The PMP Update, 2021 - Everything You Need to Know

Project Management Institute (PMI) announced this change back in 2019 and planned to make the new exam effective from July 2020. In the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PMI has postponed the exam change until January 2021. This will provide the PMP® aspirants with the additional time necessary for accessing training resources and preparing for the exam. 

In this article, you’ll get a detailed overview of the PMP® exam changes, the Authorized Training Provider (ATP) program, how does this change affect the candidates, and the next steps to take.

PMP Exam Change Dates

5 Key Changes That The PMP Aspirants Should Be Aware Of

The new PMP exam has quite a few elements that are different from the old one. Here you will get to know more about the different categories in which changes were made.

  • Scope of Exam

The new PMP exam pattern effective from January 2, 2021, will be based on three domains - People, Process, and Business Environment whereas the old PMP exam is based on five domains i.e. Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. Here is a table comparing the categories and their respective emphasis in the old and new PMP exam formats.

Old PMP Exam and New PMP Exam

  • Exam Questions from Agile and Hybrid Methodologies

50% of the exam questions in the new PMP exam will be from Agile and Hybrid methodologies. Even though there is no official declaration on a similar percentage for the old PMP exam, the percentage seems to be comparatively lower.

  • Official Courseware for the PMP Exam

Since the inception of PMP in 1984, Project Management Institute (PMI) has never declared any document as the ultimate prep resource for the PMP examination. As a result, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) guide has enjoyed the reputation of being the fundamental resource for PMP aspirants. Since the actual PMP exam includes questions beyond this guide, many authors have launched study materials in the pursuit of bridging the gap.

Cut to 2020. The Project Management Institute has launched the official courseware for the PMP exam. This does not only work as the official prep content but also is aligned with the exam content outline. That brings an end to the typical concerns of PMP aspirants regarding the official prep resource. 

  • Authorized Training Provider (ATP) Program

There’s a significant change when it comes to candidates looking to take up self-paced courses to study for and attempt the PMP exam. PMI has announced that it shall be the sole provider for the self-paced course and that instructor-led training from an ATP. 

And given that the self-paced course is priced at $699, it seems like a clear move on PMI’s part to encourage test takers to take up cost-effective instructor-led training from its registered ATPs. 

Despite the rumors that continue to make the scenario even more opaque, these are two options that PMP aspirants have. Another major change related to this is the addition of the mandatory Train The Trainer (TTT) program. Instructors must pass the TTT program to be eligible to teach PMP prep courses.

  • Logistics

You might have already heard about these changes. It is the significance of them that has got them placed on this list. Recent changes regarding the application process and the exam availability are given below:

i) The application process is now simpler and is far less time-consuming.

ii) In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, PMI has decided to allow online, proctored PMP exams that candidates can easily take from the comfort of their home.

How Does The PMP Exam Changes Impact The Candidates?

Be it selecting a slot or choosing a training option, things will never be the same again. Here are some of the effects that the PMP candidates are likely to face with the new changes in place.

  • No More Dilly-dallying On Scheduling The Exam

Once you decide to take the PMP exam, it is wise to have a target exam date in mind and plan things backward. Those willing to take the old PMP exam must do so by December 31, 2020. Remember there might be thousands of PMP aspirants trying to get a slot before the exam changes. Don’t be the one to drag your feet over getting started with the application process. 

  • The Difficulty Factor

You must have already read about the domain changes earlier in this article. Going by the general perception, it seems that the new PMP exam will be even more difficult. Add to it the focus on agile and hybrid and you can see that things are not quite straightforward. The scenario-based questioning in the PMP exam has a reputation to have failed experienced project managers as well. With all that, taking the new PMP exam will be more like navigating uncharted waters.

  • Course Fees Likely To Be Increased

The standard training resource developed by the PMI comes at a cost. Since the ATP will have to pay PMI for this resource every time a student registers, you can expect a slight increase in the course fees. 

  • Higher Perceived Value

With the new PMP exam emphasizing on Agile and Hybrid methodologies, it is needless to say that the new certification has a high perceived value. However, a PMP credential is valuable anyway. So, the value of it depends on how you see it. 

  • Choosing The Right Training Option

As discussed earlier, the REP program ceases to exist effective January 2, 2021. Now you have two training options to choose from. You can either go with the on-demand course by the PMI or opt for an instructor-led course by an ATP. 

Frequently Asked Questions About The PMP Exam Changes

Want to navigate the PMP exam changes? This section answers all the frequently asked questions that you might have in your mind.

1. I’ve already scheduled the PMP exam. What to do now?

What are you doing here? On a serious note, you should focus on preparing yourself for the exam and try to crack the PMP exam in one attempt. We truly wish you don’t need a retake. In case you do, remember that there is going to be a higher demand for the slots. That’s why it is better to hit the books and fill the gaps in your learning. 

2. I am already preparing for the PMP exam. But I haven’t scheduled it yet. What should I do?

Take a cue from the answer above. We recommend you schedule your PMP exam optimally so that you have enough room in case of a retake. Make sure that you get enough time to prepare thoroughly.

3. I am about to start preparing for the PMP exam. What kind of certifications should I consider?

You have roughly 3 months left to take the old PMP exam. Even though it can be tricky, it is not too late to start. Book your exam slot at the earliest and consider opting for an instructor-led course.

4. Do I Need A PMP Certification?

Only you can answer that question. Here is an article that takes you through 6 Reasons Why PMP Certification Is Worth It. If you decide to take the old PMP exam, you need to hurry and book your slot at the earliest. This is not the time to sit on the fence.

5. I need to retake the PMP exam. What should I do?

It’s unfortunate but you are among the most affected by this change. You have already invested time, money, and effort into the old PMP exam. It makes total sense for you to use the rest of the year to back yourself with quality preparation and go for a retake before it’s too late. It’s important to work with an experienced PMP instructor to identify possible reasons that led to failure in the first place. You have a massive advantage of having already seen the exam once. Work on your areas of improvement and give a hard shot again at the earliest. You can go for the new PMP exam but that is another round of training, expenses, and effort that you rather avoid.

A Shameless Plug

Planning to go for the new PMP exam effective from January 2, 2021? We are soon launching our brand new courseware for the new PMP exam. Here are a few good reasons to choose this over the on-demand course by PMI:

Spot Your Weakness With The Simulated Exams

  • Ask any PMP-certified professional about the importance of mock exams. They will tell you how simulated exams help you to prepare for the actual one. 
  • As an Accredited Training Partner, we have access to a sample of the actual PMP exam questions and use that knowledge for preparing our students better. 
  • Not only do our simulated exams mimic the real one but also provide you with exam analytics essential for analyzing and improving weak spots.

Our Experience Sets Us Apart

  • Our instructors typically come with an experience of more than a decade of helping PMP aspirants. They help you navigate a sea of content in a shorter period using sound instructional design practices.

Things That Help You to Crack PMP In One Go

  • We understand how important it is for you to crack the PMP exam in one go. That’s why our commitment extends beyond the training for PMP certification. We offer mentorship sessions, live bootcamp, and a 24x7 helpline to answer your questions so you don’t get stuck and find the help you need in time.

If you are planning to nail the old PMP exam, have a look at our PMP certification training courseware. It is the same path that thousands of successful PMPs walked through before you. Our counselors are just a shout away and ready to help you get your PMP credential.


Click here if you want to become a Certified Project Management Professional.

About Author