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PMP Exam: Pattern, Updates, Pass Rate, Preparation

17th May, 2024
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    PMP Exam: Pattern, Updates, Pass Rate, Preparation

    There are a number of courses and certifications available online for Project management and related fields. One of the most prestigious Project Management certifications is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification is like a gold standard for project managers. This requires an individual to go through rigorous training and an exam in order to obtain the certification. You can find out more about the courses on PMP exam training.

    What is PMP Exam?

    The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a globally recognised certification that assesses an individual’s ability to manage processes, people and business goals of a project. This certification is provided by Project Management Institute (PMI), that is a leading organization on Project management.

    On obtaining this certification, an individual becomes a part of an elite group of project managers that have showcased their knowledge and leadership in managing projects. As of today, there are about 1 million PMP certification holders across the globe. It is applicable to any industry such as IT, Infrastructure, Health care and business.

    Even though getting this certification is a challenging task, it can help you increase your earning potential and can be a stepping stone in you career path.

    PMP exam assess you on the three following areas:

    • People: This deals with your skills in managing and motivating a project team that helps you in delivering the project.
    • Process: Knowledge of predictive, agile and hybrid process approaches that suits a project.
    • Business Environment: Identifying and assessing how the environment impacts the project and organizational objectives. 

    Why PMP Exam is Important?

    With the onset of a nerve cracking global recession and the crippling recovery from covid, many professionals are re-evaluating the impact on their career, their goals and priorities. To future-proof their skills and having a competitive edge, many individuals are looking for career opportunities to up-skill or re-skill themselves.

    The increasing demand for project managers can be backed up by the PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap survey that estimated the demand for 25 million new project professionals by the end of this decade globally. As organizations are evolving rapidly to keep up with the changing environment, an individual who is specialized in navigating changes and delivering projects is an asset.

    This certification provides you the opportunity to be a part of a network of professionals that specialize in project management and are helping in transforming the world by delivering high impact projects.

    According to the CIO magazine, PMP certification is the top project management certification in North America. This is because obtaining this certification means you have the skills and experience needed to deliver quality projects. The median salary for PMP certification holders is 16% higher than those without the certification.

    PMP Exam Eligibility Criteria

    Project Management Institute has laid down some requirements that a candidate must fulfill to sit for PMI PMP exam.
    These requirements are in the form of project management experience and project management educational units. If a candidate does not meet this eligibility requirement, their application stands canceled by the institute.

    The requirements are as follows:

    • A 4 year degree- Bachelor's Degree or Global Equivalent
    • Minimum of 36 months of professional Project management experience
    • 35 contact hours or PDUs of project management education or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification


    • A High School Diploma, Associate’s degree or Global Equivalent
    • Minimum of 60 months of professional Project management experience
    • 35 contact hours or PDUs of project management education or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification

    How Much Does PMP Exam Cost?

    To sit for the PMP online exam, there is an application fee that needs to be submitted.

    For PMI members, this cost is $405 and for Non-PMI members the fee is $555. The PMI membership price is $129 with an application fee of $9- $10.

    This exam is slightly less expensive for the PMI members. Check out more on PMP certification cost.

    PMP Exam Syllabus

    To obtain this certification, a candidate has to devote at least a few months and needs a thorough study plan with a lot of determination.

    The syllabus of the exam is extensively based on PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge)® Guide. It includes 49 process groups and 10 knowledge areas that are categorized into 5 domains of the exam. PMP curriculum is divided into domains and each domain carries some weightage in the overall exam.

    The weightage of each of the domains is mentioned below:

    DomainWeightage ( in terms of %)
    Monitoring and Controlling25%

    PMP Exam Pattern

    The PMP exam pattern consists of 200 MCQ questions out of which 175 are considered for the final test scores and 25 are not considered. One may never know which question is to be counted for the final score so the best thing to do is attempt all the questions to the best of your capability. The duration of the exam is 4 hours and there is no negative marking for any incorrect answer.

    To pass the PMP examination, you need thorough guided training and KnowledgeHut has the right training for you. The courses for Project Managers will provide you with globally recognized accreditations and level up your skill.

    Since PMP is not an easy exam to crack, the passing rate for the exam is between 50-60%. There is no fixed passing score for this exam and marks are allotted on the basis of the difficulty level of the questions you can correctly answer.

