What is the format of the PMP certification exam?
The PMP certification examination is comprised of 200 multiple-choice questions.
Of the 200 questions, 175 questions are scored and considered for your final result; 25 questions are considered pretest (unscored) questions.
Pretest questions do not affect your final result; they are used in PMP exam as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future examination questions.
However, you will not be able to distinguish between the actual exam questions and pretest questions. So, you should assume that your exam is based on 200 questions. For all practical purposes, forget that pretest questions are sprinkled among the 200 questions thrown at you.
All questions are randomly placed throughout the examination.
How many questions will come from each process group?
PMP examination content outline identifies the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the PMP certification examination.
These percentages are used to determine the number of questions related to each project management process group that should appear on the PMP certification exam.
|PMP Examination Blueprint|
|From the PMP Examination Content Outline|
|Domain||% of questions|
|Monitoring and Controlling||25%|
Each domain contains tasks, knowledge and skills that are evaluated during the PMP certification exam. In addition, you will also be tested on the cross-cutting knowledge and skills, which are used in multiple domains and tasks.
Example of task
Develop the project schedule based on the approved project deliverables and milestones, scope, and resource management plans in order to manage timely completion of the project.
Example of knowledge and skills
- Benefit analysis techniques
- Change management planning
- Contract management techniques
- Performance measurement and tracking techniques (e.g., Earned Value, Critical Path Method, Programme Evaluation and Review Technique, Trend Analysis)
- Process analysis techniques (e.g., LEAN, Kanban, Six Sigma)
Example of Cross-Cutting Knowledge and Skills
- Brainstorming techniques
- Coaching, mentoring, training, and motivational techniques
- Conflict resolution
- Data gathering techniques
- Negotiating and influencing techniques and skills
For a comprehensive list of the domains, related tasks, knowledge and skills required to competently perform these tasks and cross-cutting knowledge and skills, used in multiple domains and tasks, please refer to the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Examination Content Outline.
How long will it take to complete the PMP certification exam?
You will be given 4 hours to complete the exam.
The examination is preceded by an optional tutorial and followed by an optional survey, both of which can take up to 15 minutes to complete. The time used to complete the tutorial and survey is not included in the examination time of four hours.
Candidates normally use the 15 minutes, before the commencement of exam, to quickly write down some hints (popularly known as brain dump) on the white papers given to them. You could write down some ITTOs, EVM formulae or the process groups-knowledge areas-processes matrix. Its entirely up to you.
There are no scheduled breaks once you start the exam. However, you are free to take breaks, if needed; but, the clock continues to tick. So, I suggest to take one break of 5 minutes somewhere close to two hours after the commencement of exam.
Most of the candidates do not find 4 hours as a constraint to complete the 200 questions. The candidates I spoke to after their examination always told me that they finished the exam close to 3 hours.
But, few candidates could not complete the exam in time or they had to rush during the latter half of the exam. Discussions with such candidates revealed that they had inadequate hands-on experience with full length mock exams. They were over confident that they could clear the exam without getting their hands dirty.
What is the marking scheme?
Each question contains four possible answer choices.
There will be only one correct choice to each question. Many choices may look correct; but, you should choose the most appropriate one to the given scenario.
Each correct answer on the exam is worth one point; and your final score is calculated by totaling the points you have earned on the exam.
There is no negative marking in the exam. Unanswered questions will get zero marks.
What is the passing score?
Is it true that I should score 61% in the examination to pass the exam? No, it is NOT true anymore.
The passing score is determined by sound psychometric analysis. PMI uses subject matter experts to determine how many questions you must answer correctly to pass the exam.
Do I get to know my score in the PMP certification exam?
No, you will not get to know your score.
Existing exam results report: You will be given a performance rating for each domain. The performance in each domain will be assigned a rating from “Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient”. The domain and the corresponding performance rating you achieved in the exam will be shown on your examination report.
New exam results report (with effect from 28 Aug 2017): The rating system uses four different performance rating categories (“Needs improvement, Below Target, Target and Above Target”) to show your overall performance on the exam. Each rating reflects how many questions you answered correctly.
Above Target: Your performance exceeds the minimum requirements for this exam.
Target: Your performance meets the minimum requirements for this exam.
Below Target: Your performance is slightly below target and fails to meet the minimum requirements for this exam. Additional preparation is recommended before re-examination.
Needs Improvement: Your performance is far below target and fails to meet the minimum requirements for this exam. Additional preparation is strongly recommended before re-examination.
PMI will also provide an exam analysis page, which you can access on your Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS) dashboard. At the analysis page, test takers can visualize their performance at the domain and task level. The analysis page provides test takers with even more detailed information on their exam performance. The exam analysis page also offers customized tips on next steps to focus your study or future professional development.
I hope the information provided above is clear to you. If you have any further queries, please feel free to throw your questions at the comments section below. Let us get it done.
Certified Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)®
An enthusiastic project management practitioner and trainer.