PMP Pass Rate: Percentage of People Passing PMP Exam

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21st Mar, 2023
PMP Pass Rate: Percentage of People Passing PMP Exam

The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the USA (United States of America). It is the world's leading Project Management certification. The exam consists of 180 questions which you must answer in 230 minutes. It has evolved and focuses on three domains: People: This covers the soft skills you need to lead project teams successfully. Process: The tools and techniques you need to successfully manage projects. Business Environment: To ensure that projects are carried out as per organizational strategy. PMP certification is considered the gold standard for anyone looking to make a career in Project Management

What is PMP Exam? 

The PMP exam is a vast and comprehensive assessment of your knowledge and ability to manage projects. It covers project management fundamentals, from start to finish, the project life cycle, cost, and time estimation techniques, and managing risks and issues. You'll also be tested on your ability to apply critical judgement in complex situations. The exam is both domain-specific (depending upon the type of industry) and application specific, meaning you'll need practical experience with the types of projects covered in your area of expertise. To prepare for the PMP exam, you may consider taking PMP classes and crack PMP in your #1 attempt.

PMP Certification Eligibility Criteria 

Based on your educational history, there are two scenarios where you will be eligible for the exam. 

If you have a four-year bachelor’s degree or global equivalent, you need: 

  • Minimum three years/36 months of unique, non-overlapping experience on professional projects 
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education 

If you have a high school diploma, associate degree, or global equivalent, you need: 

  • Minimum five years/60 months of unique, non-overlapping experience on professional projects 
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education 

If you have a bachelor’s or post-graduate degree from a GAC accredited program (bachelor’s degree or master's or global equivalent), you need: 

  • Minimum two years/24 months of unique, non-overlapping experience on professional projects 
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education 

Get to know more about the importance of Project Charter.

What is PMP Exam Passing Score? 

You might have heard about this already, but there isn’t a definite PMP exam passing score. While it did publish an exam pass rate of 61% in 2005, the exam and its scoring system have evolved since then. The PMI has also mentioned that they use subject matter experts every year to determine the passing score you need for the exam. It is also a clever idea to train with a Premier Authorized Training Partner of PMI. 

This way, your instructors would be PMI-certified, and you’d learn from the best. There are several Project Management certification course you can enroll for. However, it is important that the training be tailored to the latest curriculum of the PMP exam. 

It’s important to note the following points as well: 

  • Since the PMP exam is psychometric, your exam questions may vary from those of your peers. So, the passing score will differ. 
  • The difficulty level is also different across exams, depending on how the questions are distributed. So, your score of 82% may not be enough for your friend to pass. 
  • Easier questions do not have a lower weightage than tough questions. So, the number of questions you’ll need to get correct to pass the PMP exam is different for everyone. 

Know more about characteristics of Project Management.

PMP Exam Performance Rating Categories 

Since we don’t know the exact PMP exam passing score required, you can only rely on the performance rating categories. However, use it only as an indicator. Each correct answer will fetch you one point; your final score is the total of all the points you have earned. This score will consequently put you in one of the performance rating categories. The category will be mentioned on your PMP Exam Score Report, which will contain the following: 

  1. Your Test Results: This is straightforward, you will either pass or fail.  
  2. Your Performance Across Domains: The performance rating categories are Above Target, Target, Below Target, and Needs Improvement. If you feature in the first two categories, you’ve passed. The other two categories refer to a ‘fail’ result. 

Main Points to Remember for PMP Exam 

The following tips will help you increase your PMP exam pass rate: 

  1. Don't rely solely on the PMBOK Guide. Use practice tests and other tools as well. 
  2. Create a study plan according to your schedule as a working professional.  
  3. Utilize free resources, from sample questions and webinars to study plans and e-books. 
  4. If you have the resources and bandwidth, sign up for a PMP training certification. 
  5. Take as many practice exams as possible, until you reach a score you are proud of. 

PMP Pass Rate 

Every year, over 60,000 people enroll in Project Management Professional certification programs to expand their project management skills and knowledge. Of this, PMP exam pass rate is less than 70%. It can be a time-consuming process but it is worth the effort. The PMP certification is essential if you want a successful career as a project professional. The benefit of obtaining the certification is as follows: 

  1. It increases your job opportunities in the field of project management. 
  2. You become eligible to take up leadership roles such as Project Manager, Program Manager and Project Risk Manager. 
  3. It helps you to choose the right tools and techniques for achieving project success. 
  4. It proves your skills, expertise, and the value that you can add to your organization or client. 
  5. It opens doors for paid training opportunities outside of work. 
  6. It builds your confidence in new challenges and helps you develop leadership skills. 
  7. It increases your salary by an average of 23%. Your chances of getting a new project or promotion are higher as well.  
  8. You earn respect from your peers; the certification makes you more credible for future opportunities 

What Was PMP Exam Pass Rate Before?  

