This page is an attempt to answer the most frequently asked questions about the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification program from the Project Management Institute (PMI), USA. I wish I had access to such a resource when I started preparing for the PMP certification back in 2007. I was literally groping in the dark and had no idea how to proceed. It took me several months and plenty of hardships to finally get on to the right track for my certification. This page is the result of hundreds of hours of effort that I've spent in gathering all the information.
Updated: Feb 14, 2014
About the Project Management Professional (PMP) CertificationThe Project Management Professional (PMP) credential recognizes demonstrated knowledge and skill in leading and directing project teams and in delivering project results within the constraints of schedule, budget and resources. It is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI), USA, which is the leading global association for the project management profession.
Who should apply? Those who lead and direct cross-functional teams to deliver projects within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope.
What do PMP candidates do? Candidates are responsible for all aspects of individual projects for the life of the project.
PMP FAQ Challenge
Why do you need this PMP FAQ page?
FAQs on PMP Application Process
1.1 What are the Eligibility Criteria for the PMP Exam?To be eligible for the PMP credential, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements. All project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission.
The eligibility requirements depend upon your Education Background.
- If you hold a High school diploma, associate's degree or global equivalent, then you need:
- Project Management Experience: Minimum five years/60 months unique nonoverlapping professional project management experience during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading and directing project tasks.
- Project Management Education: 35 contact hours of formal education (or PDUs).
- Project Management Experience: Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing project tasks.
- Project Management Education: 35 contact hours of formal education (or PDUs).
1.2 What does 36 months of non-overlapping experience requirement mean for the PMP Exam?One of the eligibility criteria for the PMP exam is to have minimum 3 years / 36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing project tasks.
So, what does "non-overlapping" experience mean?
To answer this question, let me show the reverse situation - overlapping experience. Let's say that you have managed 2 project in 2013. Project 1 ran from Jan'13 to Jun'13 (6 months), and Project 2 ran from Apr'13 to Dec'13 (9 months). In this case, you have an overlap between the two projects during Apr'09 to Jun'09 (3 months). So the experience from these 3 months is counted as 3 months, and not 3 x 2 = 6 months. Therefore, your total unique non-overlapping experience would be counted as 12 (3 + 3 + 6) months, not 15 (6 + 9) months.
The PMP Handbook has a very nice example with a diagram on Page 10, to explain this requirement.
1.3 What is the application process for the PMP Exam?At a high level, the PMP application process involves the following steps:
- You submit an online application for the exam to PMI.
- PMI reviews your application and if it is determined to be complete, PMI will send you an email to submit the exam fee. Your application approval is valid for one-year from the date you receive the approval email.
- After you pay for the exam, PMI will send you an email indicating one of the following next steps:
- Examination scheduling instructions to help you schedule your examination
- Application has randomly been selected for PMI's audit process
Tip: Please make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria before submitting your application. Also, fill your application form honestly and truthfully. If you follow these guidelines, you would have nothing to fear from the audit.
1.4 How do I report my Project Management experience in the PMP exam application?You need to report your Project Management experience hours to PMI as part of your PMP Exam application. The experience is reported process group-wise for all relevant projects.
1.5 How far back can I go for the Project Management experience on my PMP application?All project management experience must have been accrued within the last eight consecutive years prior to your application submission.
1.6 How do I apply for the PMP Exam?PMI encourages candidates to apply for the PMP exam online. The online application can be submitted on PMI's Online Certification System.
If you want to apply offline (through postal mail or fax), you can print the PMP Application Form and send the hard copy to PMI Global Operations Center (address available in PMP Handbook).
1.7 How far in advance should I apply for the PMP exam?Read How to become a PMP in 6 Steps to understand the process of certification. It will help you determine how far in advance you need to apply.
1.8 What are the fees for the PMP Exam?The examination fees vary depending upon whether you are a PMI member.
For PMI Members
- Computer-based exam: USD 405
- Paper-based exam: USD 250
- Computer-based exam: USD 555
- Paper-based exam: USD 400
1.9 Is it possible to apply for the PMP exam without being a PMI member?Yes, absolutely. You don't need to be a PMI member to apply for PMP certification. But only a fool would do so (sorry for the harsh language). PMI membership costs $139, but you get a $150 discount on the exam. So, why would you want to apply for PMP certification without joining PMI? For more details, read 10 Benefits of PMI Membership.
