The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is a comprehensive assessment of a project managers’ abilities and serves as an important milestone in their careers. This is a certification for seasoned project managers who have at least 3 years of experience managing projects. 

Unfortunately, passing this examination can be challenging; however, those who have failed their PMP exams still have options available to them. This article provides a complete guide on how to recover from a failed PMP exam.

This guide will discuss strategies to help project managers prepare for and pass the failed PMP exam attempt, including identifying areas of weakness and creating a study plan. Additionally, it will provide information regarding registration, the exam fee, exam fees test accommodations, and deadlines associated with retaking the PMP exam.

Why Do People Fail The PMP Exams?

To understand why project managers fail their PMP exams, it’s important to consider the complexity of the questions they encounter as well as any external factors that might affect their performance on exam day itself. 

Essentially, failing this tough examination comes down to being unprepared; this could mean either lack of studying or inadequate time-management during the examination.

The PMP exam is a pass or fail exam. You will only be told whether you were proficient, moderately proficient, or below proficient in the 3 domains outlined in the exam content outline. 

One common reason that people fail the PMP exam is because English is their second language. If this is the case, you can request language aids prior to the start of your exam. This means that you will see the exam questions in English and your native language as well. 

The PMP exam is available in the following languages: 

  • Arabic
  • Hebrew
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • French
  • Russian
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Turkish

Another reason why exam takers failed the PMP exam is because they didn’t do enough practice questions. They thought if they read the PMBOK a few times, they could pass with flying colors. Since most examination questions that you’ll see are situational questions, you must prepare with PMP exam simulator that gives you a good sense of what to expect on your actual test day. 

Poor time management is another reason why PMP aspirants fail on their first attempt. Candidates must stay focused for 4 hours and read every question carefully. 

I’ve had one student tell me that he blanked out when he saw his first exam question. He spent 5 minutes reading and re-reading the same question, and that derailed him for the whole exam. He then scrambled for the remainder of the exam trying to make up for the lost time. 

It’s important to manage your time accordingly, and not spend more than 1 minute per question. If you don’t know the answer, simply mark the question for review and move on. If you have time at the end, go back to the questions again. 

You should also get familiar with the testing environment. Going into a Pearson Vue testing center is a bit like crossing airport security. When you arrive, they will use a metal detector to scan you and ensure that you have nothing in your pockets. You will be asked to leave everything in a locker prior to the start of your exam. There are security cameras all around the testing center and can be intimidating. 

Some test takers have tell me that they score pretty high on their mock exam, but there is a certain level of intimidation that comes with being in the exam room, and that’s what caused their poor performance. 

To summarize, the main reasons for failing the PMP exam include: language barriers, insufficient amount of practice questions completed, poor time management, and unfamiliar with the testing center environment. 

What Should I Do If I Fail My PMP Exam?

Failing the PMP exam can be a discouraging experience, but it is possible to recover from it. There are certain steps to take if one fails their exam that will help them to prepare for success in future attempts.

First and foremost, individuals who have failed their PMP exam should review their scores and the topics they scored the lowest on on the test. The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides detailed score reports of each domain covered on the exam, and tells you how you can improve on future attempts. 

A review and re examination of these areas will help identify which skills require re examination and more studying before attempting the test again.

It is also important to recognize that the passing score is not released by PMI, and PMI uses a sound psychometric system to determine who passes the exam. This means that if you scored a harder question correct, you will get more points. 

In addition, the passing score may vary depending on other candidates taking the exam. This means that if more candidates are scoring higher, then the passing score will be increased. 

Here’s a more in-depth article on the passing score of the PMP examinations.

Second, you should create a study plan outlining how they will address any knowledge gaps identified during their post-test analysis. This plan should include specific goals such as a new exam date completing additional PMP boot camp or reading the PMBOK guide. 

Your study plan should also detail dedicated chunks of time each day/week to focus on studying, and connecting with peers who have passed their exams and learning from their experiences.

Committing enough study hours into mastering all topics ensures better chances for success when sitting for the exam again; however, scheduling breaks between sessions is critical too since prolonged periods of studying can lead to burnout and reduced performance levels during testing scenarios.

Thirdly, taking practice tests helps measure progress while also familiarizing yourself with the format of the real exam questions so as to reduce anxiety during testing conditions.

You must remember that failing does not mean giving up; rather it means recognizing there is still work remaining until you obtain the PMP credential. 

In order to continue moving forward towards their goal, staying motivated despite failure is key. Writing down achievable milestones within a given timeline provides tangible evidence of progress being made which keeps enthusiasm alive throughout the journey ahead.

With careful planning, succeeding on the next attempt at passing your PMP Exam is achievable. 

What If You Failed The PMP Exam 3 Times?

If you’ve taken the PMP exam 3 times and failed all 3 times, it can be a discouraging experience. If this happens to you, you have a one year waiting period before you can take the exam again. 

Before you can write the PMP exam a 4th time, you have to write your PMP exam application again, and wait for it to be approved. 

What Is The PMP Exam Failure Rate?

Approximately 30% of test takers who sit for their certification exams do not even pass the exam on their first try. 

