Is PMP Certification Exam Hard To Pass? How to Crack It?

PMP or Project Management Professional certification is one of the most highly recognized certifications for professionals’ career advancement. In addition, it is the most important industry-recognized certification for professionals. Achieving PMP certification will add a new milestone to your career and land you high-paying jobs in different industries worldwide.

Hearing this, who doesn’t want to pass the PMP exam on the first attempt? Don’t we all dream of it? But if you look at the statistics, two out of the five aspirants fail to pass on the first try. So, does that mean the exam is very difficult to crack? 

Although most people say “yes,” it is not as impossible as many believe. When analyzing the reasons behind the failure of numerous individuals, certain patterns emerge. For instance, most of them claim they have not written enough practice exams or have run out of time. Therefore, to pass the PMP exam, you must first learn from these errors and avoid repeating them on your own exam. Therefore, let’s examine the crucial steps that determine whether you pass the exam or not. But, before that, let’s see how difficult is PMP exam?

Is PMP Certification Exam Hard To Pass? 

Ranking certifications based on difficulty is academic. However, PMP certification is the gold standard for project management credentials, regardless of rank. And it isn’t easy.

This PMP certification provides a certified professional with abundant opportunities. This certification enables exploitation and a fair advantage over massive and high-risk endeavors. In general, various government agencies and multinational corporations carry out such projects.

PMI has created a rigorous PMP certification procedure. Not only are there prerequisites that PMP candidates must meet in order to sit for the exam, but the exam itself is designed to assess your proficiency and knowledge in every project management-related domain.

The PMP exam is difficult, but PMI does not disclose passing scores or failure rate statistics. Some project expert surveys place the failure rate between 40 and 50 percent, indicating that only about half of first-time test takers pass the PMP examination. However, the official PMP exam failure rate is unknown. On the other hand, it is a well-known fact that approximately 80,000 professionals take the exam annually. This is a pitiful number considering that 22 million new project-based jobs will likely be created by 2027.

Let’s now examine what makes this prestigious PMP certification so challenging. Let’s also consider why your willingness to exert a little extra effort is advantageous from this guide.

1. Exam is Long and Difficult

PMP is a lengthy and exhausting exam. It is one of the most time-consuming professional examinations.

You must answer 180 multiple-choice questions in 230 minutes to pass the exam. However, if you include scheduled breaks, you will need more than four hours to complete the examination. This is because you have about 76 seconds to respond to a question.

The allotted time is sufficient for 180 questions, but it is difficult for a working professional to maintain focus for so long while staring at a computer screen.

2. Complexity of Exam Design

As mentioned earlier, to be exact, two hundred thirty minutes is the exact duration of the PMP Exam. Within this time frame, you must answer 180 questions. If you are taking the examination at a Center, you will not be permitted a break.

Additionally, PMI permits you to take the PMP Exam online. When you take the test online, you can take two 10-minute breaks. Without including break time, the total time required to complete the exam would be 230 minutes.

Before the exam, there is an optional tutorial, and after the exam, there is an optional survey.

The exam questions will be organized into three broad categories. People, processes, and the business environment are three components of the business environment.

PMP encompasses three distinct approaches to project management: Predictive (Waterfall), Agile, and Hybrid.

3. Strict Eligibility Conditions

PMI has established stringent requirements for taking the PMP exam. They intend to grant certification only to candidates with sufficient project management experience.

There are two fundamental prerequisites for exam eligibility:

  • You should have professional experience in project management
  • If you possess a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent), you must have either five or sixty months of non-overlapping professional project management experience


  • If you have a four-year degree (bachelor’s or global equivalent), you must have either three or thirty-six months of unique, non-overlapping project management experience
  • Unless you are a CAPM-holder, you should have 35 hours of formal project management education
  • Before applying for the exam, you must possess a minimum level of academic credentials and professional experience. 

Refer to our article on PMP eligibility criteria for a detailed explanation of these requirements.

4. Exam Questions Are Constantly Evolving

One hundred seventy-five of the exam’s 180 questions are graded, while the remaining five are not. These five questions are called pre-test questions. The random placement of these questions within the exam makes it impossible to determine whether a particular question is scored or not. Therefore, you must respond to each question to the best of your ability.

By posing the pre-test questions to test-takers, PMI can formulate new questions and gauge their difficulty level continuously. As a result, PMI continually modifies its question bank by incorporating qualified pre-test questions.

Due to the constant influx of new questions, adequate exam preparation is impossible. You cannot prepare using outdated historical question banks.

5. Unknown Scoring System

There is no specific passing score or criteria for the PMP exam. Instead, PMI uses psychometric analysis to determine whether an exam candidate passed or failed.

This increases the difficulty and uncertainty of an already challenging exam.

Before taking the actual exam, you should aim for a score of approximately 80 percent on practice exams.

