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Taking the PMP Exam - Part 14 - The Examination Specification

OK it is up on the PMI reading list site now, so no need to purchase it anymore, and purchasing it would be a mistake as it is of little use once you pass the exam. It is also surprisingly thin.

So what do you get from it? A couple interesting things. The first is that it gives the reasoning behind switching from the "old" PMP test to the "new" one. The new exam is a direct response to PMI's attempt to align with some commonly accepted practices for testing and certification. They cite ISO 17024 and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and begin with a role delineation study.

PMI's claim that their certification is "best-in-class" because of their global role delineation study, something which they claim is "rare, if at all seen in the association professional credentialing world". What that means to a potential PMP is really not very much. What other credential is out there? What about the PMP's who passed the earlier exam? If PMI really believes this, they should retest those people, but back to the subject. Sorry.

The spec also outlines general areas of study. Beyond the PMBOK, they recommend reading up on risk, scheduling, EVM, estimating and as a catch-all "other project management topics".

The Examination Specification refers to "content-valid" examinations. What this appears to mean is that the content of the exam should mirror the work done within the profession. This is why there are no questions on fishing or pie-making in the PMP exam (well, THIS PMP exam, the Pie-Making-Professional exam has questions on pie-making, and content too. Yum!).

Where was I? Oh yeah, content validation... A few years ago they did the role delineation study, and then convened 4 panels in different global areas to scrub the study and analyze the role of the Project Manager. Then a super-panel took that and boiled it down. What they arrived at was that Project Managers do 5 basic things. They are:

  1. Initiating the Project
  2. Planning the Project
  3. Executing the Project
  4. Monitoring and Controlling the Project
  5. Closing the Project

and they behave the whole time according to a standard of "Professional and Social Responsibility".

Next time we will start to break these down into what each of these basic phases are and start to see if we can map the PMBOK to the spec.

Bonus section for the OTHER PMP. The Pie Maker Professional Certification Specification:

  1. Initiating the Pie
  2. Planning the Pie
  3. Crusting for the Pie
  4. Filling the Pie
  5. Closing the Pie
  6. Baking the Pie
  7. Eating the Pie
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 2 - Joining PMI
  • Taking and Passing the PMP Exam Part 16 How I passed the PMP Exam
  • PMP Certification Exam Experience Requirements Spreadsheet
  • Taking and Passing the PMP Exam - Part 15 - PMBOK version 4
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 12 - The PMP Examination Specification
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Appendix A -Exam Guides
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 8 - What is Project Management
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 5 - PMI Standards or the lack thereof
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 1 - Getting Started
  • Personal PMP test takers

  • Comments (1)

    Jack - I love that you're taking the time to detail your approach to taking the PMP exam sans training or additional reading. I'm interested in reading more about how a seasoned PM has to adjust their mindset and learn (Memorize?) what PMI and the PMBOK want you to focus on. Good stuff!

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