Is Agile on the PMP Exam in 2023?

PMP® Exam 2023: How Much of Agile is Included on the Exam?

If you have your sights set on earning the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, you will have to take and pass the PMP® exam as part of that process. Questions on this exam cover three domains: people, processes, and business environment. All of these domains address Agile concepts, which means you should take steps to learn foundational Agile principles if you plan to take the PMP Exam in 2023.

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What to Expect on the 2023 PMP® Exam

In 2021, the Project Management Institute debuted an updated version of the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam based on a new Exam Content Outline. The new exam reflects the skills and knowledge current project managers use in their work, including Agile and hybrid tools and techniques.

Questions on the exam come in several formats, and the new exam has additional question formats compared to the pre-2021 exam. You’ll answer multiple-choice, multiple-response, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, and hotspot questions. Hotspot questions feature graphics that you can click on to show the answer. Questions may directly test your knowledge of a skill, expect you to apply a formula when provided basic data, or present a scenario similar to what you may encounter in your role as a project manager.

The following list gives you an idea of how the exam question types compare:

  • A multiple-choice question may present a scenario similar to one you may encounter as a project manager. The answer choices pose possible responses, one of which is the most correct answer.
  • A multiple-response question is similar to a multiple-choice question. However, instead of choosing one answer, you select all of the correct answers that apply.
  • A fill-in-the-blank question may give you a real-world definition and ask you to complete it by choosing the correct term it describes.
  • A hotspot question may ask you to complete a chart or click on a graph to show a potential effect of a project manager’s decision.
  • A drag-and-drop question asks you to match terms with definitions or sort processes into categories.

How Many Agile Questions are in the PMP Exam?

The PMP exam has 180 questions you must answer in 230 minutes. According to PMI’s Examination Content Outline, half of the questions address Agile or hybrid approaches to project management. Agile questions appear in every domain on the test, and the actual number of Agile-related questions will vary depending on the test form you receive.

Studying for the PMP Exam?

Preparing for Agile on the PMP® Exam

As you begin to study Agile in preparation for taking the PMP® Exam in 2023, give yourself plenty of time. Schedule your exam as far out as possible. This gives you a clear deadline and the ability to create a timeline during which to study. This gives you plenty of time to become familiar with the test format, take multiple practice exams, and get comfortable with the information you need to know.

  • Get to know the questions on the exam. Your practice exams should include the types of questions you’ll see on the test and a review of how you did with these different styles of questions. Understanding the types and styles of questions you will encounter on the PMP exam is helpful and should be part of your preparation. For example, if a question presents a scenario and asks you what a project manager can do to improve the situation, you need to be able to do more than provide a definition. This type of question assesses your ability to apply knowledge.
  • Take multiple practice tests. This helps you familiarize yourself with the structure of the test. You can also time yourself to simulate the test environment. Giving yourself plenty of experience with the length of time you have to answer each question can help alleviate some of your anxiety on test day. This also gives you time to develop your strategy for answering questions, enabling you to identify which questions take more time.
  • Figure out which concepts you know well and which need improvement. Identifying gaps in your knowledge is essential during your preparation. You should review all of the content that can potentially appear on the exam, but since you don’t know exactly what will be on there, it makes more sense to spend the majority of your exam preparation time focusing on the content you don’t know as well. You have time to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so use it to fill in the gaps in your knowledge before you take the exam.
  • Gather quality test prep materials. You may wonder which materials to use as you prepare for the PMP exam. If you’re new to the Agile approach, the Agile Practice Guide, published by the Project Management Institute, can be useful for reviewing Agile fundamentals. It includes an introduction to the Agile approach, life cycles, how to create and deliver in an Agile environment, and organizational factors that affect the implementation of Agile practice.

When selecting exam preparation materials for the PMP exam, ensure they apply to the current exam and not the version before 2021. The principles of project management—and the PMP exam—have evolved. Using outdated materials won’t fully prepare you for the current exam.

It’s never too soon to begin preparing for the PMP exam if earning PMP certification is the next step in your project management career. This means it’s also time to start learning about or brushing up on your knowledge of Agile.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO