Three best PMP prep books
If you are a project manager and you would like to upgrade your skill set and earn up to 20% more, you may want to consider joining the PMI (Project Management Institute) and earning your PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. Since receiving your certification is a lofty achievement, the test is quite difficult--with some sources estimating up to a 50% first-time fail rate. To have an edge, it's wise to be armed with a comprehensive PMP prep book. Our guide has everything you need to know in order to be prepared for the exam and includes our top picks for the best prep books on the market. The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try by project manager Andy Crowe is our top choice for its focused and straightforward instruction.
Considerations when choosing PMP prep books
The PMP exam is based on the current PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), a massive document that sets the standards for what a project manager needs to know. When the PMBOK is updated, the exam prep books must be updated as well.
To have the best chance of passing the PMP exam, it is vital that you purchase a PMP prep book that reflects the current standards as outlined in the PMBOK.
The scope of knowledge required for passing a PMP exam is expansive. There are several features to consider when shopping for the right prep book for you.
A light, engaging approach may be just what you need for everything to click into place. Or graphs and illustrations that are reinforced with puzzles and quizzes could be what earns you a passing grade on your first attempt. Others may prefer a dry presentation of information. The prep book that is right for you is the one that matches your preferred learning style.
The PMP exam covers 10 knowledge areas and numerous ITTOs (Input, Tools & Technique, and Output). If you need a comprehensive study guide, that is a much different book than one that focuses on practice exams. Be sure the prep book you are considering covers all the material you need to study.
You can spend as little as $10 or over $100 on a PMP prep book. The main difference is in scope. At the low end, you will find targeted books that focus on a small area of knowledge, which may be all that you need. At the higher end, you can purchase a comprehensive course, likely with online access to additional practice materials. However, the $40 to $60 range is where most people will find the PMP prep book they need.
Q. How long should I study before taking my PMP exam?
A. Many experts consider a 70% score on a practice exam to be a good target. To hit that score, some candidates may only need a relatively short amount of study time, while others may require up to six months. The average prep time is a couple of months of dedicated focus of up to three hours each day.
Q. What kind of college degree do I need before taking the PMP exam?
A. You only need to have earned your high school diploma before taking the test. More important than a degree is your time spent directing and leading projects. A high school graduate will need to log 7,500 of those hours. If you do have a four-year degree, that time requirement drops to 4,500 hours. There is a benefit to having a college degree, but not having one will not make you ineligible for the certification.
PMP prep books we recommend
Best of the best: The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, 6th Edition by Andy Crowe
Our take: A comprehensive PMP prep book that will keep you focused on the important topics so that you don't over-study.
What we like: A direct approach that helps you make sense of the principles needed for passing. If you've tried other books and they don't resonate with you, Crowe's might be your match.
What we dislike: The test questions are not as difficult as some of the questions that may appear on the actual PMP exam.
Best bang for your buck: Head First PMP: A Brain-Friendly Guide, 4th Edition by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman
Our take: At nearly 1,000 pages, this PMP prep book is a hefty tome of knowledge that can help you pass the exam with ease.
What we like: The authors' belief that learning isn't passive creates a wonderful dynamic. Strives to engage the brain in a variety of ways. A good flow of information. A comprehensive overview of all the concepts on the exam.
What we dislike: If you do not enjoy puzzles, charts, and alternative learning approaches, this is not the book for you.
Our take: A well-written, comprehensive PMP prep book that helps reduce anxiety by outlining the entire credentialing process.
What we like: Fortune 500 consultant and project management expert Belinda Goodrich has distilled 20 years of experience into nearly 600 pages of information that is designed to help you pass the PMP exam.
What we dislike: To get the full benefit from this prep book, you will need to sign up for an account on the company's website.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.