The Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam is a globally recognized project management certification that is designed and maintained by the project management institute (PMI). It is an essential for those wishing to pursue a career in project management or demonstrate their current proficiency in project management related area of the field.

Roughly only 10% of employers will only hire project managers who are PMP certified. This means that if you’re serious about a career in project management, getting your PMP certification is crucial.

A common question that PMP aspirants ask is: is the PMP exam difficult?

This article will provide insight into the PMP exam difficulty level, and offer guidance on how best to prepare.

The PMP Exam consists of 180 questions which must be completed in 4 hours and 10 minutes. This means you have just over 1 minute to answer each question.

Out of the 180 questions, 5 questions will be pretest questions, which means that they will not be scored. However, since you won’t know which pretest questions won’t be scored, you have to answer every question as if it is scored.

In addition to testing knowledge of key concepts related to the 5 process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing), you will also be tested on agile methodologies and practices.

In order to pass your PMP exam, you need to review both the PMBOK guide as well as the Agile practice guide.

However, passing the PMP Exam requires not only understanding of technical terms, but you need to also have strong problem solving skills and strategic thinking capabilities so that you know how to apply the project management concepts and theory that you learned into real-world situations.

Understanding The Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam

The exam is a comprehensive assessment of a project manager’s abilities. It tests the ability to apply knowledge in practice, and requires applicants to demonstrate mastery of the domains necessary to be successful in project management. As such, it could be likened to climbing a mountain – daunting at first glance, but achievable with dedication and hard work.

The exam covers 3 domains: People, Process, and Business Environment. Each domain can be further divided into enablers and tasks.

Most PMP aspirants believe that they only need to study the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide to pass the new PMP exam. However, since 2021, the divide between the PMBOK guide and the PMP exam continues to grow.

What most people don’t realize is that there are about a dozen textbooks that are inputs to the PMP exam, and the PMBOK is just one of them. Some people believe that if they read the PMBOK enough times, they can pass the PMP exam easily, but this is not true.

The PMP exam contains of mainly situational questions, and to pass on your first attempt, you should do as many PMP practice tests as possible. I recommend doing at least 1000 practice exams questions before your actual exam.

It is important to know how much time will need to be dedicated towards preparing for the PMP Exam; typically candidates spend anywhere from 120 hours up until several hundred hours studying material depending upon their current project management experience and knowledge base.

Is PMP Exam Hard?

Before I answer this question, let me tell you a story that went something like this… a farmer heard that there was a river nearby and wanted to know how deep it was.

He came across a mouse and asked the mouse. The mouse replied, “stay away! It’s too deep and I almost drowned!”

The farmer, while a bit scared, decided to carry on. After a few more hours on the road, the farmer came across an elephant, and the farmer decided to ask the elephant how deep the river was.

The elephant replied “Oh it’s nothing. Barely goes over my knee cap. It’s not deep at all.”

When the farmer finally reached the river, he found that it wasn’t too deep or too shallow; it was the perfect depth for him to catch fish and bathe in.

The moral of how hard is the pmp exam story is that everyone’s experience is relative. You will encounter first time test takers who tell you that the PMP exam is very difficult, and you’ll also hear some PMP aspirant tell you that the exam is a breezy.

You should not focus on what others say about the difficulty level of the exam. If you take the required actions and study the right materials, there’s no reason why you will not pass on your first attempt.

PMP Certification Requirements

To be eligible for the PMP Exam, a few requirements must be met first.

PMI requires that applicants have either a bachelor’s degree or global equivalent along with at least three years of professional project management experience and 35 hours of formal education in project management.

Alternatively, if you has a high school diploma or secondary degree, then you must have 5 years of work experience instead of 3 years to qualify for the team.

To obtain your 35 hours of formal project management education, you can take a self-paced online PMP exam preparation, or instructor-led exam prep.

In order to pass the exam, applicants need to demonstrate knowledge regarding processes related to each domains. Candidates will also need to understand how different tools and techniques are used during each stage of the project life cycle.

