How difficult and different can I expect the beta project + exam to be? I have reviewed both exam objectives. I still can't get a gauge if I can use most of the current coursework material on the beta exam. My only project management experience is the project management component of a System Analysis and Design course I did a few semesters ago.
Project + Beta Exam
Beta exams are unusual. Sometimes you have to pass more questions (get more right per exam) than the regular exam because the pool of questions is very large too.
Without the official exam objectives, you're shooting for the fact that your experience with the terminology and subject matter is sufficient. I do not believe the exam objectives for the new exam is out yet, officially.
But I like your plan, if you study the current coursework, you'll be in better preparation than not studying because most exam iterations are percentage differentials from the previous exam or newer technologies or procedures that spawned since previous iterations. So the majority of the exam will be covered by previous topics and objectives.