Top PMP Exam Questions And Answers For 2020

Top PMP Exam Questions and Answers for 2020

Last updated on 14th Oct 2020, Artciles, Blog

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The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a globally recognized professional certification. The certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), as an endorsement of project management experience and knowledge. PMP certification is considered as the best option for the project management aspirants. Many aspirants seek information and guidance relevant to PMP Exam preparation trainings as well as PMP Exam.

Are you interested to be well informed on the critical aspects of the PMP exam? Do you want to know about the recent changes in the PMBok? Or are you keen to explore the PMP Exam requirements? Do you want to have answers to many more PMP related questions? Then you are definitely reading the right article! As in this article, we will provide you information on interesting Top 10+ questions about the PMP exam which will be helpful for project management aspirants to initiate their journey towards project management.

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PMP demands a serious focused effort by the aspirants to obtain the PMP credentials. Therefore it is important to get the idea of the PMP Exam so that you can plan to mark the success as certified. Let me take you through these questions one by one. As I understand that the PMP credentials will help you showcase your abilities, experience, in addition to your efforts and consistency you have put in to achieve your target, I surely believe that this little effort of mine may act as a game-changer for you.

PMP Brings Advantages

There are many advantages that PMP certification brings to the PMP certification holders. These advantages surely act as a motivator for the aspirants to initiate and complete their PMP journey. According to independent researches, certified project managers in the United States make an average of $111,000 per year and PMPs make 22% more than non-PMPs. The annual salary ranges from $85,000 to $135,000 depending on the years of experience. So the PMP benefits include high market value, increased credibility and in many cases, higher pay.

  • The organizations are looking to recruit best project managers with globally endorsed skills, PMP certification is a must-have requirement of hiring organizations. Even if PMP is not specifically mentioned, one gets preference in the hiring criteria.
  • The organizations also get the edge on their PMP certified professionals as they make the profile richer.
  • The PMP certification holders earn recognition and value within their current organization. The challenging tasks are generally given to more qualified project managers, so it makes PMP project managers better options. The success in the projects earns them rewards and recognition.
  • Companies love to promote and fill in the vacancies with their existing resources if they are certified.
  • According to an independent survey, people with PMP certification are earning 20 percent more salary as compared to their non-certified peers. This is a great return on investment of what you spend on the PMP certification.
  • PMP does not bound you to a specific industry. Even though the degrees lay the foundation within a specific industry. The PMP certification lays a foundation of the project management knowledge and skills set on top of that technical skills. It paves the path towards the management ladder with a strong foundation and strong recognition.

What Are the PMP Exam Requirements?

PMI defines quite an extensive criteria requirement to sit in the PMP exam. This criterion is very well thought; it ensures that the project management aspirants meet a certain education level, relevant work experience. In addition to this, the criteria also set a requirement for relevant training. The aspirants fulfilling these criteria are eligible to appear in the PMP exam. These three dimensions play an important role to select the right candidates.

EducationProject Management ExperienceProject Management Education
Non Graduates5 years/7500 hours35 hours
Graduates3 years/4500 hours35 hours

Education and Experience

You can see that the project management experience requirement is subject to the degree of the candidate. If the candidate is a graduate then they need to showcase the 3 years of experience which means 4500 hours of project-related activities. Whereas if the candidate is a non-graduate, then the project management experience requirement goes to 5 years. Hence the non-graduate candidate has to showcase 5 years of experience that can be converted to 7500 hours.

Contact hours – Training

In addition to education and experience, the above-mentioned criteria also emphasize the training hours fulfilment. So in order to qualify for the PMP exam criteria, candidates 

Considering this important factor for 35 hours of professional engagement, you must acquire professional training. And it is very clear from this fact that the training plays a crucial role in obtaining the PMP certification. So other than your education and working experience, you must obtain these 35 hours.

What is the PMP Exam Like?

The PMP exam is composed of 200 multiple-choice questions. These questions are distributed within different project management domains. In other words, we can say that these questions are distributed within process groups that include, Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing.

The duration of the PMP Exam is 4 hours. So a candidate has around 1 hour for 25 questions on average. Means around 2 minutes for each question. Some of the questions will be relatively easy and may take less time of yours as compared to the average time, whereas some are long or complex which may take more time of yours as compared to the average time.