How Can I Improve My Chances Of Passing The PMP Exam?

Time management is key when studying for the exam. Establishing a schedule and sticking to it is vital to ensure adequate preparation.

Exam prep resources such as practice exams, study guides and online courses can help to improve understanding of the material.

Finally, it is important to ensure that adequate time is allocated for rest to ensure the best possible performance on the day of the exam.

Time Management Strategies

Time management is an important factor when attempting the PMP exam. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to spend more than a minute per question. If you don’t know the answer to a question, mark it for review, and come back to it.

Finishing the PMP exam is a bit like running a marathon; you want to have enough energy to complete all the questions in 4 hours.

When you’re doing your practice questions, make sure you time yourself and track your scores. Before you sit for your real exam, you need to ensure that you can complete the entire exam on time.

Test-takers should also make sure to use practice tests as part of their preparation so they can become familiar with the types of questions asked during the real exam.

Creating a Study Plan

Creating a study plan is another way to manage time effectively. The plan should outline what concepts need to be studied daily, how long you plan to study everyday, and when you’re planning to study.

Having a clear road map will help you stay focussed and reach your goals.

Having a Support Network

Finally, having a support network available provides you with the motivation and accountability you need to cross the finish line. Lessons learned from past test takers can also shorten your certification timeline.

What’s The Easiest Way To Pass PMP Certification Exam?

1. It is critical to have a comprehensive study plan in order to pass the PMP certification exam. This should include a review of the PMBOK Guide, as well as additional study resources.

2. It is recommended to practice with PMP simulation exams to become familiar with the exam format and types of questions.

3. Time-management techniques should be employed to ensure that all material is covered during the allotted time for the exam.

4. Understanding the exam’s content and structure is essential in order to pass the PMP certification exam. It is important to understand the types of questions multiple answers that are asked and how to answer them effectively.

Study Strategies

Passing the PMP certification exam requires a great deal of preparation and dedication. It is essential for individuals wishing to obtain their certification to develop an effective study plan that will allow them to adequately prepare for the test.

A few strategies can help increase your chances of success when studying for the PMP exam. Firstly, it is important to become familiar with the format of the exam and its content areas in order to understand what topics may be covered on the exam day. Additionally, taking practice tests or solving sample questions can provide insight into problem-solving approaches which could prove beneficial during testing.

Secondly, breaking down each concept into smaller parts makes it easier to comprehend complex material.

Finally, setting realistic goals over time provides motivation and keeps one focused on achieving success in passing the PMP exam. Creating a timeline allows students to measure progress while tracking strengths as well as weaknesses across all subject matter categories.

Utilizing these strategies can make preparing for this challenging certification more manageable and ultimately lead towards successful results.

Exam Preparation Tips

One of the most important aspects in passing the PMP certification exam is proper preparation.

Exam preparation tips, such as breaking down content into manageable chunks and creating timelines for studying, can help ensure successful results on exam day.

Additionally, taking practice tests or solving sample questions provides insight into problem-solving approaches that could prove beneficial when tested.

By familiarizing yourself with the format of the test and its content areas, you can develop a better understanding of what topics may be covered during testing.

This allows you to focus your study efforts more effectively while setting realistic goals over time to measure progress and track strengths and weaknesses across all subject matter categories.

PMP Passing Score

The passing score for the exam is not released by the project management institute (PMI). However, it is widely believed to be around 60-75%. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re scoring above 75% on your mock tests, you are probably ready for your actual exam.

It is interesting to also note that the PMP pass failure rate is higher than other certification exams. Generally 60-70% of PMP candidate pass on their first attempt. It is crucial to choose a good training course that will fully prepare you for your PMP test. At ExamsPM, we have trained over 100,000 project managers over the past decade and you can get started with our training for free.

How Do I Prepare For The Actual Test Day?

Exam preparation strategies are essential to ensure success on the PMP exam.

It is important to be familiar with the PMP exam structure, exam content outline and exam format beforehand, and to practice with sample exam questions beforehand.

