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Your Upcoming PMP 2021 Exam 

 August 25, 2021

By  Dave Litten

The current 2021 PMP Exam

The PMP exam is one of the world’s most recognized and well-respected certifications in project management. A PMP certification generally means better pay and more esteem from your peers.

Getting the certification will not be an easy task to accomplish as the exam is difficult and even the application process is challenging!

I know that preparing for a PMP exam is an enormous undertaking that will require many hours of study and countless other sacrifices to achieve – but the results are worth it as a PMP certification opens many doors and leads to a significant pay increase as well as career opportunities.

The new 2021 PMP exam is unlike previous PMP exams, as it includes not just predictive project management but also agile and hybrid approaches.

The 2021 Project

As a certified PMP, you should be able to manage any type of project, whether that is a traditional waterfall-based project to an agile project, and in many businesses today, companies will even combine traditional project management methods with agile to create a hybrid approach.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) uses many different resources to create the content of a PMP exam which can incur significant costs in and of itself.

Most classroom-based and online courses consist of bullet-ridden slide sets which only provide a cursory overview of what is needed to pass your PMP exam.

For both the above reasons, we at Projex Academy have spent nearly eight months developing the finest and most comprehensive video-based online, self-paced PMP Certification Study System.

It is called the PMP Masterclass.

The PMP exam

Every few years PMI conducts what is known as the Job Task Analysis (JTA), where they do interviews with many current project managers to learn about what is happening in the real-world environment of project management.

It is from this JTA that the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO) is created.

The ECO for January 2021 documents three domains – people, process, and business environment. The ECO describes roles and activities that a project manager should be doing on a project. There are several new roles and activities that will appear as exam questions such as diversification.

Your Upcoming PMP 2021 Exam Management

The domains are high-level knowledge areas that are essential to managing any project. When conducting a project, you will have to manage people following processes in a particular business environment.

The ECO documents that within each domain, there are a certain number of tasks, and each task has a certain number of enablers.

The PMBOK Guide and other materials

The new exam is still heavily dependent upon The PMBOK Guide 6th Edition which is a book of best practices for managing a project.

It outlines all the other process is that a project will follow from beginning to end. But as I have mentioned, the examples also use a variety of other books including a guide to the practice of agile and hybrid methodologies.

Unfortunately for students, the PMBOK Guide is not an exam study guide but rather a general reference (it’s also very hard to read and understand to make sense!)

The PMBOK Guide does not include ALL the topics you will need to know for the exam as it is mostly concerned with a traditional waterfall-based project management method, so studying this alone would only give you about 50% of the exam content.

The Agile and Hybrid Exam effect

Your Upcoming PMP 2021 Exam Management

The world of project management and projects has changed significantly within the past decade, and none so more important than the growth of agile and hybrid approaches.

Agile evolved from the world of software development back in the 1990s, but since then, the use of the method has adapted and evolved to deliver ‘knowledge work’ type projects in countless project management industries and professions.

The most powerful example I could give you right now in 2021, is the well-publicized and very successful harnessing of agile methodologies to rocket development in Elon Musk’s SpaceX endeavors.

Back to the PMP exam

A full 50% of the exam questions and hence marks are assigned directly to your understanding of agile and hybrid approaches.

Not only do you need to understand the framework of agile, but you also need to know HOW the various elements, processes, and techniques of agile apply to the five process groups and ten knowledge areas within the PMBOK Guide.

Another agile area you need to understand for the 2021 PMP exam, is the various methods and frameworks that can be applied based on the agile and hybrid approach these are called Agile Methodologies. There is a dozen of them that you need to get a handle on – don’t worry, I have created an extra sixteen easy step-by-step video modules to bring you fully up to speed.

Introducing Projex Academy’s PMP 2021 Masterclass

All the above elements, including the new ECO topics, have been blended in to form the backbone of our video-based PMP Masterclass.

This not only includes our proprietary 2000 question exam simulator, but also a honed and focused set of 234 Agile and Hybrid framework PMP Exam questions and answers.

PMP 2021 Masterclass

The PMP 2021 exam

This consists of 180 questions and lasts for 230 minutes with two 10 minute breaks allowed while taking the exam.

Most folks find that they will need every second of those 230 minutes to complete the exam.

Once done, you will be informed right away if you passed or failed, and the exam does not give a numerical score, it is either a pass or a fail.

