PMP® exam questions

Nobody can tell which kind of questions you will face in the real PMP® exam, neither we do. Anyway we think it is useful to provide you with an overview of the types of questions you will find in the PMP® exam simulator that we offer in this website: these questions are specifically designed to test your readiness for the exam. The following list is not exaustive.

Situational questions
These questions describe a situation and ask how would you behave if you were the project manager appointed to manage it. Beware: sometimes the question asks you to identify what is the best thing to do, and sometimes what is the worst thing to do, so take care to read the question properly. Pay attention: some of these questions do not clearly state that you are the project manager in charge, but you must implicitly assume so.

Example of situational PMP question:

1) Your team is presenting the prototype to the sponsor and the marketing manager for the first time. Meeting time is running out. Suddenly the sponsor stops the presentation and starts a lengthy discussion with the marketing manager about a specific prototype feature. What is the best thing to do?
a. Take notes about the discussion.
b. Stop the presentation and ask your team to clarify the situation.
c. Stop the discussion in order to allow your team to go on with the presentation.
d. Wait for the discussion to end and resume the presentation.

Answer to question 1

The correct answer is a. Take notes about the discussion.

Explanation: to correctly answer a situational PMP exam question it is always helpful to ask yourself: "Which PMBoK process am I managing?" and also "Am I into the initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, or closing process group?". In this specific question, prototypes are tools to Collect Requirements, so that's what the meeting is about and you are in the planning phase. This scenario is further confirmed by the presence of the sponsor. So you should be taking notes of the discussion about the prototype feature = collect requirements. Please note also that the question assumes you are the Project Manager, without explicitly saying so.

Unneccessarily verbose questions
These questions are very long, and often contain unnecessary information that has the purpose to distract you. In this case it is very important to carefully read the question in order to identify and discard the useless information and at the same time to identify the key information.

Example of verbose PMP question:

2) You are managing a construction project. The project started 24 months ago and the scheduled project duration is 36 months. The aim is to build a new shopping centre with a covered pedestrian area of 150.000 square feet. The mall will be the largest in the state, and will include 200 stores, a multiplex movie theater and a fitness club. To date, earned value is greater than planned value. Moreover, only half of the construction work has been completed, and half of the project budget has already been spent. Is the project behind schedule?
a. Yes.
b. No.
c. It is impossible to say.
d. Yes, because there are only 12 months left and only half of the work has been completed.

Answer to question 2

The correct answer is b. No.

Explanation: to correctly answer a verbose PMP exam question you need to identify the correct bits of information. To do so you need to start from the actual question "Is the project behind schedule?". The useful bit of information is "To date, earned value is greater than planned value.". The rest of the information provided is irrelevant. Please also note that answer d. is by purpose trying to shift your attention on irrelevant information.

Invented terms questions
These questions contain invented, often plausible words: they can be very easy for those who have spent an adequate time studying, while they can easily fool those who have studied in an approximate way.

Example of PMP question containing invented terms:

3) Which of the following organizational structures assigns the highest level of influence to the Project Manager?
a. Hard matrix.
b. Balanced matrix.
c. Projectized matrix.
d. Functional.

Answer to question 3

The correct answer is c. Balanced matrix.

Explanation: answering a PMP exam question containing invented terms requires adequate studying. Invented terms here are "Hard matrix" (the correct term is "Strong matrix") and "Projectized matrix" (the correct term is "Projectized").

Questions with a list of terms in each answer
The answers to these questions are composed by a list of terms. Each list is only slightly different from the others: often only one term is replaced in each of the answers. To properly answer these questions it is essential to exclude the answers that clearly contain wrong terms.

Example of PMP question containing lists of terms:

4) Which of the following lists includes the most common contract types?
a. Firm fixed price, Fixed price incentive fee, Cost plus economic price adjustment, Cost plus fixed fee.
b. Firm fixed price, Fixed price performance fee, Cost plus incentive fee, Cost plus award fee.
c. Fixed price incentive fee, Fixed price with economic price adjustment, Fixed price plus benefits, Cost plus incentive fee.
d. Firm fixed price, Fixed price incentive fee, Fixed price with economic price adjustment, Cost plus fixed fee.

Answer to question 4

The correct answer is d. Firm fixed price, Fixed price incentive fee, Fixed price with economic price adjustment, Cost plus fixed fee.

