Passing the PMP exam is difficult. This 120-question project management exam is designed to test your understanding and memory of the domains and other topics in the PMBOK guide. PMP certification exam questions and simulations are intended to trick you and force you to think through the topics and scenarios presented in order to come up with the correct solutions.

Needless to say, this 4- hour exam is quite daunting. Although there is no official passing score published by the Project Management (PMI), most PMP exam prep experts estimate that you have to answer at least 61% of the questions correctly to meet the minimum threshold to pass the exam.

Let’s look at a few ways that you can prepare for this exam, increase your PMP exam score, and pass the Project Management Professional exam on your first try!

Steps to Pass the PMP Examination

Study Tips on How to Pass the PMP Exam

Get a Review Course

Before we get into any type of PMP study tips or test-taking strategies, it’s important to make sure you have the right study materials. There’s no way to properly prepare for this test without getting some proper project management education.

There are a lot of different study materials out there for all different types of learners. I highly recommend that you think about what type of learner you are and find a study course that fits your learning style.

This could mean the difference between you passing the exam, becoming a project manager after your first attempt, and having to waste time studying and retaking it two or three times. Yes, it’s that important.

Here is a list of the top review courses. Check them out and see which one fits you best!

Practice Simulated Exams

The overall best way to increase your PMP score is to work the simulated practice exams in your study guide over and over. This will help you in a number of different ways. You will not only become familiar with the different concepts and knowledge areas on the exam; you will get familiar with the exam itself.

Half of the difficulty in this test is simply understanding what the questions are asking and making sense of the answers. If you get really good at answering multiple-choice questions, you will be able to do really well on this exam.

I recommend working on practice tests in an exam simulator until you are scoring 75% – 80% on them consistently, for at least 3 – 4 consecutive tests.

As I said, that is the best piece of advice I can give you to prepare for the exam. Aside from that, here are some additional study tips that you can use to increase your PMP score.

Study Tips on How to Increase Your PMP Score

Here you are my suggestions on how to increase your chances of passing the PMP exam at the first attempt:

Study Tip #1

First of all, you should enroll a good 35 hours course. Any form will be fine, from traditional to an online class, podcast or similar. My suggestion when choosing a course is to make sure that you will have the possibility to ask questions to the teacher and that you will receive enough study material, exam-like questions, and simulations. Also, make sure that the course is authorized by the PMI and that it reflects the 6th edition of the PMBOK which will be the reference text starting from March 25th, 2018.

Study Tip #2

Visit the website, in which you can find FAQs about the exam, the PMP handbook, and PMP Exam Content Outline, which explain many details regarding the exam.

Study Tip #3

Study the material: try to read all the PMBOK if you have time. Also, consider looking into some PMI registered education providers.

Study Tip #4

Memorize the PMBOK’s table with the overall view of the processes. Review it often, refer to it to better “navigate” the study material and the simulated exams.

Study Tip #5

Try to bring the structure of the PMI’s standard into your mind: it is the best help to answer the questions. I suggest to use your talents: make drawings, schemes, use any trick to make the structure really yours.

Study Tip #6

Try the sample questions and simulated exams and reach a constant score of 75-80% overall and preferably in each domain.

Study Tip #7

During the simulations, when making mistakes in any question, go through the solutions that are provided and write the lessons that you have learned from the mistake in one block notes that you can review later.

Study Tip #8

Before each of the simulated exams, exercise yourself to create an help-sheet with formulas and information that you are afraid to forget and try to refer only to it to answer the questions. Keep in mind that the day of the exam you will be not permitted to bring anything with you.

It is highly recommended to use one of the blank sheets that you will be given to note the formulas and information that you remind before starting the exam. Later, because of fatigue, you may not be able to recall the same information.

Study Tip #9

When attempting to increase your PMP score, try to isolate yourself as much as possible. Don’t prepare the exam while chatting on the web or having less time in front of you; like any serious exam, this one requires deep concentration.

When are PMP Score Results Issued?

When will I see if I passed the PMP Exam?

The day of the exam, while you are still at the test site, you will be given the test results in qualitative terms.

Beginning from 28 August 2017, the results are given in the following form:

  • Pass/fail
  • Overall performance is above target, on target, below target, needs improvement
  • Domain level performance is above target, on target, below target, needs improvement

Again, the PMI doesn’t share information about the minimum score to be reached for each domain, and it may be a good idea suggested to try some domain simulation test and to reach a constant score of 75-80 in each domain before attempting the exam.

Do You Have a Study Guide Yet?

Like I said, the most important thing that you can do to increase your PMP score is to get a study guide that works for you. If you are having troubles figuring out which one is right for you, check out my reviews. I list all of them and try to help you pick the right one.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.