The exam is broken down in terms of the percentage of items on the test into 42% items covering people, 50% of items covering processes, and 8% covering the business environment.

Taking your actual exam

At the time of writing, the PMP exam is being given as a proctored online exam or in-person exam at a Pearson Vue testing center. When you schedule the exam, you will have the option of choosing either one.

If you select the proctored online exam, you will need to have a webcam on your computer and a quiet room to take it. This exam can be done at home or at work. You will be monitored for the entire duration of the exam from your webcam.

If you select to take the exam at a Pearson Vue testing center, you must physically go to the center and sit down for four hours and take the actual exam on one of their computers. You can take breaks as needed throughout this exam as I have already described.

Types of PMP Exam questions

There are three different types of questions:

Multiple choice. These are standard questions where you will have to select one choice from a series of four different choices. These types of questions will generally contain at least two correct answers and you must choose the best of these two choices. You will also get questions where you must select multiple responses. For example, you may have to select two or three of the five or six choices presented

Drag and drop. These are questions where you must match multiple things up. For example, they may give you a question where you must match what tools may be used, in what process they occur, or match what conflict resolution method would work in certain scenarios

Hot spot and a few fill-in-the-blank questions. These questions will require you to click on a spot of a diagram or graph.

The Secret to Passing your 2021 PMP Exam

I have taught many different students over the past years, ranging from folks moving into project management, to others who are already project managers.

One of the biggest mistakes students can make is trying to apply their work experience, not so much a problem for folks moving into project management, but a huge temptation for those with already some project management experience.

The best thing that a student can do is to forget all they have done in project management in the real world and try to understand it from the ‘PMI’ world. As you go through our PMP Masterclass, clear your mind of every type of project you have ever worked on and start with a blank mind as if you have never managed a project before.

Many times, students feel they must memorize so many different processes terminologies, and tools only to find out the exam does not want you to memorize any of them.

The PMP 2021 Exam is about understanding the concepts of best practices in both a predictive and agile project management environment.

Memorizing these different processes and tools while failing to understand when we can use them, is unlikely to be a successful exam strategy.

The questions on this exam are scenario-based and generally have multiple correct answers. So, failing to understand these processes and tools and how to apply them as best practice will almost certainly guarantee a low score and likelihood to fail.

When following our Projex Academy’s PMP Masterclass, try to understand when it would be best to use specific processes and tools.

Congratulations You Passed!

Passing the PMP exam means you have committed hours to studying for almost an entire day to take the exam. When you pass, you are certified from that moment.

If you fail (unlikely if you have invested in our PMP Masterclass), you will have the chance to retake the exam which you can do up to two times after the first attempt. After that, you must wait one year before resubmitting your application periods

Once you pass, you’re instantly certified, but you will need to do more work to hold onto the certification. You will want to maintain the certification, or you could lose it after three years.

You will be required to earn 60 PDU’s (professional development units) every three years, or you could lose your certification.

So how do you earn your PDU’s?

You can earn PDU’s in the following ways:

Taking classes relating to project management. These can be live classes or online classes. Most people will get them this way. Generally, for every hour of class, you will get One PDU

NOTE. Here, Projex Academy can give you a surprising bonus. You see when you decide to invest in our PMP Masterclass you have TWO choices:

Sure, you can invest in our great value world-beating PMP Masterclass

Or,

For a small uplift, you can get Projex Academy Membership for a full 12 months. This gives you access to every one of over 30 project management-related video-based project management training classes (including PMP Masterclass). Every single one of these bleeding-edge project management skill-sets can be used to earn your PDU’s for several years!

Another way of earning PDU’s is to attend PMI chapter meetings. Every month, the local PMI chapter will hold a meeting with its members. If you are a member and attend, you can get about one to two PDU’s

Yet another way is to read books or articles

You could also volunteer at PMI or other nonprofit organizations.

Final Thoughts

I know right now you’re not currently worried about renewing your PMP certification since you are not yet certified, but it’s good to keep this in the back of your mind as three years will go by very fast, and no one wants to retake this exam.

Do check out our video-based PMP Masterclass (and check out the countless genuine testimonials from our customers who now hold the prestigious accreditation of a PMP Project Manager). Onwards!

Dave Litten


David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

The Projex Academy

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