Rita’s PMP Exam Prep 8th Edition

As I mentioned in my last post I plan to take the PMP exam in November or December of this year and after doing a little research on how and when to start preparing I realized that this will be a process.  Most posts I’ve read indicated that the study period for this exam should be about three months, so I’m starting now.  There are many ways to prepare for the exam.  The first step is to get the PMBOK 5 and prepare for some serious memorization.  In addition, there are a number of boot camps, online prep courses and exam guides that you can purchase.  They are all expensive and all new, since everyone has had to frantically revamp their curriculum over the last eight months with the release of the new edition of the PMBOK.  This situation makes me a little uncomfortable since I feel like the guinea pig who will test out whether these courses are really aligned appropriately to the content of the new exam rolling out starting in August.  I’ve put that aside though, as there is no point in worrying about it.   The stars are aligning for 2013 and I won’t let myself get derailed.

In addition to the pay options I’ve also frequently seen the recommendation to try and get into a study group.  Hopefully I’ll be able to talk some co-workers into giving up some play time to form one.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

I will probably try multiple approaches and to start I’ve purchased the eighth edition of Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep.  The list price on this book is $99 but I got it new for $89 on Amazon.  Not a huge savings but not bad given it was just released.  

I didn’t spend a ton of time researching each different exam prep book out there, and I’m sure there are plenty of good ones.  I had an older edition of Rita’s prep book before and I liked it.  Rita and her books are also generally well respected.  The only hesitation I had was in knowing that since Rita had tragically passed away from cancer in 2010, this book wasn’t really written by her.  Instead the book was written by an eight person committee of contributors at the organization that she established, known as the RMC.  I’m usually pretty suspect of anything done by committee, but honestly it is probably the case that most books are written this way so I’m giving it a try.  

I just received the book in the mail on Friday and I’ve not really dived into it yet.  I have gone through it though to get an idea of what it has to offer and I’m going to summarize what I’ve found here in this post.

The book opens with the ‘tricks of the trade’, which are basically tips on how to study for the exam.  Chapter 2 & 3 outline the processes and framework from the PMBOK, which can be pretty overwhelming for the uninitiated.  These chapters also include different charts and exercises aimed at helping you try and get a handle on the overall paradigm that the PMBOK follows.  Chapters 4 through 13 each tackle a knowledge area in depth and include a short exam on that area at the end of each chapter.  Chapter 14 discusses the professional and social responsibilities of a PMP certified professional.  Finally, the last section provides more tips, this time for passing the exam.  The book also includes as CD with practices exam questions (1500+ according to the package).  A big selling point of the book is that the tone is written in a conversational style.  Compared to the dry and technical style that the PMBOK is written in, the conversational style is much easier to read.  The book purportedly also delves into nuances of the material that shows an experienced project managers interpretation of the PMBOK knowledge areas, a perspective necessary for harder questions that go beyond rote memorization of the knowledge areas and PMBOK framework.

I will try to let you know how things go once I actually start studying the book and using the exam prep CD.  Are you planning on studying, or are you currently studying, for the PMP exam?  What methods are you using and how did you like them?


Although it took me awhile to get into Rita’s book, I did end up finding it helpful in the end.  Although the CD ended up only having a handful of practice questions and not the 1500+ I thought I was getting, the end of the chapter questions in the book were very helpful.  To get the 1500+ questions I would have had to fork over another $300.  Instead I just used Exam Central which is free and one of the better banks of questions available online.   I didn’t end up doing the exercises in the earlier chapters as I found them more frustrating than useful, but that might just be me.  The exercises in the later chapters were more focused and helpful.


16 thoughts on “Rita’s PMP Exam Prep 8th Edition

  1. Good post Heather, you mentioned the following: ‘The book also includes as CD with practices exam questions (1500+ according to the package)’ Was this CD included in the package that you bought for $89 from Amazon? I have found a free website called Exam central that also provides Qs & As did you check that out yet.

    • Khan, I discovered as I used the CD that it was just a hand full of practice questions included to get you interested. The full 1500 cost an additional $300. I did end up using the Exam Central site as it was also recommended by my boot camp instructor. It became my favorite go to site for practice questions and I tried quite a few apps and sites.