1.10 Will PMI refund the membership discount, if I sign-up for the membership after submitting payment for the PMP Exam?PMI members enjoy $150 discount on the PMP exam fee. However, you must be a PMI member at the time of submitting your payment for the PMP exam, in order to enjoy the discount. If you sign-up for the PMI Membership after submitting your payment for the exam, PMI would NOT refund the membership discount amount to you. Therefore, it is important that you sign-up for PMI membership before you submit your payment for the PMP exam.
1.11 How do I pay the fee for the PMP Exam?You can pay the exam fee on PMI's Online Certification System.
Note: You pay the exam fee to PMI, not to Prometric.
1.12 How long does PMI take to process each PMP Exam Application?The application processing timeline is mentioned in the table below:
1.13 I'm experienced, but unemployed. Am I eligible for PMP Certification?Being employed at the time of application submission or examination are NOT among the eligibility requirements for PMP certification. As long as you have the required experience as per the PMP Handbook, you are eligible for PMP certification.
1.14 I made an error on the PMP Exam Application? What should I do?To err is human. We all make mistakes. If you have made a mistake in your PMP certification application that you submitted to PMI, do not panic. Email to PMI Customer Care, admit your mistake, and cooperate with them to get it resolved.
FAQs on PMP Application Audit
2.1 What is the Audit Process for PMP Exam Application?As mentioned above, your one-year exam eligibility clock stops when your application is selected for an audit. PMI will inform you about the audit, "after" you pay for the exam. They will also send you detailed instructions on how to comply with the audit.
During the audit, you will be asked to submit documents such as:
- Copies of your diploma/degree certificates
- Signatures from your manager(s)/supervisor(s) on projects that you mentioned in the experience verification section of your original application.
- Your 35 Contact Hours certificate from the PMI Registered Education Provider (REP).
The audit time primarily depends on how fast the applicant mails back the requested information to PMI. Once PMI receives your documents, they usually takes about 5 business days to complete the audit.
If you clear the audit, PMI will give you a go ahead for scheduling the exam and your eligibility clock will start ticking.
2.2 What Percentage of PMP Applications get Audited?If you want an authentic answer, then it is "we do not know". PMI does not disclose the number of applications that get audited, or the basis on which applications are audited.
According to Project Management training institutes, which train PMP exam candidates in hundreds every year, roughly 10% of the applications get audited. However, in my personal experience, the number is even lower.
2.3 How can I avoid PMP Application Audit?You cannot. There's nothing you can do to avoid your application from getting audited. A small percentage (about 10%) of applications are selected randomly for audit. However, you can take some steps to prepare yourself to face the audit and ensure that the audit goes through smoothly, in case your application gets audited.
To get more information, read How can I avoid PMP Application Audit?.
2.4 What if I fail to meet the Audit Requirements for the PMP Exam?If you fail to meet the audit requirements, PMI will refund your exam fee, minus $100 administration fee for the audit. Now you know why they ask you to pay first :)
However, PMI has clearly mentioned in the PMP Handbook that they reserve the right to audit any candidate any time i.e. even after they achieve the PMP credentials. If you fail to meet the audit requirements after you achieve your PMP certification, you will not be eligible for any refund.
Note: I'm still trying to find out how and when, if at all, a candidate is eligible to re-apply for PMP certification once he/she fails the audit requirements.
2.5 What is the PMP Exam Fee Refund Policy?There are different scenarios here:
- If you fail the PMP application audit, PMI will deduct $100 from your application fee, and refund the balance amount to you automatically.
- If you have passed the audit or your application was not selected for an audit, and you have not yet taken the exam, you can request a refund of the examination fee. You must submit a written request to PMI at least one month before the exam eligibility expiration date. PMI will deduct $100 administration fee and refund the balance amount to you.
- If you fail the PMP exam, you would not qualify for any refund.
- If you do not take the PMP exam by your exam eligibility expiration date (usually one year from the application approval date), your entire application fee will be forfeited. You would not qualify for any refund.
- If you schedule the exam and do not take it (no-show), your entire application fee will be forfeited. You would not qualify for any refund.