    Scheduling and Taking the Exam

    Obtaining a PMP certification is not an easy procedure as to first sit for the PMP exam, you need to get your application for the certification approved.

    To Schedule and Register for PMP exam, Follow the Below-steps:

    Step 1: Visit the PMI occicial website.

    Step 2: Verify you eligibility for the exam, fill the PMP application and submit.

    Step 3: Now, mention your educational qualifications and work experienced to get the application accepted.

    How to Schedule your PMP Certification Exam?

    While scheduling for the PMP exam, look for a date that gives you ample amount to study, including training, practice questions and mock tests. The PMP exam is managed by a third party test administrator, Pearson VUE.

    You will be able to book your exam from the PMI website which will redirect you to the Pearson VUE website out of all the available slots. 

    How to Take PMP Exam Online?

    The PMI institute allows you to take the exam from the comfort of your home or from an authorized center.

    The prominent advantage of taking PMP online exam from home is its convenience as you are not required to travel to the center for the exam. You will be able to attempt the exam from the comfort of your home or office or any other comfortable setting. Moreover, you can schedule the exam at any time convenient for you unlike test centers that have fixed timings and days.

    However, you must ensure that you have a stable internet connection for the entire duration of the exam and you also note that the proctor will be monitoring you for the entire duration of the test. You are not allowed to use any scrap paper, or speak to anyone during the test.  You must also ensure that no one else enters the room you will be using for the exam.

    At the center, the testing process is simple, predictable, and well-documented.The protocols of the center are well defined. When at the centre, you need not need worry about a stable internet connection and a working computer. During the exam, you will be allowed to use scratch paper and writing pad provided at the center. Also, you can be sure of having a distraction-free testing environment. 

    Using KnowledgeHut's PMP Course as a Tool to Pass the Exam

    KnowledgeHut provides in-depth training on PMP certification. As a part of this certification, yet get access to the entire syllabus of the PMP exam 2023 and live calls for doubt clearing sessions. You also get access to practice tests and industry experts. You can learn more about the certification course on KnowledgeHut's PMI PMP training.

    How long is the PMP Exam?

    The PMP Exam can be attempted at a physical center or online. Under both formats, the duration of the exam and number of questions will remain the same.

    The PMP Exam has 180 questions. You will get 230 minutes to answer all the questions. You do not have the provision to take a break if you are taking the test at a physical center. For the online version you can avail yourself of two breaks of 10 minutes each after 60 questions and 120 questions each. Your break time will not count as a part of the 230 minutes you are allowed to complete the exam. Note that after the break, you cannot review the questions before break.  

    Note: You cannot review the questions attempted before the break.

    How Long Does It Take To Get PMP Certification?

    PMP certification process starts by checking your eligibility and extends till learning how to renew your certification every three years.
    If you meet the academic and eligibility criteria of the PMP Certification. The remaining steps can be categorized as below:

    1. Training: 35 Hours

    As a part of meeting the eligibility requirements, you should complete 35 hours of live training with one of PMI’s Authorized Training Partners (ATP). While holding an active CAPM certification makes this step optional, the training will also prepare you to plan and prepare for the PMP Exam.

    2. Exam Preparation: 2 to 4 months

    This part of the process in terms of duration is up to you. If you have a good understanding of all the concepts and have enough time to prepare rigorously a month may be enough time. Similarly, if you don’t have enough time due to your work or other commitments your preparation may extend to six months or more. 2 to 4 months gives you enough time to cover all the topics while retaining your learning.

    Your exam preparation should include practice exams in the PMP exam format. In terms of topics to be covered PMI has categorized them into three and apportioned what percentage of questions you can expect from each domain.

    DomainProportion of questions
    Business Environment8%

    Schedule the PMP exam in a way that gives you enough time to prepare and practice.  

    3. PMP Exam: 230 minutes

    The PMP Exam needs to be completed in 230 minutes during which you will have to answer 180 questions. These questions will be in any of the following four formats.

    • Multiple choice
    • Multiple responses
    • Fill-in-the-blank
    • Matching
    • Hot spot

    The last two categories are new additions that have been added in the year 2021.

    4. Certification: 2 to 4 weeks

    Once you pass the PMP exam you are considered PMP certified, and you are free to use the PMP designation. PMI will take anywhere between two to four weeks to send you the actual certificate.

