Best PMP Study Guide Reviews and PMP Exam Prep Books

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PMP Study Guide and PMP Exam prep books

Last Updated on July 9, 2022 by andrewshih

Are you looking for the best PMP study guide reviews or a PMP exam prep book to help you prepare for the PMP Exam?

In this review, we will explore the most popular PMP study guides used by PMP aspirants, and provide you the list of reference books mentioned by PMI for creating the PMP exam.

I will list the essentials followed by supplemental reference books mentioned by PMI first. If you are only interested in the PMP study guide, please feel free to jump ahead using the table of content below.

Disclaimer: PMAspirant participates in Amazon Affiliate Program.  Please refer to Affiliate Disclaimer for full disclosure.

PMP Exam Prep Books

PMI published a list of reference books PMI use to craft the 2021 PMP Exam. Traditionally, PMI has been reluctant to publish the list because the PMP Exam is never written based on a single reference book.

As per PMI, please be aware of the following:

  • PMP exam is not written according to any single textbook or reference.
  • This is not an all-inclusive list.
  • The list is only one element of a broader set of educational resources utilized.
  • PMI does not endorse nor warrant the accuracy of specific books on this list.

Essential PMP Exam Prep Books

While the PMP Exam is not a direct test of your knowledge of the PMBOK guide, it is the most important reference book. If you are a PMI member, you can purchase the PMBOK guide and Agile Practice Guide at a discount price.

The new 2021 PMP Exam will have a greater emphasis on the Agile and Hybrid models, which will account for 50% of the exam. Both PMBOK and Agile Practice Guide are essential PMP exam prep books that you will need to study to pass the exam.

Amazon links are provided for a quick overview and easy access.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Seventh Edition and The Standard for Project Management (ENGLISH)

Author: Project Management Institute
Publisher: Project Management Institute

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – 6th Edition
Author: Project Management Institute
Publisher: Project Management Institute

Agile Practice Guide
Author: Project Management Institute
Publisher: Project Management Institute

Supplemental Exam Prep Books

This is the list of books that are mentioned in the reference list published by PMI.

While it is not going to be realistic to go through all the supplemental books to prepare for the PMP Exam, you may find a few of the books that you may find helpful for your job function and interested in diving in deeper. Or you may find yourself weaker in certain knowledge areas and may want to get the book to supplement your PMP exam preparation.

Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling
Author: Harold Kerzner
Publisher: Wiley

Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Hybrid
Author: Robert K. Wysocki
Publisher: Wiley

Fundamentals of Technology Project Management, 2nd Edition
Author: Colleen Garton with Erika McCulloch
Publisher: MC Press

Project Managers Portable Handbook, 3rd Edition
Author: David Cleland and Lewis Ireland
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Information Technology Project Management, 7th Edition
Author: Kathy Schwalbe
Publisher: Cengage Learning

Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process
Author: Kenneth S. Rubin
Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Project Management: The Managerial Process
Author: Erik Larson
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

The Project Management Tool Kit: 100 Tips and Techniques for Getting the Job Done Right
Author: Tom Kendrick
Publisher: AMACOM

Best PMP Study Guide

When it comes to picking the best PMP study guide, a lot has to do with your learning style and what you want to get out of the book. You will want to pick a book that fits your learning style and objective.

Keep in mind that even the best study guide is only meant to supplement your overall effort in preparing for the PMP Exam.

Here are the 3 most popular PMP study guides that are commonly used by PMP aspirants:

  • The 50 PMP Exam Prep Questions Everyone Gets Wrong: Master The Hard Questions – Ace Your PMP Exam by Cornelius Fichtner
  • PMP Exam Prep Simplified by Andrew Ramdayal
  • The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try: 6th Edition + Agile by Andy Crowe

The 50 PMP Exam Prep Questions Everyone Gets Wrong: Master The Hard Questions – Ace Your PMP Exam by Cornelius Fichtner

If you are struggling with the PMP exam and looking to improve your exam score, 50 PMP Exam Prep Questions Everyone Gets Wrong may be right for you.  Cornelius Fichtner is the founder of PM Prepcast and its top-rated PMP exam simulator.  Using the data from thousands of students who have utilized the PMP exam simulator tool, this book takes a deep dive into the 50 challenging questions students struggle with the most.

The book is divided into 4 parts.

Part 1:

In the first part, the book goes over the types of questions you will get on the PMP exam and explains how to prepare for it.  This section includes many tips for handling Situational, Knowledge-Based, Interpretational, Technique-Based, and Formula questions.  The book goes into detail about dealing with situational questions because these are the type of questions you will often see on the exam and most PMP aspirants struggle with.

The book further breaks up those challenging questions into 10 topic areas.  The author explains why exam takers get it wrong and what you can do to get the correct answer in each of those topic areas.  For example, for the data analysis topic, the author points out that people tend to get overwhelmed with various data analysis techniques and are confused about the best technique for the situation.  The author offers a summary list of the data analysis techniques you will likely see on the exam and when to apply them.

