There are 10 knowledge areas in the PMP® PMBOK® 6th edition. This is consistent with the PMBOK® 5th edition, which also has 10 knowledge areas.

The 10 knowledge areas in the PMBOK® guide are along with the study notes for each chapter.

What are knowledge areas?

Each knowledge area represents a category of project management concepts, processes, and terminologies. If the 47 processes were not categorized in any way, you may have a difficult time remembering all of them.

Additionally, most projects will use most of these knowledge areas. Thus, it’s essential that PMP®-certified project managers are familiar with what they all are.

Exam tip: Try to study all the processes and concepts within one knowledge area per week. Be consistent.

Do I need to know all the knowledge areas?

Yes, you need to have all 10 knowledge areas in the correct order memorized for your PMP® exam. Furthermore, you also need to know which processes goes within which knowledge area.

However, you do NOT need to have the ITTOs within each process memorized. If you want more information about ITTOs, read about them here.

Although you need to know all 10 knowledge areas for your PMP® exam, you may not use all 10 knowledge areas on your project. For example, if your project does not use third-party vendors, you do not need to use any of the processes and concepts within procurement management.

Does the order matter?

Yes, the knowledge areas are placed in a specific order in the PMBOK®. The Project Management Institute (PMI) wants you to plan and execute your project in a specific order.  You not only need to know what the 10 knowledge areas are, but you also need to have them memorized in the correct order.

What are process groups?

Process groups are phases in the project. They represent the project’s timeline.

Here’s a brief overview of what the 5 process groups are:

Initiating – These processes help you define the high-level scope of the new project and obtain approval. The main output is the project charter.

Planning – These processes help you define detailed project plans, which include the project schedule, risks, and stakeholders. The main output is the project management plan.

Executing – These are the processes you carry out to complete the project management plan. Your main output is the project deliverable.

Monitoring and controlling – These processes allow you to compare the project deliverable against the project management plan. If deviations are detected, the project manager needs to make changes to bring the project back in line with the project management plan.

Closing – Finally, these processes are used once the project is completed (or terminated). Project artifacts are archived and lessons learned are documented.

What is the difference between knowledge areas and process groups?

The difference between knowledge areas and process groups is:

Knowledge Areas cover what you need to KNOW, and

Process Groups cover what you need to DO.

The process groups represent different phases of the project, and the knowledge areas represent categories within the project.

Where are knowledge areas on the PMP® process chart?

The 10 knowledge areas are located along the first column in the PMP® process chart. See chart below (knowledge areas are along the first column).

pmp process chart

How do I memorize the 10 knowledge areas?

When you are trying to memorize the 10 knowledge areas, you can use phrases to help. We have created 6 phrases for you to choose from. You only need to memorize one of them. If none of them works for you, try coming up with your own. The first letter of each word in the phrase matches with the first letter of the corresponding knowledge areas.

These phrases make it easier for you to remember the 10 knowledge areas. You do NOT need to memorize all 6 phrases. You can pick your favorite one and memorize that. The purpose of these phrases is to make it easier for you to memorize the 10 knowledge areas in the PMBOK® guide.

Here’s an article outlining 6 ways to memorize the 10 knowledge areas.

Want to learn more? Sign up for a free class and download our 200 free practice questions to test your understanding.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Learn how you can get PMP certified in the next 6 weeks. Sign up for a free class & get our free study plan.