    5. Renewal: 3 Years

    Your PMP certification has a validity of three years after which it will need to be renewed. You may not have to take the exam though if you accumulate 60 PDUs in the space of 3 years. Doing an advanced course by PMI or attending PMI events are ways through which you can attain these PDUs.

    Unlock your potential with csm certification training. Acquire agile project leadership skills to elevate your career. Enroll now and soar to new heights!

    What Is the Timeline for the PMP Certification Process?

    PMP Certification Timeline

    PMP Certification Process

    How does one go through the process of getting a PMP certification? Follow these steps.

    1. Where to start?

    Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and complete the 35-hour long PMP training from an Authorized Training Partner. Login to PMI website and fill the PMP application. You are given a time of 90 days to fill your application.

    2. What is the review?  

    PMI takes up to 5 days to review your application and to confirm if you meet the eligibility to appear for the PMP exam.

    3. What is PMP Audit?

    Some applicants are selected for audit. In this process, PMI will verify your academic and professional qualifications. You will be given up to 90 days to submit all the necessary documents. PMI will take 5 to 7 days to complete the audit.

    4. Is my application complete once PMI approves it?

    After PMI gives the go-ahead, you can pay the exam fees and schedule your exam.  

    5. When can I take the exam?

    You must schedule the exam within 1 year of the application approval date. You can take the PMP exam up to 3 times in the span of 1 year. You can check the exam fees according to your location on the PMI page.

    6. How long is the PMP exam?  

    The PMP Exam lasts for 230 minutes, the exam will have 180 questions. PMI does not publish a minimum pass percentage. Scoring around 80% is considered enough to pass. The pass percentage is decided based on the difficulty of an exam.

    7. How long does it take to get PMP Exam results?

    You will know if you have passed the PMP exam immediately once you complete your exam.

    8. When do I get certified?

    As soon as you pass the PMP exam you can use the PMP designation and PMP will provide you digital credentials. PMI will take 2 to 4 weeks to send the physical certificate.

    What to Do After Getting PMP Certification?

    Once you get PMP certified you could use the credential to get noticed by recruiters and get lucrative jobs in project leadership roles. KnowledgeHut PMP certification training is one of the best Project Management certification training courses available on the market. Your PMP certification comes with a validity of 3 years. You could opt to build on your skills by doing more advanced certifications like PgMP®, PfMP®, PMI-ACP® etc.

    The most significant portion of your time in acquiring your PMP certification will be spent in preparation for the exam. To improve your chances of success, you can reach out to your training provider for additional support. You could join a local PMI chapter and find project professionals to guide you or find other candidates to coordinate your preparation with.  

    Project management is an evolving discipline. While many of the practices have been in use for decades, there are always new methods and tools to work with. To be an effective project manager in a leading organization you will need to understand both the old and new methods.


    Even though the PMP certification is a difficult one to clear, it is definitely worth the effort and preparation. As a PMP certificate holder, you belong to an elite group of project managers and showcase a gold standard in project management.

    With the right time management, dedication and study materials, it is possible to clear the PMP Project Management Professional exam and obtain this esteemed certification. We hope that this guide on what is PMP examination answers your queries.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Who Conducts the PMP Certification Exam?

    The PMP certification is conducted by the Project Management Institute ( PMI). PMI is a globally recognised authority for project managers and reflects the gold standard in project management principles.

    2How many attempts are allowed for the PMP Exam?

    In a given year, you can attempt the PMP exam 3 times. If you fail the exam 3 times in a year, you must wait for a year to be eligible for the exam again.

    3Can I clear the PMP Certification Exam without experience?

    In order to be eligible for the exam, one must have 36 months or 60 months of work experience. The experience need not be as a project manager leading a project, but any role in which you were directly involved in the management of a project is eligible to be counted as experience for PMP. 

    4How long is PMP and how many questions?

    The PMP exam is 230 minutes long, it contains 180 questions.

    5How many minutes is the PMP exam?

    The PMP exam lasts for 230 minutes in both the physical and online versions.

    6How many questions can you miss on PMP?

    There isn’t any guideline on the pass percentage required for PMP exams. The number of correct answers needed to pass the exam may vary depending on the difficulty level of the exam. You should aim to answer as many questions as possible.


    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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