The PMP exam has 180 questions and you get 230 minutes to answer these questions.
The above statement provides a straightforward and simple answer to the query posed in the title of this post but everything about PMP is far from simple. So, we have written this post to clear some air around the PMP exam.
You will find answers to the following questions in this post:
- What is the total number of questions in the PMP exam?
- What is the duration of the PMP exam and how long do you get to finish it?
- What is the syllabus of the PMP exam?
- What is the passing criteria for the PMP exam?
- How many questions should you practice to crack the PMP exam?
- What type of questions come in the PMP exam? What is exam pattern?
- What kind of questions should you practice for the PMP exam?
After reading this post, you will know all the nuances of PMP credential test. You will also get to know the structure and pattern of the PMP exam.
1. How Many Questions come in the PMP Exam? How Long is the Exam?
The PMP exam is conducted both as a Computer Based Test (CBT) and Paper Based Test (PBT). The CBT is conducted by Perason VUE on the behalf of PMI.
The exam has 180 multiple-choice questions that come from 3 different domains. You are given 230 minutes to complete the exam, which means you get approximately 76 seconds per question.
In addition to the 230 minutes exam time, you also get an option for two scheduled breaks of 10 minutes each. No breaks are given for the paper-based exam.
The two breaks are not counted towards your exam time. So, effectively, you get 250 minutes to complete the exam.
You can treat the exam to be divided into three sections of 60 questions each. After completing the first 60 questions and again after completing the next 60 questions, the Pearson VUE software gives you an option to take a 10 minutes break.
The software will start the break only after you have confirmed that you have reviewed your responses. Once you start the break after reviewing your responses, you cannot return to the questions from previous section. So, you should be absolutely sure before taking the break.
You should budget approximately 76 minutes for each section. You can use the breaks to stretch yourself and take a snack.
2. What is the Syllabus of the PMP Exam?
The major reference for the PMP exam is the PMBOK Guide but the exam is not solely based on the Guide.
The questions in the PMP exam are based on the tasks listed in the Exam Content Outline. The questions come from three different domains:
- People (42%)
- Process (50%)
- Business Environment (8%)
You can refer to our article on the latest edition of the PMBOK Guide to understand more about the exam syllabus and PMP Exam Content Outline.
3. What is the Passing Criteria for the PMP Exam?
PMI has not published any fixed score or criteria for passing the PMP exam. In 2007, there was a fixed score of 61% for passing the PMP exam but after that no one knows if there is a fixed score or not. Instead of using a fixed score, PMI may be using an entirely different mechanism like percentile scoring to pass or fail the candidates.
PMI gives a score report after a candidate finishes the exam. The score report shows ratings of the candidate on a 4 points scale for each of the 3 domains that are listed in the previous section. These are called performance rating categories.
One of the following rating is given to the candidate for each domain:
- above target
- below target
- needs improvement
You can refer to our other article on passing criteria of the PMP exam to understand more details about how PMI passes or fails a candidate.
4. How Many Questions Should You Practice to Crack the PMP Exam?
Practicing mock question is must for the PMP exam prep or, for that matter, any exam preparation. But, then this question comes up – how many mock question should one practice before writing the PMP exam.
Frankly speaking, there is no definitive answer to this questions since every individual has a different learning curve and style. What could be easy for you may be difficult for others.
Some people feel comfortable after doing 500-600 questions but some others are not confident even after doing 3000 questions.
Having said that, let us tell you about a strategy to determine how many questions you should do pass the PMP exam.
You should do 40-50 questions per chapter while studying the PMBOK Guide. Similarly, you should do about 100 questions while studying Agile Practice Guide. That will make a total of about 700 questions for the 13 PMBOK Guide chapters and Agile Practice Guide.
After finishing the PMBOK and and Agile Practice Guide, you should do 3-4 full length tests of 180 questions each. This will make a total of 720 questions.
The grand total comes out to be about 1500 questions, which is the right amount for most most people.
If you do about 1500 questions and start scoring about 80% in the practice tests then you should feel confident of passing the PMP exam. However, if you still don’t feel confident then you can practice a few more questions.
You can check our PMP exam simulator for practicing the different styles of questions that appear in the PMP exam. It has very tough PMP exam style questions. We believe that you will feel confident of passing the exam after practicing and reviewing our simulator questions.
Note: You can download a free copy of the PMBOK Guide by becoming a PMI member.
