Posted on August 22nd, 2011 in - Vicki Wrona, Certification, Learning, Project Management | No Comments »
By Vicki Wrona, PMP
As you may have heard, PMI changed the exam on August 31, 2011 by 30%. This was driven by a change in the Role Delineation Study and was designed to make the exam better reflect the updated skills needed and used by project managers. If you started studying to take the PMP® exam using the 4th edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and couldn’t take the exam before the change, what do you do?
First, don’t panic. Yes, the exam changed 30%. However, some of that is due to a classification adjustment of where different skills fall. Some of it is driven by how scores will be compiled and reported back. In other words, more of it is driven by administration and less of it due to content change from a practical perspective. That is good news, both for those who took the exam by August 30th and for those taking the exam on or after August 31st.
We have reached a point in the project management profession where it is sophisticated enough to be defined fairly well. Yes, we will tweak our standard to keep it current and relevant, but overall, the techniques we will use to successfully define and complete projects and to lead our teams are fairly well defined and will remain the same. This is a compliment to the work that our profession has accomplished over the years and the work PMI has done to capture and document those best practices.
In my opinion, the biggest impact to those taking the exam immediately following the change on August 31st is that for 4-6 weeks, your score will not be provided immediately. In my opinion, this is to allow time to collect exam results, verify that the exam is fair and test the new exam process. PMI will notify you when your results are available at pmi.org, probably around mid-October. There you will learn whether you passed or not.
If you are planning to take the exam shortly after August 31, know in advance that you will not know your pass-fail status. If you are OK with that, great. If not, you may choose to wait to take the exam until mid-October.
In summary, don’t panic. If you were able to take the exam by August 30th, great. If not, that’s fine too. The bigger change will come after the 5th edition PMBOK® Guide is issued Dec 31, 2012. I strongly suggest that if you have begun studying under the 4th edition PMBOK® Guide, that you take the exam before it reflects the 5th edition PMBOK® Guide. While changes to the 5th edition will not be as extensive as those made in the 4th edition and while many (most) of the definitions, techniques and best practices you are studying now should remain intact with the 5th edition, there will still be new names, terms, processes, etc. in the 5th edition to learn. Together, the changes made in the 5th edition will most likely be greater than the 30% change in the exam experienced on August 31, 2011. Therefore, if you have started studying, set a goal to take the exam under the 4th edition PMBOK® Guide if at all possible.