Types of PMP Exam Questions

This means that the duration of 4 hours and 200 questions from various domains within the project management framework, will be good enough to assess your understanding, knowledge, and experience along with your ability to interpret, focus and sustain. For this sake, there will be different types of questions. Many others have also categorized these questions to make the aspirants understand the overall structure of the PMP Exam. But there is no breakup of question types like the one you see for project management domains of process groups. Following are the most common and general categorization of these questions;

  • ITTO-based questions
  • Definition-based questions
  • Situation-based questions
  • Formula-based questions
  • Interpretational questions
  • Professional and social responsibility Questions

ITTO-based questions

Within the project management framework, all the processes are equipped with Inputs, Tools and Techniques and Outputs which is abbreviated as ITTO. The good part of such questions is that these are well defined within the PMBoK so one can practice and remember. But it also brings the tough dimension as one has to remember the ITTOs for each of the processes.

There are certain logical ways to remember and answer such type of PMP exam questions. You need to practice in the real scenarios by putting yourself in the situation where you learn each process in terms of what is the output and what tools and techniques you must apply to obtain this specific output. Also, to apply the tools and techniques you must have certain inputs.

You can make this learning easier if you do your homework with respect to certain domains and process group areas. That includes Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Control, and Closing. This makes it easier to recall for the same stage of each knowledge area with some knowledge area-specific alterations.

For example “What is the output of Project Charter Process?”

Definition-based questions

There are also some questions that can check your understanding of specific terms and definitions. These questions are based on the definition given in the PMBOK guide. Such types of questions are easier to recall and hence easier to answer.

The tip of fool proofing this type of question preparation is to go through the close terms, make a list of these terms and make a comparison of these close terms. Different training provers also prepare flashcards to remember and reinforce such types of questions.

The good part of these questions is that once you prepare the question, you are likely to recall easily. These are also straightforward questions as their definitions do not change. The main point you should remember is to cover the broader aspect of terms and their definitions. For example, you should know the difference between types of Risks or the difference between Leads and Lags.

Such as:

1.“What is meant by Finish to Start relationship?”

Ans: “A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has finished.”

Situation-based questions

PMP exam comprises of situation-based types of questions as well. In such types of questions, you are given a situation and based on the situation you are asked to find the correct answer. These questions test your ability to apply theoretical know-how to real-life project management situations. These situation based questions are tricky ones. So you have to be very mindful when you evaluate the situations to get to the most relevant answer.

Comes with long phrasing – a distinguishing factor

These scenarios based questions usually come with long phrasing. So you can develop your baseline of the situation layout in front of you. However, it is important to note that sometimes you may get additional information so you have to extract the right information and build the scenario applicability. The idea behind this is that in real life you will be given both relevant and irrelevant information. This is your test to identify what’s relevant and what is to ignore to build up your practical scenario understanding.

In addition to this, the wording of the questions plays a vital distinguishing factor where you will be asked what will be the BEST, NEXT, LAST, NOT, or EXCEPT option. So you have to give extra care to such tricky words. Especially the keywords like LAST, NOT or EXCEPT actually turn the situation into the reversals. These are the complex questions as there seems to be more than one option within the multiple choices you are given.

Most of the PMP exam questions fall in this type. So you should have a very systematic approach to handle such questions. First of all, you need to filter relevant and irrelevant information, to capture the real and relevant problem set. Once you are done with the extraction of the right information. you must try to read the answers and check whether the provided answer could be a possible option or not. This act will help you to eliminate the obvious wrong options. As a matter of fact, by ruling out the irrelevant you are shortlisting the possible correct answers. Then again you need to try to apply each possible correct answer and check whether it fulfils all the conditions given in the question or not.

Example

For example, you are working as a project manager to implement a project ABC. Your project requirements are in the execution stage. During your progress meeting on the overall status of the project, one of your project stakeholders asks you to implement a requirement. You also recognize that this requirement will add value to the project. What will be your best response to the stakeholder?

Such questions not only check your understanding of the concepts but also the applicability of these concepts as well as your experience in the domain of project management. So you need to focus on answering the question with the given information and your project management knowledge.

Formula-based questions

One very interesting type of question in the PMP exam is formula-based questions. There are almost fifty PMP formulas that you will need to know and understand prior to taking the PMP exam. The number of formulae is associated with different knowledge areas and domain areas. There are formulae associated with activity scheduling and costing, communications, indicators to assess project progress and value of the project.

