Best PMP Book: Top Study Guides For Certification Exam Prep [2019]

You might be looking for the best PMP book for the certification exam prep. You will find my review and recommendations for the top study guides in this article.

A PMP book is an essential study material for passing the PMP credential test and you should buy a good one.

I did a review and side-by-side comparison of the best-selling books study guides on Amazon viz. Scott Payne vs Head First vs Rita Mulcahy vs Andy Crowe vs Kim Heldman. All the reference books and study guides are based on the PMBOK Guide 6th edition. I have written about pros & cons, and my recommendation of these books in this article. It will help you to determine which is the best PMP exam prep book for you.

In order to find the best PMP book, I first went to Amazon to find the most popular books. Next, I read the books to do a thorough and detailed review. Lastly, I compared the books on various parameters. You will find links to the detailed review, review rating, and comparison in the table below.

Best PMP Book for the PMP Certification Exam Prep

I believe, PMBOK Guide is the best PMP study guide. In my opinion, it is essential to study the PMBOK guide to successfully crack the certification exam. The other books, reviewed in this article, should be used along with the Guide to enhance your chances of success. You should definitely buy the PMBOK Guide, if you are preparing for either PMP or CAPM exam.

Let us now look at which is the best PMP reference book for you.

Review of Top Study Guides and Reference Books

Scott Payne vs Head First vs Rita Mulcahy vs Andy Crowe vs Kim Heldman

scott payne pmp master prep book head first pmp study guide rita mulcahy pmp exam prep book Andy Crowe pmp 6th edition kim heldman pmp 9th edition
Scott Payne Head First PMP Rita Mulcahy Andy Crowe Kim Heldman

Detailed Book Review

Detailed Review Not Available Read it here Read it here Read it here Read it here

Review Rating

Ease of Study 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Coverage of Topics 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Questions & Exercises 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Conformance to the PMBOK® Guide 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Exam Focus 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Price 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Check Price At Amazon

Which Is The Best Book For PMP Certification Exam For You?

Every student can learn. Just not on the same day, or the same way.

George Evans

PMP Exam Master Prep by Scott Payne

You should buy this book if you:

  • want to study the PMBOK Guide processes PG-wise.
  • are looking for a well-structured book.
  • like case-study based learning.
  • want to have a very quick understanding of the subject.

Head First PMP Study Guide

You should buy this book if you:

  • are a visual learner.
  • like to do crosswords & puzzles.
  • want to have a very quick understanding of the subject.

Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep

You should buy this book if you:

  • just want to focus on the Exam.
  • want to learn the best tips & tricks for passing the Exam.
  • want to do the most difficult sample questions.

Andy Crowe: The PMP Exam

You should buy this book if you:

  • just want to focus on the Exam.
  • want to read an easy to understand book.
  • want to read a book that has a very similar structure as the PMBOK Guide.

Kim Heldman PMP Exam Study Guide

You should buy this book if you:

  • want to study the PMBOK Guide processes PG-wise.
  • love reading experiential case studies and a lot of prose.
  • are a novice project manager.
  • want to learn PM concepts thoroughly before taking the Exam.

Final Thoughts

Before you make your final decision, answer this question.Would you buy a car X if 50% residents in your community has bought the car X? Or would you buy a car that suits your requirements?

My point is that, you should not buy something just because it is popular. You should analyze your learning style and understand what is best for you. We are all unique people. We have different backgrounds, different knowledge & skill-set and different learning styles. What is good for me (or your friend), may not be good for you. So, you should buy a book(s) that suits you and your learning style.

If you think one book is not enough for the exam prep or if you think you there are some good points in each book, then you can always buy more than one book. The cost of books will be marginal as compared to the exam and training fee. The books will be your main study material till you pass your credential exam.

You don’t have to study each book completely. One could be your main study guide while other book(s) can be used for secondary reference. You can selectively study only those portions that give you maximum benefit.

Go ahead. Do not wait! Buy the car…er…your best PMP book.

Note: A digital copy of the PMBOK Guide is available free of cost to the PMI members. If you have taken the PMI membership or you intend to take it in near future, then you can forego buying the Guide. You can download a licensed pdf copy for yourself and use it on your computer but you cannot print it. The Guide’s pdf copy is licensed only to you – you can neither share it nor distribute it.

Related Articles

Top Online Training Courses For PMP
Top Instructor Led Online PMP Classes
Top PMP Practice Exams

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation (in cash or kind) from the Authors or the Publishers or anyone else associated with any of the books for writing this article. But this article contains affiliate links – it means that, if you click & buy from these links then, I will receive a small commission. This commission helps me in maintaining this blog for free. However, you don’t pay anything extra. I recommend only those products that I believe will definitely help the certification aspirants.

Book cover images taken from their respective websites.

Praveen Malik, PMP

​Praveen Malik ​is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 23+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor, Coach and ​Advisor. He ​has successfully trained thousands of aspirants for the PM certification exams.