FAQs on 35 Contact Hours
3.1 What is a Contact Hour?Contact Hour is unit of measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students.
3.2 What are the various means to earn Contact Hours?Here's a very good article on various means to earn 35 Contact Hours for PMP Certification:
Project Management Training for the PMP: Satisfying the 35 Hours Requirement
3.3 What doesn't qualify for 35 Contact hours of PM Education for PMP Certification?A few things that do "not" qualify towards meeting the 35 Contact Hours of PM Education for PMP Certification are:
- Attendance to PMI chapter meetings, unless spent conducting a learning activity.
- Self-study (e.g. reading books).
- Degree programme, such as an MBA, in its entirety, but many of the classes within the programme will apply and must be documented individually.
3.4 What is the difference between Contact Hours and PDUs?Contact Hours are hours earned before becoming certified. Contact Hours can only be earned as traditional course time that focuses on project management.
PDUs are earned after one has become certified and there are many ways to earn PDUs.
3.5 Do Contact Hours have an Expiry Date?No. PMI does not mandate any expiry timeline for Contact Hours (CHs) earned to qualify for the PMP Exam, as long as you retain the proof (certificate). For example, if you earned the Contact Hours in 2004, there's nothing stopping you from taking the exam in 2014.
I quote an email that that I received from PMI on this matter:
There is no deadline or expiry date for the PM education requirement, though the PM education must have been acquired before the submission of the PMP application.
3.6 What is the easiest way to get 35 Contact Hours for the PMP Exam?The easiest and an effective way to get 35 Contact Hours of Project Management Education is the PM Prepcast. It is a Podcast based program that provides audio-video study material, sample exam questions, an email-based course and mock exams to prepare for the PMP certification exam. You need to pass a small 25-question exam at the end of the program to get your Contact Hours certificate.
PM Prepcast Review
Review of new video Project Management Prepcast
3.7 Can I apply for PMP certification before getting my 35 Contact Hours?The 35 Contact Hours of PM Education must be acquired before submitting your application for the PMP exam. I quote an email from PMI customer care on this matter:
There is no deadline or expiry date for the PM education requirement, though the PM education must have been acquired before the submission of the PMP application.
FAQs on PMP Exam Preparation
4.1 How do I prepare for the PMP Exam?That's a 10 million dollar question. You are asking the well where the water is. All the information that you need to prepare for and pass the PMP exam can be found here:
Step-by-Step Guide to PMP
How to become a PMP in 6 Steps
4.2 How much time does it take to prepare for the PMP Exam?There's no right answer for this. Preparation time varies by individual. Most people take about 3 months for preparation. Some claim to do it within a month too, while others take as long as a year.
Tip: You can drastically cut down your preparation time if you know the right approach and get the right resources quickly.
4.3 What is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to achieve PMP certification?Please read Easiest, Fastest, Cheapest and Safest way to PMP Certification.
4.4 Which edition of PMBOK Guide is the PMP Exam based on?Since July 31, 2013, PMP exam is based on PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition.
4.5 Is there any change in PMP Exam pattern from July 31, 2013?Many PMP aspirants are anxious to know whether there's any change in the exam pattern (such as number of questions, passing score, type of questions, difficulty level etc.) from July 31, 2013. The simple answer is No. However, since the exam switched from PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition to the 5th Edition, the questions were updated to reflect the changes in the PMBOK Guide. Otherwise, there is no change in the number of questions, exam pattern, passing score, or the difficulty level.
The last significant change to PMP exam was done in Aug 2011.
4.6 What were the Aug 2011 changes to the PMP Exam?Here is the document that exactly captures the Aug 2011 changes to the PMP Exam. It clearly provides the domains, tasks, and knowledge and skill statements as defined by PMI's Role Delineation Study (RDS): PMP Exam Content Outline (Revised Aug 2011)
4.7 What is the difficulty level of the PMP Exam?PMP exam is generally considered difficult. To know more, read the article What is the difficulty level of the PMP Exam.
4.8 Is PMBOK Guide sufficient to clear the PMP Exam?Generally speaking, the answer is 'no'. There are topics on the PMP exam that aren't even covered in the PMBOK Guide. So, you cannot completely rely on the PMBOK Guide for your preparation. Usually, a combination of a good training program for 35 Contact Hours of PM Education, the PMBOK Guide, a good PMP exam prep guide, and free resources available on the web are what you need to pass the PMP exam.
4.9 What percentage score on sample exams indicates readiness for the real PMP Exam?There's no right answer here, but here are some general guidelines that might help you:
|Oliver Lehmann's Sample Exams||75%|
|Rita Mulcahy's PM Fastrack||80%|
|Head First PMP||85%|
These scores are applicable to "first attempt" on the exams.
