Archive: PMP Exam Update Jan 2018

Updated: 4 January 2018

What You Need to Know about Changes to the PMP Exam

The PMBOK® Guide has changed.

The 6th Edition came out in September 2017, with some significant changes.

This will change the PMP syllabus an the PMP Exam.

These are designed to keep it relevant to modern PM practices, and to maintain standards.

The PMP exam will change from 26 March 2018.

If you schedule your exam on 26 March or later, you will receive an updated version of the exam that references the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition. So, anyone taking the exam before 26 March 2018 will get the current version of the exam that references the PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition.

PMI has not yet made an announcement about the CAPM exam and currently the links on the CAPM exam pages of its site still reference the 5th Edition.

The big difference between these two qualifications as far as PMBOK 6th Edition is concerned is this:


PMP is not intended as a test of PMBOK. It is one of the principal reference sources - maybe the principal source. But the syllabus is driven out of the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO). Some of the updates you can expect to see respond to changes in terminology. As you'd expect, PMI will also harmonize the process groups, tools, and techniques.

PMI has no changes currently in progress for the ECO; the last set of changes were incorporated into the PMP exam in January 2017. But that is not to say it won't change.


CAPM, on the other hand, is very much a test of PMBOK. So although we don't have a date yet, we can expect the exam to be brought into line with the PMBOK 6th edition in the same sort of timeframe.

And, of course, PMI constantly refreshes the questions in its exams; both PMP and CAPM. So this is not a very big deal. In short, study the materials you have, and don't worry.

Here We answer all your Questions

What are the Facts?

PMI’s Published Timetables

As at 4 January 2018...

  • The 6th Edition of PMBOK Guide® is out, and available
  • The PMP exam changes on 26 March 2018.

PMI’s announcements about the new exam

First and foremost, PMI tells us that:

'Anyone taking the exam prior to Q1 2018 will receive the current version of the exam that references the PMBOK Guide® – Fifth Edition.'

What PMP has said (PMP Update) is:

'The Project Management Professional (PMP)®, along with all PMI certifications, is driven by current practices in the profession. Because project management is evolving, so is the PMP exam.'

'As a result of the release of the PMBoK® Guide – Sixth Edition in September 2017, the PMP exam will change soon. These updates will ensure the exam content is consistent with the PMBoK® Guide.'

'Active practitioners from around the world author our exam questions as well as the PMBoK® Guide to ensure the PMP remains relevant and reflects current practice.'

What to Expect on the Updated Exam

The PMP exam is not a test of the PMBOK Guide®. But PMBOK6 will be one of the primary references for the new exam. Some of the updates you can expect to see:

  • language and terminology changes
  • harmonization of process groups, tools, and techniques. For example
    • Time Management is now Schedule Management
    • Human Resource Management is now Resource Management
  • new content on the role of the project manager

The exam will probably find some way to reflect that each Knowledge Area features four new sections:

  1. Key Concepts
  2. Trends and Emerging Practices
  3. Tailoring Considerations
  4. Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments

What is New in the 6th Edition of the PMBOK Guide®?

There's so much to say about this, we have added a whole module to this section of your PMP Exam Prep Guide. Go check it out.

What are the Impacts on PMP Aspirants?

What Should You Do?

As at 4 January 2018...

If you have started your PMP Exam Prep based on the PMBoK 5th Edition, Don't Panic. There is still time for you to take and pass the exam. It won't change before 26 March.

Anyone taking the PMP exam before then will receive the current version of the exam that references the PMBoK Guide® – Fifth Edition.

Aspirants will only have to study for the exam based on PMBoK® Guide - 6th Edition if you plan to take the exam after 26 March 2018.

If you already have a test date early in the new year, continue preparing from the 5th Edition.

If you don't yet have a test date, discuss it with your test center, to see what guidance they offer.

However, we think...

We think an average PMP Aspirant will need 2 to 3 months to prepare well for the exam. So, if you are starting now, you are most likely to want to prepare under the 6th Edition. Even if you think you can get an exam in before 26 March, and you can prepare in time, there are two reasons to defer to the new 6th Edition exam:

  1. Pragmatically, what if you do not pass first time?
    You would need to re-take. And almost certainly, this would be under the 6th edition.
    This will add to the stress of re-preparing.
  2. Doing it right, the 6th Edition is the future
    A Project Management career is for life. You have the chance to prepare using the latest materials. You should take it. You will be better equipped for your career, and will have a small edge on new PMPs who passed under the 5th edition.

As a guide, we suggest that:

If you have done most of your preparation and are nearly ready: continue to prepare based on the PMBoK Guide® – 5th Edition

If you have yet to start your preparation, or have only made a small start: prepare based on the new PMBoK Guide® – 6th Edition

How to Prepare for the New Exam

We are waiting to see full details, but little is likely to change. We and other organizations will update our materials. But the process will be the same, with just a little new content.

Project Management won't change overnight!

How to Prepare for an Exam under the 6th Edition, after Failing under the 5th Edition

If you have understood most of the PMBoK Guide® 5th Edition well, then you will find little in the 6th Edition to bother you. Take a look at the changes in the next module of your PMP Exam Prep Guide.

You would need to learn:

  • The new project management processes
  • Some changes in the naming of the processes and knowledge areas
  • Some additional content for each knowledge area
  • New material on Agile and related approaches
  • New material on leading projects
  • No new Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs - ITTOs (hurray!)

What else could happen?

