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Episode 475: How the PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition Changes the PMP® Exam (Free)

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On 19-Nov-2021 PMI began using the PMBOK Guide 7th edition as one of the ten reference books for the PMP exam. If you are preparing for the PMP exam you probably have questions like: What does that mean for my exam? Do I now have to read PMBOK 7? What about PMBOK 6? Will I need additional training? Is my exam simulator updated for this?

Join Cornelius Fichtner in this webinar as he reviews what exactly PMI is doing, how this will change the exam, and gives you his recommendations on how to properly prepare for and pass your PMP exam.

This episode was recorded live and, as usual, we got some insightful questions and comments from the audience!

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Episode Transcript

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

Video Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode, we look at how the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition will change the PMP® Exam.

Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at This is the live stream for Episode 475. And I’m Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you very much for joining us today.

And for those of you who are accessing this episode recorded and please don’t forget this is a video episode. So if you’re only getting audio, then please look for the “Play video episode” link in your podcast app or simply visit

Video Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, everybody. So in early November, I believe, if I remember this correctly, the Project Management Institute, PMI, announced that they are now using the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition as a reference for item development, question development on the PMP® Exam. And today, I want to discuss what this means for PMP® Exam preparation.

Here is our agenda: I want to start out with my current exam prep recommendation. Then we are going to go into why I gave that particular recommendation. We’ll also take a look at how exactly these questions get developed for the PMP® Exam, and we’ll look at what to ask your training provider because that’s a very important thing. You want to make sure that you ask the right thing of your exam prep training provider. And we’re going to go take a look at my recommended study materials as well.

But, before we do this, before we get started, a disclaimer. PMI is really quite tight lipped rightfully so about how exactly items for the PMP® Exam are developed and who does it, and how the process is, and how many are added and what’s going on, alright. But I have been a PMP trainer since about 2008, and in this time, I have learned a thing or two of how this works. I’ve spoken to PMI folks on record and off the record and everything that I’ve been told off the record will stay off the record. But what I’m allowed to say, I am going to combine into today’s discussion here.

This is a developing story. What I’m going to tell you today are my recommendations for today. They will change overtime as PMI makes additional announcements. Alright, and with that out of the way, let us get into part one to answer the big question that everybody has now that PMBOK 7 is out and PMBOK 7 is being used by the Project Management Institute and that is the question: “Should I use PMBOK 6 or PMBOK 7 as I am preparing for the PMP® Exam?”

And my recommendation to you is both. At this time, at the time of recording, you should study the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition. And you should read across the seventh edition. What I mean by reading across the seventh edition is, you open it up and you flip through it and then, you look at it. You get a general understanding. Definitely, read through the table of contents and oh wow, that’s an interesting method, methodology, concept. Never heard of it. You look at it, alright. So that’s what I mean by reading across at this time.

However, this is going to change. In about yeah six months at the latest, I am probably going to recommend that you read the seventh edition. So not just reading across, but literally reading it cover to cover. Only reading it. No, no, don’t go too deep into studying it yet. But in a year from now, nine months from now, it’s probably going to say, you have to study the seventh edition. So at this point, studying the sixth edition and understanding the concepts, what in the seventh edition, having the basic knowledge should be good enough again developing story.

Alright! That’s it for my general recommendation as to which PMBOK® Guide you should currently use for PMP® Exam. Before we get into the heart of our discussion here today, there is one thing that I also need to make absolutely clear from the start. And that is this statement here is wrong, okay. If you read anywhere or hear anybody say: “PMI is adding PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition questions to the PMP® Exam,” please do tell them, they have no idea what they are talking about. This statement is incorrect. Let’s scratch this from our memory.

And instead, let’s use this here, which is better, which is: “PMI is using the PMBOK Guide – Seventh Edition as one of ten reference books for the development of PMP® Exam questions.” And even that is not 100 percent correct. But it is so much better than what we had looked at previously.

The consequence of this is you should include the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition in your PMP® Exam prep. And as I said: At the moment, reading across is fine and, no Jai, not at all. Not at all. “Better feels like hair splitting.” No! Better is better. There is nothing hair splitting. The one that I called wrong is simply and utterly, totally wrong. And the better is not hair splitting. The better is more correct. We’ll get into this. We’ll get into this in a little bit.

Saisudha asks: “…how much 7th edition?” Saisudha, if you have the time to read the seventh edition briefly, go over it. Just, you know, flip through it. Fine. But if you don’t, you will probably still be okay, alright. Yes, okay. So the consequence is, you should include the PMBOK® Guide in your PMP® Exam prep. And as I said, at this point, you know, just getting a good idea of what’s in it should be enough. Now, let’s take a look at this and then I’ll explain to Jai. This will explain to Jai why better is not hair splitting but better is truly, truly better.

Okay. So in part two, we want to take a look at the Exam Content Outline, the official reference list, and question development. How does PMI actually develop question. And by the way, the official term is actually ‘Item Development.’ That is, that is what’s, what’s, you know technically what it is called in the industry. You’re developing an item for an exam. But you know, for our discussion here today, question development, item development, I will be using those interchangeably.

First of all, the PMP® Exam is not a test of the PMBOK® Guide. That is the most important statement to understand. It is not a test of the PMBOK® Guide. Instead, questions on the PMP® Exam are based on the ECO. That is the Exam Content Outline, okay. And here is a screenshot from the Exam Content Outline which defines the required knowledge.

So this is a document about 25 pages long. Don’t quote me on it. And it includes the three sections of People, Process, and Business Environment. And for each of these domains, PMI has defined Tasks and Enablers. And you can see an example here, on the screen. This is domain one, task one, two and three with their respective enablers. Obviously, this is only a partial screenshot so Task 3 has more than just one enabler there, just cut it off so it would fit into the screen here. This is what according to PMI’s job analysis, I believe, they did this time. What, according to PMI’s job analysis, a project manager does day in and day out. We manage conflict. We lead the team. We support team performance, and so on. Thirty plus tasks are in the ECO, okay. And this is what your PMP® Exam is based on, okay.

Now then, the PMBOK® Guide on the other hand is only one of ten reference books, that PMI uses to check up on what’s now correct. So, this slide here is intending to show that the PMP® Exam itself on the left is, you know, removed from the PMBOK® Guide on the right. So, the PMP® Exam is based on the Exam Content Outline and the exam questions are based on the Exam Content Outline. The questions will ask you about topics from the Exam Content Outline and the reference books on the right, they inform what the correct answer is. We’ll take a look at that in just a moment.

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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