4.10 How can I get a copy of the PMBOK Guide?You can get a PMBOK Guide in 2 ways:
- If you are a PMI member, you can download an electronic version (soft copy) of the PMBOK Guide: PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition Download.
- If you are not a PMI member, you can purchase a hard copy of the PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition on Amazon.
4.11 How often is the PMBOK Guide revised?The Project Management Institute (PMI) revises the PMBOK Guide every 4 years or so. For example, the second edition of the guide was released in year 2000, the third in 2004, the fourth at the end of 2008 (beginning of 2009), and the fifth (the most recent) in Dec 2012.
With this trend, you can expect the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide around the end of 2016.
4.12 Can I Print the PMBOK Guide PDF legally?Yes, you can. Read the following post for details:
Can I Print the PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition PDF Legally?
FAQs on PMP Exam Prep Resources
5.1 Where can I find resources to prepare for the PMP Exam?Here's the address to the "Gold Mine" of PMP Exam Resources:
"Best" PMP Exam Resources
Directory of "Best" PMP Exam Resources for PMBOK Guide, 5th Ed
PMP Books & Resources
You can get a list of the best study guides for PMP here.
5.2 Which is the best book for PMP Exam preparation?PMP Exam Prep, 8th Edition - by Rita Mulcahy
|This is arguably the most popular book for PMP Exam preparation. I've personally used it and highly recommend it for all PMP aspirants. In one of the surveys we conducted in the past, more than 60% respondents recommended this book for PMP exam preparation. Read 10 Reasons to Buy Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep Book for more details.|
5.3 Which is the best PMP Exam Simulator?In my opinion, Rita Mulcahy's PM Fastrack is the best exam simulator. It is ahead of the rest in several terms of quality of questions, number of questions, simulator features and software quality. It comes with 1500 questions and the question format, quality and standard is very close to the real PMP exam.
I used it personally for my preparation and would highly recommend it. The only drawbacks are the cost and availability. If you can afford it, I would say, you don't need to look elsewhere.
Tip: Even if you have this simulator, you should try at least couple other free mock exams as well. Read the next section for the list of free mock exams.
PM Exam Simulator - 1800 Qs: This is a new subscription based exam simulator from the publishers of PM Prepcast. It has 1800 realistic PMP exam practice questions. You can read a comprehensive review of the PM Exam Simulator to learn more.
Simplilearn is another good PMP exam simulator that you can try. It comes with a free 200-question full-length exam for you to evaluate the program before purchasing it. If you are satisfied, you can purchase 1/2/3/4 additional full-length exams at $10-$15 each. They have posted several student testimonials on their site, and interestingly, all testimonials are associated to the real LinkedIn profile of the students. Now that's neat. Overall, Simplilearn is a good value for money.
5.4 Where can I find the best free sample questions for the PMP exam?I've compiled the list of 7000+ best free sample questions for the PMP exam from across the web. It is by far the most comprehensive list of sample question available on the internet.
Free Sample Exams for PMP
7000+ Best Free PMP Certification Exam Sample Questions
5.5 What are ITTOs?ITTO is an acronym for Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs. The PMBOK Guide is organized by 10 Knowledge Areas, their 47 processes, and 618 ITTOs of those processes. Understanding the ITTOs is a key to passing the PMP exam.
Worried about ITTOs?
Worried about Inputs, Tools and Technique, and Outputs (ITTOs) for the PMP exam?
world's best tool to master ITTOs!
FAQs on PMP Exam Administration
6.1 Where do I take the PMP Exam?All computer-based tests (CBT) are administered by Prometric. You can select the most convenient testing center and schedule the exam on the Prometric website.
6.2 Can I take the PMP Exam online (internet-based)?No, the PMP exam cannot be taken online. You need to physically go to the selected Prometric testing center to take the exam. I'm mentioning this explicitly because a lot of candidates think that they can take the exam online.
6.3 How are PMP Exams Administered?Computer-based testing (CBT) is the standard method of administration for all PMI examinations.
However, paper-based testing (PBT) is available in the following situations only:
- Candidates who live at least 186.5 miles/300 km from a Prometric CBT site.
- Employers (Corporate Sponsors) who wish to administer a PMI examination to their employees. In this case, there is no restriction on distance; however only employees of the corporation may test at these events.
