Best PMP Book – Rita Mulcahy vs Head First vs Andy Crowe vs Kim Heldman

To crack the PMP exam, picking a best PMP study guide is very critical. This blog post provides detailed analysis on the four popular PMP study guides given below:

  1. Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep book 9th edition
  2. Head First PMP 4th Edition
  3. Andy Crowe’s The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try 6th Edition
  4. And Kim Heldman’s PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide 9th Edition

The best PMP study guide is the one which suites to your reading style and interests.

There is good amount of PMP study guides available for the PMP preparation these days. This post will provide a detailed analysis on the writing style of each book and other pros and cons. With the help of this information, let us try to analyze which would be the best PMP study guide for cracking the PMP exam.

So, which is the best PMP study guide for preparation? This raises the question of what we should expect from the best PMP study guide?

The best PMP study guide should have the following characteristics in the same order as mentioned.

Best PMP study guide In 2018

Best PMP Study Guide – What Characteristics Should It contain?

  • It should have the good coverage of PMP exam syllabus.
  • It should have an easy to understand format or style. Meaning that readers should be able to follow the book easily. Keeping things so simple instead of making a complex topic even more complex.
  • Good examples that explains the concepts clearly and easy to remember and follow method. I would say explanation should be in a brain friendly format.
  • Other useful content such as exercises, sample mock exams, access to online forums etc…

While choosing the study guide, one should think about the above mentioned points primarily.

Learn Everything you need to know about PMP Certification Exam. This would be your FIRST STEP to CRACK the PMP Exam.

Which is the best PMP Study Guide? 

Answer to this question really depends on the interest or reading style of the person who is going to read the book.

Every book has its own style of expression to make concepts clear to the readers. As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of choices to choose from, when you opt for a best PMP study guide.

The most popular and bestselling books are picked and analyzed in this post. I have discussed about each book as per my opinion by considering the above mentioned characteristics.

Disc: The below explanation is only from my opinion, which may be different in any reader’s perspective. My intention is not to devalue or overvalue any book. This review is only to help readers to choose the book which will suite to their interest or studying style.


 PMP study guide-Rita Mulcahy-Head First-Andy Crowe-Kim Heldman

PMBOK 6th Edition – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Available for Free Download for PMI Members

PMBOK 6th edition is released on 6the September 2017 and the PDF is available for free download for PMI members.

PMI has standardized the solutions to all project management common problems that occur mostly in every project, in the form of processes, procedures, and best practices.

PMBOK 6th edition is the standard or guide containing all these processes/procedures and best practices to resolve or prevent the common problems. PMI has collected this information from variety of sources like recognized practitioners to institutions. PMBOK

  • Provides guidelines for managing individual projects
  • Defines project management related concepts
  • Describes the project management life cycle and its related processes
  • Also describes about the project life cycle.
  • Promotes a common vocabulary or terminology for using and applying project management concepts.

PMI published PMBOK 6th edition as their official study guide for the PMP exam. Though PMBOK is the best PMP study guide, lots of people face difficulty in reading topics and chapters because of its text book writing style.

Hence to first understand the concepts in a simplified manner, the following books were recommended. PMBOK can be used as a side by side reference along with any of the below mentioned books.

Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep book 9th edition

Rita Mulcahy’ s book is so popular that, every PMP aspirant heard about it at least once during their journey of the PMP certification.

Coming to the point, Rita Mulcahy book explains the topics in so detailed format and provides many tips and techniques on every concept, where required. Rita Mulcahy’ s book follows the similar structure as PMBOK in terms of chapters, and has lot of details in the real life project management scenarios.

Rita Mulcahy’ s book explains the project management activities in sequence. Rita Mulcahy’ s process chart is so popular for this reason.

  • From a coverage perspective, it has reasonably good coverage of the contents required for passing the PMP Exam. However, Rita Mulcahy’ s book does not have enough detail on all ITTO s. Hence recommendation is to read this book along with PMBOK side by side.
  • This book makes it different from others, in explaining very good fundamentals of project management. I would say these fundamentals are very much useful for any project manager in their real life project management activities, not just limited to the PMP Exam.
  • This book has so much text to read. For theory type of concepts, it makes a little bit difficult to read lengthy explanations. However, if you have patience and reading interest with this style of books, this book will give you very good insights of project management concepts.
  • Rita Mulcahy’s  book has chapter-end exercises, which has medium level of difficulty.
  • And this book contains very good tips and tricks explained at every important concept from PMP exam perspective.
  • The latest edition of Rita Mulcahy’s book is “Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep 9th Edition” which is aligned to the concepts of PMBOK 6th Edition.

Head First PMP 4th Edition

Head First PMP book is named as brain friendly book. This book is completely explained in a visual format, with lot of story building and exercises with lot of fun across the concepts.

So the reader will feel like reading stories, not the project management concepts.  Every chapter is explained with a story mixing with lot of fun into the subject. That is the reason this book is known for its brand as “brain friendly book”.

Currently the Head First PMP 4th edition is not available and is expected to release in July 2018, as per So the below comments were based on the previous edition (Head First PMP 3rd edition) of the book which is aligned to PMBOK 5th edition.

When I read this book, I never felt like I am reading project management book.

  • This book has good coverage from PMP exam perspective. Again recommendation is study this book along with PMBOK guide side by side.
  • Reading this book is fun. I do not have to explain anything else apart from this.
  • I found some errors on the contents of this book. Some readers may feel uncomfortable when reading those topics. However, the errata are available through Head first portal.
  • Head first chapter-end exercises have medium level of difficulty. This book has lot of exercises built-in into the middle of chapters to make the reader understand the concepts clearly and test on a specific topic.
  • However, the final Head First Exam given at the end of the book has good questions. These questions are a little bit less difficult than the actual PMP exam questions. This 200 questions exam is an bonus to this book.
  • finally, the funny situational and story oriented images also makes the user remember the concepts and situations clearly and in a simple fashion.

Andy Crowe’s The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try 6th Edition

I must say WOW after reading this book. This is the most simplified book on PMP exam. The motive of this book is to make the reader just pass the PMP exam and nothing else.

This is a very cool book explained every concept in a very simplified, plain, easy to read and understandable format.

One important thing about this book is, every concept is explained by going straight to the point, instead of discussing around the topic.

  • Though this book covers almost everything you need for the PMP exam, it is recommended to study this book along with PMBOK.
  • This book is easy to read. Every chapter is simple and short.
  • At the beginning of each knowledge area the diagram that explains the sequence of activities is helpful.
  • Chapter end questions are bit easy.
  • This book has also good Glossary section and a final exam with 200 questions as bonus.

Andy Crowe’s The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try 6the edition is available online for purchase. This is aligned to PMBOK 6th edition.

Kim Heldman’s PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide 9th Edition

PMBOK explains the project management concepts by knowledge areas. Most of the other books follow the same pattern.

This book is different from the others, as it explains all the project management concepts by process groups, instead of knowledge areas.

As we learned that process groups show the sequence of the project, you will see that it is to follow the explanation, which will show you the real sequence while learning concepts.

  • Readability is good.
  • Instead of knowledge areas, this book explains PMP concepts process group wise. So this book is different than all other books.
  • An alternative approach to PMBOK, in terms of learning the concepts.

Kim Heldman’s PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide 9th Edition is available for online purchase.


Now let us see the question of the topic, which is the best PMP study guide?

In case if you are looking for PMP Exam tips, here is the post “Stunning TIPS & Tricks to Pass PMP Exam on your First Try“.

Is this answered? No, right!  The reason is everyone’s interest and reading style is different from others.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many PMP study guides available in the market.  However, I picked the top bestselling or popular books and provide my analysis with their detailed characteristics in the above post.

I tried to explain about how each book is designed. Now as a reader, you think about your reading style, interest and make best judgement out of it and shortlist the best PMP study guide which suits your reading interest and style.

Finally, reading PMBOK 6th edition is not an optional thing while choosing any of these study guides. One need to study PMBOK along with any of these study guides to get the best out of it, not just to learn the project management concepts, but also to PASS THE PMP EXAM.

Learn our step by step tutorial for making the best PMP Study plan that suits your preparation requirements

By the way, which is the book you have picked for your PMP preparation? How are you preparing for the PMP exam?

Please comment, in case if you have any queries regarding this post or any other PMP topics. I would be glad to help you.

2 Responses to “Best PMP Book – Rita Mulcahy vs Head First vs Andy Crowe vs Kim Heldman”
  1. Anonymous May 19, 2017
  2. Naveen July 30, 2017
    • Ravi July 31, 2017

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