Most Helpful PMP Books: Ace Your PMP Exam

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Last updated on
29th Sep, 2022
07th Mar, 2022
Most Helpful PMP Books: Ace Your PMP Exam

PMP® Certified professionals are pretty high in demand today because of the growing importance of project management. Getting a PMP certification has never been easy. There is an extensive list of stringent requirements that you need to fulfill before attempting the PMP exam. Professionals holding PMP certificates have an extensive understanding of project management concepts and practices. This is thanks to the preparation that goes into the PMP exam.  

 ‘PMP certification exam content outline (ECO) 2021’ is one of the key reference books for PMP Exams. PMBOK Guide – Seventh Edition is another reference book that you should refer to. The exam tests candidates’ knowledge of project management concepts and their ability to apply their understanding of project management to situations that are likely to arise in a real work environment. This is the reason that PMP Exam prep books are quite important. The more you read, the wider your knowledge is likely to be, the better you’d be prepared to apply your learning.  

Know more about importance of project charter.

What Is the PMP Exam?

The PMP Exam is the exam that decides whether the candidate is well versed in project management. It spans 180 questions and needs to be completed within 230 minutes. PMI does not specify a pass percentage. The percentage required to pass is determined based on the difficulty of the exam.   

The exam can be taken at an authorized center or online at your place. The online format gives you the option to take up to two ten-minute breaks. The question formats include multiple choice, multiple options, fill-in-the-blanks, hot spot, and matching. The last two formats were introduced in Jan 2021.  

It is important to familiarize yourself with this format so that you do not waste time during the exam trying to adapt to the type of questions. You will find PMP books that contain practice questions updated with the latest question formats.  

The difficulty of the exam is one of the key reasons that make PMP more valuable. PMP is the number one certification in project management, globally and the one million-plus PMP holders are proof of acceptance. Let’s look at some resources for preparing for it. 

How Can Books and Reading Materials Help Me Prepare for the PMP Exam?

Best PMP Exam Prep Books To Read in 2022

The PMBOK Guide- Seventh Edition is one of the key reference materials for the PMP examThe questions could be from any project management related topic or could be a question designed to gauge your skill in applying project management concepts or formulas.  

Preparing solely based on the PMBOK Guide is likely to be insufficient. It is only a starting point. To understand the concepts or methods mentioned in it, you will need to refer to other books or materials. You will also need to practice what you have learned so that you understand each concept, their applications, and advantages.   

PMI has a list of books on their page which is listed as recommended reading. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it is a good starting point, and these books will help you improve your understanding. Apart from the PMBOK Guide, PMI also publishes the Agile Practice Guide. 

Best PMP Exam Prep Books To Read in 2022

Apart from the above two books, PMI’s recommended reading has these books:  

TitleAuthor(s)Published by
Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and ControllingHarold KerznerWiley
Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, HybridRobert K. WysockiWiley
Fundamentals of Technology Project Management, 2nd EditionColleen Garton and Erika McCullochMC Press
Project Managers Portable Handbook, 3rd EditionDavid Cleland and Lewis IrelandMcGraw-Hill
Information Technology Project Management, 7th EditionKathy SchwalbeCengage Learning
Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile ProcessKenneth S. RubinAddison-Wesley
Project Management: The Managerial ProcessErik LarsonMcGraw-Hill
The Project Management Tool Kit: 100 Tips and Techniques for Getting the Job Done RightTom KendrickAMACOM

You do not have to read all these books to pass the PMP exam. These are books that elaborate on the project management principles and their real-world applications, you can find answers to doubts that may arise while learning about project management. There is no exhaustive list for books on project management. You can find books that are more suited to your learning needs.  

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland is a book written by Jeff Sutherland who is the co-creator of Scrum and JJ Sutherland who is the CEO of Scrum. This book is more of an opportunity to learn directly from the people who have shaped one of the most successful ways to apply project management principles and build high-performing teams.  

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management by Eric Verzuh which focuses on implementing project management concepts in the real world.  

The Lazy Project Manager: How to Be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early by Peter Taylor is a book that simplifies concepts with illustrations and introduces you to simple, effective techniques to be productive at work and manage your time to get more value in your personal life too, which if you think of it, is one of the best takeaways of project management.  

