PMP / PMBOK Guide FAQ 12 – PM PrepCast as replacement for PMBOK Guide?

pmp / pmbok guide faq 1

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.

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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!

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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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