The PMP® exam

This is a summary of the information you need to know about the PMP® exam. Please note that all the information we provide is officially released by the Project Management Institute (PMI®): we do not provide any secrets, however we do provide selected information that will really help you pass the exam, based on our experience.
We strongly suggest you go to the pmi.org website and carefully read the official information about the PMP® exam. (See the TIP box below for downloading instructions *)

The exam is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions. Every question has four possible answers. The correct answer must be chosen from these options.
The PMI® website provides three sample PMP questions. Further examples of PMP questions can be found in the next PMP exam tips post.

The duration of the exam is four hours long. If this seems like an eternity to you, please think again. In four hours there are 240 minutes, therefore, on average, you will have just 72 seconds to answer each question. There are no official pauses or breaks in the exam: you will not be able to stop the timer. Yes, you can go to the bathroom, but the timer will continue.

There is no penalty for a wrong answer (wrong answer = no answer). You will get 1 point for each correct answer. The official guide states that 25 questions are "pretest" (unscored) questions, and only 175 questions are actually scored ones. This information, in our humble opinion, is not helpful to you, as there is no way for you to tell which question is a pretest one and which is an actual (scored) question. However it is important to understand our stance about the passing score.

The PMP® exam passing score: in the past, some PMP® exam preparation textbook have referred a pass percentage of approximately 61%, (equivalent to 107 scored questions of the 175 scored questions). This percentage is not referred by the official guide, though. Also, please consider that, even if the pass threshold is still 61%, there is no way for you to tell the scored questions from the unscored ones when taking the exam. In the worst case scenario, you may answer correctly all of the 25 unscored questions, plus 100 scored questions, and you will still total just 100 points and fail the exam. That is, getting 122 right answers will not automatically give a positive pass result. So, what to do? Please read on.

Our advice about the "passing score": take the practice PM exam and check your score:

  • If you score 75% or more: you are probably ready to try the PMP® exam;
  • If you score between 65% and 75%: you may still consider taking the PMP® exam, but your chances of passing it are lower;
  • If you score lower than 65%: do not consider taking the exam, spend more time studying and preparing first.


Next PMP exam tip: PMP exam questions

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