Strategic Project Management Made Simple: Practical Tools for Leaders and Teams by Terry Schmidt comes with a lot of actionable steps that you can implement as a project manager. Honestly, even if you’re not going to take the PMP exam, this book is still a great read, and you can apply the learnings from it to several areas of your work.   

Project Management for Non-Project Managers by Jack Ferraro is a beginner level book that can explain the concepts to you in the simplest level if you do not want to get overwhelmed by industry jargon. It is a great introduction to the world of project management, when you’re just exploring the field.  

How to Choose the Best PMP Exam Prep Book

The best PMP Exam Prep book is the one book that meets your needs. As individuals and learners, it is important to have the awareness that project management is a vast field. What are the knowledge areas that make you feel more confident when approaching the exam?   

You should choose the best PMP Prep book based on which one suits your needs the most. You will have an idea about what are the areas that you feel your preparation has been lacking. You can strengthen those knowledge areas by picking books from those categories. If you feel like you are prepared but you need more practice, then you could pick books which have a lot of mock questions or practice tests.    

The PMBOK Guide will remain your primary reference. The topics mentioned in it need to be covered for sure. While learning about these topics, you may find one or more topics that spark your curiosity and want to learn more. You will rely on other books to learn about these topics in depth. PMP Exam prep books will focus more on getting you ready to write the exam and ensure that you are prepared to clear the exam when you take it.

Top PMP Exam Prep Books 

While PMI does not prescribe any book for exam preparation, candidates have been relying on quite a lot of books to make their journey to certification a little easier. You can also benefit from the experience of the professionals who have been guiding others for decades. The following are a few books that are noteworthy. You should examine them and pick one that suits your learning preference. 

  • Head First PMP, by Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene is one of the easiest books on PMP exams. This will not be the level of difficulty you should expect in your PMP exam. 
  • PMP Exam Prep Book- Tenth Edition by Rita Mulcahy is a book that has been helping project managers clear the PMP exam for decades now. The latest edition is updated to cover the changes in PMP exam format. 
  • PMP Exam Prep Book by Master of Project Academy, written by Resit Gulec comes with tips on how to pass the exam in the first attempt and plenty of sample questions 
  • The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try: 6th Edition + Agile (Test Prep series) 6th Edition by Andy Crowe will help you with getting your calculations right and is a helpful resource for your PMP preparation.  
  • Professional Exam Study Guide by Kim Hildman is organized in a way that makes it easy to understand concepts in a more relatable manner. 

Should I Try PMP Audio Books?  

Audio books are gaining more acceptance and are considered a good substitute for reading, especially when you are multitasking. Some people find it easier to understand concepts through audio. Audio books are also convenient in several aspects, like listening to a chapter while getting your evening workout, or baking!  

That said, you should not rely on audiobooks alone for your preparation. Calculations related to decision-making in projects and application of concepts should be done physically to create a proper understanding of project management practices and develop readiness to implement them in real projects.

When to Take the PMP Exam

The only way to be certain that you are ready to take the PMP exam is when you are comfortable taking practice test and you can answer questions comfortably and within the time limits. This signals your exam readiness. Till you reach that state, you will need to improve your understanding or practice the concepts more. To become thorough with the concepts you will need to know how to manage projects in a modern organization. 

A good project management professional training program extends beyond the scheduled 35 hours. It includes self-paced study modules, study plans to understand PMP concepts, and PMP simulation tests that prepare candidates for the PMP exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. Which is the best book for PMP preparation?

The one book that you should always have at the forefront is PMI’s PMBOK Guide. There are a lot of other books that will help you prepare for the PMP exam, but the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition is what the syllabus is based on even though you could get asked about anything related to project management. You should also refer the PMP Exam Content Outline 2021 to get an idea of what to expect.  

2. Which book should I buy for PMP preparation?

There are quite a few PMP preparation books that have helped candidates clear the PMP exam. The book that you should buy would depend on your specific needs and your strengths. If you know you lack knowledge or practice in certain areas, you should try and identify books that cater to improve your understanding. You should make sure that if you want to be prepared for the exam, you have enough practice questions to get familiar with the exam format.  

3. Can you self-study for PMP?

Yes, you can do self-study for PMP. There are 35 hours of mandatory training that you will need to undergo. You will be exempt if you hold a valid CAPM certificate. Apart from this, you can self-study for the exam. 

You will need to create a schedule and complete the syllabus in time for the exam. To perform well in the exam, it is necessary that you do at least a few hundred of practice questions.



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