May 5

12 Most Popular PMP® Study Materials for your PMP® Exam Preparation! [2021 Update!]

PMBoK Guide, PMP, PMP Exam Tips, Resourses


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 your decision:  

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

The PMBoK® Guide is the essential PMP exam preparation tool.
And that is still true for the new PMp Exam, valid since 2nd January 2021! About 50% of the Questions are about traditional and predictive approaches.

Please note that PMI members get a free PDF copy of the PMBoK® GuideBut 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

b) PMI's Agile Practice Guide

Agile Practice Guideessential in terms of 

The Agile Practice Guide is also PMP exam preparation tool and also listed on the PMIs official PMP Exam Preparation Books Reference List! Since the new PMP Exam is about 50% on agile and hybrid approaches, the APG is also a must-read.

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.

For further reading and my recommendation head over to my article:

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3. PMP Exam Training Course

Til the end of last year PMP training courses came in many varieties. Online (live or pre-recorded) or in a classroom. 

This has also been changed by PMI! ATPs are not longer allowed to provide pre-recorded self-learning courses! As an ATP you have to provide a live instructor-led 5 Day Course. The Course can be online or in a specific location, but must be live. Any pre-recorded Courses that are still available are NOT official and not  approved by PMI and they can't be offered as PMP Preparation Courses!
So, you should watch out 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"!)

My recommendation for such an instructor-led live ATP PMP Course is this one:

✪ PMP® Power Prep Package - the #1 MOST VALUED PMP preparation Kit EVER - incl. the official PMI PMP® Course ✪

OSP (by the Founder Cornelius Fichtner who is the Creator of the famous PMPrepCast!) offers PMP trainings with experienced trainers to prepare you for the PMP Exam.

These classes use original training materials, developed and published by PMI PLUS a selection of the best and most effective additional material and tools like the famous PM Exam Simulator!

ONE Price – for ALL that VALUE:

✪ 5-Day Official PMI Course

✪ StudyCoach Guide

✪ PMP Exam Simulator

✪ 210 Real PMI Exam Questions

✪ 35 Contact Hours

✪ the official PMIs Student Handbook

✪ PMI Certified Instructors

✪ 12-Page Formula Guide

✪ Get Expert Advice

✪ 60 PDUs to Recertify

✪ Includes The PM PrepCast On-Demand Video Course

For full Details, a Video and Registration please click on the Image below: 

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 Authorized Training Partner (ATP).

Simulator Features
I know and always recommend the exam simulator by Cornelius Fichtner and our friends from the prepcast crew which provides you ✪ 2.100+ high-quality PMP questions and which gives you ✪ high flexibility in how to train your questions up to max. ✪ 5 fully timed exam simulations, each with ✪ 200 individual questions plus a seprate Quiz Pool for high flexibel training options.  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

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Our supportive online community is the best place to connect with others just like you.


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


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

Join us in Telegram!

Get direct Support within our Telegram Group of PMP Aspirants and Experts!

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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 


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 beginning of the exam, and all the key information will be at your fingertips! 

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 with lots of experienced already PMP’s and also a lot of aspirants who are in the same situation as you. 

First of all - obviously - I recommend you to join my online Community at LinkedIn:

Join the
LinkedIn Group

Our supportive online community is the best place to connect with others just like 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)!

You may also consider becoming a member of the biggest project management community overall:! As a PMI Member (if so) you have already access to the premium membership on ( just log in there with your PMI credentials), and you have instant access to 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.!  

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

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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!

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.


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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



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