In order to increase your chances of succeeding on subsequent attempts:

1. Review information from past tests and identify knowledge gaps or areas where improvement may be needed.

2. Take practice tests with lots of situational questions and use reputable PMP exam simulator. 

3. Practice active reading – focusing on keywords, topics covered in questions, and understanding how words link together within sentences or paragraphs and across multiple passages/questions – so that you can accurately answer questions quickly during the testing session without making careless errors due to skipping over details or misinterpreting content.

4. Review project management terminologies, processes, tools and techniques. It could also be beneficial to do an additional PMP exam prep course. 

Avoiding Careless Errors + Practice Active Reading

Failing the PMP exam can be a source of immense frustration and disappointment, however it is not necessarily indicative of an inability to become successful as a project manager. To avoid further failure on subsequent attempts, active reading and careful exam preparation, are key in order to recover from this setback.

The PMP questions can be tricky. Sometimes, PMI would use double negatives or absolutes to tricky you. When I see a long-winded question, I would read the last sentence first and then read the whole question. I would try to think of the correct answer before looking at the 4 multiple choices given. I would re-read the question again to eliminate careless errors. 

Additionally, you should track your exam score on practice exams to see your progress. Taking simulated practice exams allows you to better gauge where you need improvement prior to taking the official exam – by identifying weaknesses ahead of time, you have more control over your performance and increased assurance once they arrive at Pearson Vue.

It is crucial to understand how common careless errors can be made in the PMP exam and develop strategies for avoiding them. In addition, it is important to practice active reading so that questions can be answered more accurately and quickly. Taking these measures will help increase the chances of passing the PMP exam on the first attempt.

Working With A Study Group + Read Lessons Learned From Others

Reading lessons learned from other professionals’ experiences can often provide useful strategies for developing effective study plans and managing stress levels. 

Working with a study group can also have its advantages when preparing for the PMP exam. By sharing experiences and resources from other project management professionals, individuals are able to gain additional insight into what they should focus on while studying for their certification exams. 

Furthermore, studying with others allows individuals to stay motivated as well as discuss topics related to their own project management experience, education and professional experience that they may not otherwise consider or come across during independent study.

Additionally, learning lessons from those who have already successfully passed the PMP exam can provide valuable guidance in how best to prepare oneself for success on test day. Test takers should use caution however as every individual’s experience with any given subject matter varies greatly; thus it is essential to apply what was learned from successful candidates only after factoring in one’s own particular situation.

Understanding The Different Types Of Questions

Project management professionals have to be adept at taking the PMP exam. The exam is designed to test your understanding of key concepts related to project management and requires a great deal of preparation and practice. But if you do fail the PMP exam, it can be disheartening and overwhelming.

It’s important to remember that failure doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end; instead, it means there are still steps to take before achieving success on the PMP exam.

To do this, first you need to understand how the different types of questions work and what they require from you as a candidate.

PMP exams typically contain multiple-choice questions (MCQs). MCQs are often framed around complex topics or scenarios that involve decision making based on facts presented in the question’s stem or prompt. They may also include an accompanying chart, graph, or table for further analysis. When answering these questions, one must carefully read the entire question and all its components in order to draw accurate conclusions about which answer choice is the correct answer.

Understand Why Your Answers Are Wrong

One of the key components to recovering from a failed PMP exam is understanding why your answers are wrong. Examining the incorrect responses can provide insight into which skills and knowledge areas you need to focus on during your next attempt to pass the exam. It’s important to remember that there are many types of questions asked in the PMP exam, so it’s normal if some areas were more difficult than others.

The type of question will determine how you should approach answering it correctly. For example, multiple-choice questions require a quick evaluation of each answer before selecting the correct one; whereas situational judgment questions ask for an analysis of all context provided with the scenario before arriving at an answer. Understanding this difference helps identify what went wrong and allows for improvement when re-taking the exam.

It’s also helpful to review any notes or resources used prior to taking the test as well as take practice exams using similar content material. This provides an opportunity to gauge where additional preparation may be necessary or beneficial moving forward.

Additionally, familiarizing yourself with common examination strategies such as time management, question elimination techniques and stress management tactics can help improve confidence when retaking the PMP exam.

Update Your PMP Study Plan

A successful study plan includes several components, such as setting aside time each day or week dedicated to studying, breaking down topics into manageable chunks, using different materials and resources to supplement learning, and scheduling practice tests throughout the exam preparation and period.

It’s important to review which areas were most challenging during the last attempt so they can be specifically targeted in the new plan. Additionally, if certain skills have been identified as needing improvement after taking a practice test, more focus should be given to those areas before attempting another real exam.

Project management professionals need to stay organized by tracking their progress and creating deadlines for themselves. A detailed timeline helps keep track of what has already been accomplished and what needs further attention. Notes should also be taken while reviewing material – these notes can then become part of an overall strategy document used for future reference when preparing for other certifications or job interviews.

Once an updated study plan has been created, practicing with practice exams is essential for gaining confidence and familiarity with questions likely to appear on the actual exam. Taking advantage of online courses or self-study classes can help prepare candidates who might not have access to traditional classroom settings or tutors with expertise in project management topics.

