Best PMP Book: Top Study Guides For Certification Exam Prep [2020]

best pmp book
You might be looking for the best PMP book and study guide for the certification exam prep.

A PMP book is an essential study material for passing the PMP credential test and you should buy only a good one. I have written this article to review and compare top study guides and best PMP exam prep books.

You will find pros & cons, ratings and side-by-side comparison of Scott Payne vs Head First vs Rita Mulcahy vs Andy Crowe vs Kim Heldman in this article. All these PMP reference books are based on the PMBOK Guide 6th edition.

After reading this article you will know which is the most suitable exam prep book for you.

Note: In order to find the best PMP book, I first went to Amazon to find the most popular books. Next, I read these books and did a thorough review. Lastly, I compared the books on various parameters. You too can go to Amazon to find the best-selling books and study guides on PMP.

Best PMP Book And Study Guide 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 the chances of your success. You should definitely buy the PMBOK Guide, if you are preparing for the CAPM or PMP exam exam.

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

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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)
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Which is the Best PMP Exam Pep Book 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 car X if 50% residents in your community has bought it? Or would you buy a car that suits your requirements e.g. more horse power, better looking, larger etc.?

My point is that, you should not buy something that your colleague or friend bought. 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 could use one of them as 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.

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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.