise themselves with the application and certification processes and procedures and how to prepare and study well for the actual exam by the with the ultimate aim to get the Project Management Professional Certification credential in first try.

This guide is the fruit of many hours of labours — trying to condense huge amount of information into digestible bits. I have been there before, so I understand the quest for a comprehensive and yet easy to understand guide to PMP® Exam application and preparation.

It is my gift to all Aspirants. Wish you PMP® success!

Introduction to this Guide

Learning all the stuff required for the exam is already a daunting tasks, let alone understanding all the intricacies of the certification process as well as handling all the administrative tasks such as the composing the project description and collecting all the documents required for the fearful PMI audit.

It is no wonder why PMP® is often considered one of the most difficult professional certification to achieve.

But this also means that the certification is one of the most valuable certifications for professional working in project management field owing to the “rigidity” of the certification process.

The information presented by the PMP® Handbook published is quite informational …… yet, reading the Handbook alone would not lead you navigate easily through the various processes to success as PMI compose it really in the form of a “standard” (just as the PMBOK® Guide is not easy to read). As an example, what can be counted as “contact hours” or “working experiences”? Or how to write the project description that satisfies PMI requirements?

Fear not, this Guide attempts to answer all your questions during your PMP® application and study in the hope of helping you get certified.

This Complete PMP® Certification and Study Guide will guide you through the certification process — from initially understanding what the certification is about, successfully completing the application form (including satisfying the audit requirements), studying and preparing for the actual examination …… to collecting PDUs to maintain your credential (i.e. re-certification) after you have gotten your certificate.

This guide will try to answer all the application and study related questions you might have to free you more time to concentrate on your study for exam success. This guide is applicable to Aspirants in the United States, Europe, Asia and all around the world. The PMP® Exam is basically the same no matter where you are taking the exam (except that there are language aids available for aspirants whose mother tongue is not English).

About the Author

The author of this guide is Edward Chung, PMP®, PMI-ACP®, ITIL® Foundation.

After going through the PMP® certification process all alone by googling and wasting dozens of hours…… I couldn’t help but thinking that if I could eventually get certified, the first thing I would do was to write a detailed account of my certification experience to help fellow Aspirants ease the certification journey.

This guide is the second step to re-organize the exam process in a more systematic and easier-to-understand way after answering hundreds of Aspirants with their queries.

Contents of this Guide

  1. The PMP® Certification Process Overview
  2. How Much Time, Effort and Money is Required for the PMP® Credential?
  3. How to Get the Required 35 Hours of PMP® Training Cheap and Easy?
  4. PMP® Study Resources: PMBOK® Guide, PMP® Guide plus Practice Exams
  5. How to Correctly Fill the Online PMP® Application Form?
  6. How to Pass the PMP® Audit Process Smoothly?
  7. Schedule and Take the PMP® Certification Exam
  8. Once You have Passed the PMP® Exam …
  9. What You should Know about PMP® PDU?

These 9 sections are meant to help you navigate through, firstly, the application process, then study and exam and finally getting PDU for re-certification.

Reading them 1 by 1 and carrying out related actions in sequence will guide you through the certification process with ease.

Certification Roadmap

After communicating with hundreds of Aspirants, it is found that the most pressing questions they had is not know where to begin the journey. Is it to begin with a complete study of the PMBOK® Guide? Or to get the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management? Or to fill in the online  application form?

The following outlines the the recommended sequence leading to certification:

  1. Don’t read the PMBOK® Guide on your own, get the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management from a course that help you prepare for the exam (usually called exam prep course), there are lots of choice ranging from face-to-face classroom lecture, online courses and podcast courses.
  2. Purchase/borrow all the required study materials including the PMBOK® Guide, at least one reference book and some practice/mock exams
  3. Apply online for the exam. You will need to describe your working experience in PMI’s terms and the prep course you have taken will help you finish the application form easily.
  4. Fix a date for your exam after you have received confirmation from PMI or passed the audit, if applicable.
  5. Study hard for the exam with your study materials. Working on as many as practice exams as possible.
  6. Pass the exam.
  7. Begin earning PDUs for your 3-year recertification cycle.

Following the above sequence will allow you to go through the certification process in the most logical and easiest way.

What’s Next?

Get an overview of the certification process with the help of an infographic.


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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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11 Responses

  1. Kay says:

    Hi Edward,

    If the contact hours were in a class room setting almost 3 years ago. Do you know if they still count?? I am re starting the process after taking a break due to very demanding work schedule.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Kay,

      Yes, the contact hours are valid forever. All you need to do is to obtain the course completion certificate as well as the course outline (not necessary for courses offered by PMI R.E.P.).

      Wish you PMP success!

  2. Shlomi says:

    There is a typo in the upper box.
    Add “L” to the “This Compete PMP Certification and Study Guide”

  3. Blanche says:

    I’d like to thank you for your commendable effort to walk us through the PMP process and your continuous encouragement to everyone interested. I would like to know if you have any information about PMI’s PBA? Thanks for your time.

  4. Salman Haider says:


    First of all am thankful for your ITIL guide which helped me through the certification exam. Furthermore, please let me know how much time did you take in the pmp prepration through PMP precast. Thanks.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Salman,

      It took me around 60 hours or so to go through all the PM Prepcast lessons (most of which are done during transit time, i.e. taking the metro and walking). As for the overall PMP Exam preparation, it is around 150 hours. Thanks!

  5. mohamed mahran says:


    How to download The Complete PMP Certification and Study Guide (for PMBOK 5)?

April 9, 2014