PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition and PMP Exam Prep

The Project Management Institute (PMI) produces A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) as a global standard for all things project management. Each new edition of the guide reflects careful consideration of the evolution of project management. PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is globally recognized as an achievement in the field of project management. The PMBOK® Guide 7th edition is a key resource in PMP exam prep, staying current in the profession of project management standards, and maintaining your PMP® credential.

7 Secrets to Passing the PMP Exam

PMP® Certification Exam

PMI is the professional association that presides over the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam, which has become a global standard for the profession of project management. The PMP exam consists of:

  • 230-minutes to complete exam
  • 180 questions – combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot, and limited fill-in-the-blank

PMI requires the potential PMP exam taker to complete at least 35 hours of prep work. The PMP exam is designed by the PMI such that it “utilizes knowledge and task-driven guidelines to assess the practitioner’s competence, and determine the levels of salience, criticality, and frequency of each of the knowledge, tasks, and skills required to perform to the industry-wide standard in the role of a project manager.”

PMBOK® Guide – 6th and 7th edition content

The PMBOK® Guide – Sixth edition was designed by PMI to be a project manager and process-focused, while the new seventh edition is project team and outcome-focused. Refer to PMI’s handout comparing the 6th to 7th edition PMBOK® Guide for a point-by-point comparison. Students preparing to take the PMP exam should ensure they use both editions to study. The more technically focused Sixth edition provides a foundation of the processes and outputs used by project managers, while the principle-based PMBOK® Guide 7th edition will enhance your understanding of the outcomes in addition to the deliverables of a project.  

PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition outline

The PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition outlines 5 process groups, 10 knowledge areas, and 49 processes.

Use a Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping matrix to enhance your understanding of the interconnectedness among them.

PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition process groups

The 5 process groups are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling, and closing.

PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition knowledge areas and processes

The 49 processes, organized by 10 knowledge areas are:

Integration ManagementDevelop Project Charter; Develop Project Management Plan; Direct and Manage Project Work; Manage Project Knowledge; Monitor and Control Project Work; Perform Integrated Change Control; Close Project or Phase.
Scope ManagementPlan Scope Management; Collect Requirements; Define Scope; Create WBS; Validate Scope; Control Scope.
Schedule ManagementPlan Schedule Management; Define Activities; Sequence Activities; Estimate Activity Durations; Develop Schedule; Control Schedule.
Plan Cost Management; Estimate Costs; Determine Budget; Control Costs.
Quality ManagementPlan Quality Management; Manage Quality; Control Quality.
Resource ManagementPlan Resource Management; Estimate Activity Resources; Acquire Resources;
Develop Team; Manage Team; Control Resources.
Communications ManagementPlan Communications Management; Manage Communications; Monitor Communications.
Plan Risk Management; Identify Risks; Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis;
Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis; Plan Risk Responses; Implement Risk Responses; Monitor Risks.
Procurement ManagementPlan Procurement Management; Conduct Procurements; Control Procurements.
Stakeholder ManagementIdentify Stakeholders; Plan Stakeholder Engagement; Manage Stakeholder Engagement; Monitor Stakeholder Engagement.

PMBOK® Guide – 7th edition outline

The PMBOK® Guide – 7th Edition is intended to document high-level principles, across 8 performance domains, to inform all project practitioners about the key concepts which are influential to running a successful project, regardless of the methodology used to administer that project (i.e., predictive, incremental, iterative, etc.).

PMBOK® Guide – 7th edition domains

The PMBOK® Guide – 7th Edition presents eight domains of project management. PMI defines a domain as “groups of related activities that are critical for the effective delivery of project outcomes.”

The eight domains are:

  1. Stakeholder
  2. Themes
  3. Development approach
  4. Life cycle planning
  5. Project work
  6. Deliver
  7. Measurements
  8. Uncertainty

Your PMBOK® Guide 7th edition exam prep can be guided by information found in PMI’s exam content outline for 2021 which shows a distribution of questions by domains:

PMBOK Domains

PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition Exam Prep and PMP Certification

PMI has created a “clickable reference guide” for the performance domains in support of the seventh edition. When considering the PMBOK® Guide in terms of 6th edition vs 7thedition it is important to know the information included in the 6th is still within the overall PMP® credential holder’s expected knowledge base.

