A month or so back we reached out to PMI to find out why they were using the 2015 PMP Exam Content Guide as the basis for grading PMP candidates exams – when they made such a big deal about the exam change to the PMBOK 6th edition.This is what Sierra Hampton-Simmons, the Global Manager, Certification Exams for the Project Management Institute told us:
“The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is not an exam “based” on the PMBOK ® Guide, 6th edition. The content of the PMP test, as detailed in our Examination Content Outline, is a direct output of our role delineation study (RDS) which is a job analysis of the project manager role. We conduct these types of studies every 5-7 years, independent of the PMBOK ® Guide development schedule, to identify any changes to the profession and ultimately determine what content should be included in the test. The last RDS for the PMP concluded in 2015 as is reflected in the publish date of the Examination Content Outline. Additionally, when the exam is developed, each item written must align to at least two published reference books. The references used are not limited to PMI global standards or publications. In fact, there are some items on the PMP exam that do not reference any PMI standards or publications at all.
When the PMBOK ® Guide is updated, PMI Certification will assure that we align the terms used in the test with those used in the global standard to minimize confusion. We take extensive measures to update terms in the active exams so they are in “harmony” with the glossary of terms used in the most current PMBOK ® Guide. However, during this terminology update, we are not changing the structure of the exam, the scoring model, etc. only updating the terminology. Likewise, when the PMBOK ® Guide is updated you will typically not see updates to our Examination Content Outline or the Handbook for the PMP as these items relate directly to the RDS research and thereby the design of the PMP exam and not content of the PMBOK guide. Lastly, the tasks included in the detailed assessment of your students’ performance on the exam are intended to align only to the Examination Content Outline and not the PMBOK guide..."