5. What Type of Questions Come in the PMP Exam?
Out of 180 questions in the test, 175 questions are scored and rest 5 are not scored. These questions are called pre-test questions. These are randomly placed in the exam and you you don’t get to know which questions are scored and which are not. So, you should do your best to answer all the questions.
Out of 180 questions 50% of the questions are based on each predictive approach and agile or hybrid approach of project management. These questions come in following forms:
- Multiple choice: You have choose the best option from the given four choices.
- Multiple responses: There could be more than one correct answers among the choices provided.
- Matching: You have to match choices presented in two columns.
- Hotspot: You have to select a portion of the given diagram to mark the correct answer.
- Limited fill in the blank: You have to fill the blank with the correct answer
You can refer this pdf for for examples of different type of questions.
6. What Kind of Questions Should you Practice for the PMP Exam?
Apart from the 5 different forms of questions that are mentioned in the previous section, the exam tests you on 7 different kind of questions. These are:
Situational-based questions test your expertise to apply theoretical aspects to real-life situations. These questions’ main motive is to check your relevance for the task. The questions are based on the concepts of the PMBOK Guide.
Situational questions test your ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life project management situations. It is seen that questions under this head tend to be lengthy. Hence, the situational type of questions is actually like a real-life problem.
The options provided with these types of questions may seem to be confusing and they may give you the feeling of more than one correct option.
2. ITTO Based
ITTO stands for Input, Tools & Techniques, and Output. You will see many questions based on the ITTOs. In these types of questions, you are asked to select the correct input tools, techniques, and output of a given process. There are ITTOs for every process group.
3. Definition Based
These questions are based on definitions given in the PMBOK guide. These are the simplest questions.
The term is given and the definition is asked or maybe the definition is given and the term is asked. These are simple to answer just go through the PMBOK guide definitions for project management.
4. Formulas Based
You should understand the mathematical formulas explained in the PMBOK Guide to solve these questions.
When you understand these formulas, it provides a critical decision-making process that helps to figure out which figure or information included in the PMP question can be used in the calculation.
A good understanding of the formula may also help you to eliminate the choices easily. Which helps you to solve the questions quickly with fewer choices.
5. Diagram Based
These types of questions are based on diagrams or flow charts. A diagram is given and a question is asked you have to answer the question based on the diagram given.
In such cases, you will be provided with some data and you need to analyze the data to find the correct answer.
7. Questions on Professional Responsibility
PMI expects you to follow a code of conduct since you are a certified professional. So you will get questions based on the PMI code of ethics & professional conduct.
Although no one knows how many question of each kind come in the PMP exam, but it is safe to say that the bulk of the questions are situational. You can assume that 90% of questions in the exam are situational questions.
Having said that, you should do all kinds of questions to prepare for the exam. You should start your preparation by doing some direct and ITTO questions before moving to the other kind of questions.
How to Pass the PMP Exam?
PMP exam is one of the most prestigious certificates present across the globe. Only professionals with good work experience in project management are eligible to take the certification exam.
You must not delay your PMP certification because of the uncertainties. With each passing day you are potentially losing a 16% increase in your salary.
PMP certification extremely valuable in the real world. PMP is a tough exam to pass but it is not impossible to do so. You can easily crack the exam by enrolling into a good training program, which will give you a proper platform to prepare for the exam.
Our training program not only provides 35 hours of training certificate but also comes with very tough 1000+ questions exam simulator.
If you are serious about passing the PMP exam then there is nothing to lose by enrolling into a 35 contact hours course. A 35 contact hours training is mandatory for appearing in the PMP exam and its certificate remains valid till you appear for the exam.
Our PMP training program contains a lot of study material that will help you to pass the exam in your first attempt. You can buy lifetime access to the program at a very reasonable cost.
Our PMP program is priced as low as USD 249 in USA. Our training is unmatched in the industry. It will enable you to pass the PMP exam in your first attempt and, in case you are unsuccessful, we will refund 100% training fee.
After completing the course, you should pratice a lot of questions from a good source to be fully prepared for the PMP exam. A good source like our simulator will help you to pass the exam in your first attempt.
You can invest in our PMP simulator to practice questions and feel confident about passing the exam.
Our simulator has very difficult PMP exam style mock questions. It will enable you to pass the exam in your first attempt. It comes with unlimited lifetime access so you can attempt the questions again and again till you fully understand the concepts.
Over to You
Have decided about taking the PMP exam? If not, what is holding you back?
We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.