The PMP Exam is changing!

April 24, 2011

From Cornelius Fichtner:

Every five to seven years, the Project Management Institute (PMI) performs a Role Delineation Study to determine authority (“the role”), responsibilities & duties of project managers today. The findings are then used to update the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam. In this way, PMI ensures that the PMP Exam is a reflection of what project managers actually do in the field. If PMI didn’t regularly go through this process adding new elements and removing old ones, then you would still be tested on outdated methods that were used in the 1980s when the first PMP exam was given.

PMI completed their latest study at the end of 2010. The findings will lead to an update in the PMP Exam on 31 August 2011. Let’s look at what this means to you.

The PMBOK Guide Is Not Changing

First of all and most importantly: There is NO change to the PMBOK Guide. The PMP Exam is currently based on the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition. The 5th edition is scheduled for publication at the end of 2012. This means that the PMP Exam will continue to be largely based on the 4th edition until sometime in 2013. Therefore, everyone preparing for the PMP Exam can continue to do so using the PMBOK Guide 4th edition until 2013.

The Exam Format Is Not Changing

The PMP Exam will continue to be a computer-based exam, and you have four hours to answer 200 multiple-choice questions.
The Score Report is Not Changing

PMI stated “At this time, PMI does not anticipate any changes will be made to the PMP score report”. This suggests that the way the passing score is determined will remain the same.

The Eligibility Requirements Are Not Changing

The education and experience eligibility requirements for the PMP Exam will remain the same. Please read the eligibility section of the PMP Credential Handbook for the details.

The Exam Changes on 31 August 2011. Period.

The new exam will be rolled out on 31 August 2011 and the last day on which you can take the exam under the current specifications is on 30 August 2011. No exceptions.

Professional & Social Responsibility Will Be Integrated

In the current exam format Professional and Social Responsibility is tested as a separate domain. The Role Delineation Study showed that Professional and Social Responsibility is integrated into all of the work of project management and cannot be seen as separate. The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct should therefore be viewed and tested as an integrated part of a project manager’s day-to-day work.

For the new exam, students will have to understand the effects of Professional and Social Responsibility on their daily tasks. Exam questions will ask about ethical considerations during procurement, mix social responsibility with team management and test your application of professional responsibility in a written status report.

Studying, understanding and living the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in your daily work as a project manager will have a much higher importance for the exam.

The Content Of Your Study Materials Will Change

PMI has communicated the detailed changes to the new exam to all Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s). It is their responsibility to ensure that the content of their training materials is  updated. As a student, you should not worry about this. You have a right to expect that your provider ensures that your training materials have the right content for the exam you are taking.

Recommendations For PMP Students
1.  Take The Exam Before The Change:
If you are currently studying for the PMP Exam then plan your studies in such a way that you can take the exam before 31 July 2011. The new exam comes into effect on 31 August 2011 and scheduling your exam one month before this date will give you 30 days to retake the exam in case you fail on your first attempt.
2.  Use Study Materials From PMI Registered Education Providers (PMI R.E.P.):

PMI R.E.P.s are working hard to update their study materials to the new standard and PMI is supporting them in this effort. PMP students should not worry about the changes of the exam content at all. Instead, make sure to purchase study materials from a PMI R.E.P. and ask them to confirm that the materials which you have ordered are right for you based on your scheduled exam date. You need current materials if your exam is scheduled on or before 30 August 2011 and you need updated materials if your exam is on or after 31 August 2011.

3.  Read The FAQ:

PMI has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Reading it will help you to better understand what’s coming.

4.  Read PMI’s Study Tips:

I recommend that you take a look at the PMP Study Tips Page that PMI prepared on their website.