Exam Tips

11 Tips for the NEW 2021 PMP Exam

1. Largely focus on agile and hybrid project life cycles

Is the new 2021 PMP Exam really 50% Agile and Hybrid? Yes, according to people who took the new PMP exam, the exam is up to 70% exam about agile and hybrid project life cycles. The Agile Practice Guide is your friend and a fantastic resource to familiarize yourself with PMI’s perspective on agile and hybrid frameworks.

2. Understand the Scrum process

The 2021 PMP exam is Scrum-heavy. So, make sure you understand the Scrum process (roles and responsibilities, ceremonies, and artifacts). The Essential Scrum guide[1] is a great additional resource to understand Scrum as the Agile Practice Guide only has two pages about Scrum.

3. Review the PMBOK Guide

Is the PMBOK 6th Edition still valid for the 2021 PMP Exam? Yes, the PMBOK 6th Edition is still applicable for the 2021 PMP Exam. However, keep in mind that the PMP Exam is based on the Examination Content Outline and not on the PMBOK 6th Edition! That said, the PMBOK Guide is an important resource to study for the PMP Exam. Note: at some point in 2021 the PMBOK 7thEdition is scheduled to released.

4. Practice intensively with situational type questions

Almost all questions will be situational. You can expect a lot of the following type of questions. What should the project manager, Scrum master, product owner, or team member do next? What could you do to prevent a certain situation? What is the best course of action? The best way to prepare for situational type questions are practice exams like ours. Start now.

5. Understand the flow of ITTOs between processes

Do I still need to know all 49 processes and ITTOs? You need to understand the processes and key ITTOs, but we recommend not to go overboard and memorize them all.

6. Master the new questions types

The 2021 PMP exam contains more question types (matching, hotspot, multi-select, fill-the-blanks) than just multiple-choice. You can expect 15-20 questions (out of 180) that are new questions types. So, most questions are still multiple-choice. Of course, our practice exams contain these new types.

7. Grasp Earned Value Management

In the past the calculation questions about EVM were the most challenging for aspirant PMP candidates. It appears that in the 2021 PMP Exam there is less emphasize on calculation questions. However, make sure that you understand the definitions (CPI, SPI, etc.) and be able to calculate them if required.

8. Spend your time wisely on the critical path method

In the previous Exam Content Outline, there was a lot of focus on the critical path method. You had to know how to calculate early starts, late finishes, floats, and the length of the critical path. Again, it appears that the 2021 PMP Exam puts less emphasize on this.

9. Comprehend the relationship between the traditional process groups and agile frameworks

You can expect several questions about the relationship between the traditional process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, closing) and agile frameworks. For example, to which traditional process group does the sprint review belong?

10. Know your definitions

Tuckman, minimum valuable product (MVP), definition of done, backlog grooming, backlog refinement, sprint ceremonies, and more. There are always going to be definition questions in the PMP exam. Also, being on point with your definitions will help you solve the more difficult situational questions.

11. But don’t go overboard to learn all agile and lean frameworks in detail

You can spend your time better as you will only see a few of these questions in the PMP exam and you can derive most of it from the more common frameworks like Scrum and Kanban.

[1] Rubin, K.S. (2013). Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Upper Saddle River, United States: Addison-Wesley.

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