How Do Changes Of PMP Exam Content Outline In 2020 Impact You?

I have written this post to explain everything about Exam Content Outline, Role Delineation Study, and PMP exam changes in 2019.

You might have heard that the PMP exam will change on December 16, 2019. You might know that PMI will introduce a new Exam Content Outline (ECO) in June 2019 and update the exam based on the new ECO.

So, what is ECO and how does it impact you?

The PMP exam is based on ECO. It is akin to the syllabus of PMP exam.

PMI conducts a Role Delineation Study (RDS) of project managers every 3-5 years. The ECO is updated based on the findings of the study.

You may find this cryptic. So, let me answer a few frequently asked questions about PMP exam changes, ECO and RDS.

PMP Exam Content Outline In 2019

As per PMI, Project Management profession and role of the Project Manager has evolved over the last few years. As the profession continues to evolve further, the Role and Responsibilities of Project Manager keep on changing. The Role of a Project Manager is described by the RDS. In order to stay relevant, the new PMP exam would reflect the current practices of the Project Management Profession.

RDS is an acronym for Role Delineation Study. It is a research done by PMI for all its certifications. It is carried out every 3-5 years. According to PMI, RDS provides an updated description of the project management professional role. The study includes a large-scale survey of global Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification holders to validate updates to domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills. The RDS captures perspectives of project management practitioners from all industries, work settings, and regions. It serves as the foundation for the PMP exam and ensures its validity and relevance.

RDS gives indication of following things for a Project Manager:
Role and Responsibilities
Key competency areas
Domains of Practice
Tasks to be performed
Required Knowledge & skills

The RDS is validated by Project Management Practitioners and Subject Matter Experts from various different Countries/Industries. The research results are compiled in the Exam Content Outline.

The previous RDS was done in the year 2015. Subsequently, the ECO was revised to reflect updated role of project managers.

Exam Content Outline is the blueprint for the PMP exam. The exam questions are tied to the Domains, Tasks and Knowledge and Skills described in the ECO. You can refer to the latest Exam Content Outline on PMI’s Website.

There was no change in the number of Domains. The exam takes are still evaluated on 5 domains viz. Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing.

However, the breakdown of the percentage of questions from each Domain has changed. The weight of Executing has increased by 1%, while that of Closing has decreased by 1%. Executing and Closing have a coverage of 31% and 7% respectively. This has changed from from 30% and 8% earlier.

A few new tasks have also been added in 4 of the 5 domains.

A total of 8 new tasks has been added to the 4 of the 5 domains.
3 tasks have been added to Initiating
1 task has been added to Planning
2 Tasks have been added to Executing
2 Tasks have been added to Monitoring & Controlling

There are minor changes in some other tasks. The modified tasks have the same essence as the previous tasks, but there are some changes to the terminology and the language.

Some tasks have also been removed from the ECO.

You should also refer to my other article for complete details of new tasks.


Usually, PMI releases a new edition of PMBOK Guide every 4 years. The current edition (6th edition) was released in the year 2017. The exam change for the 6th edition of the PMBOK Guide happened in 2018. The next edition of the Guide is likely to be released in 2021.

No. Historically, PMI has not changed certification eligibility requirements along with the changes in ECO. You still need to have 4500 hours or 7500 hours of project management experience in leading or directing the projects.
35 contact hours of formal project management education.

No. Hstorically, PMI has not changed exam pattern along with the changes in ECO. The Exam Structure remains same. The test will have 200 multiple choice questions including 25 pilot questions.
Each question will have 4 options and 1 correct answer.

The last date for the current version of Exam would be December 15, 2019. PMI will start conducting the new version of Exam from December 16, 2019.

Yes. You should. It is advisable to take the exam before new version comes in. After the last revision of ECO, PMI suggested that 25% of the exam content would come from new topics, which were not tested earlier. So, in order to avoid any surprises, it is better to take Exam before it changes.

Historically, sometims PMI delays releasing the exam results after new version of the exam is introduced. But, PMI has not declared anything this time. You can expect to receive the exam score immediately after the test.

Final Thoughts

The exam will change this year. But, the extent of changes in the exam are still unknown.

PMI has not yet released the new ECO yet. It will be released in June 2019. But, there is no point in waiting around and understanding how the exam will change.

PMP is a hard exam to crack. The difficulty increases whenever a new version is introduced. New version brings in a lot of uncertainty. It is better to take the exam before the change.

Moreover, the sooner you take the exam, the better it is for your career. You can potentially get 20% more salary with PMP credential.

You can download my free exam prep guide to kick-start your preparation. It will help you to pass the exam in first try.

Over To You

When are you planning to take the exam? Is there anything stopping you to take the exam soon?

I welcome your comments below.

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