Top 5 PMP Exam Books

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The latest edition of the PM Body of Knowledge Guide was published in 2013, adding 33% more knowledge. Since the last edition, important changes to the PMBOK are a new knowledge area – 13. Project Stakeholder Management, and an increase in processes, from 42 to 47 –  in knowledge area: Scope, Time, Cost and Stakeholder. Of note, as there’re major changes to the PMBOK, those studying for their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification should ensure they review the new content – doing so is imperative to successfully passing the PMP exam.

What is the PMP Exam?

The PMP exam is a part of the accreditation to become a Project Management Professional. For project managers, the PMP certification is considered important, and is widely recognized. Eligibility to take the exam depends on strict requirements. After receiving a PMP certification, professionals can maintain it through a Continuing Certification Requirements program. In an article which compared the salary increase per certification in the technology industry, PMP certifications resulted in the highest increase in salary. Many employers now require this certification for certain positions.

The Top 5 PMP Prep Books

PMP certification courses are available and offered by certification prep providers, like, Simplilearn and Skillsoft. For those who wish to study by themselves, PMP exam prep books are affordable and easily accessible. Below are the top 5 books we selected based on the following criteria: alignment with the knowledge areas in the PMBOK 5th edition, structure, customer reviews and accuracy.

Achieve PMP Exam Success book cover1. Achieve PMP Exam Success, 5th Edition: Guide for the Busy Project Manager

Summary: Author, Diane Altwies, PMP, has been a project manager and program manager in the insurance, financial services, and healthcare industry for almost 30 years. Author, Janice Preston, PMP, has been managing projects for more than 25 years and has developed a course in PM and certificate programs in universities for more than 15 years. Their book was published on July 2, 2013. It has 488 pages, costs $56.95, and has a website access that includes downloadable flash card study aids.

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PMP Study Guide 4th Edition book cover2. PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide, 4th edition

Summary: Author Joseph Phillips, PMP, is a PM consultant, educator, and CompTIA trainer. He has given train-the-trainer courses for major corporations, institutions, and universities. The book was published on June 25, 2013 and has 784 pages. It is available in two formats – the paperback edition is $30.45. It covers all the objectives for the exam and also has an exam readiness checklist to help you prepare for that challenging PMP test.

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PMP Exam Study Guide 7th Edition book cover3. PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide, 7th edition

Summary: Kim Heldman, PMP, has not only written this best-selling exam guide, but also Project Management JumpStart. She has been managing IT projects for more than 20 years. Her book study guide was published on July 1, 2013. It has 696 pages and is $36.74. The book covers all knowledge areas of the PMBOK and also includes discussions on PM concepts, processes, key terms and two practice PMP and CAPM exams.

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PMP Exam Prep book cover4. PMP Exam Prep Questions, Answers, & Explanations: 1000+ PMP Practice Questions with Detailed Solutions

Summary: Written by Christopher Scordo, PMP, to help students prepare for the PMP certification. He has written and co-written other prep books, such as ITIL exam prep book which was endorsed by the official ITIL framework accreditation group. Although this PMP Exam Prep book was originally published in November 2009, the 5th edition aligns with the latest PMBOK Guide and for PMP exams written after July 31, 2013. It has 422 pages, costs $39.24, and has remained in Amazon’s Top 60 Best Seller in the PM category.

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PMP EXAM Simplified book cover5. PMP EXAM Simplified-5th Edition – Aligned to PMBOK Guide 5th Edition

Summary: Author, Aileen Ellis, PMP, PgMP, is the owner of AME, which is a registered education provider. She has helped thousands of professionals achieve their PMP and CAPM certification. This spiral-bound book was published on August 17, 2013. It has 450 pages at $51.53. It has more than 1000 practice questions with detailed answers to help you obtain both knowledge and confidence for your exam. It has several sample tests and one complete sample exam.

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Some popular PMP exam books may be missing on this list, such as PMP Exam Prep by the late Rita Mulcahy. Some excellent previous editions also did not make the list because of what seems like a hastily published new edition just to cover the changes in the PMBOK announced this year. A great previous edition is Head First PMP 2nd edition by Greene and Stellman. However, the new edition that reflects the latest PMBOK changes is scheduled to come out in January 2014.

The absence of a PMP certification will not prevent a person from practicing project management. However, having it will certainly enhance your credibility. In addition, the value that employers place on this certification gives you a competitive edge in the job market.

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for 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.

7 Responses

  1. moe says:

    I took certification project mgt courses 3 years ago and never took the exam nor have I have ever worked as a project manager. Can you help me with a study guide for a novice, so I can pass the exam?

  2. Roger Dossantos says:

    The very best pmp materials

  3. Sumon says:

    I think the best 3 books are:
    1. Rita’s PMP
    2. HeadFirst PMP
    3. Brainy People’s Guide To PMP® Credential

    I think, combination of any of the above 2 books would be enough, especially any book with the Brainy People’s Guide, as it summarizes the whole concept in 255 points, amazing.

  4. Adel Fahmy says:

    The best book is How to pass pmp on first try by Andy crowe ,easy,easy, to understand pmp .

  5. Nomad says:

    I read “McGraw-Hill Education PMP Project Management Professional Exam” and “HeadFirst PMP”. McGraw-Hill’s book was far better.

  6. Adel Fahmy says:

    Really I read more than one book before start pmp study ,finally I found how pass the pmp exam on first try by andy crowe is the best book because easy to learn and concentrate on the exam

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