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Is Kim Heldman’s “PMP Study Guide 9th Edition” Worth Buying?

pmp study guide by kim heldman book review
Title Book's Latest Edition Based On
PMP Study Guide by Kim Heldman 9th Edition PMBOK Guide 6th Edition
Amazon's Best Seller? Kindle Edition? Free Downloadable pdf?
Yes Available Not Available
Author Publisher Publishing Year Pages
Kim Heldman, PMP Sybex 2018 768

Review Rating

My First Brush With Kim Heldman PMP Book

I heard about PMP Study Guide by Kim Heldman way back in year 2005. At that time, I was starting my preparation for the PMP Exam. In those days, we didn’t have too many exam preparation guides or other study material. One had to rely on what was available. Even though the book came highly recommended, I did not refer to it for my preparation. After completing my PMP, I almost forgot about the book.

A few years later, in the year 2008, I started conducting professional training. In that year, one of my professional acquaintances told me that he uses Kim Heldman’s book to teach Project Management to MBA students.

This was shocking for me – How can someone teach Project Management as a subject using an Exam Prep book?

Let me be frank here. Even though, PMP is a Project Management Exam, an exam prep book is not ideal for learning the subject. Exam prep books focus more on passing the certification test and don’t do justice to the core subject. There are many better books to learn Project Management then a test prep book.

After that incident, I read and reviewed Kim Heldman’s book.

To my surprise, it turned out be a great read. I can confidently say that, if there is any exam prep book that comes close to teaching Project Management then it has to be Kim Heldman’s book.

The book is one of the best selling books on the subject. But as with any other book, it is good in some areas while lacking in some others. Let us take a look at the complete review.

Kim Heldman 9th Edition Book Review

Kim Heldman’s book is very different from other Exam Prep books. Most of the books follow the PMBOK Guide’s structure and are written Knowledge Area (KA) wise. But, PMP Study Guide by Kim Heldman is written Process Group (PG) wise. It gives a complete coverage of the topics written in the PMBOK Guide but chapters are arranged differently.

I have noticed that many students find the PG orientation disconcerting. This may not suite you if you want to read this book and PMBOK Guide in parallel. But, I believe that, PG orientation of the book is its strong point.

What do you do while managing th projects?

You follow PG sequence (Initiating -> Planning -> Executing -> Monitoring & Controlling -> Closing). So when you read PMBOK Guide processes in PG sequence, the learning is enhanced. In fact, I used PG approach to study PMBOK Guide during my preparation.

The book starts with an assessment test. By doing this test, you understand the PMP Exam difficulty level and get to assess yourself. This creates a good foundation. There are PMP sample questions at the end of each chapter also. Even though the questions are good but they are very few.

Every chapter of the book starts with a brief introduction of the topics and the processes covered in the chapter. The author provides small examples as she covers the topics. At many places you will also find “Real World Scenarios” which provide a complete understanding of the topic. Throughout the book, you will find a number of Exam Tips.

The book is written in a conversational manner. It is very easy to read even for a novice project manager. The language of the book is easy to understand and lucid. But on the downside there are very few figures, tables, charts, or diagrams in the book. So, sometimes it becomes difficult to interpret the written word.

I think the book would appeal to aspirants who are new to Project Management. It is one of oldest books for PMP Exam Prep.


The book is written Process Group wise.


  • The book explains the topics through “Real World Scenarios” and small examples. This enhances the learning process.
  • There is a Summary and an Exam Tips section at the end of every chapter. These sections are helpful for passing the Exam.
  • Even though the book is focused on the Exam, it provides a near holistic learning of Project Management.
  • The book follows a conversational style of writing which is easy to follow.
  • By buying this book you get access to Sybex interactive online learning environment.
  • Overall the book is long term investment that goes beyond the PMP Exam.


  • There are very few diagrams, charts and explanatory pictures. This would create a problem on some topics.
  • There are no mid chapter exercises. It becomes slightly boring to read the prose.
  • There are very few questions at the end of each chapter.

PM-by-PM Rating

Ease of Study:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Coverage of Topics:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Questions & Exercises:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Conformance to PMBOK® Guide:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Exam Focus:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Price:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Who Should Buy This Book?

PMP Study Guide by Kim Heldman is a very good book for PMP Exam preparation. It is the best Exam Prep book that can be used for learning project management. This book is suitable for novice project managers. If you have limited experience of project management and are preparing for the PMP Exam, then you should buy Kim Heldman’s book. If you like this book, then I would recommend you to buy complete PMP Certification Kit by Kim Heldman instead of the book. The kit contains, among many things, Kim’s book, online access to the study material, audio & video material and electronic flashcards. You can look at the complete contents of the Kit in the next section. I think that the kit’s value far exceeds its price.

Quick Comparison of PMP Study Products from Kim Heldman

PMP Study Guide PMP Review Guide PMP Deluxe Study Guide PMP Certification Kit
  • Covers 100% of the exam objectives
  • Includes limited access to interactive online learning environment and study tools.
  • Provides focused, concise review of PMP Exam objectives for quick reference
  • Compliments the PMP Study Guide
  • Includes limited access to interactive online learning environment and study tools.
  • Includes PMP Study Guide
  • Includes full access to interactive online learning environment and study tools.
  • Comprehensive solution for studying for the PMP Exam
  • Includes PMP  Review Guide
  • Includes PMP Deluxe Study Guide
  • Sybex Interactive Learning Environment
Latest Edition 9th 4th 3rd 4th
Publication Date February 2018 March 2018 February 2018 March 2018
Format Paperback Paperback Paperback+Electronic Paperback+Electronic/td>
Pages 768 456 768 1104
pdf Glossary No No Yes Yes
Electronic Practice Exams No No Yes Yes
Bonus CAPM Exams No No 2 2
Electronic Flashcards No No Yes Yes
eBook No No Yes, in multiple file formats Yes, in multiple file formats
Audio No No Yes Yes
Video No No 30 days access to video training from ITPro.TV – 20 hours video. 30 days access to video training from ITPro.TV – 20 hours video.
Check Price At Amazon

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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 the book 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 do not actively use any of these books since I am already certified. But, I recommend only those products that I believe will definitely help the certification aspirants.