Passing the PMP Certification Exam

How Do I Pass the PMP Certification Exam?

That’s probably the most frequently asked question we get when teaching the PMP Prep Course. Our response is normally, you need to know the PMBOK inside and out — but the reality is you need to know how to apply the concepts to real-world scenarios.

PMP Eligibility Requirements

We have prepared a sample quiz to help you get a feel of the questions on the test – PMP SAMPLE QUIZ

We asked past participants who had taken and passed the exam what their experience was like. We hope these insights will help you prepare for your exam. Here is what they told us –

  • Few straightforward definition/calculation questions – most were interpretive questions.
  • I definitely recommend doing a “brain dump” of the 47 processes, to provide the comfort of knowing which processes go in which sequence because such questions come up a bit.
  • CV, SV, CPI, and SPI questions. These require either calculating these values or else interpreting the project status (behind schedule, under budget, etc.)
  • Contract type questions are common, such as the type of contract described or to be used: T&M, CPFF, FP-EPA
  • Questions involving Lessons Learned.
  • Inputs to Project Charter and Project Management Plan. Recommend knowing all the ITTOs for these processes.
  • More questions involving Stakeholders have been added since the exam was revised this January.
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) questions have been coming up in the exam lately. Recommend understanding the term and in which situations EQ would be helpful.
  • Quality questions included the Ishikawa/Fishbone/Cause and Effect Diagrams as part of the correct answer, as well as the Pareto Diagram and principle, and the Control Charts.
  • There have been one or two questions regarding the Tornado Diagram, as well as the Affinity Diagram to collect and categorize stakeholders’ input to the PM Plan.
  • Risk Identification questions are common, including how to treat a newly identified risk, such as what to do first: implement a workaround or update the risk register or perform qualitative risk analysis.
  • Procurement questions sometimes relate to what to do if a seller is not performing, or if the sub-contracting company gets sold to another firm while under an ongoing contract.
  • Memorize the definitions for crashing and fast-tracking, as well as when it is appropriate or more effective to use one over the other.
  • Know inside out the definition of Resource Calendars and Staff Management Plan
  • There are often questions regarding Risk Responses, such as implement a contingency plan, define a workaround, update the Risk Register or the entire PM Plan.
  • There are questions regarding team building activities, and what the expected outcome might be.
  • Recommend knowing what the potential impacts of change requests are.
  • There are questions regarding administrative closure and what is required to close a project, as well as the ITTOs.
  • Questions involving PERT / Three-Point calculations for both cost and time. Often the question does not specify using either the Triangular or Beta Distribution formulas. Therefore, the need to calculate both and then match the correct answer with one of the two calculations.
  • Questions regarding Conflict Management and what is the best way to resolve them depending on the situation.
  • Remember that though not the overall favorites, sometimes forcing/directing or avoiding might apply in the right situation. In general, however, Collaborating/Problem-solving offers a more long-term solution.
  • Know the SOW goal, definition, and where it applies (i.e. Project Charter and/or Procurement Documents.)
  • Critical Path Method (CPM) questions often appear on the exam, therefore, it is important to understand the principle as well as the purpose and importance of calculating float.
  • Recommend you understand the lifecycle of the “Deliverable”:
DeliverablesControl QualityVerified Deliverables
Verified DeliverablesValidate ScopeAccepted Deliverables
Accepted DeliverablesClose Phase of ProjectTransitioned Deliverables
  • A few questions are sometimes about the kick-off meeting. Know when this takes place, who is involved, and what is the goal.
  • There are often questions regarding communication channels ((n*n-1)/2) Remember to add the project manager as part of the number of stakeholders.
  • Remember when the “Probability x Impact Analysis” first occurs. During the Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis” (correct answer) or the “Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis.”
  • It is important to understand when to use which of the two To-Complete-Performance-Index (TCPI) formulas. One is when the Budget at Completion (BAC) needs to stay the same. In other words, when changing the budget is not an option. And the second use the Estimate at Completion (EAC), which is an updated budget.
  • There are often questions regarding the Tuckman Ladder (FORMING, STORMING, NORMING, PERFORMING ADJOURNING), such as in which phase to team members begin to work more effectively.

We hope these insights help you prepare effectively. If you have any questions, or we can be of assistance — please contact us at

Passing the PMP Certification Exam

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