We don't know any of this, but here are some possibilities, to factor into your risk management:

  • The exam format could change in after 26 March 2018
  • ... and it may be more stringent (and therefore harder)
  • ... and the fees could go up
  • Not all publishers may have their Courses/Prep books/other materials ready
  • ... and the online exam simulators may take a while to catch up
  • ... and providers and publishers may put up their prices to recoup the costs of updating materials(and pulping unsold books!)
  • There may be bugs, glitches and errors in early exams
  • ... and also in exam prep materials and simulators
  • Moderating exams to balance results may mean the first cohort of aspirants to take the exam could find their results are delayed

These suggest to us...

If you plan to take the new exam, under the 6th Edition, we recommend you aim to schedule your exam from May 2018. This will give PMI a month to shake down any major technical glitches. We aren't expecting any, but I don't suppose PMI are either. Yet, as project managers, we know that this is a real possibility. So, you must be aware of this in planning your campaign.

Interview with Simona Fallavollita, Product Manager at Project Management Institute

Cornelius Fichtner of PM Prepcast interviews Simona Fallavollita about the changes coming to the new exam.

This interview gives you the inside track on the latest detail that the PMI is offering. It also sets out PMI's approach to what the PMP Exam is designed to achieve. She also talks about the CAPM qualification and the PMI ACP exam (PMI's fastest growing certification).

So how much does an aspiring PMP candidate need to know about Agile practices?

Well, there may well be some Agile questions (one or two), but there won't be a large focus and you won't be expected to be an expert. But keep an eye out for 7th Edition, or 8th... Simona say 'who knows?'

The PMI Talent Triangle

The exam will cover all three elements

  1. Technical Project Management - this will remain the main focus
  2. Business and Strategy
  3. Leadership - this will increase in the new exam from 26 March

You can listen to the interview at

Click on this link: The PMP Exam is Changing in 2018

What about Updated PMP Exam Prep Materials?

OnlinePMCourses Plans for Your Exam Prep Guide

As you'd expect, we'll are updating both the free and Premium editions of your Exam Prep Guide as we get solid information.

We'll keep you updated by email, and the quickest way to get an update is to subscribe to our Facebook group, TheProjectManagers. Join in the conversation today.

We've aded updates to the Premium edition for availability from 4 January, 2018. We plan to follow this around a month later in the free edition.

What are our Recommended Resource Suppliers Doing for New Aspirants?

We're tracking this carefully. What we do know is that it is clear that the PM PrepCast will be completely re-recorded. This is our preferred resource at the moment, so these changes will have some impact on our guide.

We expect that the new Prepcast will be available in January or February, 2018.

Are there any Special Offers for Upgrades and new 6th Edition Materials?

And you can bet we'll be working on this too!

What if I've already Got MY PMP Certificate?

...then what are you doing hanging around here?

Go and celebrate!

Seriously, though, you don't need to do anything.

But, as a professional now, it is wise to keep up-to-date with your profession. So, you should be:

  1. Buying and reviewing the PMBoK Guide 6th Edition
  2. Scheduling learning around any new content that you aren't sufficiently familiar with

Doing all of this in a structured way can even earn you PDUs.

A Final Comment from Markus ...

The new PMBoK Guide will have significant impact to the PMP Exam

From my own experience I do know that it takes some time for all stakeholders (PMP aspirants, course providers, publishers, trainers, and also PMI itself) to catch up with the changes.

Therefore my strong recommendation for you as an aspirant is this:

If you can manage to sit for the exam before the exam change takes place at 26th of March, 2018 (based on the 5th Edition of the PMBoK Guide), then do so!

But even though time is running out now (I am writing this at the beginning of January 2018), it still can be done, if you put in the effort and the necessary study time.

Benefits of Getting PMP® Certified BEFORE the Change

  • You will get lots of resources and study materials for the PMP certification exam and the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition.
  • Most experts expect a rising of the difficulty level of the PMP examination after the change has taken place.
  • After the change, we may see a hike in the PMP exam fee.
  • There are also predictions of change in the format of the PMP exam.
  • The PMP exam prep books and online courses or study-material may not be available in time for the new exam.
  • Early versions of the exam and the new prep materials could well have errors in terminology and project management processes.

So, if you don’t get certified before the change at the end of first Quarter 2018, you will find it difficult to get PMP® certified in the second or even third quarter of 2018. That might affect your career plans.

As we get towards end of March 2018 ...

However, the closer we get to the change date, the more people would not be able to sit for the exam before changes come in, right?

Those guys I would recommend to be patient and wait some time. Wait as until your favored prep materials (courses, simulators, books, and so on...) are available and aligned to the new PMBoK Guide 6th Edition and to the new PMP exam version!

Wait until some others have done the new exam and reported their experience and their lessons learned about the changes!

But ... waiting does not mean doing nothing!

You can use this waiting time to go on with preparing and training.
BUT you will need to catch up the changes afterwards.
Or you could just use this time to construct a proper study plan (based on our guidance program 😉).


If you can't manage to do the exam before the change, plan instead sitting for the exam after mid-2018. This way you can either focus on the older PMBoK 5th edition, or on the new 6th edition.

A Final Comment from Mike...

As a project manager, I believe change is a good thing.

I don't believe in change for the sake of change, but I do like change that brings about improvement.

Let's face it: that's our job, as Project Managers.

Every Edition of the PMBoK Guide has been Better than the Previous One

And I say that as an owner of the 1996 1st Edition (is it valuable, I wonder?)

That has just:

  • 176 pages,
  • 9 Knowledge Areas, and
  • 37 Processes in the familiar 5 Process Groups.

As Project Managers get better at managing projects, we learn more, develop new ways of doing things, and codify them more clearly.

The new PMBoK 6th Edition, coming nearly five years after the last, is, to me, a welcome addition.

It now has:

  • 756 pages,
  • 10 Knowledge Areas, and
  • 49 Processes in the familiar 5 Process Groups.

What do you think?

Complete and Continue