Kim Heldman’s Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide is one of the popular PMP exam prep guide. If I really want to just a book by its cover, the cover presented the book as a rather conventional PMP prep guide. Luckily, that is not entirely the case. So, I will dissect this book based on the creditability of the author, what does the book cover, and the pros and cons of the book. Let me know in comments if this helps you to pick a PMP prep guide that suits your learning style!

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1. Creditability

Kim Heldman, PMP®, has over 20 years of project management and consulting experiences. She is the author of several best-seller project management and technology books including this book – The PMP®: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide by Kim Heldman.

2. Book Content

  • Compared to traditional PMP exam prep guides, Kim’s PMP Exam Study Guide is in a different league. Instead of a book, you will receive extra goodies which make this book almost like a PMP exam self-study prep package.
  • The book includes two PMP® practice exams and 2 CAPM practice exams that you can download from the book’s website. The most generous book of all other PMP prep guides I have come across.
  • You will also get 350 electronic flashcards together with the books. Flashcards are great study aid for visual learners to remember important definitions and concepts for the PMP® exam
  • You will also get two hours of audio instructions that recap and review important concepts from the PMBOK

3. Pros and Cons

  • Pros
    • Kim states in the beginning of the book that “the book is not only intended to be your guide for the exam but for your daily work as a Project Manager”. Kim made a clear distinction between what will we apply in reality and what should we assume and respond in the PMP exam. It shows transparency and professionalism in clarifying what she preaches in the book.
    • Every PMBOK concept was clearly explained and organized in the natural order of the project life cycle. This helps to ease your understanding of PMBOK materials which can be quite dry sometimes.
    • This book has also clearly mapped out and interrelated the knowledge areas and the project processes just as projects are performed in practice. Therefore, you could actually refer to this tools and knowledge areas as you progress in your everyday project.
    • Using process flow to mind-map eliminates the need to memorize all the Input-Tools and Techniques-Outpus (ITTOs).
    • The chapter-end questions also outlined how questions would be presented in the real PMP exam.

Tip: If you understand the logic behind process groups and knowledge areas, you will naturally recall a lot of material without having to memorize them.

  • Cons
    • Unfortunately, unlike HeadFirst PMP, Kim took a rather dry approach to explain PMBOK concepts which is already quite dry on their own. I would like to see more interactive approach in the book such as using different forms of tables, charts, and visual to display the PMBOK concepts.
    • The practice test questions on this book were not as good other PMP prep guides such as Rita’s and Crowe’s. In complement, you can also subscribe to PM Exam Simulator’s PMP mock exam sets.
    • The most annoying part for me is the amount of errors especially in the practice exams at the end of every chapters. The rationale provided sometimes conflict with the information in the chapter. This will be tricky for new project managers that may not be well versed in project management concepts.
    • The questions and answers in this book are also lengthier than the questions in the actual PMP exam questions that I took.
    • It is actually not easy or as straight forward as I thought to locate and access the online mock exams, audio instruction, and electronic flashcards.

4. Summary

  • I would give this book a 3 stars over 5.
  • From price point perspective, this books presents itself to be quite a good buy that includes a few other freebies. Unfortunately, it will work for you if you combine this book with PMBOK, and a good PMP exam simulator.
  • Given that its text-oriented style of presentation, this book will be more suitable for experienced project manager that just want to get straight to the study materials.
  • Otherwise, I would recommend you to have a look at my review of Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep and HeadFirst Lab’s PMP.

5. Where to Buy
You can get the book from you local book store. Or via Amazon for USD$31.19 via the Checkout button below.

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  • Amazon delivers within the week if you are near the main Amazon hubs (US, UK, Germany etc) or within 1-3 weeks if you are located in other countries.
  • You can check the estimated shipping time during your check out.
  • Do make sure you order in advance and include the lead time in your Game Plan.