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Taking the PMP Exam - Appendix A -Exam Guides

I've mentioned that I'm planning on taking the PMP exam by reading nothing but the PMBOK, but there are a number of exam guides and prep course books out there so I'm going to list them here for the use of anyone who thinks they need them. One thing to be very careful about is to get a version which targets the current exam. It should state that it is for the PMBOK Guide 3rd. Edition. With that out of the way, here are the books I've glanced through and some background on them.

PMP Exam Prep, Fifth Edition: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam, Rita Mulcahy
This book is put out by Rita Mulcahy, one of the more established PMP exam trainers. Her company RMC (derived from her initials I believe) conducts exam prep courses, has online courses, and publishes a number of different PMP exam materials.

Rita's writing is either the kind you love or hate. Looking on Amazon you find that people find her approach motivational or condescending. I have to admit I'm not motivated by her approach, but you may be. Rita focuses on how to pass the test and her books have a number of tips and techniques for dealing with the idiosyncratic ways of the PMP exam. As I've been mentioning through this series, the way to pass the test is to think like the PMBOK.

Arrangement of the materials is a bit odd. I think that mirroring the PMBOK organization is probably a better approach. The book contains a number of practice exams. The general opinion is that the practice exams are tough (which is a good thing in some regards) and the answers are explained. I note that a few people who used this book considered the tests to be unrealistically hard - and they thought they were intended to scare people into more expensive prep classes. There is a bit of a hard sell.

Results of people using this book as reported in Amazon are pretty good. In one way this is not surprising. 80% of people pass the exam and those that don't probably aren't talking. The book apparently is used as part of her prep classes so people who are investing that much time and effort are probably pretty serious about it and would pass no matter what text they used. But the book is widely used and is probably a good choice for someone without much project management background.

PMP: Project Management Professional Study Guide, Kim Heldman
I've only taken a brief look at this book. I like the organization, but when I got to the point where I looked at the answers to one of the practice exams and the Triple constraint was described as Time, Cost and Quality I had to shake my head. Where is scope Kim? PMI members can access an online version of this book, but the one that is available is from 2002 and should probably NOT be used for studying for the current exam. Using an old book may cause you to memorize things you do not have to, and completely miss the things which are new or changed.

The basic errors scare me. Rita's book is said to have some too, so it is not specific to this book, but they are good reasons to go to the source first.

The PMP Exam: How to Pass On Your First Try, Andy Crowe
This book is widely regarded as "easy to read" and helps make sense of the PMI. On the other hand, a criticism is that perhaps it is too easy. The practice exams are not up to the same level of difficulty as the one's in Rita's books. I'd contend that the right difficulty is somewhere between the two.

This book is also firmly targetted at passing the PMP exam. Most readers report that he does a good job of highlighting what is important and what is not. This is very helpful if you have limited time to study.

PMP In Depth: Project Management Professional Study Guide for PMP and CAPM Exams, Paul Sanghera
This book is organized, like the PMBOK around the different process areas. I have not read it or even seen it yet so I don't have much to say except that many people are recommending it over the three books I've listed above. On top of that, it appears to be the most reasonably priced. Definitely worth considering if you are choosing a book to study from.

  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 12 - The PMP Examination Specification
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 6 - Downloading the PMBOK
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 4 - Customer Satisfaction
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 2 - Joining PMI
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 1 - Getting Started
  • Taking the PMP Exam N*ked - Part 0
  • The Best Project Server 2010 Book
  • Taking and Passing the PMP Exam Part 16 How I passed the PMP Exam
  • Books to Consider – Decision Making
  • PMP Certification Exam Experience Requirements Spreadsheet

  • Comments (2)

    There is a great deal of information out there on passing the CAPM and PMP exams. However, they generally boil down to: plan your work and work your plan. It is like the magic formula for weight loss: eat less and exercise more.

    For the PMP exams the books and guides are must for the reference and used as a study material. With help of these guides they can get the clear information about the PMP and an idea about the exam. The blog is so informative and nice.

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