With knowledge acquired through additional resources combined with diligent study habits spread out over time, individuals will have higher chances at passing their PMP exam on the next attempt—perhaps even achieving above average results! Aspiring Project Management Professionals must remain committed and focused while undergoing intense training sessions prior to taking any certification tests again.

Practicing With Mock Exams

Practicing with mock exams is a critical step for PMP exam candidates to ensure success. It allows the candidate to become familiar with the questions, the exam structure and expectations of the actual test.

Practice exams are designed by experienced professionals using up-to-date content from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). These practice tests simulate the format and difficulty level of the real exam and provide an accurate assessment on how well prepared you are for it.

Practice exams can also help identify any weak areas in knowledge that may require further study or review before attempting the real exam. They serve as an effective measure of readiness and can be used to gauge your performance throughout your exam preparation process.

We offer free sample tests that cover topics related to your project management experience, such as scheduling, budgeting, risk analysis, quality control, etc., so that you can get a sense of what type of questions will appear on the actual exam.

An important part of preparing for the PMP exam is taking multiple full length practice tests simulation exams and practice exams under timed conditions similar to those during the real examination. Setting a realistic timetable and sticking to it for full length tests, practice tests and mock tests also helps create a structured learning plan which focuses both on mastering concepts and practicing them through these simulated tests. This approach increases confidence levels when answering difficult questions and boosts overall performance during the actual exam day.

It is recommended that all potential PMPs take at least three full-length simulations prior to their scheduled test or pass the exam on date itself; this way they can gain valuable feedback about their performance while giving themselves adequate time to make necessary improvements in specific subject matter areas if needed. Taking regular practice questions not only reinforces understanding but also improves accuracy across different question types, leading to better results come exam time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Re-examination Fee? 

If you do need to retake the exam, you will be required to pay the reexamination fee. For PMI members, this fee is $275, and for non-members, it is $375. For your first attempt, the PMP exam fee is $555 for non-members and $405 for members. 

Is there a waiting period? 

There is no waiting period between the time you failed the PMP exam and the time you can take it again. Technically, you can take the PMP exam again the next day, but I would not recommend it. Please note that you have 3 attempts to take the PMP exam within a 365 days period. If you do not pass after your third attempt, you must wait a year before you can apply again. 

How Can I Increase My Confidence When Taking The PMP Exam?

To increase one’s confidence when taking this difficult exam, it is helpful to:

– have knowledge of project management principles

– practice exam with a mock exam and exams

– create a study plan and timeline

– get plenty of rest prior to the test date

– take deep breaths during breaks in between sections or questions

– remind oneself that failure is only temporary.

How Long Should I Expect To Study For The PMP Exam?

Most aspiring project managers require 200-250 hours of study for the PMP certification exam.

Of those, 35 contact hours should be dedicated to formal learning in order to understand and master the principles required for a successful outcome.

After the formal training, it is recommended that individuals spend additional time studying on their own in order to prepare adequately.

This could involve engaging with online resources or taking part in any relevant courses offered by accredited providers.

The overall preparation and application process can last up to one year eligibility period or several months to one year eligibility period depending on an individual’s prior knowledge and experience level.

What Is The Best Way To Approach Difficult Questions On The PMP Exam?

The PMP exam is designed just an exam used to assess an individual’s knowledge and understanding of project management principles. It contains a range of questions from easy to difficult, including those that require detailed analysis.

To approach these more challenging questions on the PMP exam, it is important to:

– First read the question carefully.

– Break down any complex concepts into manageable components.

– Evaluate available options for each component before selecting an answer.

– Consider if there are any underlying assumptions or implications in the question not explicitly stated.

Additionally, practice exams can help build confidence and provide insight into how best to address difficult questions on the PMP exam.

Is There A Way To Stay Motivated While Studying For The PMP Exam?

Recent studies have found that individuals who pass their PMP exam on the first attempt spend an average of 200-250 hours studying.

This statistic provides evidence for the importance of staying motivated while preparing for the PMP exam.

To increase motivation, project managers can create a study plan with achievable goals and establish rewards for reaching them.

Additionally, taking regular breaks to rest or engage in leisure activities can help maintain focus over long periods of time.

Finally, setting short-term objectives and tracking progress helps sustain momentum throughout the learning process.

What Resources Are Available To Help Me Prepare For The PMP Exam?

The best way to start is to check out our free training which will teach you how you can get certified in as little as 2 weeks!


Passing the PMP exam can be a challenging task. It requires comprehensive knowledge of project management education and understanding of the various concepts, processes, and tools associated with successful project management.

With adequate preparation, practice, and focus, however, anyone can pass the PMP exam. To be successful in this endeavor, it helps to have an organized plan of action that includes setting aside enough time for studying and reviewing materials as well as taking full advantage of available resources.

Additionally, having a positive attitude throughout your journey will help you stay motivated and confident while working towards passing the exam. The rewards of hard work—a sense of accomplishment along with professional recognition—are truly invaluable.

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