June 10, 2020

12 Most Popular PMP® Study Materials for your PMP® Exam Preparation!

Share this

by Markus

June 10, 2020

PMP Exam change

That article is an overview of the most popular PMP study materials you can choose from to support your PMP Exam Preparation.

You need to figure out, which of the materials does fit your learning preferences and behaviors best, and with this overview, we want to support that decision:  

1. PMI's Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK® Guide)

The PMBoK® Guide is the essential PMP exam preparation tool. About 75% of the exam questions are based on the content out of the PMBoK® Guide! It’s the foundation that everything else is built on. That is per definition the most popular study material, simply because it is mandatory and every PMP aspirant has to study it (not only read!)! 

Please note that PMI members get a free PDF copy of the PMBoK® Guide! But look, the PMBoK® Guide isn't a book which you can (nor you should) just read from cover to cover (well, of course, you can, but you will not like it this way, trust me). Furthermore, you have to study and fully understand it contents like all the Knowledge Areas, Process Groups, the 49 project management processes and how they are interrelated and interdependent. Don't worry; you will ... for sure.

Regarding the right handling of the PMBoK® Guide, please refer to the "complete guide" which will assist you: PMBoK® Knowledge Areas for Project Management Guide - Process Groups and Processes - The Complete Guide

additional recommended readings:

☛  How to remember PMI-isms from the PMBoK® Guide
☛  PMP Exam Tips: Always use the PMBoK® Guide's approach, when answering
☛  PMP Material NOT in the PMBOK® Guide

2. PMP Preparation Books

These are also known as PMP exam study guides and you should use them in companion to the PMBoK® Guide. They cover the same materials (and mostly structured in the same way) as the PMBoK® Guide, but in more fluid and more accessible language. PMP Prep books often explain the concepts in ways that are easier to understand and to learn. And they also cover some topics which are NOT explained in the PMBoK® Guide but nevertheless content of the PMP exam.

Our recommendation for you is, to use at least one - better two - of the available prep books out there. Every author has its own approach, and you have to decide which one fits you best. So try to have a sample reading before you buy some.

From my own experience I can tell, that Rita's Book and Head First PMP as a combination would be a good choice. Rita's has a more scientific approach while Head First PMP is more for the creative thinkers and visual learners out there. Another good couple might be the Study Guide by Joseph Phillips and the very new PMP Exam Master Prep by Scott Payne which provides a very new and unique feature: the Study Cases, which tells you the story of a very new project manager thrown into the fire ...  your choice ...

Here are our Prep Book recommendations (in no particular order):

ritas 9th edition

Another great complementary book would be the Q&A Book by PMI which provides you a set of PMBoK Guide aligned sample questions to practice the real exam. From my perspective a must have for any serious PMP aspirant!

We do provide detailed reviews of all of that prep books within our "Project Managers PMP Exam prep guidance - program" . The Premium Edition of this program comes with a prep book comparison sheet (excel workbook) that might be helpful regarding your decision on which prep book to use in your preparation.  

additional recommended readings:

☛  PMP Exam Tips: Study and Understand your Books!
☛  PMP Exam Tips: Don't use too many PMP Exam Prep Books!
☛  PMP Material NOT in the PMBOK® Guide

3. PMP Exam Courses - live or online?!

PMP training courses come in many varieties. Online (live or pre-recorded) or in a classroom. You could study at your own pace (self-study) or with an instructor. Choose a boot-camp (most often 3 to 5 days) or study over many weeks. Look for a PMP exam course that will give you the required 35 contact hours (not PDUs)! (Regarding the differences between "contact hours" and "PDU's" and how to obtain those 35 "contact hours" which are a requirement for PMP application please also refer to this guide: "The Complete Guide to PMP 35 Contact Hours of Project Management Education"! 

I will provide you more guidance about the pro's and con's regarding the different course options. But if you already know that you are the type of guy for self-studying and self-paced learning, well then my #1 recommendation always would be “PMP PrepCast” by Cornelius Fichtner,” cause I have used this one for PMP preparation by myself. It is a fully prerecorded (nearly 140 video and audio lessons!), self-paced online training course which also provides you the 35 contact hour certificate, which you will need for your PMP application.
You may have a look here: “PMP PrepCast” by Cornelius Fichtner.”
To get a glimpse of what you could expect, there is a free version available: ☛ Free Prep Cast  

additional recommended readings:

 7 Steps Selecting your Online PMP Exam Preparation Course 
 Five Reasons to attend a PMP Exam Boot Camp to pass the PMP Exam!
☛  Five Awesome Reasons NOT to take a PMP Exam Boot Camp!

4. Professional PMP Exam Simulator and mock exams/sample questions

Utilizing a professional PMP Exam Simulator has become the probably most important and precise PMP Exam preparation tool over the last view years! With the help of professional Online PMP Exam Simulators and sample questions/mock exams, you are able to shine a light on your weaker areas. 

