PMP Exam Changes 2021: Here’s All You Need to Know & How to Pass It Before It’s Too Late


There are two important updates happening to PMP exam in 2020 – 2021:

(1) Exam will be handled by PearsonVUE

(2) Updated exam will kick in on 16-December-2019 1 July 2020 1 Jan 2021!

Click for latest updates and the exam guide (hint: DRASTIC changes coming up)!


PMI today announced that the new exam changes will NOT take effect from 1 July 2020 as earlier communicated. The changes will take effect from 1 Jan 2021.

Which means that the exam in the current format will be administered by PearsonVUE till 31 December 2020.

Latest update from PMI website.

Note – Bookmark this page and come back for latest updates.

Here’s a snapshot of exam changes:

PMI outlines the new changes as: the new exam will focus on three new domains:

  1. PEOPLE – emphasizing the skills and activities associated with effectively leading a project team
  2. PROCESS – reinforcing the technical aspects of managing a project
  3. BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT – highlighting the connection between projects and organization strategy

As of now there is no announcement of changes to PMBOK. This means that the source of changes is the new updated Exam Content Outline document.

Preparing for PMP exam involves scanning the horizon for any changes to the exam pattern, syllabus, or anything related to it. Latest changes to exam syllabus was in 2018. In this article we’ll see PMP Exam Changes 2019, especially in the context of PMI’s announcement that,

All PMI Certification Exams are Moving to Pearson VUE

While this decision came as a surprise (the implementation changes are of massive scale) PMI has solid reasons to move to Pearson VUE.

  1. Pearson VUE has more testing centers than Prometric has.
  2. You can take PMI-ACP® and CAPM® exam from the comforts of your home!
  3. Pearson VUE has an on-campus network of test centers around the world for U.S. federal and military personnel. (more info)

Don’t miss the short plan to plan for your exam in view of the updated exam. You will find this plan towards the end of this post.

When will the changes come into effect?

No need to worry, you have ample time to decide and act. In fact if you are taking PMI-ACP® exam, for a brief period you can choose whether to go with Prometric test enter or Pearson VUE.

While Pearson VUE opened the doors for scheduling of the (not administering) PMI-ACP® from 1 March 2019, here are the dates for the exams –

PMI-ACP® exam

1 April 2019 – You can take test at Pearson VUE test centers from this date.

CAPM® exam

Scheduling and testing is already available at Pearson VUE test centers.

PMP® exam (and the rest)

1 April 2019 – You can schedule the PMP® exam at any of Pearson VUE test centers from this date.

1 July 2019 – You’ll have to take the exam at Pearson VUE test centers from this date.

This is true for any of the following tests: PgMP®, PfMP®, PMI-PBA®, PMI-SP®, and PMI-RMP®

What’s the downside of taking exam at PearsonVUE instead of Prometric?

Well, anything new comes with a bit of uncertainty. And for an important exam like PMP it’s recommended that you don’t leave anything to chance.

The application process, audit process, sign-up process, exam center experience – all might be different than what you come to expect from Prometric.

My advice is to try and take the exam at Prometric, if you can. Score your goal on the familiar ground.

What happens if I’m already scheduled with Prometric?

Well, the first thing to know is that you can take tests at Prometric till 30 June, 2019

That’s about 3 month’s time from now.

So, if you have already scheduled your test, or want to go with set expectations from a test center (based on other PMP students’ test experience) feel free to stick with Prometric.

If you are just beginning your exam preparation, then it might be a better idea to schedule at Pearson VUE. This is because if you schedule with Prometric and then for some reason if you’d wish to postpone the test, it could be tricky moving over to Pearson VUE.

Want to take PMI-ACP or CAPM exam from your home or office?

This can be done under the oversight of an offsite proctor. You can take a test simulation to make sure you are comfortable with the test interface and the whole process.

To test you’ll be given an access code that you input into the simulator application that you download and install on your computer.

As of now only English is available as communication language with this person.  More info here.

What other information do I need to know?

PMP Exam Changes 2019: What’s next?

