I am currently studying for the PMI PMP exam and stumbled upon the following question in Kim Heldman's "Project Management Professional Practice Tests" book (correct answer boldened):

A project manager performing Closing activities is currently focused on addressing the highest business value items first. What life cycle is she using to deliver her project?

A. Highly predictive

B. Adaptive

C. Highly adaptive

D. Waterfall

My answer was "adaptive" since "highly adaptive" meant nothing to me. I searched the PMBOK, 6th edition, and could not find any mention of "highly" adaptive vs. "adaptive", or "highly" predictive. Only "adaptive" and "predictive" are mentioned. Unfortunately, the answer in the book itself does not reference the PMBOK or Heldman's Study Guide.

Is this an occasion where the PMBOK differs from the actual PMP exam content, and the given answer can be considered correct, or should I disregard this question?

  • There are horrendous PMP practice question sites out there. PMI does not share its question bank to anyone so the questions are made up and many are meeting market demand with poor quality materiel. There are names out there that have a great reputation, such as Rita Mulchahey (sp??). I'd advise sticking to the known reputable ones. Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 13:41
  • My comment above is not meant to be in judgment of the OP's source of the question. I have no idea who that person is or the quality of her material. Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 13:48
  • I agree David, I have tried various resources including Rita's book and online resources, and the quality differences are huge. Although I assumed Kim Heldman to be one of the more reliable resources, hence my question.
    – barghest
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 16:23
  • 1
    Go to appendix X3. Page 665. Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 16:28
  • 3
    Dunno ... this sure feels like "just a bad question" to me. I say: there shouldn't be two answers that differ only by an adjective. And, if you really do have to go to "appendix blah, page blah-blah" to find the "correct" answer ... yeah. Bad question. ("Writing good tests" is a LOT harder than it looks!) Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


While I think this is not the best question, adaptive and highly adaptive life cycles are discussed in appendix X3 of the PMBoK, 6th Edition.


David Espina has correctly identified the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide reference which answers this question.

As a PMP Exam Prep trainer, I will say this type of question is an outlier. While the exam is as much a reading comprehension exam as it is a project management knowledge exam, the majority of questions are not like the one you posted.

Another good resource for lifecycles, especially Agile lifecycles, is the Agile Practice Guide. Now, there is not a single question on the PMP Exam from the Agile Practice Guide, but the guide is great at explaining Agile lifecycles and how scope is managed in the Agile world.

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