How to Crack PMP Certification?

Passing the PMP exam is difficult and requires extensive preparation. There have been instances in which project managers with years of experience have failed the examination because they undermined it.

The PMP exam is a reputable one and will not be easy to pass unless you approach it with sufficient preparation. Therefore, you must be highly committed and prepare diligently for the PMP exam. Here is a roadmap and the best advice to help you pass the PMP exam on your first try:

1. Understand the PMP Exam Objectives

Understanding the examination’s objective prompts us to consider its applicability and proficiency. Exams are administered to professionals who share senior or middle management positions. These individuals are in charge of leading the team as managers.

Exams are difficult without preparation and adequate exposure to the exam format, type, and duration. The PMP exam questions are usually based on the PMBOK Guide, and taking as many PMP practice exams as possible is advisable.

You can also try accessing the PMP exam simulator online, which simulates the PMP exam sample questions. Passing the exam using PMP mock exams and preparing exhaustively for high-weight topics is assured.

2. Recognize the PMBOK Guide

PMI publishes A Guide to the project managers called the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). Mastering the PMBOK is the most important requirement for passing the PMP exam. Numerous books are available on the market, but none can match the official guide. You could say, “I don’t see many questions in the guide.” True, but it provides you with the conceptual clarity necessary to pass the exam.

The bad news is that the manual is tedious and lengthy to read. As a result, the majority of individuals prefer less unappealing market alternatives. However, ignoring this guide comes at a steep cost. If a large number of individuals complain about failing the exam despite multiple attempts, they have likely circumvented the PMBOK guide.

Overall, beginning your preparation with the PMBOK will aid in laying the groundwork for your preparation. Additionally, ensure that you review the material at least twice before the test.

3. Solve Multiple Practice Questions

The majority of PMP examination questions are situation-based. Therefore, reading a theory does not guarantee that you will be able to apply this knowledge in practice.

In addition, as you answer various questions, you will notice that problems fall into distinct categories. Some questions are brief and straightforward, while others are longer. There are questions based on the formula as well as situational questions. You have been asked ITTO questions about project management tools and techniques.

How does answering practice questions benefit you? First, it will assist you in identifying the various types of questions you study and the skills you must develop to answer them. You should recall the solution strategy on exam day as soon as you read the problem.

There are numerous available sources of familiarity questions. Before selecting a source, be sure to investigate the credibility of the information and the source’s credibility.

4. Create a Schedule for Preparation

Setting aside time to prepare for your exam may be critical to ensuring that you cover all necessary topics. Inform those around you so they will not disturb or distract you during this time. You can even ask your employer for permission to prepare for the examination.

5. Participate in a 4-Day Training Course

With gathering diverse study materials and preparing independently, in my opinion, it is also necessary to exercise futility and a strategy for certain failures.

Regardless, 35 hours of training are necessary. Why not begin your preparation by enrolling in an excellent self-study course or a leading live training program? A training course provides numerous benefits:

  • The initial impetus to begin exam preparations 
  • A structured approach to passing the exam 
  • Focused study materials
  • Proven study plan Subject matter expert support

You should take training from a trustworthy organization. Invensis Learning is one of them. We, Invensis Learning, reviewed and approved by the PMI Authorized Training Partner Program to provide a 4-day instructor-led PMP Certification training that will ensure the essential 35 PDUs at the end of the training. 

We also have the following advantages for you:

  • Mock tests to make you confident while appearing for the PMP certification exam
  • Access to case studies prepared by the industry experts
  • Personalized LMS with lifetime access to the course resources
  • Meets the PMI-required 35 contact hours eligibility requirement to get PMP certified successfully

Bottom Line

Any applicant should have a positive attitude toward this certification and not neglect the PMP sample exam. You must be aware of all its advantages regarding earning potential, increased subject knowledge, learning various approaches to a particular setback, and being on time for the closing.

It would be best if you realized that it is optional for you to take this examination. However, if you want to expand your skills and knowledge, you must take the examination.

Of course, a majority of professionals in the field of project management, comprising 40 percent of the workforce, lack certification. However, everyone is aware of the spell of a certified professional.

Furthermore, no one can dispute the fact that PMP-certified professionals are effective. They comprehend the theory and implement it effectively in their work. 


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Lucy Brown has many years of experience in the project management domain and has helped many organizations across the Asia Pacific region. Her excellent coordinating capabilities, both inside and outside the organization, ensures that all projects are completed on time, adhering to clients' requirements. She possesses extensive expertise in developing project scope, objectives, and coordinating efforts with other teams in completing a project. As a project management practitioner, she also possesses domain proficiency in Project Management best practices in PMP and Change Management. Lucy is involved in creating a robust project plan and keep tabs on the project throughout its lifecycle. She provides unmatched value and customized services to clients and has helped them to achieve tremendous ROI.


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