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Recommended Resources for PMI- SP Preparation to Pass the Exam in First Try

I considered to go for another certification for my professional development after I had passed PMP exam.

Like others, most of my time is being occupied by professional and personal commitments. I can’t afford to waste my time by studying material that is inaccurate and doesn’t align with PMI’s standard. In the last month, I have been doing research for the study materials for PMI-SP (Scheduling Professional). Then I found the tips from PMI to review the following books.

1) PMI-SP handbook .

2) PMI-SP Exam Content Outline .

3) Practice Standard for Scheduling.

4) The latest edition of PMBOK guide. Currently, the latest one is 6th edition.

I went through these documents at least twice and I have tried to get the big picture of how these books related.

The first one, PMI- SP handbook is very helpful in understanding of application process and scheduling my examination. But it doesn’t cover any topic related to scheduling professional. In my opinion, “PMI – SP Exam Content Outline” and “Practical Standard for Scheduling” books are closely related to PMBOK guide’s project management knowledge area; project integration management, scope management, schedule management, cost management (related to Earned Value Management), communication management, stakeholder management and risk management.

But, I wasn’t confident that I could pass the exam by just reading these books, so I kept doing research for the additional study material. I then reached out to the discussion forum of www.projectmanagement.com which is a great resource for project management professional.

Thankfully, one of the contributors in that discussion forum had listed the recommended and optional resources. The list is overwhelming.

After I went through the list of study resources, I bet my luck by buying online training module from ucertify.com, http://www.ucertify.com/exams/PMI/PMI-SP.html. That online training costs me $ 419.97 USD.

Can you guess what happened after I bought that online training?

I got bored after I went through the first chapter – Scheduling Strategy. I got confused with the concepts and it doesn’t seem to help to prepare for PMI-SP exam.

As I wasn’t happy with the online training that I purchased, I went back and checked the recommended and optional resources again to buy something different. This time, I bought a book - PMI Scheduling Professional Certification (PMI-SP) – 2nd edition from Amazon UK. It costs me $ 45.65 GBP.

Well, I just passed the PMI-SP exam in last month after three weeks of study. 

As stated on above, I have invested my time and money on an online training and a couple of books from Amazon because I was so excited to pass the exam. The books and online training are only related to PMP exam. It was helpful in preparing for the exam. But It will not prepare you to pass the PMI-SP exam. Because, the exam is mainly focused on scheduling process, practices and scheduler’s roles in managing project, risk management, project close outs and stakeholder communication.

I believe the main reasons why I have succeeded it in the first try are:

(1) Reading of (planning/scheduling, project management reference books and websites), 

(2) Hands on experience with scheduling best practices, and 

(3) Practising with an exam simulation software or online system

The question is “What are the recommended resources to PMI-SP?”

Read these books first! You need to understand PMI’s approach to managing projects.



You would need to study almost all of knowledge areas. However, you need to pay most of your attention to project schedule management and cost management because the exam focused more on schedule and cost related questions.

As the PMI – SP exam contents outline highlighted project resource management, risk management and stakeholder communication management, you also need to study on resource management, communication management, risk management and stakeholder managements.

If you have never read this guide before, you may find it quite challenging. Without knowing PMBOK guide well will make it hard to digest effectively for your exam preparation. So, I would recommend you read the book below (No. 2) first, before you study PMBOK guide. It will save a lot of your study time.

(2) PMP Exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass PMI's PMP 8th Edition, Rita Mulcahy


This book is aligned with PMBOK® Guide, Fifth Edition. So, wait for the next edition if you intend to sit the exam after 26 March 2018.

Do you know the reason why I want you to read this book first? I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I have made.

When I first tried to pass PMP exam, I have read PMBOK guide twice and I thought I understood it. I went for exam and then I failed. Do you know why?

The simple answer is I have failed to study PMBOK with the help of this reference book.

(3) Practice Standard for Scheduling


This should be the centre of your study. Focus most of the effort on chapter 2 and 3 to prepare yourself for the exam.

Read these hands-on guides. They will help you to understand more about scheduling process and best practices.


(1) A Guide to Scheduling Good Practice 


Why this is a great resource? The paper is consistent with PMBOK guide and PMI’s Practice Standard for Scheduling and it covers from the design of project schedule to “how to maintain the project schedule” in details.

(2) Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects, The Chartered Institute of Building


Everything that the scheduler needs to know about the scheduling and schedule related concerns – (e.g. scheduling design, schedule techniques, schedule strategy, resourcing, activity duration, activity code, constraint, schedule quality reviews, schedule updating, schedule baseline, change control and so on).

Well, that is pretty much all that I have used them as my study resources for PMI – SP exam.

On a final note -

I have also invested in exam simulation (mock up) system when I prepared for PMP. If you have already passed PMP, I don’t recommend you purchase an online exam simulator or software for PMI-SP exam preparation. If you have never done a PMP exam, then I would recommend you invest in it. Why?

If you have never experienced PMI exam, it would be a major challenge for you to pass the exam. Because, you are not familiar with the style and difficulty of all questions, and the tricks to answer them.

And, it is wise to keep in mind - Not to Expect the sample questions on the mock up exam will be closely match with the questions that you will encounter on your actual exam.

If you consider purchasing an online mock up system or exam simulator, then I would recommend you go for http://www.pm-exam-simulator.com or PM Fastrack® PMP® exam simulation software.

How’s about you? Would you recommend any study resources for PMI- SP preparation to pass the exam in first try?

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