How Difficult Is The PMP Exam?

How Difficult Is The PMP Exam?

As an IT professional, if you want to advance your career, earning a project management certification is a good option. I’m saying this because there’s always a highly skilled project manager behind every successful IT project. 

Today, there are several different credentials out there that you can opt for to become a successful project manager. Of them all, the most popular and highly respected is PMP.

PMP offers tons of benefits to IT professionals. One of them is that it helps to enhance your knowledge and skills in terms of using the right tools and techniques to manage projects. Above all, the certification will add more value to the resume.

If you’re looking to earn the PMP certification, it’s worth noting that the exam is extremely difficult to pass on the first attempt. Well, that’s partly so because it covers several different topics. Another thing is that the exam will test both your knowledge of the concepts as well as their practical application.

No matter how difficult the PMP exam might be, one thing you need to keep in mind is that many people have successfully earned the certification in the past. In the rest of this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the difficulty level of PMP. Additionally, I’ll also share a few tips on how to sit for the exam and pass it on your first attempt.

What Is the PMP Certification and Why Is It Important?

Before I go ahead to address the burning question regarding the difficulty level of the PMP exam, let me start by talking about the basics of the certification. So, here are a few quick questions; what is the PMP certification, how important is it, and what exactly does it include?

The PMP or Project Management Professional certification is a globally respected professional designation created by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The credential is specifically designed for professionals looking to gain better knowledge of project management.

In the past, the Project Management Professional exam is known to focus on five different domains; which include:

  • Initiation of the project – this only covers 13% of the entire PMP exam.
  • Planning the project – it covers 24% of the exam
  • Executing the project – this covers 31% of the PMP exam
  • Monitoring and controlling – it only covers 25% of the entire exam
  • Closing the project – this usually covers 7% of the exam.

However, things are no longer the way they used to be anymore. According to the Project Management Institute, it has now modified the PMP exam so it can meet up with “today’s demands of the profession, organizations, and you.” The exam now focuses on three domains; people, process, and business environment.

  • The “people” aspect of PMP, which covers 42 percent of the entire exam, focuses on the skills needed by you to lead a project team effectively.
  • Furthermore, the “process” section covers half of the entire PMP exam – that’s 50 percent. It’ll focus on testing your knowledge of the technical aspect of managing a project successfully.
  • The “business” part only covers 8 percent of the entire exam. It focuses on outlining the link between an organizational strategy and projects.

Furthermore, the PMP exam is a mix of multiple responses, multiple-choice, matching, hotspot, and fill-in-the-blank questions. In all, there are 180 questions and you only have 230 minutes to completely answer them.

How Tough Is the Project Management Professional Exam?

It’s time to address the burning question regarding the difficulty level of the PMP exam.

To answer the question, first, here’s what PMbyPM found in its recent survey. After carrying out a survey, 40% of experts mentioned that less than 50% of candidates that sit for the PMP exam pass and earn the certification. This survey shows how difficult the PMP exam is.

Furthermore, it’s worth knowing that the exact difficulty level of the PMP exam isn’t measurable. However, since a big number of people fail the exam, especially on their first sitting, it’s safe to conclude that the exam is extremely difficult.

That said, here’s a quick question; what exactly makes the Project Management Professional exam difficult for people to pass?

The first reason why the PMP exam is extremely hard to pass is because of its huge syllabus, which is extensively based on PMBOK or Project Management Body Of Knowledge. This guide has 10 knowledge areas and 49 process groups, all of which fall under the three domains of the exam.

Another reason why the PMP exam is considered difficult to pass is because of the complexity of its structure. Many people often rely on their experience to answer the questions. While this also counts, your chances of passing the exam lies in your ability to master the PMBOK guide.

Lastly, most of the PMP exam questions are scenario-based. As such, people who don’t fully understand the topics covered by the exam find it difficult to choose the most accurate answers.

How to Study and Pass the PMP Exam?

There’s no denying that the Project Management Professional exam is difficult to pass. However, you need to understand that there are many ways you can optimize your chances of success.

According to research, there are about 1,036,367 active PMP certified professionals across the world as of July 2020. Since people are passing the exam and earning the certification, there’s nothing that should stop you from also getting certified.

That said, for you to pass the PMP exam and become certified, here are some of the simple steps that you need to follow below;

  • First, I’ll advise you to start by mastering the PMBOK guide.
  • Next, invest your time and effort into it. Of course, this requires you to have a plan or schedule.
  • Check online for other study guides and watch relevant YouTube videos.
  • Get practice questions and attempt them from time to time.
  • Join relevant PMI groups and connect with industry experts.

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