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The best PMP exam prep books

Which PMP exam prep books are best?

The Project Management Professional exam is a 200-question test with a roughly estimated 50% pass rate. Only an experienced project manager is eligible to take the exam after meeting set criteria and paying a large fee. Enrolling in this exam is a big commitment, and most people study rigorously in the weeks leading up to it. A PMP exam prep book is encouraged to ensure that a person is well-prepared.

PMP exam prep book considerations

The best PMP books have a structure that organizes concepts into sections to make studying a more constructive process. They’re written by credible authors who have experience in both project management and other similar enterprises. The exam is consistently changing to keep up with the dynamic nature of project management, and an exam prep book must align with the latest version of the exam.

For more information on PMP prep books, check out the buying guide at Best Reviews. The top five books in the buying guide were chosen with input from certified PMs who successfully passed their own PMP exams.


A quality PMP exam prep book should follow the structure of the exam it’s preparing you for with five major sections: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling and closing. These sections should have organized assessments, tips, sample questions and other supplemental resources to provide a thorough review before the exam.

Credible author

An ideal PMP exam prep book should be written by a project management professional. They should be seasoned PMs with PMP certifications. PMs with a teaching background are more likely to format their books in a way that encourages learning efficiently and methodically.

Up to date

The project management industry is always developing, and the exam is known to be a rigorous undertaking. For this reason, an exam prep book should be up to date and follow the standards of modern expectations of PM practices. The exam is updated yearly and more recent books cover things that were not included previously.

PMP exam prep book content

In its foundations, the PMP exam prep book should outline the five phases of project management: conception/initiation, planning, execution, performance/monitoring and project close. It should also cover the three main approaches to project management: waterfall, agile and hybrid. Remember that the PMP exam is not a test of memory but of understanding. Rather than simply memorizing terms and definitions, a person must thoroughly understand each concept.

The most useful PMP exam prep books have practice exam questions with answers. The PMP exam is considered a very difficult test because most of its questions are theoretical and situational. There will be multiple correct answers to some questions, and the test taker is expected to choose the best answer of the ones provided.

There are PMP exam prep books with added value in the form of supplemental resources. Purchasing a book may give you access to an online site with open forums and additional content to help prepare for the PMP exam.

Top PMP exam prep books

The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try: 6th Edition + Agile

A newly released comprehensive study book that covers agile, predictive and hybrid approaches to project management. It includes testing tips, links to videos for further explanations, practice questions and trial access to Velociteach’s e-learning portal. 

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PMP Exam Prep Simplified

An independently published 2021 study guide with access to a 35-hour PMP e-learning course. The e-learning course includes a certificate that can be used for applying to take the PMP exam. 

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PMP Exam Prep Book by Master of Project Academy: Get PMP in Your 1st Attempt!

This exam prep book was written by the founder and instructor of “Master of Project Academy,” a program dedicated to preparing students for the PMP exam. It contains flash cards, mapping practice, practice questions and educational content. 

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PMP Exam Prep: Master Your Integration Management Concepts

This PMP prep book explores each exam topic in-depth, focusing on the explanation rather than the textbook definition. The book includes examples, illustrations, mnemonics and mind maps to help the reader understand concepts thoroughly. 

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PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers, & Explanations

This PMP prep book comes with 1,000 practice questions about the project management body of knowledge. This prep book covers many calculative and mathematical questions but has less focus on situational ones. 

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PMP Exam Master Prep: Learn Faster, Retain More, Pass the PMP

This is a comprehensive guide to the PMP exam that follows content by process group rather than by knowledge area. It includes 25 case studies with 200 practice test questions. 

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PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide Ninth Edition

This PMP study guide covers all objectives of the exam, concepts in real-world scenarios and access to an online source. The online source contains practice tests, flash cards and more knowledge vital to passing the PMP. 

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PMP Project Management Professional Practice Tests

This study guide contains three practice tests that cover the three performance domains: people, process and business environments. The questions are useful for practicing for a specific portion of the exam in-depth, but other books are recommended to get a fuller understanding of all PMP objectives. 

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Head First PMP: A Learner’s Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam, 4th Edition

This prep book teaches project management principles with an extensive preparation guide and hundreds of practice questions. There are puzzles, games, problems and exercises inside that create an engaging learning experience. 

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PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition

This book contains knowledge from all PMP exams over the years. It has ongoing research, interviews, exercises, sample questions and time-saving tips to help you ace the exam on your first try. 

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Gwen Swanson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.