Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

The PMP Exam is Changing on 16 December 2019

update

The Project Management Institute (PMI)® announced that a change is coming to The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam later this year. In this article, we explore what this means if you are currently studying for your PMP® exam. (Spoiler alert: Don't delay and take the exam NOW!)

To learn more about this change directly from PMI®, please visit the following page https://www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp/exam-prep/changes

And if you have any questions that are not answered anywhere, then please visit our PMP Discussion Forum where we have a dedicated discussion thread to answer any questions that you may have at this time.

Note: This article will be updated whenever new information becomes available. Check back often and see the Changelog at the bottom of the article for recent updates.

Why is The PMP Exam Changing in 2019?

The exam is changing because our jobs as project managers have changed.

Every 3-5 years, PMI® conducts research to understand how the profession has progressed, the impact of emerging trends, and how the responsibilities of project managers have changed.  The last round of this research was conducted in 2015 and resulted in the current PMP exam content outline.

Subject matter experts from leading organizations around the world are currently working with PMI to define the PMP of the future. The result of this research will be the publication of a new PMP exam content outline in June of 2019, and six months later, this new outline will lead to an updated PMP exam.


When is the PMP Exam Changing in 2019?

There are three important dates to remember for those currently studying for the exam:

June 2019

PMI releases the new PMP Exam Content Outline (the exact date is unknown)

15 December 2019

This is the last day to take the current version of the PMP Exam.

16 December 2019

This is the first day to take the new version of the PMP Exam.

What are the 2019 PMP Exam Changes?

The PMP Exam Content Outline is changing in June, which will result in a change to the PMP Exam in December. The exact nature of the changes will not be known until the outline has been published later this month.

Contrary to what you may think, the PMP exam is NOT based on A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Instead, the exam is based on The PMP Exam Content Outline. And a new outline is currently being developed and will be published in June 2019. PMI will then use this new outline as the basis to update the exam.

Here is what we expect will happen

  • PMI publishes the new exam content outline in June 2019.
  • The new outline will include additional responsibilities that we project managers have and new techniques that we use. For example, we expect some Agile project management techniques will be added.
  • The new outline will also remove or de-emphasize some responsibilities and techniques. For example, we expect that procurement and contracting will be de-emphasized because these are often handled by internal procurement and legal departments only under the general guidance by the PM.
  • PMI will update the question bank for the PMP exam by adding, removing and updating questions.
  • PMI will start using the new questions on 16 December 2019.

The last time PMI made a similar update was in 2015. Back then, PMI estimated that approximately 25% of the questions on the exam were touched and updated as a result.


Is The PMBOK® Guide Changing?

No.

The PMP exam uses the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition as one of the references for the PMP Exam. The PMBOK® Guide Seventh Edition is not expected until 2023. This means that the PMBOK® Guide is not changing and that PMI will continue to use the Sixth Edition as an exam reference until at least 2023.

Therefore, use the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition no matter if you are taking the exam before or after 15 December 2019.


I'm Studying for the PMP Exam. What Does All This Mean for Me?

We recommend that you plan on taking the exam before it changes in December. 

If you plan on taking the PMP exam on or before 15 December 2019

  • Continue your studies without changing anything.
  • Use the current PMP Exam Content Outline (published in 2015) as your general guide to the exam.
  • Study using the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition.
  • Try and schedule your exam no later than 15 November 2019 so that you can avoid the 'mad rush' expected for December when everyone wants to take the exam before the change.
  • Scheduling your exam in November also gives you an additional month to take it again in case you don't pass at first.

If you plan on taking the PMP exam on or after 16 December 2019

  • Continue your studies until PMI publishes the new exam content outline sometime in June.
  • Download and read the new exam content outline so that you know the general topics that will be on your exam.
  • Contact your training provider and ask them if they have performed a comparison between the old and new exam content outline and if they will be updating your training materials.
  • Find out how and when you will be given access to any additional training materials they provide.
  • Study using the updated materials provided to you by your training provider.
  • Study using the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition.
  • Schedule your exam on or after 16 December 2019

Should I take the PMP Exam before or after the 2019 Update?

Before!

Preparing for the PMP exam takes approximately 8-12 weeks. Therefore, if you are reading this before 15 October 2019 then you have enough time to do it. If you are reading this after 15 October 2019 then it is still possible but your window of opportunity is getting smaller by the day.


How Can I Pass The PMP Exam Before the 2019 Update?

Here are our recommended steps. Please remember that everyone learns differently and that you may have to adjust this approach to your personal needs:

Step 1
Read the article How to Get PMP Certification - The Complete Guide in order to understand the process of obtaining your certificate.
Step 2
Read the article Creating Your PMP Study Plan - The Complete Guide and develop your study plan based on these recommendations.
Step 3
Buy The PM PrepCast in order to get your PMP training completed.
Step 4
Buy The PMP Exam Simulator so you have access to PMP Practice Exam questions.
Step 5
Follow the study plan that you developed in step 2. In particular you should take as many sample exams in the simulator from step 4 as possible and analyze each incorrectly answered question in detail.
Step 6
Schedule and pass your exam at least 2-4 weeks before 15 December 2019

If you meet the PMP exam elibility requirements then we strongly encourage you to get certified before the exam changes. Using The PM PrepCast and The PMP Exam Simulator -- called The PM PrepCast Elite -- is a combination used by over 50,000 students so far.


Will You Update The PM PrepCast?

Yes, if we have to.

We are waiting for PMI to publish the new exam content outline in June 2019. We will then perform a comparison between the old and new outline and determine any required updates.

If any updates are necessary, then these will be provided to our students free of charge.


Will You Update The PMP Exam Simulator?

Yes, if we have to.

We are waiting for PMI to publish the new exam content outline in June 2019. We will then perform a comparison between the old and new outline and any required updates.

If any updates are necessary, then these will be provided to our students free of charge.


Will You Update The PMP Formula Study Guide?

Probably not. We are 99.99% certain that the formulas will not need updating because no changes were necessary both in the 2010 and 2015 update.

However, we are waiting for PMI to publish the new exam content outline in June 2019. We will then perform a comparison between the old and new outline and determine any required updates.


Changelog

Here is the history of the updates made to this article:

2019-June-01
Original article published.
2019-June-03
Added link to PMI page in second paragraph.

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