  2. I found this page doing an online search for Rita’s 8th edition. I am also hoping to do the exam in December 2013 depending on how my studying goes. I am currently doing the required 35hr PM education online at ProXalt. It was the cheapest I found $35US for 30 days availability. I am writing from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. Here locally taught courses to gain the 35hr PM education cost about the equivalent of $700US and is usually about 4hrs per week for 14 weeks. So I am basically doing the self study method. I also intend to purchase the Rita’s 8th edition. I also found a free PMP prep book and 200 question exam at http://edwel.com/. I started my process by reading the PMBOK first I am 3/4 way through by now.

    • Kahil, thanks for the link to another resource. Did you end up liking Rita’s book? I had a hard time getting into it but liked it more as I got closer to the exam. How did the online class go? I tried a pilot one that was little more than e-mail correspondence and it didn’t work for me at all.

      • Yes I found the Rita’s book very good it really explained and simplified things. Rita’s book does tend to scare you a bit sometimes though by saying with out real experience in a certain area you will have trouble in the exam. The online class was ok, pretty basic though I just did it to gain the 35hrs you don’t really learn much from it. I more or less relied on the self study method. I just used the PMBOK, the book from edwel.com, Rita’s book and the free online questions from all over. I wrote the exam on 7th Dec 2013 and New Years day got an email saying “Congratulations on obtaining a PMP”. We only have the paper based exam here so had to wait on the results.

  3. Hi, Heather. I, too, plan to take the exam either 12/2013 or 1/2014. I took a virtual group study course earlier this year and then, while completing the PMI application to take the exam, discovered I did not have enough (non-overlapping) experience hours. By December, I will. Of course, the exam has changed, as you know, since my last course of study, and it now focuses on the 5th edition of the PMBOK.

    I’m doing the self-study thing this time around, after having researched ProXalt and some other options. I read PMBOK 4th and Rita 7th during the group class which went from January through May. I purchased PMBOK 5th and am about halfway through it now, but have not purchased Rita’s 8th, thinking I could get by without it. Not sure, though, because I don’t know how much she may have changed, specifically with regard to her process chart.

    I have several years of hands-on PM experience, although I’m weak in Earned Value Management calculations, as we do not use that method for reporting in my current job. But I’m strong on pretty much all the other knowledge areas. Please let me know if there is any way I can help you in your studies.

    • Thanks Mossum. How did it go? I think the change that surprised me the most was in calculating the backward and forward pass on network diagrams. Since I ended up having a lot of these questions on my exam, I’m glad I studied them carefully.

  4. Very insightful article.As a project manager, I use Scrum in my projects. The Guide to Scrum Body of Knowledge by SCRUMstudy provided a complete reference for the Scrum project I am working with. It is a very good book and extremely readable. I really liked sections on risk and quality. The tools mentioned in the processes were very helpful. I highly recommend this book if you are planning to implement Scrum in your organization. You can go through the first chapter available on http://www.SCRUMstudy.com

    • Perry, thanks for the link. Although I’m happy to be a PMP and to understand the details of the waterfall process, I’ve always liked Scrum as it is more fun and fits my leadership style better. I am now trying to introduce scrum where I work, but I have a lot of learning to do as it is a large cross functional global project. Do you have any resources that help with scaling scrum or enterprise scrum?

  5. Heather, did you write the exam yet? Did you pass? Please let me know how the exam went. I am depending on this Rita Mulcahy’s 8th Edition for passing my exam this Summer.

  6. I found Rita’s book to be wordy and a waste of time memorizing her process chart. If I’m going to spend my time and brain power on something it’s going to be the actual PMBOK Process Chart.
    I really liked Andy Crowe’s book which came with 1 week free of online practice exams (and to pay for additional time wasn’t that expensive). I also liked Head First PMP, but they haven’t updated it for the 5th addition. But I recommend that if anyone is confused about how everything fits together, it’s a great book to give you the big picture (and has a great math section). Then get a book that has the updated information.

  7. Hello,
    I recently purchased the 7th edition of PMP Prep, not realizing the 8th edition was out. I am able to access updated content to tee 8th edition if I can answer this question:
    What is the last word on page 274 of PMP Exam Prep – 8th Edition? (case sensitive)

    I would appreciate any assistance you or anyone could provide. These books agent cheap :/

    Michael Gonzales

  8. I just ordered the 8th edition of Rita’s book, but it won’t be here for a couple of weeks. I joined a study group, and I thought I could use Rita’s site to keep me at least somewhat connected. I do have the PMBOK book of course, but I joined the site for access updated content of my coming book. First though, I need to answer a question: What is the last word on page 171 of PMP Exam Prep – 8th Edition? (case sensitive)

    Can anyone help me with that?

    Thank you so much, if so.

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