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What has changed with the #PMP exam and what is ATP (Authorized Training Partner)?

We all would have heard about the changes for the PMP Exam that happened in January 2021, but for some of us this is like a broad statement lacking details, or in some cases we hear conflicting opinions about what has really changed. We at Watershed have decided to unveil the shroud of mystery that has for so long encompassed this reputed certification. So, let’s get right to it then, shall we?

We’ll will try to avoid as much as we can any half-baked statements, and personal opinions, and delve into the official facts and that PMI has posted about the changes done to the , about the new ATP program and the PMP study material called as student manual.

First thing first, yes, the exam has changed, and as we are an ATP or Authorized training partner of PMI, we were able to take a look at the new study material, and I can tell you right now it is a doozy, they built everything from scratch, changed the knowledge area and process groups system and replaced all of that with what is now called performance domains, and Project principles.

After a quick read of the new study material provided by PMI to the students, the students are expected to read through the study material book which has 8 performance domains:

1. Teams.
2. Stakeholders.
3. Lifecycle.
4. Planning.
5. Navigating Uncertainty and Ambiguity.
6. Deliver.
7. Performance.
8. Project work.

And 12 project principles:

1. Be a diligent, respectful, and caring steward.
2. Build a culture of accountability and respect.
3. Engage stakeholders to understand their interests and needs.
4. Focus on value.
5. Recognize and respond to systems’ interactions.
6. Motivate, influence, coach, and learn.
7. Tailor the delivery approach based on context.
8. Build quality into processes and results.
9. Address complexity using knowledge, experience, and learning.
10. Address opportunities and threats.
11. Be adaptable and resilient.
12. Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state.

Now the book doesn’t necessarily mention these domains and principles per say, but these where mentioned in the draft of the PMOK 7th edition and the study material is based on it, but in reality the study material book that we got right now, is divided into lessons, topics, and enablers which we’ll discuss in depth into what actually those are in future blogs, but because we’re talking about the ATP system and what are the changes that happened in the beginning of this year then let’s get back to the subject here.


One more thing, previously you could just get the 35 contact hours from any source you could find like online and inhouse courses, YouTube videos, video recordings, and others, but now PMI has restricted getting the necessary hours to being registered with an ATP center only, big change right! so now when you’re looking to get a PMP course and you’re searching training provider make sure the center you choose is an ATP or the hours you get there won’t count, look for this logo in their website

I think that you’re thinking how does this work, and how would PMI keep track of all these students around the world. Well, this flow chart might simplify things.

pmp exam training

As the flow chart shows, you’ll register with an ATP, then the center will be able to get you a soft key which you’ll use to get your study material and other useful course material, now it is

important to mention here that redeeming your soft key is what will get you the 35 contact hours in the end.

You might be wondering where you should use your soft key, the process is mostly straight forward, you’ll get the soft key got to https://PMI.lochoice.com/ and enter you PMI account, after you

successfully log in, an “Add Course” button will appear, click the button and enter your soft key, and that is when you’ll be transferred to the student portal to get your study material.

We talked about the changes that happened to the study material, and it is worth mentioning that this is the only source of material for now, since the other publishing companies haven’t released their new editions yet.

And to the other pressing topic what are the changes in the exam itself?

Now we all know that the previously the exam had 200 questions in total with 25 pre-test questions, you had 240 minutes to finish the test with no break times which changed to one ten minutes break, but we received the new update just a couple days ago.

The exam takers now will have to 180 questions to solve, they haven’t mentioned if any of those are pre-test questions, but our guess is that there are no pre-test questions in the new exam, because the number of the question has been reduced by 20 questions, the exam system has changed also, now the exam period has changed to 230 minutes with two 10 minutes break which should significantly make taking the exam a more relaxed experience.

Up until now these are the only new changes that we know about, and if there are any new updates, we’ll keep you posted as soon as they’re released.

If you have a topic in mind that you’d like us to talk about, tell us about it through one of our contact channels, and we’ll try to talk about it in next blog.

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