Explanation: This type of PMP questions require adequate studying. You can exclude answer a. because "Cost plus economic price adjustment" is invented. Also invented are "Fixed price performance fee" in answer b. and "Fixed price plus benefits" in answer c.

Questions that require some calculation
These questions are easy if you have studied adequately. We may for example ask you to identify the critical path, or to calculate the CPI, SPI, CV, SV, or other simple indices or formulas. Do not underestimate the value of this type of questions: while other questions may be ambiguous, questions requiring a calculation are not and can give you a good advantage should you face them in the exam. For this reason we carefully covered those part of the standard that may turn into a question that requires a calculation.

Example of PMP question requiring calculation:

5) The project budget is 2 Million $, and you have already spent 25% of it. Earned value is 400.000$. What is the CPI?
a. 100.000$
b. 0.75
c. 0.80
d. 1.25

Answer to question 5

The correct answer is c. 0.80.

Explanation: This type of PMP questions can be easy if you remember the basic EVM formulae. In this case the relevant formula is CPI = EV / AC.
Actual cost is 25% of 2 Million $ = 500.000 $.
CPI is then 400.000 $ / 500.000 $ = 0.80.
It can also be useful to remember that SPI and CPI are dimensionless quantities, so answer a. is clearly to be excluded.

Questions that directly refer to the PMBOK® project management processes (inputs, tools and techniques, outputs - sometimes referred to as ITTOs) or other parts of the standard
These questions may seem just a mnemonic exercise to you, therefore we have used them sparingly and we have carefully balanced them in our PMP® exam simulator in order to help you identify what, in our opinion, are relevant topics of the standard that need your careful consideration.

Example of PMP question referring to PMBoK inputs, tools and techniques, outputs:

6) Which of the following is not an input to Determine Budget?
a. Project schedule
b. Scope baseline
c. Reserve analysis
d. Risk register

Answer to question 6

The correct answer is c. Reserve analysis

Explanation: PMP question referring to PMBoK inputs, tools and techniques, output can be annoying if you just try to memorize the intricate web of the 47 PMBoK processes ITTOs! We strongly suggest you to understand the logic behind the PMI standard, and not just try to memorize it. In the case of question 6, it should be easy to recall that Project schedule and Scope baseline are both needed information to determine the project budget. Risk register is an input because you need it in order to aggregate the risk response costs. Reserve analysis is a technique, and in fact is a tool and technique to Determine budget, and not an input.

Questions asking what would you do first.
To answer these kind of questions correctly it is helpful to possess both project management experience and good understanding of the overall methodology that is described in the PMBoK. These are often situational PMP questions, and all the answers provided may be actions you would anyway perform to correctly manage the situation. Please also note that the first thing to do may be not be included into the four answers: you need to pick the first thing to do among the options provided.

Example of PMP question asking what is the first thing to do:

7) You are managing a project for the construction of a new hotel. During the electrical system procurement you realized that you were provided optimistic cost projections, and the project will require additional funding. You therefore issued a change request, that has now been approved by the client. What will you do first?
a. Update the change log.
b. Control costs.
c. Conduct procurement.
d. Determine budget.

Answer to question 7

The correct answer is a. Update the change log.

Explanation: the question states that you have now received notice of a change request approval, therefore the first thing to do is to document this change to the project. You will then need to integrate the new budget in the cost baseline (determine budget), even though you should have created already a new budget draft in order to quantify the additional funding needed. The conduct procurement process comes afterwards, as control costs.

 

Do you like these questions? Want to test your readiness for the PMP exam more? Then you may try either:

  • Free PMP exam simulator: try out our free PMP exam simulator (registration needed): the 50 questions version is completely free, the test is timed like in the real exam and the results are graded.
  • Weekly PMP question collection: we publish weekly a new sample PMP question. We send it directly to your email too, if you like. Access a collection of over 30 quality free PMP exam questions specially designed to test your comprehension of the PMBoK standard and project management practice.

 
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Comments

Great tips! Would you please provide some examples of each type of PMP question?
Thank you

Dear Mish,
many thanks for your kind comment.
We will add some questions examples as soon as possible.

Edited 12/30/2013
Done :)

Hi, could you give an answer to the questions you listed?
thanks

... we provided the correct answer to each questions and also an explanation. Do not forget to try out our Practice PM exam: you will find 50 more free PMP questions (registration needed).

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