Taking sample exams via an exam simulator will help you assess your readiness for the real exam. You can find a ton of free questions online, but you have to be cautious about the sources of that questions. Yes, there is good free stuff out there, but this is rare. A lot of the free available sample stuff is often of bad quality or even misguiding or just outdated.

Free questions are also often done in a way that the real exam never would. For instance: they do have often answering options like "all of the above/none of the above". You will never find this type of answer in the real exam. So, please be aware of that kind of questions!

I strongly recommend to invest some bucks and sign up for a professionally created simulator from a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.).

Exam Simulator and Course
I know and always recommend the exam simulator by Cornelius Fichtner and our friends from the prepcast crew which provides you ✪ 1.800 high-quality PMP questions and which gives you ✪ high flexibility in how to train your questions up to max. ✪ 9 fully timed exam simulations, each with ✪ 200 individual questions. You may have a look here: ☛ PM Exam Simulator Full Version To get an idea of what you can expect, please use ✪ the free/trial version to try out: ☛ PM Exam Simulator FREE version

PM Master Prep
And my friends from "PM Master Prep" also do offer a great simulator! The PMP® Exam Simulator 6th Edition do offer ✪ 1,400 Questions, professionally written by PMP experts and updated Based on PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition; ✪ Unlimited Account Access and Unlimited Retakes!; ✪ 15 Other Practice Tests by Knowledge Area and by Process Group; ✪ Access to many additional PMP Exam Prep Resources by Upgrading to their PMP Super Simulator! 

That PMP® Super SimulatorTM combines the already world class PMP Exam Simulator with many premier
PMP Study Resources to give you a comprehensive self-study test preparation program that will ensure you
Learn Faster, Retain More and Pass the PMP Exam!

The PMP® Super SimulatorTM offers all the features of the PMP Exam Simulator PLUS ✪ PM One-ViewTM; ✪ I.T.T.O. InspectorTM; ✪ Formulas & Calculations; ✪ EVM Calculator; ✪ 25 Case Study Videos; ✪ Glossary; ✪ Forum; ✪ and Group & Private Chat! To öearn more about all that great learning tools please have a look at the PMP® Super SimulatorTM website!


5. PMP Podcasts

Podcasts can be in audio or video format. A PMP podcast is very easy to carry around with you and has the benefit that you can listen to or watch it wherever you are. Some of these are so elaborate that they fall into PMI’s Category F (“distance learning”) for PMP Exam preparation courses and even offer 35 contact hours. 

6. PMP Flashcards

Flashcards allow you to study and memorize the concepts that you need to know for the exam. You can make your own and carry them with you at all times so that you can test yourself in spare moments. Another alternative is electronic cards that you can use on your mobile phone or tablet and care with you where ever you go.☛ Exam Flash Cards

additional recommended readings:

☛  10 Reasons to use PMP Exam Flash Cards as a PMP Study material
☛  How to get PMP Certification using this four studying techniques 


7. PMP Apps for your mobile phones and tablets

Apps are becoming more and more popular, and there are lots to choose from. For example, some games teach you the ITTOs. There are apps that teach concepts with mnemonics and others that test you with questions. Check out the iTunes app store or Googles Play Store for additional ideas. We recommend (for instance) the question trainer by the well known Oliver Lehmann, one of the best and most popular project management trainers out there; just click on the picture to get there.


8. PMP Formulas

There are a lot of math and related formulas involved in PMP exam preparation. To know and understand them could be critical to your exam success! Study guides for PMP formulas are a precision tool. They will help you review, learn and understand the formulas required for the exam in a way that makes it easier to recall them under pressure (e.g., for your brain dump sheet). 

Our recommendation would be the PMP Exam Formula Guide by the prepcast-crew. With this guide, you will receive not only a comprehensive list of all exam formulas, but also a description of the conceptual context, several examples and last but not least a detailed result interpretation for every single formula! You will find the full version here: ☛ Formula Study Guide 

additional recommended readings:

☛   PMP Formulas and Calculations - The Complete Guide
☛  Type of PMP Exam Questions you should know to pass the PMP Exam  


9. PMP Exam lessons learned

Don’t underestimate what you can learn from others. Talking to colleagues who already have their PMP certification can be an invaluable resource. If you can’t talk to anyone, read what others have to say about how they studied, what they studied and what their experience was like. To read was others have to say could also be very valuable for creating your very own study plan! You could also get a mentor to help you prepare, and learn from his or her experiences too. You can find a ton of lessons learned from successful exam takers here: ☛ lessons learned we do provide several detailed Lessons Learned of already credential holders within our "Project Managers PMP Exam prep guidance - program" . And the Premium Edition of this program comes with even more of such valuable lessons learned.  

additional recommended readings:

Creating your PMP study Plan - the complete guide!


10. PMI Chapter Memberships 

That is the spirit level of the toolkit, helping you stay centered and motivated. Tap into your colleagues at your local PMI Chapter. They may have a study group that you could join. At a minimum, you’ll be able to talk to PMPs about how they managed their journey to PMP certification.