6.4 Where can I find the list of Paper-Based Test (PBT) Centers for PMP Exam?You can get a list of Paper-Based Test Centers on the Prometric website - look for Locate a paper-based test event.
6.5 How often are PMP exams conducted?PMP Computer-Based Tests (CBTs) are conducted everyday, all over the world. As I mentioned above, the exam is administered by Prometric. You need to book the exam slot with the Prometric test center near your location. When you get to take the exam depends upon the availability of test slot.
Paper-Based Tests (PBTs) are conducted on pre-scheduled dates. The event sheet can be found on Prometric website as mentioned in the previous module above.
6.6 Can the PMP Exam be taken in a language other than English?No and Yes. All PMI examinations are administered in English. However, language aids for the questions and answers of the PMP and CAPM examinations are available to assist you if English is your second language.
Language aids are available in the following 12 languages:
- Brazilian Portuguese
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Chinese (Traditional)
6.7 What do I need to bring to the test center for taking the PMP Exam?You are advised to bring the following items to the test center for taking the PMP Exam:
- Two forms of identification (see the next section for valid forms of identifications)
- A copy of the exam confirmation email from Prometric (though not absolutely required, it's better to carry a copy along)
- Light Snacks
- A sweater or a jacket (just in case it's cold inside the test center)
- A calculator (though most probably you won't be allowed to use your calculator)
- Simple Ear-plugs (test center usually provides their own ear-plugs)
- Last, but not the least, Yourself :)
6.8 What type of identification must I bring to the test center for the PMP Exam?The exam confirmation email that you will receive from Prometric will contain the exact identification policy which is applicable to you. You must follow the requirements listed in that email. If you have any questions or concerns, call your test center before the exam and clarify with them.
In general, the identification policy is:
Candidates must present one form of un-expired, government-issued identification that contains the candidate's name, photograph and signature. The following forms of identification are acceptable only if they meet these requirements: Passport, driver's license, national identity card, military ID, other forms of un-expired, government-issued, identification that has both signature and photo. If any of the above forms of identification contain the candidate's name or photograph, but not his/her signature, the candidate can use another form of un-expired identification what provides a signature to supplement the photo-bearing, government-issued ID. Examples are: Employee ID, Bank card, Credit card.
For more details, check out Prometric Exam-takers' FAQs.
6.9 Can I visit the Prometric Test Center before the PMP Exam?Yes, you can visit the Prometric Test Center before your scheduled exam date. In fact, you are highly encouraged to do so. This will allow you to know the directions to the test center and avoid the risk of getting lost, showing up late for the exam, or missing your exam altogether.
Tip: When you visit the Prometric Test Center, you can carry along your identification documents and have them verified in advance by the staff at the center to avoid any last minute surprises before the exam. Note that even if you had your identification documents verified in advance, you must bring them again for the exam.
6.10 What (stationery) does the test center provide for the PMP Exam?The test center usually provides a dry erase marker, an eraser, and a small erasable board. Some test centers may provide a few blank papers and sharpened pencils instead.
6.11 How much time is allotted for the PMP Exam?The allotted time to complete the computer-based examination is four hours. The examination is preceded by a tutorial and followed by a survey, both of which are optional and can take up to 15 minutes each to complete. The time used to complete the tutorial and survey is not included in the examination time of four hours.
Tip: Exam takers usually use the 15-minute survey, which precedes the exam, to do brain dump of formulas, important terms, or anything else they want to get off their head. Some even take this time to relax or meditate.
6.12 Are 4 Hours Enough to Complete 200 Questions on the PMP Exam?Four (4) hours are more than enough to answer 200 questions on the PMP Exam. You have 1:12 min for each question. Since, all questions are multiple choice questions, it usually takes less than a minute to answer the questions. Most people complete their first pass of all 200 questions within three (3) hours, and the remaining time is spent in reviewing the marked questions.
Tip: Try not to spend more than a minute on any question during the first pass. Mark all wordy questions for review and answer them on the second pass.
6.13 Do I need to use a calculator during the PMP Exam?Yes, it's very likely that you'll need to use a calculator. The exam is not a test of your math skills and if you can do primary school level calculations in your head, you don't need a calculator. However, people are known to mess up '2+2=4' type calculations under intense pressure, and it won't hurt to verify your results on a calculator.
