The Project Management Institute implemented several changes in the exam content and outline of the PMP Exam back in 2019. After conducting research done every 5 years, the changes were proposed to incorporate the latest practices in project management. These changes have been effective since January 2021, providing ample time for aspirants to access the new resources of PMP Certification and prepare for the exam.
There are quite a few elements that have gone through major changes. PMI has initiated these changes after a thorough analysis of industrial methods followed by project managers in the present scenario, taking into account major factors that have affected the progression of the profession. Various subject matter experts and organizations have contributed to this change.
Here is the list of major changes:
Change in exam content:
The initial content of the exam was implemented in 2015. The recent changes in the field have necessitated PMP to be more people-driven than process-driven. While the prior PMP Course content focused on activities like
- Monitoring and Controlling
The new content focuses on allocating tasks to 3 domains like
- People: This domain was introduced to test the leadership skills of the project manager. Some of the tasks included within this domain include resolving conflicts, building an effective project team, and ensuring that the team has acquired adequate knowledge of managing projects.
- Process: Carrying 50% of weightage; this domain includes tasks related to planning aspects of a project. Some of the tasks include planning budgets and resource allocations, integrating planning processes, and handling the changes arising out of projects.
- Business Environment: Though this domain has the least weightage, it checks a professional’s capacity to meet the organization’s requirements. Some of the tasks included under this domain are compliance with projects, measuring the benefits of the project to the organization, and adapting to the changes within the organization.
These domains reflect on the occupational changes that have taken place over the years. As the key areas of project management have changed, aspirants can master more topics and widen their scope in the field.
Change in exam format:
The changes in exam format are minor in extent. The previous question paper constituted 200 questions that were based on formulas and situations. The new exam format has only 180 questions of multiple-choice, multiple responses, fill-in-the-blanks, and matching. These questions are more on scenarios that highlight the flexibility and soft skills of the aspirants.
It is important to note that questions formulated in the exam are solely not based on PMBOK Guide released by PMI. Hence, aspirants must study and review other materials along with the Agile Practice guide to answer questions on Agile and other hybrid approaches of Project Management.
Requirement of minimum 35 hours:
PMI has introduced the mandatory requirement of undergoing 35 hours of formal training before applying for the PMP exam. Thus, along with the educational requirement of a high school diploma or bachelor’s degree and a sufficient number of hours in performing project-related tasks, pursuers of PMP Certification need to compulsorily have 35 contact hours of PMP Training during which they will attain a comprehensive understanding of the various course objectives of project management.
These major changes instilled in the PMP exam have necessitated aspirants to gain in-depth knowledge of various concepts as the content to be referred for the exam has increased. Studying from the PMBOK guide will not be enough as the changed exam questions are designed from multiple sources and not just the guide. Therefore aspirants are required to upgrade their level of preparation before attempting the PMP exam.