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.

Knowledge Area and Process Changes in the PMBOK 5th Edition

The 5th edition of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) was released this month by the PMI and there are a few changes worth noting.  The biggest change is that there is a new knowledge area called Stakeholder Management.  This knowledge area replaces and expands on two processes from the 4th editions Communications Management knowledge area, Identify Stakeholders and Manage Stakeholder Expectations.  It makes a lot of sense to me that Stakeholder Management would be its own knowledge area.  Stakeholder management is an important and complex area in Project Management and it is frequently discussed in project management circles.  I’m excited to see a focus on this area of knowledge and I look forward to diving into the material in the 5th edition PMBOK to learn the new standards.

Some other changes include the addition to the Planning process group of the Plan Scope, Schedule, and Cost Management processes to the Scope, Time and Cost knowledge areas.  There are also a few name changes to existing processes that improves naming consistency.

Here is are the knowledge areas and processes groups in a table below with the additions highlighted in yellow and the name changes in blue:

PMBOK 5e Knowledge & process table

There are other differences between the 4th and 5th editions but I will not go into them here.  As I continue to explore the new guide I will post what I learn here.  I’d love to hear from you.  What differences have you noted between the two editions and what impact if any do you think they will have?