Nowadays, the exam has a calculator application built into it. In the initial tutorial before the exam, you'll be guided on the steps to use the calculator. So, rest easy. You don't need to carry your own calculator (in fact, you won't be allowed to).
6.14 Is there any official break during the PMP Exam?No. The PMP Exam is for 4 continuous hours, without any official break. The clock doesn't stop once it starts ticking, until the end of the exam.
However, you are allowed to take breaks - nature, or regular - during the exam at your own expense (time). It's best to check with the Prometric test center, where you've scheduled your exam, about their policy on this matter.
6.15 Can I end the PMP exam earlier than 4 hours and walk out of the test center?Yes, definitely. You can end the exam anytime after starting it, and walk out of the examination center. However, you cannot pause and resume the exam. If you take any breaks during the exam, the clock keeps ticking.
6.16 Can I Read Books or Review Notes during the Break in the PMP Exam?As funny as it may sound, but this is an actual question asked by many people. So, I have to address it.
The simple and clear answer is 'No'. You would be under supervision even during the break. Moreover, it would amount to cheating and thus go against the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
6.17 What if I Do Not Show-up for my PMP Exam?No-show is as good (or rather as bad) as failing the exam. Unless it's a matter of life and death, you'll have to pay the re-examination fee to take the exam again.
But if it is indeed a "special case", you can write to PMI Customer Care for consideration.
FAQs on PMP Exam Scheduling
7.1 How do I schedule my PMP Exam?You can schedule the PMP Exam directly on Prometric website. You can also call them and schedule your exam.
PMI does not guarantee exam slot availability with Prometric and strongly recommends that candidates book the exam slot:
- at least six weeks in advance of your preferred test date and
- at least three months before the expiration of your eligibility period
7.2 Will PMI extend my exam eligibility period if I do not find a slot with Prometric?Don't bank on it, and don't wait until the last 3 months of your 1-year eligibility period to book the exam. If you have at least 3 months left in your 1 year eligibility period, and you still cannot find any slot with Prometric, then it's best to contact PMI Customer Care and let them know of the situation.
7.3 How many times can I reschedule my PMP exam with Prometric?You can reschedule the exam as many times as you want, as long as you do so at least 48 hours before your current appointment. There's a $70 fee if you reschedule your exam within 30 days of your appointment. For rescheduling more than 30 days in advance, there's no rescheduling fee.
You can reschedule the exam online or by calling the test center directly. But note that many test centers do not provide direct (phone or otherwise) rescheduling facility. For such centers, you can reschedule the exam online.
Check out the Prometric Exam-takers' FAQs page for more details.
Note: It is best to call Prometric and confirm the terms & conditions of rescheduling the exam in order to avoid any issues.
7.4 Is there a fee to reschedule the PMP Exam?There's a $70 fee if you reschedule your exam within 30 days of appointment. As long as you reschedule the exam more than 30 days in advance, there's no fee, no matter how many times you reschedule it.
7.5 What if I do not take the PMP Exam within the 1-year eligibility period?Well, you would have to re-apply and go through the entire application process again. Moreover, if you have paid the exam fee and don't take the exam within 1 year, your exam fee would be forfeited.
FAQs on PMP Exam Questions
8.1 What is the format of PMP Exam Questions?All the questions on the PMP Exam are multiple-choice questions. Each question has exactly 4 answer choices.
8.2 How many Questions are there in the PMP Exam?PMP Exam comprises of 200 questions. Of the 200 questions, 25 are considered pretest questions.
8.3 What are Pretest Questions?A PMP Exam consists of 25 Pretest questions. Pretest Questions:
- Are "trial" questions.
- Are used in examinations as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future examination questions.
- Do not affect the score.
- Are randomly placed throughout the exam.
8.4 Is there any negative marking in the PMP Exam?No. There's no negative marking on the PMP exam. Tip: Even if you don't know the answer, take a guess, but don't leave any question unanswered.
8.5 Can I bookmark a question on the PMP Exam and revisit it again?Yes. You can mark a question for 'review' and revisit it anytime during the exam. You can use this feature to your advantage.
Tip: If you are not sure about the answer of a particular question, just go by your instincts or your best guess and select an answer. Mark this question for review. Complete the first pass of all the (200) questions and then revisit the questions marked for review at the end.
By the way, don't forget to bookmark this page and revisit it again.
8.6 Are the answers to questions marked for review on the PMP Exam counted?Yes. As long as you've answered the question, it is counted at the end of the exam, irrespective of whether it's marked for review or not.
