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PMP Exam Changes 2021

PMI-PMP Exam Changes 2021: What You Need to Know

Nov 25, 20187 mins readAmit Masih
PMI-PMP Exam Changes 2021: What You Need to Know

PMI occasionally revises its certification exam content and format depending on the current industry demand. The changes are updated in the PMBOK guide, which is a must for every aspiring PMP. The changes have made the exam quite challenging compared to the earlier versions. However, you can easily pass the exam with proper preparation and appropriate project management work experience. The PMI-PMP exam changes came into effect in January 2021.

PMI-PMP Exam Changes – Content

Earlier PMP certification exams test your knowledge across five domains, and now there are only three domains in the new exam course. Also, the number of tasks has been reduced from 42 to 35, and a new idea of enablers has been added.

PMP Exam Domains

A domain is a study area where you have to be knowledgeable enough to attempt the exam successfully.

Here are the three domains included in the PMP exam:

People (42%)

This domain evaluates your expertise in handling tasks that involve people. Tasks involved in this domain include: 

  • Managing conflicts
  • Building a team
  • Leading a team
  • Appreciating team performance
  • Empowering team members and stakeholders
  • Measuring training outcomes
  • Addressing obstacles and team blockers
  • Implementing solutions to remove obstacles and team blockers
  • Determining project negotiation strategy
  • Collaborating with stakeholders
  • Analyzing misunderstandings among team members
  • Engaging virtual teams
  • Communicating company principles with the team members and stakeholders
  • Applying emotional intelligence to enhance team performance

Process (50%)

This domain tests your skills related to the processes involved during the project life cycle and handling several process groups. 

Tasks involved in this domain include: 

  • Assessing opportunities to deliver business value
  • Effectively communicating project information
  • Assessing and managing risks
  • Developing a strategy to engage stakeholders
  • Planning and managing budget and resources
  • Planning, managing, and measuring project management methodology
  • Setting quality standards for the products and evaluating quality gaps
  • Planning and managing scope
  • Utilizing data to plan project activities
  • Managing and executing project changes
  • Planning and managing resource procurement strategy
  • Assessing project needs and recommending project methodology
  • Determining project governance structure
  • Recognizing and mitigating risk for project success
  • Educating team members about project responsibilities and expected outcomes
  • Planning successful project phase closure and transition to a new phase

Business Environment (8%)

This domain evaluates your understanding of the business skills to ensure the effective execution of the project. You need to be knowledgeable about planning and considering a project in alignment with the business goals.

Tasks involved in this domain include: 

  • Planning and managing project compliance
  • Evaluating and delivering project value and benefits
  • Assessing and addressing external business environmental changes and analyzing their impact on the scope
  • Assessing internal organizational culture and minimizing the effect of change on the project 


Tasks are the roles and responsibilities a project manager should perform in each domain. The tasks vary for each domain.


Enabler is a new concept, and it helps explain a task better. 

For example:

Domain: People  Task: Managing conflict


  • Understanding the reason behind the conflict.
  • Analyzing who is involved in the conflict.
  • Evaluating the current situation depending on the facts available.
  • Taking necessary action against the person responsible for the situation.

PMI-PMP Exam Changes – Format

50% of PMP exam questions are based on the project management’s Agile or Hybrid model, and the rest 50% cover the predictive approach of the project management.

The new PMP exam format includes the following:

Number of questions: 180, out of which 175 are marked Exam type: Closed book Questions type: Multiple-choice, match the following, fill in the blanks, multiple responses, and hotspot Duration: 230 minutes

PMP Certification Exam Retake Policy

Once you pay the exam fee, you can take exam three within one year. However, if you cannot pass the exam during these attempts, you have to wait for one year from the last examination date to reapply for the PMP certification exam. You can take certification exams offered by PMI other than PMP during this period.

How to Apply for the Exam?

The application procedure is straightforward, provided you gather all the information related to your educational qualification and work experience beforehand. Also, before applying for the exam, you need to register at PMI’s official website, which is free of cost. You need to pay only when you want to become a member. However, if you are an aspiring PMP, it is recommended to get a PMI membership to avail benefits. 

Read in detail:  PMP Exam Application Procedure PMP Certification Eligibility Criteria

Is the new PMP Exam Difficult?

With more and more students opting for the PMP exam, PMI wants to ensure candidates with an accurate understanding of the field get certified. Hence the new syllabus requires you to have a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the exam domains. So, no doubt the exam will be more challenging.

Read in detail: Is PMP Certification Exam Hard to Pass?

Preparing for the PMP Exam in 2021

The new exam format requires a slightly different study strategy as it involves an Agile or Hybrid approach in the exam. You must equip yourself with the knowledge about the usage of agile methodology in project management to pass the exam.

Here is a brief overview of techniques you can follow to prepare well for the PMP certification exam.

PMI’s PMBOK guide: It is the ultimate source of information to prepare for your exam. The concepts covered in this guide form the foundation of all the study courses.

PMP training: It involves completing your mandatory 35 hours of project management training from a PMI authorized training partner.

Mock tests: Mock tests are based on the actual exam pattern and help you test your knowledge under strict exam conditions. It enables you to get familiar with the exam pattern and learn about your weak areas that need more preparation.

Planned timeline: PMP is a challenging exam to pass. So, from exam preparation to applying until your goals are achieved, proper planning is a must. 

Bootcamps: If you want to understand the exam course quickly, Bootcamps are the best choice. You will gain knowledge and skills about various processes and best practices in all the project management domains.

Apart from these, there are several other ways to prepare for the PMP certification exam, and I have covered all the techniques in detail.

What happens after you pass the PMP Exam Online?

Once you pass the exam, you get to know your result instantly, and if you pass, you become a PMP, though you get a certificate after a while. There are a few things to be aware of after passing the PMP exam.

Read about them here.

The Final Words

The PMI-PMP exam changes focus on project management's Agile or Hybrid aspect. PMBOK guide’s 7th edition by PMI is a rich learning source covering all the exam topics. The primary focus is on using Agile project management methodology across the three domains. 

All the information shared here is up-to-date, yet it is advised to refer to the official PMI website for any last-minute changes in their policies and exam format.  So, now is the time to get certified and earn the prestigious PMP certification to boost your project management career.

If you have any doubts, you can ask in the comments below.

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