PMP / PMBOK Guide FAQ 12 – PM PrepCast as replacement for PMBOK Guide?
Is reading the PMBOK® Guide absolutely required? Many PMP® aspirants will surely have this question in mind while preparing for the PMP® Certification exam. This post will give an overview of what the PMBOK® Guide is and explain why you would like to read it during your PMP® exam preparation.
The PMBOK® Guide and the PMP® Certification Exam
Many Aspirants will mistakenly assume that the PMBOK® Guide is the PMP® Certification Exam syllabus. This is basically FALSE. In fact, the PMP® Certification Exam syllabus is described in the PMP® Exam Content Outline published by the PMI. PMI emphases that:
… while the PMP® Examination Content Outline and the PMBOK® Guide have commonalities, it is important to note that those involved in the study described previously were not bound by the PMBOK® Guide. They were charged with defining the role of individuals leading and directing projects, and using their experience and pertinent resource to help in this task …
This essentially means that studying the PMBOK® Guide alone is NOT enough for the PMP® Exam. (You may find more information on the relationship between the PMBOK® Guide and the PMP® Certification Exam in this article.)
Can PM PrepCast™ as a Replacement of the PMBOK® Guide?
On the other hand, many Aspirants would take some sorts of PMP® Certification Exam prep courses as a way to get the 35 contact hours as well as prepare for the PMP® Exam (e.g. I took the PM PrepCast™ to help me pass the PMP® Exam), can we just reply on the PMP® exam prep courses and skip reading the PMBOK® Guide?
The answer to me is NO. Reading the PMBOK® Guide is essential for me to pass the PMP® Certification Exam.
Take the PM PrepCast™ as an example. The course instructor highly recommends students to follow the course as concurrently with reading the PMBOK® Guide, i.e. while going through a topic from the PM PrepCast™, the student would read the same chapter of the PMBOK® Guide. In fact, the courses of the PM PrepCast™ are organized according to the structure of PMBOK® Guide.
Why such advice is valuable? Admittedly, the PMBOK® Guide is a hard read. If one try to read from the very beginning of the PMBOK® Guide, it is highly possible that one would give up the PMBOK® Guide (even the PMP® Certification quest) after two or three chapters. The PMBOK® Guide was written in formal language that plainly describes all the different processes of the project management body of knowledge. The PMP® Exam prep courses can act as a kind of “introduction” or “digest” for the contents of the PMBOK® Guide. The exam guide helps creating a “mind map” in your brain to guide you through the PMBOK® Guide. By going through them together, one will be able to understand and memorize the concepts more readily.
In addition, the PMP® Exam Prep courses will try to include extra materials that are part of the PMP® Exam syllabus alongside with the subject matters found in the PMBOK® Guide. In this way, students preparing for the PMP® Exam will be able to cover more of the PMP® Exam syllabus than reading the PMBOK® Guide alone.
If you aim to achieve a satisfactory result from the PMP® Exam (i.e. with more “proficient” grades), reading the PMBOK® Guide is considered a must.
OK, Can I Just Skip the PMBOK® Guide and Get a Pass?
Some successful PMP® exam takers have shared that they did not read the PMBOK® Guide during the PMP® Exam preparation and yet they could get a pass on first attempt. In theory, it is possible to get a pass on the PMP® Exam without reading the PMBOK® Guide.
However, to play safe, given you have the time to read the PMBOK® Guide (it takes around two weeks), why not follow the time-tested way of reading the PMBOK® Guide alongside the PM PrepCast™?
Wish you PMP® success!