3. PMP Study Guide

pmp study guide

PMP Study Guide

“Fail to Prepare, Fail to Prepare” is definitely the case when it comes to passing the PMP®. Having the correct PMP® study guide is essential. I made the costly mistake of only reading the PMBOK® Guide first time round and wasn’t till after failing I learned how much of a rookie mistake it was. The PMBOK® Guide is a manual/guide on the PMI® approach to project management and the PMP exam is based on it. The PMBOK® Guide is not a manual/guide on how to pass the PMP® exam. The PMP® exam is multiple choice but the questions are situational and the PMBOK® Guide does not prepare you for such kind of questions. The questions are not easy and phrased to confuse people for this reason you need other resources to help you pass that prepare you for these questions.

quick pmp video

pmp study guide

PMBOK® Guide

The PMBOK® Guide itself is process-based, meaning it describes how to complete project management using tasks. The processes in PMBOK® guide, overlap and interact throughout the project life cycle. Processes are presented in terms of…

  • Inputs (documents, plans, designs etc)
  • Tools and Techniques (methods to accomplish activities)
  • Outputs (documents, plans designs etc)

PMP Study Guide Essentials

The guide recognizes 47 processes that fall into 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas.

Process Groups

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring & Controlling
  5. Closing

Knowledge Areas

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Time Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Human Resources
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholders Management

Each of these 10 areas contains processes that are used to effectively manage projects. The PMBOK® Guide also provides information on the PMI® Code of Professional Conduct which is also tested ion the exam.

Current PMBOK® Guide Versions

The current version of PMBOK® is the 5th Edition which was released in 2013. The PMBOK® is updated with the latest effective techniques and standards. The PMI® Standards guidelines and publications are developed through a voluntary consensus process. The consensus process brings together volunteers and/or seeks out the views of persons who have an interest and expertise in the topic covered by the standards.

pmp study guide

The Project Management Professional (PMP®) is a lot to take on by yourself so it is advised to sign-up to professional training to help you pass the exam. As noted above it is not sufficient to just read the PMBOK® Guide as it is just a reference guide. You also need other resources to complete your preparation. Most resources prepare applicants by match their content as the chapters in the PMBOK® Guide and provide questions related to the exam. The two books I highly recommend which both include full-length practice exams with detailed explanations…..

  1. The PMP Exam How to Pass On Your First Try by Andy Crowe
  2. Head First PMP by Head First Labs

If you are completely new to studying project management I recommend Head First PMP but if you are familiar with the knowledge areas and process groups Andy Crowe’s will be a perfect fit. Head First should be seen more as a beginners book and Andy Crowe’s more advanced but they both compliment each other. Head First PMP gives a brilliant introduction using real examples and Andy Crowe’s is more similar to the PMBOK but easeir to digest and more focused on helping you passing the exam.

Also, you need to get used to the questions that are asked, here is a list of practice exams you can use to help you get used to the type of questions and test your knowledge. It is very important to be getting 70%+ in the practice exams to feel confident when taking the real exam.

pmp study guide

For those who are not interested in buying extra resources I have created some article to help you understand what you need to know per each process group which is how the exam is divided into:

  1. Initiation Phase (13%)
  2. Planning Phase (24%)
  3. Executing Phase (30%)
  4. Controlling Phase (25%)
  5. Closing Phase (8%)

The following posts go through crucial study notes I used to help me study when I was preparing for the exam:

The following posts include the study checklists of each process group I generated when preparing:

  1. Initiation Process Group Tasks & What to Know
  2. Planning Process Group Tasks & What to Know
  3. Executing Process Group Tasks & What to Know
  4. Monitoring & Controlling Process Group Tasks & What to Know
  5. Closing Process Group Tasks & What to Know

Testing Your PMP® Knowledge

There is no way better to determine how ready you are for the PMP® examination than taking practice exams. For practice exams, you should be aiming for results 75%+ to be fully confident in passing the examination. Every time I took a practice exam I wrote down all definitions I got wrong, processes misunderstood and the actual score so I could compare it when I attempted them the second time. You can find a list of available PMP exams in this article.
pmp practice exam

Exam Day PMP Prepartion

The biggest difference between the first and second time of doing the exam was I had an exam day plan and consider it a must for any PMP exam taker. Think about it logical you have 4 hours you need to plan breaks and an approach for the exam. My plan is as the following…

08:30am Arrive at Exam Centre

08:45am Start Tutorial – All you need to do is click start the system is extremely straightforward to use so you can use this 15mins for writing down all your notes. (The notes I wrote down are below this plan)

09:00am Start PMP® Exam – Aim to complete 75 Questions

10:00am Take Break – Go to toilet or get a drink

10:05am Restart PMP® Exam – Aim to complete 150 Questions

11:05am Take Food Break

11:10am Restart PMP® Exam – Complete remaining 50 Questions

12:00am Take Break – Go to toilet or get a drink

12:05am Start Review – Firstly go through all questions marked

The notes I wrote down in the 15 minutes during a tutorial were the following:

For other exam day tips check out this post which covers everything you need to know on the day.

pmp study guide

This completes your pmp study guide, so once you have passed the PMP exam you need to start looking at the requirements to maintain the certification.



47 pmp processes
Study Plan for Passing PMP Exam 2nd Time Round After failing the first time I learnt a lot of valuable lessons in my preparation which are listed below. Reading Correct Resources Originally I just read the PMBOK© which is not sufficient Andy Crowes Pass The PMP Exam First Try is […]

Passing PMP Exam Study Plan


closing phase pmp
Closing Process Group “The Closing Process Group consists of those processes performed to conclude all activities across all Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations.” – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition The closing process group has 2 […]

Closing Process Group



monitoring and controlling phase pmp 1
Monitoring and Controlling Process Group “The Monitoring and Controlling Process Group consists of those processes required to track, review, and orchestrate the progress and performance of a project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding changes.” – A Guide to the Project Management […]

PMP Monitoring and Controlling Process Group


executing phase pmp
PMP Executing Process Group “The Executing Process Group consists of those processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications.” – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition The executing process group has 8 processes: Direct & […]

PMP Executing Process Group


planning phase pmp
PMP Planning Process Group “The Planning Process Group consists of those processes performed to establish the total scope of the effort, define and refine objectives, and develop the course of action required to attain those objectives.”  – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition The […]

PMP Planning Process Group



initiation phase pmp
PMP Initiation Process Group “The Initiating Process Group consists of those processes performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.” – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition The initiation […]

PMP Initiation Process Group