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The PMP® examination is a serious and difficult element of earning the PMP® credential. The 200 question, proctored exam must be completed within four hours.
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When your application is approved, you will receive an eligibility letter. This letter provides instructions for scheduling the exam. You have one year to take the exam. If you do not pass the exam on the first try you can retake the exam up to two more times, for a total of three.
Refer to the PMP® Handbook for details about how the exam is administered.
The exam is a 200 question multiple choice exam. The questions are hard. You must thoroughly know the PMBOK® Guide to be able to answer most questions correctly. You may be an expert at project management in your organization, but you need to be an expert in the recommended approach and practices of the PMBOK® Guide. That means you need to know their processes, the inputs and outputs, their recommended sequence and their definition of terms. I have worked with enough organizations to know that everyone does project management differently. However, the exam will only test one way, the PMBOK® Guide way.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with the PMBOK® Guide way. I am just saying that it is probably different than what you are used to doing, so you need to study and learn the PMBOK® Guide way.
The questions are spread across the five process groups and ten knowledge areas. The breakdown of questions is:
The percentage of correct questions needed to pass can vary based upon which questions you get correct or incorrect. On every exam there are 25 questions that are being evaluated to determine if they should be added to the test bank. Those questions will not count towards whether you achieve a passing score. While the success rate for passing the exam does vary over time, a good rule of thumb has been that your chance of passing on the first try is only 50-50, unless you take a PMP® Preparation course.
Your results from your examination will be immediately available to you with a printout of the areas where you scored well and the areas where you did not.
Testing is conducted at Prometric testing centers which are located in cities around the world. When you get your eligibility letter you can go online to their site and select a location and date for your exam. If you do not live within 240 km (149 miles) of a Prometric site, PMI will make a provision for you to take the test on paper.
The test is administered in English with language aids available in the following languages: Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
When arriving at the testing facility you will need to provide government issued identification that includes your picture and signature. Arrive about 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the test. This allows time to get settled so you are ready as soon as the test starts. You have 4 hours to complete the test, and the computer will cut you off at the end of the 4 hours. There are no scheduled breaks during the test. You may not bring the following items into the room where you will be taking the test: food, beverages, calculators, cell phones, pagers, tape recorders, sweaters, coats, book bags, luggage, eye glass cases, children, visitors, dictionaries, books, or any other personal item. You are allowed to have a pencil and blank note paper - which will be given to you by Prometric.
A technique that I recommend is that you arrive at the testing center well before the start time. Review one last time the areas that you think might be the most difficult for you. Then enter the test room and before you start the test, write down on your blank paper the items that you just reviewed. It might be formulas, definitions, or diagrams. With those ready for reference during the test, initiate the exam at your test station.
PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
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PMI, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.