8.7 What is the Domain-wise distribution of PMP Exam Questions?The PMP examination is developed based on the PMP examination blueprint contained in the PMP Handbook. The examination blueprint details the percentage of questions contained in each project management process group. The following represents the percentage of questions in each domain that are included in the examination.
8.8 Which are the toughest topics on the PMP exam?Among the Knowledge Areas, the toughest are Procurement Management, Risk Management and Integration Management. I remember that I had loads of questions from Procurement Management. Also, many times one question cuts across several different Knowledge Areas.
Among the Process Groups, Monitoring & Controlling and Initiating are the toughest.
8.9 Which formulas should I know for the PMP Exam?All the formulas that you need to know for the PMP Exam are mentioned on this post: Review of PMP Formula Study Guide.
FAQs on PMP Exam Passing Score
9.1 What is the Passing Score for the PMP Exam?PMI does not disclose the exact passing score in the PMP Handbook. The handbook says: The passing score for all PMI credential examinations is determined by sound psychometric analysis. PMI uses subject matter experts from across the globe to help establish a point at which each candidate should pass the examination(s) and the examination point of difficulty. Data that shows how candidates actually performed is cross referenced with the subject matter experts to ensure that the point of difficulty on each examination is healthy.
In 2005, PMI published a document "Frequently Asked Questions regarding the new PMP Examination", in which they clearly mentioned the passing score as 106 out of 175 (about 61%). The FAQ document is not distributed by PMI anymore. Therefore, candidates take 106 as a rough guideline for the passing score.
Here are some additional articles about PMP Exam Passing Score:
9.2 When do I know the Result of my PMP Exam?For Computer-Based Test, you will know the result after several 'loooong' seconds upon completion of the exam. You are allowed to pray to your God during this time. In short, you'll get the result on your screen immediately after you complete the exam.
Prometric test center will give you an "official" sealed copy (computer print-out) of your marksheet before you leave the test center.
For Paper-Based Test, it will take a few weeks before you get the result.
9.3 What does the PMP Exam Score Report contain?The PMP Exam Score Report contains:
- Test result - Pass or Fail.
- Domain-wise performance information:
- Moderately Proficient
- Below Proficient
9.4 Can I view my PMP Exam Score Report Online?Yes. You can view your certification status and PMP exam score report online at PMI's Online Certification System. After you log in with your user ID and password (you need register on that site first if you don't have an account), you would see your current certification status and a link to the PMP exam score report in the "My PMP" section in the navigation bar on the left.
9.5 Is there any way to find the percentage score on the PMP Exam?No. PMP Exam score report only indicates the domain-wise proficiency level. There's absolutely no way to find the actual score.
9.6 What is the Percentage Equivalent of each Proficiency Level on the PMP Exam?If PMI were to disclose percentage values for each proficiency level, then why would they move away from the old system (of publishing the score in percentages) to the new system (of publishing proficiency levels)?
So the short answer is - PMI does NOT disclose the percentage score for each proficiency level (Proficient, Moderately Proficient, Below Proficient).
9.7 Does proficiency level (or score) matter on the PMP Exam?First of all, PMI doesn't provide a score for PMP Exams. You only get a domain-wise "Proficiency Level" on the PMP Exam score report.
When it comes to PMP exam, a pass is a pass. It doesn't really matter how comfortably you pass or how narrowly you scrape through. The proficiency level is provided to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
FAQs on PMP Certificate
10.1 What does a PMP Certificate look like?Pretty anxious huh? Here you go:
10.2 Does the PMP Certificate show the score?No, the PMP Certificate does not indicate the score or proficiency level as you can see (or cannot see) in the image above.
10.3 How long does PMI take to mail the PMP Certificate to successful candidates?You get the certificate in about 4-6 weeks after passing the exam. The time varies depending upon your coordinates on the globe.
FAQs on PMP Re-examination
11.1 What if I fail the PMP Exam?Hell won't break loose if you fail your PMP exam.
PMP Exam is not an easy by any means. Many candidates fail the exam on their first try. You should not get disheartened. Rather use the experience as a springboard for your next big leap and pass the exam.
You can take the exam up to 3 times within one year from your application approval date. If you fail the examination three times within the one-year eligibility period, you must wait one year from the date of the last examination you took to reapply for the credential.