An important thing to remember is that you will also need to know and understand all of the associated acronyms. You need to understand the applicability of these formulae. Also, you need to understand the acronyms used within each formula. On first look, you may find this variety of formula a bit harder or overwhelming, But as a matter of fact, once you understand the concepts these are like a breeze and you can easily learn them. After all your graduation degree has already taken you to a certain level where you may already have learned tot many during your education.

Just keep in mind that practicing the formula is the only way to remember. You must practice these formulae both sides i.e. forwards and backward so you can apply these formulae based on the given values in the question statement. In addition to this, a good grasp of the formulas may help you to more easily eliminate PMP exam question choices.

Example

For example, the Cost performance index can be calculated by using the formula CPI= EV/AC, provided we can find Earned value (EV) and Actual Cost(AC) from the given statement. Likewise, we can find EV = CPI * AC, or we can find situations where AC = EV/ CPI  is required using the same formula.

Be mindful that even if you know the formula, there is a room of silly mistakes if you are not doing step by step calculations or you take some preconceived notions. Sometimes it looks like you can do the calculations easily but rather than multiplying you just did a division. Try to avoid any such small mistakes. Even the answer options may be based on such mistakes so one can easily fall into the trap if not mindful.

The best advantage that is associated with the formula based questions is that once you identify the formula and apply it correctly within a given situation then there is only one correct answer. Also, it is important to bring your attention that sometimes you will have to solve the problem by not only using a single straight forward formula. You may need to apply multiple formulas to solve the problem. so you need to practice complex scenarios within your study plan.

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Interpretational PMP Exam Questions

Another interesting dimension comes with the interpretational questions. These questions aim to test your ability to deduce a condition from the problem statement.

These require you to identify the meaning of the situation based on your understanding of the facts provided and will require you to apply the correct awareness for the correct answer. In other words, these questions require you to go a step further than knowledge-based questions. For instance, you are given some data in the form of a graph, performance indicator. So you can interpret the past, present, and future of the project. These questions will require your good understanding of the concepts as well as formula.

To answer these questions you must be able to decode a situation or condition from the given information in the form of status or problem. Therefore in order to prepare for such a question, you can run different scenarios while preparing for your PMP exam. For example, what is meant by a positive CPI and a negative SPI at the same time for a specific project? Does this situation mean a call for any corrective action or it is the best situation of the project?

You should also be able to understand the graphs like standard deviation. There are also other graphs in the form of quality management tools associated with the Quality Management knowledge area. What is the graph representation of negative correlation or what is the graph representation of positive correlation?

Technique-based PMP Exam Questions

In these types of questions, you will likely be tested for your understanding of specific techniques during a PMP exam question. A technique is “a defined systematic procedure employed by a human resource to perform an activity to produce a product or result or deliver a service, and that may employ one or more tools”.

These types of questions may require you to demonstrate your knowledge of a certain technique and its application. For example, you may be given a certain network diagram and asked to calculate the critical path.  Or you may be asked to calculate the floats on each node within the network diagram. In addition, you may be asked to do a forward pass or backward pass and calculate the critical path, even you may be given a sample data and asked to identify the critical path. In this case, you may have to draw the network diagram first to calculate the desired values and find the best result.

Example

In addition to this, you may be given a decision tree to find out the best option for return on investment. Or you are given a situation where you need to estimate based on PERT. So it may be knowledge-based where you can demonstrate your understanding of what a technique is used for. However, the PMP exam question can also test your understanding of how a technique is applied.

So this is a crucial part of your preparation where you not only know the techniques but you should have the knowledge to apply these techniques. You should go through the Tools and Techniques section of PMBoK, understand the purpose of each technique and the application. There are a variety of techniques mentioned in the PMBoK. Some are relatively easier to grasp whereas some require more practice. During your preparation for the PMP exam, you need to identify the gaps and keep on practicing unless you master these techniques to the extent of their applicability.

However, there are certain scenarios where you do not have to go into the fullest depth. As per my understanding, one must not necessarily apply the steps within Monte-Carlo analysis, but one should be able to interpret the result generated through this simulation.

Professional and social responsibility questions

There are a few questions that can come under this question type. Each professional body brings professional and social responsibility aspects to ensure the positive role of an individual. So these types of questions will test your understanding of the Project Management Institute Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. This may be tested through different techniques where it is reinforced and assessed that you have a good understanding of your professional and social responsibility.

