PMP 2020 Exam Updates – Everything You Should Know

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is recognized as the Gold Standard of project management. That’s why it’s the certification of choice for 1,036,367 practitioners across 214 countries and territories. If you too plan on becoming PMP certified, congrats on an excellent decision. But first – you need to pass the PMP certification exam.

In 2019, the Project Management Institute (PMI) announced a new exam pattern that was initially planned for July 2020 onward. However, the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the changes till 2 January 2021.

So, unless you’re planning to take the exam by 31st December 2020, you should be aware of the updates coming your way.

Major Changes to the PMP Certification Exam

So far, PMI has shared the following elements in the new exam which differ from the old one.

Scope of Exam and Questions

Previously, the old exam focused on five domains:

  1. Initiating (13% of the exam’s questions)
  2. Planning (24%)
  3. Executing (31%)
  4. Monitoring and Controlling (25%)
  5. Closing (7%)

The new exam will be based on three domains:

  1. People (42% of the exam’s questions)
  2. Process (50%)
  3. Business Environment (8%)

You can check out the detailed exam outline here.

In addition to the change in focus, exam questions will mainly address Agile and Hybrid methodologies. In fact, 50% of the exam questions will be based on these.

Exam Resources

Previously, PMI didn’t specify a resource for candidates to use while preparing for the PMP examination. That’s why most candidates relied on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).

While the PMBOK® guide missed certain elements covered in the PMP exam, it remained a fundamental resource for PMP candidates.

Things are different for the 2021 PMP exam.

PMI has posted a references list which includes non-PMI publications –

  • Agile Practice Guide
  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – 6th Edition
  • Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling
  • Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Hybrid
  • Fundamentals of Technology Project Management, 2nd Edition
  • Project Managers Portable Handbook, 3rd Edition
  • Information Technology Project Management, 7th Edition
  • Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process
  • Project Management: The Managerial Process
  • The Project Management Tool Kit: 100 Tips and Techniques for Getting the Job Done Right

PMP Exam Preparation and Training

For the new PMP exam, PMI has launched an official self-paced online course that covers the new outline. It comprises five modules that provide real-world scenarios to help certification candidates understand how to apply principles and concepts.

To further formalize training, PMI announced that instructor-led training should only be offered by members of its Authorized Training Provider (ATP) program.

Moreover, trainers will need to partake in the Train The Trainer (TTT) program and pass it before being eligible for teaching PMP prep courses.

Online Exam Availability

Possibly one of the welcomed changes to the PMP exam is the online exam option.

PMI has partnered with Pearson VUE to use its OnVUE online proctored testing software. This allows candidates to take the test at a time slot of their choice. All candidates need is a computer with a webcam, a reliable internet connection, and a quiet spot with minimal interruptions.

What the PMP Exam Changes Mean for You

If you’ve already started preparing for the exam, you may be a little annoying cause of the changes. But some of these changes are definitely beneficial for your career as a project manager.

Choice Between Old and New PMP Exam

You have almost two months to decide and register for the old PMP exam. If you’ve been delaying taking the exam so far, this deadline may motivate you to apply and schedule for the exam. Especially since slots are filling up quickly.

Emphasis on In-Demand Methodologies

Candidates preparing for the new PMP exam need to cover Agile and Hybrid methodologies. This will boost your career as both are high in demand across all industry verticals.

That said, this new addition will make scenario-based questions a little more challenging. So, if you’d rather avoid this, opt for the 2020 exam.

Possibly Higher Training Costs

PMP is helping candidates by offering to prepare them through two training options. However, this could mean ATPs may price their offerings higher since they need to pay PMI as well.

Higher Value for Candidates

Candidates passing the 2021 PMP Exam may be considered of more value to their organizations. After all, their certificates testify to their knowledge of Agile and Hybrid methodologies.

So, Let’s Help You Get Started

Our Training Advisors are just a click away from helping you become a certified project manager. Discuss your training needs with our experts and get the guidance you need to earn the PMP credential.

About the Author

Ikram Khan is CEO of Business Beam and LearningCert. In a career spanning 22+ years, he has successfully completed 110+ performance-optimizing consultancy assignments. Over 5,000 professionals from 800+ organizations have attended the 260+ training sessions he conducted in various countries. Ikram is an accredited trainer for COBIT, ITIL, DevOps, PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile, P3O, AgileSHIFT, ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ISO 9001, and ISO 38500. He also holds certifications including CGEIT, CISA, CISM, TOGAF, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSPO, MoP, MoV, and Six Sigma Black Belt. You may connect with Ikram at, and LinkedIn.

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