changes pmp exam january 2016

Update: The PMP exam update has moved to January 11th, 2016 to allow all stakeholders adequate time to prepare for this change (Source: PMI).

In June 2015, PMI published a new PMP certification exam content outline, and after January 11th, 2016, the PMP exam will be based upon the new exam content outline. (Earlier, the scheduled date for the change was November 1st, 2015).

This has caused panic among PMP aspirants.

I have received many emails about these changes. Many think that if they do not pass the exam before January 11th, 2016, their efforts will be in vain and they have to start their studies based on the new syllabus.

Many PMP aspirants’ eligibility will expire soon after the change and they are worried that they don’t have enough time to prepare for the new format if they fail.

Likewise, many aspirants have issues.

Therefore, I am writing this blog post to answer their queries. I believe I can clear up your doubts.

First, relax. It is not a major change in the exam, and the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition is still the exam reference. No tasks have been removed from the syllabus. So, whatever you have studied will be valid.

Now we come to the new content.

The current PMP Exam Content Outline has 34 tasks, and after January 11th, 2016 it will have 42 tasks; PMI has added eight new tasks.

These eight tasks are:

Domain–I (Initiating): Three new tasks were added to this process group (task 2, task 7, and task 8).

Domain–II (Planning): One new task was added to the executing process group (task 13).

Domain–III (Executing): Two new tasks were added to this process group (task 6, task 7).

Domain–IV (Monitoring and Controlling): Two new tasks were added here (task 6, task 7).

Domain–V (Closing): No new tasks were added to this process group.

You might think that this is a lot; however, that is not the case. You have already studied most of the tasks during your preparation.

For example, let’s look at one new task added to the monitoring and controlling process group:

“Capture, analyze, and manage lessons learned, using lessons learned management techniques to enable continuous improvement.”

Read this again and ask yourself, are you seeing this for the first time?

Although this is a new task added to the exam content outline, you were already aware of these tasks.

Likewise, most of the other new tasks are not entirely new, and you have read them in your reference books and in training sessions: for example, lean management, Kanban, Six Sigma, ISO, etc.

So, you should not worry about the exam content and focus on exam preparation. If you pass the exam before November 1st, good for you! However, if you cannot pass the exam before January 11th, 2016, don’t worry, your preparation will be valid and you can retake the exam comfortably.

A few new tasks have been added but you can study most of the content with your current study materials and the rest can be researched on the internet. I would not recommend you buy any new books or attend the training again.

If you have attended training and earned 35 contact hours, they are valid for life. 

Why Was This Change Required?

The PMI updates its exam content based on the Role Delineation Study (RDS) every three or five years after consulting with stakeholders. The RDS process ensures that the course content remains updated. This procedure ensures the relevancy of the PMP certification and guarantees that it is good for you and the industry; therefore, instead of overthinking it, focus on your studies and pass the PMP exam.


I am not implying that you should ignore the added content. I am only saying that it is not a drastic change. Nothing has been brought out of the blue and added to the exam content, and you should not overthink it. I suggest you note down the added tasks and go through them to pass the PMP exam.

What do you think about the current change in the PMP exam? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.