PMI has identified four core values across the global project management community that are most important to project managers. These are:

  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Honesty

In order to test these values, you may encounter several questions within your PMP Exam. There may be questions like one of your client offers you a free lunch what will be your best approach? Or one of your clients offers you a gift what will be your approach? Likewise, your integrity for sharing the actual status can be tested.

What is the PMP Exam Passing Score?

PMI has played around with the passing score several times. It is a common belief that 61% is the passing score for the PMP Exam. However, this is not an official pass rate so no hard carded passing score is available. Also, the passing score is subject to PMI discretion. The 61% passing rate was the reason for setting a benchmark based on the complexity of the PMP examination and success ratio with respect to the total exams. Remember 25 out of 200 questions are unscored questions. It means that you must have at least 106 questions out of scored 175 questions.

The most important point to consider is what should be the percentage of practice tests. That can give you the idea of whether you are ready for the actual PMP Exam. I can safely recommend that PMP aspirants must score at least 70% in their practice PMP exams to guarantee their PMP success. The better the practice score, the better the chance to succeed.

What is the PMP Exam Pass Rate?

The PMP Exam rate means how many of the PMP exam candidates sit and pass the PMP exam. Like the PMP passing score, there is not an official score or percentage declared by the PMI for this either. So if any websites mention the rates or percentage, they are not the official ratings or scores of PMI.

As I mentioned earlier that the PMP Exam is not a simple exam, therefore there is more likely that the candidates have a higher tendency to fail the PMP Exam in their first try. That is the reason many training providers mention their money-back guarantees. In addition to this, some of the training provers also mention their full backing to the applicants. On top of this, they mention their success rates based on their trainees who sit in the exam and qualify.

If you properly plan your PMP Exam preparation through formal training and practicing, there is more chance of success. If you have practiced well the pass rate will not have much impact. The reason being a mere fact that you do not know how many candidates appear after proper preparation.

How Can I Apply for the PMP Exam?

There are two ways to apply for the PMP Exam based on the delivery type. The examination delivery type is either Computer-Based Testing (CBT) or Paper-Based Testing (PBT). These tests are based on demographic locations. As in some countries, computer-based testing is available whereas in others only paper-based testing is available. The preferred approach is Computer-Based Testing (CBT). In some areas, the Paper-Based Test (PBT) is the only way to take the exam unless you travel far from your location. It is recommended to apply online since the process is easier and faster.

The PMP Exam application comprises of the following steps;

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Create a PMI Account at PMI.org

You can create your account at PMI.org through the registration link. Once you initiate the registration you will follow the instructions for creating the account. On completion, you will get confirmation from PMI.

Submit the online application

Once your PMI account is active, you can proceed to fill your PMP application on the PMI website. When you choose Project Management Professional (PMP) certification option in the certification navigation, you are required to follow the application wizard. Once you cover all the steps of application filling, you are able to submit the application.

Review of Application by PMI

Once you have submitted your application for PMP certification, it is reviewed by PMI. There is a chance that your application is selected for the audit. And there is also a chance that your application is confirmed without any audit requirement.

In case your application is not selected for audit, you are ready to go for payment submission. In case, your application is selected for audit, you are required to comply with the audit process so that your application is approved by PMI to further proceed.

Submit Payment

Once you have submitted your application for PMP certification, it is reviewed and approved by PMI. It completes your compliance for PMP certification eligibility criteria in terms of your education, training and relevant experience. You can now register for the PMP exam by paying the PMI examination fees.

Take the Exam

Once you submit the payment and it is acknowledged by PMI you can schedule and reserve your slot for the PMP exam within your nearest authorized center.

How can I pass the PMP Exam Application Audit?

Once you submit your PMP exam application to PMI, your PMP application will be approved by PMI. But another probability is that your application might be selected for the Audit process.

The PMP Audit process has a process of a random selection of PMP applications. In other words, The PMP may select an application at any point in time and ask the applicant to comply with the Audit process.  There is a small percentage of applicants have the chance of being randomly selected for an audit.

On first look, being selected for Audit may seem stressful, however, the audit is generally a simple process. All you have to do is provide evidence of what you declared within the application. So if you fill your application carefully, there should be no problem in providing the evidence.

