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PMP Certification

PMP Certification: Is It Hard to Pass?

Mar 10, 20196 mins readAmit Masih
PMP Certification: Is It Hard to Pass?

Nowadays, most employers prefer to hire project management professionals who hold PMP certification. It is a validation mark of their excellent skills and showcases their seriousness towards the project management profession. However, many candidates have the illusion that the PMP exam is quite hard to crack.

So, is it hard?

Yes, it is but not impossible to crack.

You can pass the exam and get certified with proper guidance and study routine.

Also, you need to match the eligibility criteria laid down by PMI to appear for the exam. Here you will get a deep analysis of how hard is PMP exam and what you should do to overcome the phobia of whether you should take this project management certification exam or not.

Is PMP Certification Exam Hard?

PMP credential is not easy to earn. It is difficult as PMI wants to validate candidates' skills and knowledge and professionals with project management experience and a deep understanding of project management concepts. It does not want to award this credential to anyone who applies but only to deserving candidates. 

So, you cannot just memorize concepts and pass the exam. The exam focuses on testing your knowledge around several domains and how you respond to real-life problems related to project management practices. 

So, you have to prepare a lot to get your concepts cleared and practice as many mock tests based on the PMP exam format to avoid losing confidence on the exam day.

Why is PMP Exam Difficult?

PMP exam requires you to have an in-depth understanding of the topics. Hence the study material is quite comprehensive and requires you to invest time and effort in the exam preparation. It will be challenging to clear the exam if you are not well prepared. PMI has published a PMBOK (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) guide. It details ten project management knowledge areas and covers content, models, and methods to implement your learnings in live projects.

You should only use it as a reference as questions can be asked from any project management-related area.

Complexity of Exam Structure  

You can take the PMP exam online or offline at a testing center. The exam is around 4 hours long and includes 180 questions. The exam questions are not straightforward, and you have to read every question carefully to select the most appropriate answer.

You will be examined across three domains:

People (42%): There are 14 tasks focusing on your expertise in building and directing a project team.

Process (50%): There are 17 tasks focusing on your know-how about best project management processes and practices and how to apply them during the project life cycle effectively.

Business Environment (8%): There are 4 tasks focusing on the value projects provide to the organization.

The questions across these domains are designed to test your practical project management knowledge. Also, out of 180 questions, you are marked for only 175, and the rest 5 are included while grading. It further complicates the exam structure, as you do not know which questions are excluded from marking.

Difficulty of Questions 

No doubt, the PMP exam is difficult. It is a comprehensive test that examines your know-how of the specified domains, project management practices, and real-life case solving abilities. However, candidates who prepare well for the exam and have an adequate understanding of project management concepts and work experience will not find it much difficult. 

Also, the pass percentage is decided based on the difficulty standard of questions. So, you do not need to worry and direct all your energy on studying well.

Also, you must keep in mind that there might be more than one correct answer to a particular question. So if you finalize a particular answer, do not simply check it; you must analyze the logic and reason behind that answer and whether it will be the best choice for that question.

The PMP exam questions vary in length, and some might be lengthy. So you should read them carefully. It requires patience, and sometimes it becomes challenging to stay focused for four hours. So you should try not to lose your focus and patience.

What is the PMP Scoring Process?

The PMP exam’s scoring process is not disclosed by PMI (Project Management Institute). You cannot calculate the success and failure rate for the exam as no data is made available by PMI, and it is kept confidential. A few years back, to pass, a set percentage was known. However, there are no pass criteria as everyone receives different questions and is marked according to the question difficulty. So, to set one pass percentage is not feasible. 

Also, with time the difficulty level of the exam has increased. So, it might be possible that the pass rate has declined. If you want to pass and get certified, you must focus on your preparation, as it is the only way to earn this career booster credential.

Read more: How PMP Exam Scores are Calculated?

For how long should you Prepare for the PMP Exam? 

The PMP exam requires exhaustive and consistent preparation at least a few months before the exam. You must prepare a study plan depending on the availability of time, your current knowledge, and when you want to appear for the exam. 

Your schedule should focus more on weak areas than areas you are knowledgeable about. 

Have a clear understanding of the exam syllabus and format and practice accordingly to avoid last-minute panic.

There are various study techniques for the PMP exam that you can follow to prepare for the exam and increase your chances of passing the PMP exam.

Prepare a study routine as per your work schedule that suits you the best. Do not follow someone else’s routine.

Schedule your study timetable from the day you start preparing to the PMP exam date.

Prepare short notes or flashcards of important information, terms, and formulas as you study. It will help you quickly revise the facts at the last minute.

Read the PMBOK reference guide by PMI and also enroll in courses by authorized training partners to get a feel of the actual exam pattern.

Take as many practice tests, and every time, analyze your answers to find out where you went wrong and what areas you need to focus on more. It also boosts your confidence to face a real exam without losing patience.

You can also enroll in PMI ATP’s Bootcamp, where you get high-quality exam preparation material.

Know more about Study Materials available for PMP Exam Preparation Know more about the Rules and regulations of the Test day

The Final Words

It is pretty challenging to acquire PMP certification, and you need to put in the complete dedication and follow a disciplined routine to crack this exam. And you have to remain disciplined after gaining a certificate to maintain it.

Follow study tips, refer to PMP exam study material, and keep yourself updated about various exam day rules to easily pass the PMP exam and land your dream project management job.

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