The earliest PMP exam pass rate that PMI published was in 2005, which was 61%. However, the PMI has stopped publishing both the exam pass rate, and the passing score since then. Why? In their own words, the passing rate “was not a reliable indicator of exam quality or efficacy given changes in the exam itself.” 

The new PMP exam format is different from previous versions. The questions in the PMP exam focus on three domains as mentioned earlier. So, they are more realistic to what you will see on an actual project management job, with more simulations and less memorization-type questions. 

What is PMP Exam Pass Rate Now?

Here’s what PMI has told us about the PMP passing score so far: To ascertain how many questions you need to answer correctly to pass the PMP exam, the institute uses psychometric analysis. They also enlist the help of several project management professionals across industries to help them in this endeavor.And contrary to widespread belief, each question on the exam is only one point. 

PMI is not willing to release that data or statistic to the public profile because this information would be used by unscrupulous training organizations and study groups as a selling point to attract prospective students. You can judge your chances of passing the PMP exam based on the overall pass rate of different training organizations. Studying PMP concepts and exam questions and taking practice tests is a clever idea to increase your PMP exam pass rate 

Top Cities where Knowledgehut Conduct PMP Certification Training Course Online

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How to Interpret Proficiency Levels to Understand PMP Result?

Now, we will take you through the three different grades you may receive once you get your PMP exam results. These grades, however, will not give you a definite PMP exam pass rate or score. They are 'Above Target', 'Target’ ‘Below Target,’ and ‘Needs Improvement.’  

First, let's talk about 'Above Target'. This grade means your skills exceed the standards of the Project Management Institute. A ‘Target’ result is still good and means that you meet PMI’s requirements. These are the levels you have been working towards all this time and they are considered passing grades. 

Next, we have 'Below Target'. This grade means that your skills are not there yet. Your performance is below target and does not meet PMI’s requirements. You need to get back on the saddle and put in some extra preparation.  

The final grade is 'Needs Improvement'. This grade means you are below the standard of a Project Management Professional. You are not at ease with project management concepts and require additional training to improve your skill level. It is unfortunate that you received this grade in your PMP certification but use it as motivation to do better in your next attempt. 

How to Pass PMP Exam? Tips to Follow 

The following tips will help you make sure that you finish all 180 questions and have a higher chance of increasing your score and thereby your PMP exam pass rate: 

Practice Makes you Perfect: Do as many PMP practice tests as you can. There are several websites online that give you free practice questions to attempt. The more you practice ahead of time, the easier it will be when it comes time for the actual PMP exam. 

Manage your Time WellRemember that you only have 230 minutes for the exam. While it’s almost 4 hours (which may seem like a lot), time will fly during the actual exam. Go for questions you’re confident about and answer those first. I know that there are 180 questions to answer, but don’t stress about the fact that you only have a minute for every question.   

Study Thoroughly: The PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) is a world-class project management guide and contains much relevant information. Because this guide evolves continuously, it’s a clever idea to review the principles, tools, and guidelines thoroughly before taking the exam. You should study the PMBOK guide two months before your exam and not rush through it. 

Network: Whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook, or online forums dedicated to project management, it is a clever idea to network with people who’ve already passed the exam. Learn from their experience and use the tips or tricks they followed. It’s sure to help you prepare. 


If there’s anything you take away from this blog, I hope it is to focus all your efforts on your PMP exam preparation. Don’t stress or speculate about the required passing score or the PMP exam pass rate. Just amp up your preparatory efforts until you’re confident of correctly answering a substantial amount of the 180 PMP exam questions.  KnowledgeHut PMP classes prepare you just for that. You learn through experiential workshops, and even get expert guidance on your PMP exam application!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  1. How many pass the PMP exam on the first try?  

We don’t have a definite answer for this since PMI stopped publishing the PMP exam pass rate or score since 2005. The last pass rate was 61%. However, beware of training institutes that promise a 99% pass rate – the PMP exam is notoriously difficult. Many sources say that only 30 candidates pass the first time, for every 100 candidates.  

  1. What is the pass rate for PMP 2022? 

We don’t know because PMI stopped publishing the PMP exam pass rate or score since 2005. 

  1. Is PMP exam really that hard?  

Oh, absolutely. The PMP exam is considered one of the most difficult exams out there. You only stand a chance of passing after rigorous preparation. Based on your skill level and study schedule, you need anywhere between 5 months to 18 months of preparation to pass the PMP exam. 

  1. How hard is the PMP exam 2023?

The new PMP exam focuses on three domains and features 180 questions. Even if you have lesser questions, they are a combination of multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and hotspot questions. It’s safe to assume that the exam will be hard. 



KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
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