Best PMP Exam Prep Books for 2021

The Project Management Institute (PMI) published the PMBOK Guide Sixth Edition in September 2017. While waiting for the next update, it is the standard reference of professionals for the best practices in project management. It has contents about complementary agile approaches and new and renamed sections on knowledge areas. The PMP book also contains more emphasis on strategic and business knowledge, as well as information on the PMI Talent Triangle. The PMI encourages project management professionals to develop the three skill areas identified in the triangle as essential to succeed in today’s market.

What is the PMP Exam?

The PMP exam is a certification process for professionals to receives the PMP credential. Project managers and business professionals consider PMI’s Project Management Professional certification as an important and distinguishing credential recognized globally. Professionals can take the examination after showing proof of eligibility. After receiving the credential, certified professionals maintain it through a Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program. PMP certificate holders continue to be among the highest paid in the technology industry. Companies offer lucrative positions to candidate employees who are PMP to lead important projects.

The Top 5 PMP Prep Books

PMP certification courses are available and offered by many learning companies such as Master of Project Academy. For those who opt to self-study or who want more references, PMP exam prep books are affordable and accessible resources. Below are the top 5 PMP books we have selected based on several criteria such as alignment with the latest PMBOK edition, publishing date, customer reviews, and structure.

1. The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Sixth Edition

Author: Andy Crowe

Andy Crowe is the founder and CEO of Velociteach, a provider of project management training and exam preparation. With 25 years of project management experience, he founded the training company to help empower other project professionals.

The sixth edition of the PMP exam prep book is the latest edition and aligns with the latest PMBOK Guide. Published in April 2018, the paperback contains 752 pages with a tag price of $94.95. The PMP Exam book covers all process groups and knowledge areas, contains a new chapter about the role of the project manager, as well as strategies and tips to pass the exam. It also contains over 400 practice exam questions, links to 60 videos, end-of-chapter quizzes, and a mock final exam.

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2. Head First PMP: A Learner’s Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam, 4th Edition

Head First PMPAuthor: Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman

Jennifer Greene and Andrew Stellman are project managers, agile coaches, international keynote speakers, and experts on software engineering principles and practices. Each has led software projects and large-scale agile adoption efforts in many different domains.

Published in September 2018, Head First PMP is a unique PMP book because it goes beyond the typical question and answer format. It provides a unique visual format that helps learners grasp the concepts of project management and apply them into context. This approach helps exam takers to understand PM principles and pass the certification exam. It covers the whole PMBOK Guide and makes use of strategies such as puzzles, games, problems, and exercises as an effective preparation for the exam. The latest paperback edition contains 928 pages at $46.60.


3. All-in-One PMP Exam Prep Kit

All-in-One PMP Exam Prep KitAuthor: Darron L. Clark, PMP

In addition to his professional project management experience, Darron Clark is also an Oracle Certified Professional, a database and IT infrastructure expert, instructor, and coach with certifications in ITIL, Six Sigma, Scrum, and risk management.

This PMP exam book in paperback format is a comprehensive resource for professionals planning to take the certification test. It utilizes visual, language, oral, texting, and memorization teaching methods to help the learner master the materials and pass the exams on their first try. At $49.97, the PMP book contains 780 pages that includes chapters discussing all PMP processes and knowledge areas. Published in December 2020, it also has over 1300 questions, answers, and explanations, five complete mock exams, hundreds of flashcards, and project templates ready to use for work.


4. PMP Exam Prep Simplified

PMP Exam Prep SimplifiedAuthor: Andrew Ramdayal

Andrew Ramdayal is the founder and current CEO of Technical Institute of America and the TIA Education Group. He is an entrepreneur and instructor with expertise in project management and IT security.

Published in February 2018, this paperback PMP prep book presents concepts and topics in a concise, to the point, and easy to understand format. It covers all the processes and knowledge areas discussed in the PMBOK Sixth Edition, but narrows down the content to the topics needed to pass the PMP certification exams. With 480 pages, it includes over 500 exam-like questions, a full mock exam, dedicated sections for Critical Path and Earned Value Management, and plenty of exam tips. At the price of $35.99, it includes free access to a range of online classes and lectures. An update to the book covers the changes for the new 2021 PMP exam.


5. PMP Exam Prep book by Master of Project Academy

Author: Resit Gulec, PMP

Resit Gulec is the founder and CEO of Master of Project Academy, a PMP exam training provider based in New York. He is a practicing PMP and a certified ITIL expert. He teaches undergrad and MBA students in the university.

Published in August 2019, the paperback PMP prep book is 585 pages and priced at $87 in Amazon. It is ideal for PMP and CAPM certification exam test takers. It also includes real-life project examples, PMP flash card mapping games, more than 100 important must-remember Master Points for the PMP exam, and 500 sample exam questions. The discussion follows the order of the knowledge areas over sample real-life scenarios, which allows the reader to understand and remember the concepts easily.

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Conclusion

Another great exam prep book is the PMP Exam Master Prep from Scott Payne. Indeed, new materials and resources are coming out as the PMI announces PMP certification exam updates this January 2021. According to the Institute, a focus on new domains of people, process, and business environment needs to meet evolving needs. And so, project management professionals continue to learn, update, and upgrade their knowledge and skills. Though the absence of a PMP credential will not prevent a person to practice good project management, it will certainly enhance one’s credibility as project professionals deliver projects to completion providing value to their organization.  

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for Project-Management.com and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.