What the PMBOK® Guide is and what it isn’t

The PMBOK® Guide is a publication intended to document the knowledge and skills most useful to project managers carrying out their roles successfully across industries and in companies of different sizes. Project managers with any level of experience should see it as “PMBOK best practices.” However, it is not intended to be an all-encompassing study prep tool specifically aimed at passing the PMP exam.

PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition Exam Prep: What it is and what it is not.

You can use the PMBOK® Guide to outline the core content needed as a refresher for on-the-job application or PMP exam prep. The PMBOK® Guide contains helpful charts and diagrams to detail important project management concepts, but note those are more informative than formal PMP exam prep resources. It is important to do a PMBOK® Guide review, more than once, as part of an overall study approach.

Which PMBOK® Guide edition to use for PMP exam prep

Both the Sixth and Seventh editions of the PMBOK® Guide are primary resources for PMP exam prep as they align with many of the concepts on the PMP Examination Content Outline (“PMP ECO”). Refer to PMI’s handout comparing the 6th to 7th edition of the PMBOK® Guide for a mapping of content.

The PMBOK® Guide is not the only PMI resource to use for PMP exam prep. Training professionals recommend incorporating the Agile Practice Guide, a companion document to the PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition, as half of the PMP Exam now includes agile and hybrid concepts. 

PMP Exam Prep Tips

Create an exam prep plan

The Project Management Academy PMP® Certification Strategy Guide includes great advice for the aspiring PMP exam taker. PMP exam prep should include these steps:

  1. Review the PMP certification requirements from PMI (passing the exam is only one part)
  2. Select a PMP Exam prep course from a PMI Authorized Trainer
  3. Review the PMI PMP® examination content outline
  4. Create (and stick to it!) a study plan that includes completing the exam application, reviewing materials, and taking practice exams

Through years of experience helping professionals prepare for the very unique PMP exam, Project Management Academy instructors have seen a consistently higher exam pass rate for students who have a plan with each of those components regardless of their project management experience on the job.

Complete a PMP exam prep course

For project managers seeking to gain their PMP certification, it is important to complete a PMP prep course. As a Premier partner of PMI’s Authorized Training Partner (ATP) Program, Project Management Academy teaches the PMI Authorized Exam Prep course materials, with exclusive lessons to ensure PMA students have a deep understanding of the content and are prepared to pass the PMP exam. The PMP Exam Prep sessions are structured to both upskill existing project management skills while also preparing for the current PMP Exam Content Outline.

Where to find PMP Exam study materials

The Project Management Academy provides many free PMP exam prep resources in support of learning project management processes on the Project Management Resource Center:

Being a Project Management Professional goes beyond earning the PMP certification status. Join PMAccelerate for exclusive access to training, discounts, jobs, tools, and professional development opportunities to boost your skills, job impact, and career prospects.

Studying for the PMP Exam?

Free PMP Exam Practice Questions

Project Management Academy’s free PMP exam practice questions are based on relevant A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) topics. There are 50 example PMP exam questions available to help prep for the PMP exam. Project Management Academy students through the purchase of a PMP exam certification course, have access to an additional 2,000 PMP exam questions utilizing an online PMP exam simulator software.


The PMBOK® Guide is the most widely-recognized industry guide for project management so you should be familiar with it. Therefore, you should use the PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition, as well as online resources, to prep for your PMP exam.

If you are a project manager, you know how to make a plan. If so inclined, you can even use project management software to plan your PMP exam prep. Commit to your professional development and create a plan that is actionable, measurable, and possible. Most importantly, put that plan into action so your ongoing professional development efforts are successful.

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Author profile
Megan Bell
Megan Bell
Project Manager & Writer at Project Management Academy
Megan Bell