Part 2:

This section includes the 50 questions to test yourself.

Part 3:

This section is the crux of this book and explains the answer to each of the questions in detail.  Each of the answer choices is explained in detail why it is the correct or wrong answer.  It further explains the question, what makes this question challenging, and the thinking process to arrive at the right answer.  The answer also includes the reference to ECO, Agile guide, and/or PMBOK guide.

Part 4:

This is a small chapter with tips for test-taking strategies.  It goes over how to deal with the vagueness with PMP questions, tips for preparing the formula-based questions, tips for tackling multiple-choice questions, and wraps up with tips for during the PMP exam.

PROS:

  • It is an easy book to read with only 199 pages that are packed with useful tips.  If you are struggling with improving your score on the PMP Exam, this book may offer tremendous help.
  • All the PMP Exam Prep books and even the best exam simulator (yes, even include the Prepcast Exam Simulator) do not go through this level of detail of analysis and thorough explanation of a challenging problem. 
  • After reading this book and working through those problems, you will gain a deeper understanding and thinking process for choosing the correct answer. You will be much better prepared by avoiding the pitfalls and scoring higher on the PMP exam.
  • Excellent supplemental book to prepare for the PMP exam and complements the existing study guides and the PMP exam simulator tool. 

CONS:

The purpose of this book is simply to help you with the PMP exam and prepare you for handling the tough PMP exam questions.  If you are looking for a comprehensive PMP exam prep book covering all the topics accompanying a full PMP mock exam, this book is not for you.

Best PMP Study Guide for:

  • If your focus is to boost your PMP exam score
  • If you are struggling with getting a passing score on the PMP exam
  • If you want to challenge yourself and be ready to toggle the most challenging PMP exam questions
  • If you want to understand the type of questions on the exam and the approach for tackling those questions.

PMP Exam Prep Simplified by Andrew Ramdayal

PMP Exam Prep Simplified by Andrew Ramdayal is the most popular and highly rated study guide for preparing the latest PMP Exam.  This book includes access to the e-learning course that qualifies for 35 contact hours required for the PMP exam. 

This guide includes over 500 questions, and the e-learning course has over 1000 more questions with 430 videos.  The book has end-of-chapter questions and answers and a full mock exam.  The e-learning course has end-of-chapter quizzes.

While the book was published in early 2021, before PMBOK 7, the author provides updates via the eLearning course and material.  Andrew Ramdayal also offers a lot of free helpful content on YouTube.

PROS:

  • This book includes 35 contact hours of e-Learning courses.
  • You can receive updated content and course material via e-learning courses, such as PMBOK 7 related material.
  • The tips and tricks for the PMP mindset are extremely helpful and the most important part of the exam.
  • The guide is easy to read and truly simplifies the PMP exam preparation.

CONS:

  • There are noticeable typos and errors in the book; most of the mistakes are editing issues, not content issues. For example, misspelling and the index do not reference the correct page.
  • The book and the e-learning do not always align; the content can be out of order, and the book may cover more or less than the e-learning course.  You should use both the book and e-learning to fully cover the exam prep.

Best PMP Study Guide for:

  • If you are looking for a PMP guide that is well organized and easy to understand.
  • If you are willing to learn from multiple sources, including this book, e-Learning course, and free YouTube videos.
  • A good book that teaches you the PMP mindset

The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try: 6th Edition + Agile by Andy Crowe

The PMP Exam How to Pass on Your First Try has been updated and includes agile and hybrid approaches that are essential for passing the PMP exam after January 2, 2021.

The book includes all the processes, ITTO, tricks, and tips to pass the PMP exam. There are also links to 60 videos, 475 practice exam questions, chapter quizzes, and a simulated final exam. You will also get access to the Velociteach learning portal for additional practice questions.

This book is designed to be concise yet complete to help you pass the PMP exam on your first try.

PROS:

  • Andy Crowe’s PMP Exam book helps you focus on passing the exam, nothing less, nothing more.
  • The book provides key information in a concise and clear fashion with handy tables for key processes and ITTOs.
  • It clearly marks which topics are more important for the exam than others.
  • The book also comes with little mini video lessons that you can watch online where the author walks you through the processes. It is like a mini PMP exam prep course.

CONS:

  • Andy Crowe’s PMP Exam book lacks visual detail. The flow for a number of processes is a lot clearer in the PMBOK because of the flowcharts.
  • Some information may be glossed over in this book while Rita provides more detail on the same topic.
  • The book is somewhat expensive.

Best PMP Study Guide for:

  • You simply want to focus on passing the PMP exam.
  • A PMP study guide that is to the point with the right amount of detail for the PMP exam.

In addition to the PMP study guide, there are other resources that can help you prepare for the PMP Exam, be sure to check out the resource page.

Hope this would help you in your prep for the PMP exam. Please feel free to comment and share your experience using the PMP study guides.

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