Key Changes to PMP Exam 2021: Everything You Need to Know

Hasan K
Hasan K

Product Lead @ Thrivesyte

PMP Exam Changes

Project Management Institute (PMI), world’s leading professional association for project management, announced changes in the PMP certification exam which will come into effect from January 2, 2021.

Change is everywhere and project management is no exception. The changing trends, roles and responsibilities of project managers necessities that upcoming professionals are in line with these emerging trends. PMI is aware of the need to update their PMP examinations and it makes changes to the exam outline.

The PMP exam is very important if you want to advance in your career in project management. The certification can give a considerable boost in salary. According to a global survey conducted by PMI, PMP Certified Project Managers earn 22% higher on average than their non-PMP counterparts.

There is going to be a considerable change in the exam pattern and there is a significant difference between the current course outline and the new course outline. In this blog, we will be going over the different changes that will be happenings in the new exam. You can subscribe to our to get more insights and updates that will be occurring in the field of project management.

How is the Exam Changing?

The PMI conducts a Role Delineation Study (RDS) of current project managers, every 3 to 5 years, to understand how the project management profession has advanced. The process used by PMI is a global practice analysis. Under this analysis, PMI tries to gauge the impact of the emerging trends in the industry but examining the roles of new project managers, experienced project managers, skilled practitioners, and business analysts. Based on the outcome of the research, PMI renews the content of the PMP exam. The latest update by RDS was made to the PMI at the end of June 2019. From January 2, 2021, the new course outline will become the basis for the PMP exam.

Changes to PMP Exam

Resources needed to prepare for the Exam

Preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam requires careful planning and a variety of resources to ensure success. The PMP exam is a comprehensive test of your project management knowledge, skills, and abilities, so a well-rounded approach to preparation is essential. Here are the key resources you’ll need:

  • The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide is the foundational resource for the PMP exam.

  • The PMP Exam Content Outline by the Project Management Institute (PMI), outlines the exam domains and tasks.

  • PMI provides a PMP Handbook that explains the application process, exam policies, and other important details.

  • There are numerous PMP exam prep books available, authored by experts in the field.

  • Many organizations and training providers offer online courses that cover the exam content in a structured manner.

  • PMI offers an official PMP practice exam and simulator, and there are also third-party practice exam providers.

  • Joining a PMP study group or online forums and discussion groups to gain insights, study tips, and peer support.

  • Flashcards can be helpful for memorizing key terms, formulas, and processes.

  • Note taking and mind maps can help reinforcing the understanding of key concepts.

The PMI has introduced the “Authorized Training Partner” program to standardize and improve the delivery of the training for the PMP exam. ATP are organizations or training providers that has been authorized by PMI to deliver project management training courses in alignment with PMI’s standards and guidelines. Taking a course with a PMI Authorized Training Partner (ATP) can offer several benefits for individuals preparing for PMP certification exams including quality assurance, use of accurate and current content, access to Course Instructor accredited by PMI, structured learning, and readiness assessment via practice exams. ATPs offer valuable resources and support, but success ultimately depends on ones dedication to studying and preparing for the exam.

Food for Thought

PMI is taking a step in the right direction by incorporating a greater percentage of agile methodology in its PMP exam. Traditionally, PMP has been favored by conventional manufacturing and business enterprises whereas PMI-ACP has been opted by the Software and IT industries. However, with the changing trends in businesses today, a project manager who is competent in one domain and tries to fit all projects to that approach will not succeed. 

In today’s dynamic environment, project methodologies and approaches need to be integrated to fit a given situation. The emergence of startups, growth in IT, software development, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 has reiterated the need for agile methodologies in the business fraternity. 

With the changes to the PMP exam resulting in it being 50% agile focused, we tend to wonder whether PMI-ACP is still relevant. Which of the two certifications is more beneficial, now that the difference between the two is less pronounced? Besides, PMI offers another specialized certification, Disciplined Agile. As a professional, which certification should one opt for: PMP, PMI-ACP or Disciplined Agile. What is the difference and how is the value generated?

Future of PMP

Considering the dynamic business landscape and the VUCA environment, organizations are on the lookout for highly skilled and experienced professionals, knowledgeable in project management to navigate the complex business environment. According to PMI Talent Gap report, the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030. Achieving PMP certification can open up new career opportunities, increase earning potential, offer global recognition, enhance project management skills and gain competitive edge.

So what do you think of the changes with PMP? Will it be more difficult now to get certified? Will it add more value to your career? Please share your thoughts.

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