I am writing to ask your help and expert opinion on the following: I have taken my PMP exam Thursday morning in Budapest, Hungary. I have noticed during the exam that the exam questions were based upon the PMBOK 3rd edition and not the PMBOK 4th edition as I expected. I failed my exam. E.g: All my critical path diagrams were activity on arrow and not activity on node type. I also found several questions which were not aligned with PMBOK 4th edition.
Please let me know how it could happen since I scheduled my exam on 27 June, 2009. for 10 September 2009. As far as I know the PMBOK 4th Edition PMP exams are valid after 29 June 2009. My entire PMP Exam preparation was based upon the PMBOK 4th edition. I used your new "The PM PrepCast" podcast along with Rita's PMP Exam Prep Sixth edition. My PMP Prep-class teacher advised me to write an e-mail to PMI what I did so but I would be glad to hear your opinion. I am going to take the PMP Exam as soon as possible but would like to have your expert opinion whether I made a mistake or Prometric, or PMI or I misunderstood something and it would happen with everybody who scheduled before 29 June, 2009?
First of all let me say how sorry I am that you have failed your exam. That is unfortunate, especially based on the circumstances that you described. But I see that you are not letting yourself be put down and that you have already gotten up again, brushed yourself off and that you are moving forward.
According to all communication that I have seen from PMI, your exam should have been based on PMBOK 4. It is my understanding that all exams on/after July 1st 2009 were supposed to be based on the 4th edition.
If you truly feel that there were a great number of questions that were based on PMBOK 3 then you have two ways to move forward.
The first option is to simply shrug your shoulders and retake the exam. Under this option you would accept the fact that you have failed your first attempt and you are simply trying it again.
The second option is what your teacher suggested: To write an appeal to PMI. You can find the following text on page 24 in the PMP Handbook regarding appeals:
PMI Appeals Procedure
All challenges to PMI’s Certification Program are governed by the comprehensive and exclusive rules of
the PMI Certification Governance Council’s (CGC) Certification Appeal Procedures. PMI’s Office of
Certification Appeals makes the final decision on all appeals.
The appeals process is the only method to review all decisions made by the PMI Certification
Department regarding audit and examination results and other application or testing-related challenges.
Disciplinary decisions made by the Office of Certification Appeals regarding individuals who hold a PMI
credential are governed by and reviewed under a separate procedure, detailed in a separate PMI policy
document, PMI Certification Disciplinary Case Procedures.
Candidates for the credential, or individuals who currently hold the credential, may submit a written
request to the Office of Certification Appeals for review of an adverse credential program action,
This policy may be distributed to all credential holders that may be interested in submitting an appeal to
PMI’s Office of Certification Appeals.
From what you are telling me in your post I believe that you have a case that can be appealed. The only argument that I can see from PMI's point of view is that "Even though the questions in your exam were based on tools & techniques from the PMBOK 3, they are still part of the overall knowledge of project management and therefore valid exam questions". Or something like this.
Still, an appeal may be fruitful. The final decision if you want to write an email to appeals is yours. If you do decide to appeal, then I recommend the following:
- Be very specific. Give them your full name, PMI number, your PMP applicant number
- Tell them at which testing location you took the exam (address) and on what day/time
- Include a PDF version of your test results
- Give specific examples of questions that were based on PMBOK 3. The more specific you can be the better.
- Explain why you feel that these questions were not in alignment with PMBOK 4.
- I also recommend that you write the email and then save it. Sleep on it. Review it the next day and see if any other arguments have come to mind. Then send it.
Please let us know how things go for you!
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC
Thank you for your quick reply! Yes you are absolutely right I am not disappointed at all but a bit sad since I spent quite some time on studying and finally I failed. I am not letting myself down and I've already gotten up again and moving forward. My major concern is that I have to align my PMP exam and MBA studies and that is not so easy. The basic reason was to take the exam early September to be able to concentrate on the university. But okay, I will coop with that. To be honest with you the biggest surprise was that all my network diagrams were activity on arrow type and I was not prepared for that. On the another hand the questions cited "preliminary scope statements" and some so called "mock activity" or "dummy activity". I colleague of mine took the exam the very same day but four hours later. His experience was exactly the same, that the wording of the questions, the name of processes etc. were hardly recognizable for him. He marked roughly 50 questions then after 3 hours he reviewed them and by guessing he was lucky enough to pass the exam.
I wrote an e-mail to PMI with all the exact details asking them to investigate whether it was really a PMBOK3 type exam or not. I will let you know the developments shortly since they confirmed that I would get a reply within five business day.
I will not give up and I will take the exam a.s.a.p!
I scheduled my exam on the end of december 2009. I listened to your prepcast, read the PMBoK Guide and I purchased a test simulator which was stated to be updated to the 4th edition of Whizlabs.
There, similiar to Lazlo, I found quite a lot of questions referring to processes of 3rd edition which have been renamed (which is not that bad) also have different purposes now. Or to deliverables that can not be found in the 4 th edition.
Giving an example:
> Plan Scope in 3rd edition -> renamed in Collect requirements in 4th edition.
Plan Scope had a key output called Scope Management Plan which in the 4th edition is created during the Process Develop Project Management Plan.
> The process of recording the quality objectives of the project and for measuring and reporting quality performance is called? Answer: Quality Baseline
Quality Baseline has not mentioned at all in the 4th edition.
Now my simple question is, are the exam questions based on the 4th edition or only partially? Is the content of the 3rd Edition also important to memorize?
Let me first of all say that I don't know the Whizlabs product, so I cannot say what is and what is not in it, nor do I know what version of the PMBOK it is based upon.
The PMP exam, however, is 100% based on the PMBOK Guide 4th edition. You should not find any references in the exam that require you to know information from the 3rd edition that is no longer in the 4th edition. So information that you can find in the 4th edition (word for word) is the basis.
However, the PMBOK Guide only represents about 75% of the actual exam. PMI uses other resources as well from which they create questions (nobody knows what these resources are.) So even though "quality baselines" is only mentioned once in the PMBOK Guide 4th edition, it is still being used and other books reference it.
1. The PMP Exam is based on the PMBOK 4th edition.
2. The PMP Exam uses other materials as well.
3. You don't need to know any information from the PMBOK Guide 3rd edition
You should contact Whizlabs directly and ask them about these inconsistencies. It may be that this answer is not based on the PMBOK but on another reference book that you haven't read.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC
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