In order to ensure your application compliance with the Audit process, you must send the following to PMI;

Proof of education

You will need to provide a photocopy of your degree certificate for the highest level of education completed. This is the criteria in which you specified your degree. As you already have the degree with you so not a big deal to get a copy and add it to your Audit response bundle.

Proof of 35 hours of project management education

Another criterion to sit in the PMP Exam is the 35 hours of project management education. Once you get training from a training provider, they must award you with a certificate of completion with 35 contact hours. All you have to do is get a copy of this certificate and add it to your Audit response bundle which you will send to PMI in response to the Audit selection.

Details of your project management experience

The third criteria to sit in the PMP Exam is your experience based on your degree of Education. This may take a bit of additional work but still pretty much straightforward. All you have to do is to get the Print out of the PDF documents from your audit package organized by PMI and mail your documents to your supervisors. They will have to verify and sign off on each form you have sent to them. After the signing off they have to send the forms back to you. After you receive all the forms form your supervisors you will also include them in your Audit response bundle.

Please note that you may have worked on multiple projects which may require sign off from relevant supervisors. So each of the specified supervisors needs to verify their relevant project. Also, the supervisors do not have to send the verified forms directly to PMI.

Once you acquire all these above items and include them in your response bundle, you will send the entire package to the PMI on the address provided by PMI. It generally takes PMI a week’s time to receive the package, and process the audit. Once the audit of your application gets clearance, you can schedule your PMP exam.

How Much Does the PMP Exam Cost?

There are three main costs of PMP exam:

  • Training fee
  • The fee of the PMP Exam
  • PMP exam preparation time

PMP Exam Training Cost

The training is a mandatory requirement of the PMP Exam. Therefore you will first have to complete the PMP training of 35 hours. There are many training providers from which you can acquire the PMP training. Also, several training providers give training in various formats. Some choose a classroom or instructor-led setting, while others take online courses. These formats and training options bring a variety of prices as well. In-person PMP training options start from $500 and go up to $3,500 while PMP exam online training options start at relatively low cost.

I think the provider with the ideal cost-performance ratio is Master of Project Academy. Master of Project Academy PMP Training is reasonably priced, additionally, they have several enrolment options which start from $67/month. Finally, Master of Project Academy PMP Training has a 99.6% first-attempt pass rate with a very good refund policy.

Exam Fee

Once you have completed the requirements pertaining to education, experience and 35 contact hours of training, you have to take the PMP exam in a Pearson VUE test center. Based on the acceptance of your application by PMI, you can schedule your exam date at your nearest Pearson VUE test center.

The PMP Exam has an associated cost. This cost varies depending on whether the applicant is a PMI member or not. The following table shows the PMP Exam fees distribution for PMI and non-PMI members. The table also displays the cost of re-attempt examination fees. These fees also vary whether the candidate is a PMI member or not.

PMP Exam Preparation Time

Once you complete the PMP Exam training and earn 35 contact hours to fulfil the PMP Exam criteria you are in the phase of self-study. You can opt to study the material prior to the PMP Exam training to get the basic concepts in line with your experience. This PMP exam preparation time is the intangible cost that you need to invest in terms of time and effort.

The training providers may also suggest the PMP Exam Preparation roadmap one can follow after their training. However, this duration is dependent on how much time you can spend on the PMP Exam training. This time may vary from 4 to 6 months based on your daily and weekly effort in terms of hours. You must be considerate especially when you are buying the online course as you can fully boost your roadmap once you purchase the online PMP course because the pace of the course study will depend on

Best Way to Get Ready for the PMP Exam

There are several ways you can opt to get ready for the PMP exam. Considering the variety of requirements, different training institutes provide trainings in more than one way. As we mentioned before they offer training in these formats:

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    1. 1.Classroom instructor-led training
    2. 2.Virtual online training
    3. 3.E-learning

Each of these formats has its own pros and cons. One can way out these pros and cons and identify which suits them.

In my opinion, the online training format is the best training. My point is backed by different factors:

  • The PMP aspirants generally have busy routines
  • No one likes to pay too much for a course
  • Why select an expensive option when you have the option of lesser cost.
  • You can repeat the lecture any time so it is in your control on how many times you want to listen to a specific topic
  • You can access the contents anywhere and at any time. No constraints or bounds of time and location.
  • You do not have to travel to the course location and this saves you time and travel cost.
  • You can run the course as per your time schedule so planning gets easier.

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