You need to pay a re-examination fee for each retake. The re-examination fees also varies depending upon whether you are a PMI member.
Re-examination Fees for PMI Members
Re-examination Fees for Non-PMI Members
11.2 What percentage of people fail the PMP Exam?According to popular guesstimate, about 30-40% people fail the exam on the first try.
11.3 Why do people fail the PMP Exam?If you thought that a high percentage of people fail the PMP exam because the exam is too difficult, then you would be wrong. Read Top 5 Reasons People Fail the PMP Exam, for some interesting insight.
11.4 How many times can I retake the PMP exam?As mentioned above, you can take the exam up to 3 times within one year from your application approval date.
11.5 If I fail the PMP Exam, how soon can I retake it?PMI does not mandate any "cooling off" period to retake the exam. You can retake the exam anytime provided:
- You apply for re-examination and pay the reexamination fee. Normally, it will take about 3-4 business days for your previous exam result to be registered in PMI's systems. So, you'll have to wait until your previous result is recorded in their systems before applying for re-examination.
- You book the exam slot again with Prometric.
- The new exam date is within the one-year eligibility window.
11.6 How do I apply for PMP re-examination?You can apply for PMP re-examination through PMI's Online Certification System.
If you prefer to apply offline (through postal mail or fax), you can print the PMP Application Form and send the hard copy to PMI Global Operations Center (address available in PMP Handbook).
11.7 What if I failed the PMP Exam before July 31, 2013?If a candidate failed the PMP Exam before July 31, 2013 and applies for re-examination, he/she would have to take the "new" PMP Exam, which is based on PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition.
It's a double whammy. Not only would the person need to write the exam again, but would also have to prepare again based on a new course material. However, note that the Contact Hours, which were earned to qualify for the previous attempt, would still be valid for the "new" PMP Exam.
11.8 If I fail in the PMP Exam, can I apply for re-evaluation?Yes, you can apply for re-evaluation. You may submit a written request to the PMI Certification Department for review of their decision. Requests can be sent by postal mail to PMI, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
11.9 Does the PMP Exam score report indicate previous failed attempts?Neither the PMP Exam score report nor the PMP Certificate has any reference to any previous failed attempt.
11.10 Will anyone know if I fail the PMP Exam?Yes, you will know, and anyone you tell will know. But rest assured, PMI does NOT disclose your test history to anyone other than you. Though they do publish a list of certified PMPs on PMI Online Registry, they do NOT publish a list of unsuccessful candidates.
11.11 What is the value of PMP Certification?I'm glad that you asked this question. I have a collection of useful links to articles and discussions on this topic here - Value of PMP Certification.
11.12 Where can I find more information about the PMP Exam?The most authentic source of information for the PMP Exam is the PMP Handbook.
You can also refer to the official FAQs from PMI here: PMI's Certification FAQs
If you still have unanswered questions, you can post them as comments at the bottom of this page. I'll try my best to get the answer and even include them in this FAQ list.
Other FAQs on PMP
12.1 How do I contact PMI if I have any questions?You can contact PMI through email at email@example.com or through phone. They have customer service centres in four countries. Refer to the PMP Handbook for details.
12.2 How long is the PMP Certification valid for?PMP Certification is valid for 3 years. Certified PMPs must earn at least 60 PDUs every 3 years in order to renew their certification. Refer to PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements System for more details.
12.3 What is the difference between PMP and CAPM Certifications?Read the article PMP or CAPM: Which Certification is Right for Me? to understand the difference between PMP and CAPM certifications.
12.4 How many PMPs are there in the world?As of 30 Sep 2013, there are 585,040 active certified PMPs in the world. If you have other similar questions like "What is PMI membership strength?" or "How many people pass PMP exam each month?", please refer to the PMI Fact File.
12.5 How can I verify a person's PMP credential?PMI publishes an online registry of all certified PMPs. You can verify a person's PMP credentials if you know his/her last name.
You can view the registry here: PMI Online Registry
12.6 How long does it take for my name to appear in PMI Online Registry after passing the PMP Exam?It takes about 7 to 10 business days for PMI to receive the exam result from Prometric. Overall, it may take upto 4 to 6 weeks for your name to appear in PMI Online Registry.
However, in my experience, the registry gets updated within 2 weeks.
Do you have additional questions?Did you find this information useful? Please post all your queries here and I'll try my best to answer them. Your comments and suggestions will be appreciated too.