Test day planning is also important, allowing for sufficient rest the day before and ensuring that all required documents and materials are prepared and ready.

PMP Examination Tips and Tricks

Exam preparation should include comprehensive knowledge of the material combined with concise study methods in order to create a successful outcome.

First, take advantage of all resources available such as textbooks, online courses, practice exams, and flashcards. Understanding the content that will be tested can help identify topics needing more attention prior to taking the actual PMP exam. Furthermore, develop a schedule that allows enough time between each topic allowing information learned from one subject area to sink in before moving onto another one; this helps retain maximum knowledge retention during review periods.

Additionally, make sure there are periodic breaks included throughout study sessions which provide beneficial recovery times for the brain aiding in concentration levels when returning back to studies. It is also essential to simulate real-time testing conditions by timing yourself while completing practice tests; this provides invaluable experience with sitting through long exams and managing questions appropriately within timed constraints. Moreover, becoming familiar with different types of exam questions gives insight into how they may appear on test day helping you recognize patterns or methodologies used in construction of certain ones thus enabling quicker responses without expending too much mental energy analyzing them further than necessary.

Finally, do not underestimate the importance of getting ample sleep prior to taking your final assessment – a rested mind is capable of better comprehension and focus resulting in easier navigation through complex concepts presented during a stressful examination environment. Taking sufficient rest days proves equally helpful due to their ability to reduce stress levels created over extended periods dedicated solely towards preparing for the PMP certification exam thereby leading you closer towards achieving success.

Test Day Planning

Planning ahead of time can help alleviate any unnecessary stress or anxiety that could interfere with performance.

Before taking the actual test, review all materials and be sure to understand content covered within each subject area in order to maximize likelihood of passing the exam. Additionally, familiarize yourself with testing environment by visiting the facility prior to scheduled assessment date; this allows an opportunity to become acclimated with space and potential distractions if known beforehand providing better focus during examination period.

It is also beneficial to complete practice tests under timed conditions enabling you gain practical knowledge regarding how much time should be allocated per question as well as becoming accustomed with different types of questions that may appear on test day helping you recognize patterns quicker thus allowing more efficient navigation through complex ones without expending too much mental energy analyzing them further than necessary.

Moreover, make sure adequate rest is taken before attempting final assessment – having a rested mind ensures better comprehension and concentration leading you closer towards achieving desired outcome.

How To Deal With Difficult Situational Questions

When preparing for the PMP exam, situational questions can be particularly challenging. To approach correct questions correctly answer them successfully, some key strategies include:

1. Familiarize yourself with standard project management processes and procedures to enhance your ability to respond correctly in a given situation.

2. Study realistic examples of situations that may occur during a project so you are better prepared to take questions correctly answer related questions correct answer them on the test.

3. Practice answering sample exam questions as if you were taking the actual exam so that you become familiar with the format and language used to answer correctly and by the testing organization.

4. Utilize resources such as flashcards and online study materials to build up knowledge of difficult topics and practice responding accurately under time constraints.


How hard is the PMP exam? The exam tests you on a large variety of project management concepts in situational questions. The hardest part of the exam is dealing with situational questions. Sometimes, when you look at the multiple choices given, there appears to be multiple correct answers. In such cases, you must ask yourself “which answer is the most correct?” or “what’s the best thing that I (as the project manager) should do next?”

Also, remember that there’s no penalty for wrong answer on the exam, so just guess if you have to, and don’t leave any question blank.

The PMP exam is a test scored based on psychometric analysis, and in order to prepare for it, you need to do as many practice PMP exam questions as possible. It usually takes 2 weeks to 2 months of dedication to prepare and pass the PMP exam.

With these tips and tricks in mind, one can approach this challenge like an experienced, a project manager or team manager – with confidence and determination.

Like scaling a mountain peak, it may be strenuous but ultimately rewarding if you persist until the end.

I hope this article helps you get PMP certified with flying colors! If you’re looking for project management resources, get started now with our free course.

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