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Episode 456: The 2021 PMP Exam (Free)

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If you are preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam then you have come to the right place. In this episode, Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM answers about 40 questions during a live stream. (Our apologies that the audio and video are slightly out of sync during the first and last minute of the recording.)

The PMP® Exam is changing. A new Exam Content Outline (ECO) was published in 2019 and it will go into effect on January 02, 2021.

And if you are thinking about taking and passing your exam in 2021 then you may have lots of questions about this changeover. Watch this video to get your answer. And if your question wasn't answered, then please ask in the comments below. We'll answer you here.

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Webinar Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: If you are preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam or thinking about it, then we can help because I am a Professional PMP trainer at and in this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, I answer about 40 questions from participants of a PMP® Exam Q&A live streaming event.

Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at This is Episode #456 and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Lovely to see you again.

The PMP® Exam is changing. PMI published a new Exam Content Outline about a year ago but due to the pandemic, it has taken a little longer for it to be implemented. The official changeover day is the second of January 2021. And a good number of candidates who are thinking about taking the PMP® Exam or who are in the middle of it are wondering: Well should I still finish it this year? Take it this year? Or should I take it next year? And they have lots and lots of questions about this.

There are even some PMP trainers out there who have questions about the upcoming exam. And that is why I decided the easiest way to answer all those questions is to hold a live Q&A event and give everyone an opportunity to ask those questions and I would answer them live on air.

This here is the recording of that event. Enjoy!

Video Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello everyone! And welcome to today’s live event. The 2021 PMP® Exam. That is the topic of today. I’m going to walk you through the exam, give you a number of aspects and show you what you need to know in order to get ready if you are planning to pass your PMP® Exam in 2021.

Alright! My name is Cornelius Fichtner. I have been a PMP instructor since about 2007, 2008, something like that. I have developed both The PM PrepCast exam prep training courses, as well as The PM Exam Simulator™. And for those of you who have already passed the exam, you may know me from The Project Management Podcast™.

Alright! What are we going to learn today? Here are the learning objectives: You will be able to name the criteria requirements, exam content, and policies for the 2021 exam. Obviously, we are looking forward here. And at the end of this 45 minutes, something-like-that presentation, you will also be able to identify PMI® Authorized Training Partners, instructors, and courses, and that one is more important than it is for the 2020 exam because there is now an official course from PMI and you want to make sure that you get the official training and the official guidance as defined by PMI. We’ll get to that in just a moment.

Okay! So what is the agenda today? Here we go. First of all, I am pretty sure that many of you have a ton of questions. The top five questions that I expect that you have, I have prepared five questions, rapid fire. From rapid fire I mean, 90 seconds to 2 minutes, okay? I’m really going through those very, very quickly. So get ready with your questions because at the end of that rapid fire, I’ll be looking at any comments that you have typed in to either Facebook and YouTube, and I’ll bring those up and answer those live on air if you already have something there.

Then we’re going to take a look at a number of aspects from the 2021 PMP Exam. We have to look at the Exam Content Outline, the Authorized Training Partner program, the exam prep course from PMI, the official, now official exam prep course that PMI is providing. We’ll talk about exam strategy and training materials for 2021 and also the online exam, and we’ll close everything with ‘Take Action’ because I don’t just want to leave you hanging there. Well, what am I supposed to do now? What does this mean for me? So at the end, we have a Take Action, and Take A Course module or part as well in which I’m going to show you what to do next if you are planning on taking your exam in 2021.

But now, let’s go straight into the rapid fire Q&A here. Question #1: Is there a new addition of the PMBOK® Guide? No, there is isn’t. At this time, the sixth edition is the correct addition to use. So no matter if you are preparing for the 2020 or the 2021 exam, then the sixth edition is the edition of the PMBOK® Guide that you need to look at.

Oh and by the way, let me just make it clear. Today is October 19th, 2020, and all the statements that I’m making here in this rapid fire, that’s all as of today. In a couple of weeks, things may change, okay? We’ll get to that in just a moment. So that was question #1.

Question #2: When will the PMBOK® Guide seventh edition be published? Either in the fourth quarter of this year or in the first quarter of next year. That is what PMI has told us. But it usually takes about 6 months until the new edition of the PMBOK® Guide is rolled out for the PMP® Exam. So still just continue using the sixth edition until you hear otherwise.

Alright! When will the exam change? Well, the last day for the 2020 exam is on December 31st, 2020. Then on January 1st 2021, you will not be able to take your PMP® Exam because that’s when the change happens. And then the first date for the 2020 exam, that is on January 2nd. Okay, so December 31st this year for the current exam, January 2nd next year for the new exam. There are no exceptions. If you do not pass this year, you have to take the new exam next year.

When the last changeover happened, let’s see the last changeover happened 2017, I believe. I know of one exception that PMI made out of the thousands of people who are taking the PMP® Exam in December. Okay? One exception that I know of, somebody who was allowed to take the old exam again.

Alright! Moving on, that is question #4 here: What is the biggest different, or what are the biggest differences between the 2020 and the 2021 exam? Very simple. Today, the exam has

five domains --- Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. The new exam will have three domains --- People, Process, and Business Environment. And 50 percent of the new exam will be about Agile. Today, the exam is 100 percent plan-driven, predictive. The new exam will be 50-50.

Last question here on my quick fire list is: Should I take the exam now or should I take it later? Take it now. Seriously, at this time again, October 19, 2020, you still have enough time to do your studies, get ready, prepare, practice on a simulator, and then take it in December of this year. In two weeks from today, this slide will change. This slide at the start of November will say: ‘Wait until 2021. You do not have enough time.’ So start in October. You have enough time. Start in November, you probably don’t have enough time. Okay, and that’s it for my rapid fire Q&A. Okay.

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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