If it turns out that you failed to pass the PMP® exam on your first try, you are not alone. In fact, it’s not at all unusual.
PMI does not use a strict ratio of correct versus incorrect answers to gauge whether you pass or fail. Rather, it uses a system that accounts for the degree of difficulty of each question. And of course, one portion of the exam isn’t actually included in your grade, but rather used to determine if a new question is of sufficient quality to warrant being a graded question, and perhaps to assess its relative difficulty. So that particularly “dumb” or unusually obtuse question you encountered may not have counted against your score at all. However, let’s be clear. Just like life itself, many of the “real” questions are quite tricky. Best guesses say (and there’s nothing to back this up) that a passing score is in the ballpark of 65 percent correct. That’s why our advice here has been to score 80 percent or higher on exam-quality (situational) questions before you take the exam.
Questions to ask yourself
1. Did you read the PMBOK® Guide multiple times before the exam, concentrating on the material as you went?
2. Did you score 80 percent on practice exams, and were those questions difficult and situational in nature?
3. If you took a prep course, was it provided by a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP)? This is important for various reasons outlined in a separate article, but don’t forget that REPs are required to make their materials compatible with the PMBOK Guide on which the exam is based.
4. If you found a correct answer, did you quickly check it and move on? Recall that it’s very possible that all four answers are correct. There’s always a reason, however, why the “correct” answer is correct, given that it would be the first thing to try or just simply the most logical.
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