Top 7 Study Guides To Pass The PMP Exam On Your First Attempt

The demand for skilled project managers is at an all time high. A PMP certification shows that managers can handle various aspects of a project. It equips them with skills needed to lead a project towards success.

If you are preparing for the PMP exam for the first time, then you must make use of all the help you can get. We present seven of the best resources to prepare well for the PMP exam.

  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Fifth Edition

PMBOK Guide 


The PMBoK Guide is the de facto standard for aspirants taking the PMP exam. It is a set of guidelines and best practices accepted in the area of project management. The guide describes the PMP ITTO model in detail. ITTO stands for Inputs, Tools, Techniques, Outputs).

The book is ideal for practicing managers starting their preparation for the exam. It is the official reference for the PMP exam and maintained by the PMI. The book is verbose with a lot of text, formulas and diagrams. It is available in digital and hard copy formats.

  • The PMP Exam: Quick Reference Guide, Fifth Edition

PMP Exam Quick Reference Guide Fifth Edition 


Andy Crowe, a PMP, PgMP and Six Sigma Black Belt certified expert has written this guide. The guide is a laminated tri-fold guide with three sheets in front and three at the back. This six page pamphlet is a quick reference guide for the PMP exam.

It presents the 47 processes for handling projects and describes the ITTO model in brief. As the name suggests, it is a quick reference to the key formulas, tables and graphs. It is a must for every aspirant to keep this guide as it comes handy while preparing for the test.

  • The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Fifth Edition

How to pass pmp on your first try 


One of the popular books among the PMP aspirants, the book makes a claim to help you pass the exam in the first attempt. Andy Crowe, a PMP, PgMP and Six Sigma Black Belt expert authors the book. Based on the PMBoK guide, it offers material for different sections of the PMP exam. 

The book covers the processes, inputs, tools and outputs for testing concepts. It includes a full length practice exam with a free trial subscription for a learning site. Aspirants can prepare well with the updated practice questions and tips on test strategies.

  • Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition

Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam prep, eight edition 


This book is one of the best resources available for the PMP exam. It offers more than 400 sample questions and covers all the concepts. There are games and exercises to sharpen your skills along with practice exams.

It is up to date with the changes of the PMI institute ensuring the best preparation. It also provides details of interviews with project managers who failed the PMP exam. It explains the reasons people fail and what you must do to close the knowledge gap.

This book authored by Rita Mulcahy is a worldwide bestseller. 

  • PMP Exam Simplified, Fifth Edition

PMP exam simplified fitth edition 


Aileen Ellis, a PMP and PgMP certified expert has written this book. It is one of the best resources to understand the PMBoK guide and prepare for the PMP exam. It provides more than 1000 sample questions with solutions. 

The book follows a structure based on process group instead of knowledge area. It lists exam tips and highlights the different terms for studying. It shows which section of the PMBoK guide to read and then tests you with the sample questions.

Understanding the inputs, tools, techniques, outputs for processes is easy after reading this book. It also has quiz sections, flash cards and practice tests. The study plan by Aileen is a good supplement to prepare a good strategy. The book is available in kindle and hard copy formats.

  • PMP Exam Prep: Questions,Answers& Explanations, Fifth Edition

PMP exam prep simplified 


You can fine tune your skills for the PMP exam by practicing more number of questions. This book provides more than 1000 practice questions with answers and explanations. Christopher Scordo, a PMP and ITIL certified expert has written this book.

The book contains 18 PMP mock tests and 11 targeted PMBoK knowledge area tests. Detailed solutions and explanations follow these tests which help you identify knowledge gaps. A free PMP exam formula reference sheet is also available.

Some of the new features of the current edition include:

  • 100 new practice questions
  • PMBoK 5 page references for each question
  • Stakeholder management questions
  • Head First PMP: A Learner's Companion to passing the PMP Exam, Third Edition

Head FIrst PMP 


This book helps aspirants master the basics for the PMP exam. It is a fun read as you get to review the PMP concepts through diagrams, puzzles, games and problems. The book is up to date with the latest PMI directives, so students have access to the latest material.

Head First PMP, co-authored by Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman is an attractive read. It has a simple way of explaining the ITTO model and helps you retain most of what you read. It helps learners to remember important formulae and terms. Some examples of the topics can be EVM, CV,SV, BAC vs VAC etc..

The book does not have a text heavy approach and helps you learn through images. There is also a full length sample exam to test your skills if you need. It is available in kindle and hard copy formats.

These seven resources can be useful for project managers aspiring for the PMP credential. It equips you with the knowledge and skill to handle complex projects. At the same time, it improves your employability and increases your earning potential.

Happy Learning!

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James Powell