The Power of Membership!

As a member of PMI and PMI Chapter, you are recognized as someone who is:
  • serious about professional and personal development
  • enthusiastic about good practices in project management
  • dedicated to practicing the profession in an ethical manner
Additionally, you have access to (for instance):
  • Monthly Networking Events
  • Discount pricing s
To become a member of PMI Chapter, you must first become a member of the Project Management Institute. As you fill out the main PMI membership application, you will be asked if you wish to join a local chapter. Simply select a local Chapter which fits you (there is no limitation; there is an extra fee for joining PMI Chapters).Once you've submitted your membership, the Chapter will receive an updated roster, and you will be added to the PMI Chapter email notifications along with other relevant communications regarding your chapter membership.You will find that your chapter membership gives you an instant connection to a large group of local project managers which can provide valuable insight and networking opportunities.

brain dump

11. PMP Brain Dump Sheet

A brain dump sheet is a way to recall information under exam conditions. It’s a personal study tool that you can shape to fit the way you study best. Create a sheet of paper with all the key information (e.g., the most important formula or the overview-table 3-1 from PMBoK Guide pg. 61) on and then practice writing it out until it’s second nature. Then you simply have to do that in the exam, and all the key information will be at your fingertips!  

additional recommended readings:

The Secret Of Creating Your PMP Brain Dump

12. PMP forums, groups, and websites

There is lot of information on internet forums – and many of them are free. Chat with other PMP aspirants and students about how their exam preparation is going, or ask advice from seasoned PMPs. Join the PrepCast-Forum with lots of experienced already PMP’s and also a lot of aspirants who are in the same situation as you!We also recommend to join the worlds biggest and most active LinkedIn group regarding PMP: "I want to be a PMP" - hosted and moderated by the well known and most respected Oliver F. Lehmann (and by myself as a co-moderator)!https://i0.wp.com/www.projectmanagement.com/images/Project_Mgmt_Logo_PAN_withSM_PMI_1.png

You may also consider becoming a member of the biggest project management community overall: projectmanagement.com! As a PMI Member (if so) you have already access to the premium membership on pm.com ( just log in there with your PMI credentials), and you have instant access of hundreds and thousands of pm related articles, templates, presentations, and webinars. And not at least you join a community with more than 500.000 fellow PM's.!  

additional recommended readings:

How joining online PMP Forums can help boost your PMP studies!

Whatever tools you choose, it is important to study regularly. Try to spend some time on your PMP studies every day. The study materials you buy should reflect the fact that you’ll be using them on a daily basis, so that might influence what you invest in. Tools like electronic versions of flash cards, books and guides are very portable and can be used whenever you have a spare moment. Finally, studying for your PMP is a difficult job, so choose PMP prep materials that you enjoy using and find fun! That will make your revision more enjoyable and the PMP credential an achievable target.

If you liked that list or if you do have any additional recommendations or if you just want to be listed with your own prep tool here, please leave a comment or feel free to contact me.



PMP Prep Kick-starter

kickstarter 3d cover

No clue HOW and WHERE to start? 
That free Ebook will show you!

Click here to get your Ebook immediately and kick start your PMP preparation! For instance you will learn which study materials you "must have" and which are optional.
You will get advice from Experts on how to start and how to set up your learning environment in a way to gain success!

Do you want a MP4PM Sneak Preview? Well, here we go:

MP4PM Project Charter Package - FREE Download!

MP4PM Project Charter collage

If you are interested in a pre-taste of MP4PM you can now download my FREE MP4PM Project Charter Package!

Click on the Button below to get your Free Package immediately and kick start your next Project with that Project Charter Package! 
You will get several deliverables which you can use out of the box even if you never have done MindMapping before or even do not use a Mind Mapping Software currently.

Clicl on the Button to get an overview of what you will receive with this package. I am 100% confident that you will like it.

About Markus

Markus Kopko, PMP

20+ Years of Relevant Experience

Markus has more than 20 years of management and leadership experience, including more than 18 years in Project and Program Management.


Visit My Website
View All Posts

One of Markus's central objectives and motivations is to implement and deploy the PMI project philosophy and a PMI-based project management methodology in his company.

Social Media Thought Leader

Markus set up a few PMI certification related LinkedIn groups and is co-administrator of the biggest and most active PMP related LinkedIn group:'I want to be a PMP'. Markus is also one of the most viewed contributors in PMP and PMI related content/questions at Quora. He also founded his own Project Management related website at http://www.pmcertification-online.de

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get this Free 42 pg. E-Book

and learn how to kickstart your PMP preparation now!

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Subscribe and get notifications of all new articles, PMP tips and tricks, Resources and exclusive discount offers!
We will send you a mail from time to time. We do not send spam or share your data with third party's. You are free to unsubscribe at any time. Your privacy is protected. I will never share or sell your email.
I do not want your Newsletter; thank you!
%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar