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Ace the PMP Exam [Book Review]

Ace the PMP Exam

When I first wrote Collaboration Tools for Project Managers the publishers put ‘Elizabeth Harrin, PMP’ on the cover. I had to get that taken off – I’m not a PMP, although I feel very familiar with the PMBOK Guide® concepts. It’s simply something I’ve never got round to doing.

Ace the PMP Exam by Jack RisosI might at some point in the future, especially if I can hang on to Jack Risos’ book Ace the PMP Exam (3rd ed, updated for PMBOK® – Sixth Edition).

I hadn’t read a book created in iBooks Author before but I would certainly read more. The book has interactivity built in through flashcards, questions and answers and interactive presentations. The layout is clean and easy to read, and it’s simple to navigate. It was far and away a more attractive reading experience than ebooks on my Kindle app.

However, enough gushing about pretty fonts and callout boxes. What about the content?

Ace the PMP Exam: Helping You Learn the PMBOK® Guide

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge(PMBOK Guide®) Sixth Edition is not known for being the most riveting of reads. Ace the PMP Exam is designed to help you learn the contents in an order that makes most sense so it covers process outputs, for example, before inputs and tools so you understand what you are trying to achieve before you learn how to do it.

The book is ordered in the same way as you would typically manage a project. It starts with background on the project management framework and how things hang together.

Then it covers planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and finally closing. The planning section is actually split into 5 logical segments, but covers all the knowledge areas: integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholders.

Ace the PMP Exam is easy to read and I found it a logical progression through a project. It feels like it fits together and makes sense in a way I find the PMBOK® Guide doesn’t.

However, it’s the same material – it’s amazing how an ordered, structured approach and a well-put together interactive book make the complex easy to understand.

There are also exam questions peppered throughout – you’d probably want an exam simulator (this one is my favourite) as well for a comprehensive approach but that would be it. Everything you need to cover for the exam is in here including the extra stuff that the exam covers like the Code of Ethics.

The book ends by wrapping it all up and sharing more exam questions.

About the Author: Jack Risos

Jack Risos

Jack Risos

These days, when anyone can put a book out there on Kindle, you want to be sure that the book you have chosen has been written by someone who actually knows their stuff. Jack Risos obtained his PMP certificate in 2009.

He’s also qualified in instructional design and adult education, which is handy, as it means he understands how to put training material together.

Jack is also a project manager and business process expert. He has delivered software and business transition projects in the banking, insurance, software, and manufacturing industries.

The fact that the book is in its third edition is testament to the fact that Jack keeps the text updated so that it is always relevant to readers. Visit his website, Ace the PMP Exam to learn more.

He also offers a free online process explorer.

In Summary

I felt it was a realistic, well-presented book that would make a good study guide. Including real-world project challenges, like how to apply the processes to a multi-phase project, make it a practical in real-life as well as a test-taking guide.

I actually wanted to read on.

If you are looking for a straightforward PMP exam prep book then this is a very good choice, as long as you have an Apple device to read it on.

Other recommended CAPM and PMP Prep Books

Recommended PMP Training Courses

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.


  1. I presented the exam yesterday for the 2nd time and I got an Above Target score. The first time I prepared it with an online $400 course + PMBOK and failed it badly. I studied 4 hours per day for 4 weeks including some weekends. The 2nd time I put the same time but totally changed my strategy, I used what I considered a magic formula: Jack Risos Ace the PMP Exam and Cornelius Fichtner PMP Exam simulators.

    I think Mr. Risos’ book has several strengths:
    1) It has the right approach by teaching the content going along the Processes (e.g. Initiation, Scope, Time, etc) vs. the Knowledge Areas like most of the courses and books do. Wherever possible (e.g. those the processes that cross with Integration and Planning), the book gives you a suggestion for the sequencing of steps. This is VERY important to be able to answer the situational questions of the exam, which are the majority.
    2) The ideas and content are very uncluttered. The minimum possible, I did appreciate that considering the dense content of the PMBOK. Mr. Risos dares to simplify the number of tools at each process which I think is the right way to do it. Too much information is too scary.
    3) The e-book and overall format is a joy to read, to do searches, the features to create flash cards is so useful to review content, easy to do the quizzes etc…

    Mr Risos: “You aced writing an effective PMP book”

    Last but not least, the Cornelius Fichtner Exam Simulators (200 questions and format like the real exam) were key to build endurance and get better at the questions format. The PMP exam does test endurance (4 hours + 15 min tutorial +5 min of survey at the end). Everyone is different, but I reccomend not go to the exam without doing the simulators. At least 3 before the exam. Reading the corrections, provide great study content. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for this heads up Elizabeth – I am constantly mentoring and coaching teams for PMP study groups at work (public sector ) and I always suggest Rita’s book but I know that it’s old and I warn them there may be better ones now…so this is very helpful…however, for ME, a digital disaster… reading on phone does not work what so ever with my life, I would need to underline make notes and carry it around from one job to the next to the gym…sitting squinting at an expensive device that i’m afraid to drop or loose as I carry a hundred things….getting eye strain staring at a screen when I’ve been on one all day…no way….suffice it to say… I would never have passed way back when the book was WHITE lol and had NO fancy diagrams and fewer chapters ha ha if you needed a phone to prep with!! But I know that the interns/kids I’m helping will LOVE this suggestion so I’ll pass it along for sure…they love poking around on the phone rather than holding a book, go figure, I hate it! Only time will tell…what has better results…on the bell curve..paper or pixels….love your site! Read it always to stay in touch.

    • I once thought like you! But I’m slowly being converted to ebooks, not least because it means I don’t have to carry around huge hardback books. Project management books are not small! But, each to their own – everyone has different learning preferences as you know. If it works for the people you mentor then great! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Diana.

    • Hi Diana. It’s Jack Risos here, the author. I don’t want to be too defensive, but I’ll say that I too was like you with paper books, and still am in a lot of ways when reading fiction. When I was in high school PCs did not yet exist, and the first computer I used was a Mac Classic. However now I find reading text books on a tablet (not a phone) a good experience, as the tablet is a good size, I can carry it easily, make bookmarks, highlight text and write notes. Quizzes and flashcards, if they are included as they are in this one, are good for memorising. (It’s hard to play with a deck of real flashcards in a coffee shop, but easy on the tablet. You’ll find it’s not just for kids 😉


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