If you have read the previous two articles of this series, you understand that 61% is not the passing score for the PMP exam. You also know that starting Jan 2008, PMI moved to a qualitative scoring system. It means that they no longer provide a numeric score for the exam, and rather give you a "proficiency level" (Proficient, Moderately Proficient or Below Proficient) for each domain. Therefore, many PMP aspirants want to know the proficiency levels that equate to a "pass" result on the PMP exam.
Disclaimer: Please use the information in this post at your own discretion. I claim no responsibility of the accuracy of the data or the interpretation of it.
Results from real PMP exam candidatesIn order to find the answer, I started collecting the qualitative passing scores from several successful and unsuccessful candidates through various sources. I narrowed the results down to unique scores. The resulting data brought out some very interesting and important details about the PMP exam passing score. Click on the image below to see a set of 23 unique exam results.
Before I delve further, let me put forth some basic facts.
Total Question on the exam = 200
Scored Questions = 175
Pre-test Questions = 25
Table 1 provides the exam results of successful candidates. Table 2 provides the results of unsuccessful candidates. Table 3 shows the domain-wise distribution of 175 questions on the exam.
What Score / Proficiency is required to pass the PMP exam?After analyzing the results, following are my interpretations:
- Overall score matters. You can have any combination of Proficient (P), Moderately Proficient (MP) and Below Proficient (BP) scores across the 6 domains, and still pass (or fail) the exam. What matters is the overall score. If your overall score is above a certain percentage (which may vary for each exam), you will pass the exam. Refer to the results in Table 1 (Pass). You'll find various combinations of P, MP and BP scores there.
- You can be BP in one, two or more domains and still pass the exam (though I've not seen anyone pass the exam with three BP scores). The overall score, as mentioned in point 1, matters. Refer to columns 14-17 in Table 1 for confirmation.
- If you score MP in all domains, you'll pass. Refer to column 15 in Table 1.
- If you score MP in five domains and BP in one, you may still pass. For example, if you score on the higher end of MP in those five domains, and barely slip below BP level on one domain, you may still achieve the overall passing score, and hence pass. Refer to columns 16 and 17 in Table 1.
- In contrast to the above point, even if you score P in one or two domains, you may fail. For example, if you score P in 2 low-weightage domains (like Closing and Professional Responsibility) and score well poorly in a high-weightage domain (like Executing), you may slip below the overall passing score, and hence fail. Refer to column 2 in Table 2.
3-Part Series on PMP Exam Passing Score
- PMP Exam Passing Score - Not a Number Game anymore
- 5 Popular Myths about PMP Exam Passing Score
- The Best Kept Secret of the PMP Certification Exam (Passing Score) (you are here)
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