If you are preparing for your exam, what is the best thing you can do to assure success?

To schedule your exam for a date before 16 December 2019 30 June 2020.

Trust me, once you do that your preparation moves to a higher gear automatically.

Things suddenly become real. So many successful PMPs attest to this fact.

But what if you aren’t sure about what is a realistic time frame to set an exam date, right?

Here is one way to approach it objectively. This is 10,000 ft high level plan. Please add details based on your unique circumstances.

I assume you have your application accepted. If not, please bookmark this page, apply for your test at PMI site, and and then come back here and work this plan out.

Make sure you look at your calendar for any social occasions, personal commitments, travel days and so on while making this plan –

  • It is best to plan for 2 rounds of end-to-end study.
  • First round typically takes about 100 hrs of study time. Based on how many hours you can dedicate on each day (average it considering that you spend more time on weekends), you’ll get roughly how many days you need.
  • Now for second round, add half the number of days you take for first round.
  • Then add a week of buffer time.
  • Then add a week for ‘golden week prep‘. If possible apply for leave for this week so you can revise without interruption AND de-risk any work development hijacking your crucial prep time.
  • Now find the date on calendar based on this number and you have your exam date. Assuming this is on or after 1 August, schedule at Pearson VUE site. If it is earlier, schedule at Prometric.

Also read: If you want a worked out detailed plan for your PMP exam check this on Amazon site.

And if you want a shorter version, check this article.

Remember –

If you want to schedule your exam at Prometric for a date before 30 June 2019, schedule it before 19 April 2019.

And if you want to schedule your exam  for a date after 30 June 2019, you will have to do this at Pearson VUE after 19 April 2019!

If you have already scheduled the exam for BEFORE 30 June,

You have nothing to worry. Just make sure you study well and prepare ahead of your exam date.

Because, if you need to postpone the exam for some reason, and if it has to be after 30 June, then you may have to work with Prometric and PearsonVUE. And it may or may not be a smooth transition.

If you have already scheduled the exam for AFTER 30 June at Prometric,

PMI mentions in their announcement that it will work with Prometric and Pearson VUE to move the schedule from former to latter. So, get in touch with PMI to move yours.

This is true for both CBT and PBT exam types.

For more information,

Summary for PMP exam changes 2019 – 2020

As with anything new, there would be uncertainty around what to expect in the new exam from 16 December, 2019 1 July 2020.

So the smart thing to do would be to take your exam in the current format with the ‘known knowns’!

Note – to avoid the mad rush at exam centers, schedule your exam slot right now and then plan backwards your study plan.

Make up your mind about whether you wish to go with Prometric (familiar process etc) or PearsonVUE (expect new experiences and uncertainty that come with change).

What you need to do is if you have not already scheduled your exam, start the process right now.

Use the high level plan given above (or refine it based on your needs) and find out your exam date today. Based on which side of 30th June it falls, refer to the time windows given above and schedule your exam appropriately.

If you have already scheduled for your test at Prometric after 30th June, then you need to get in touch with PMI to get it moved to Pearson VUE test center.

For many the biggest hurdle is scheduling the exam. They never feel that they are ready. I think this is more to do with the fear of commitment. I would recommend and use this occasion to get your exam scheduled this week, and you will be thankful to yourself that you did.

If you are unclear about anything, or need help with your exam prep write to me at Shiv(at)PMExamSmartNotes(dot)com

All the best!

pmesn, pmp lessons learned





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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Durga July 17, 2019, 11:22 pm

    Will PMBOK6 holds good to prepare for the exam after Dec 2019? or Pmbok7 will be out by that time?

    • Shiv Shenoy July 22, 2019, 11:30 am

      While there are no changes to PMBOK guide for Dec 2019 PMP exam changes, the syllabus has changed. PMI has not recommended any study material at the time of this writing, and so students have to go with PMBOK 6th version and other study materials provided by trainers and companies to prepare for the new exam. One of the reasons why it is best to aim for PMP exam in the current version itself.

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