How to Pass the PMP Exam

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Learn how you can successfully complete the PMP exam with this article. Find out what's on the exam and focus on how you can prepare to pass this test.

Understand What's On the Exam

You can improve your chances of passing the PMP exam if you know the type of information you'll be tested on. This exam will evaluate your understanding of project management. You will need to demonstrate that you have a solid grasp of each process group involved in project management, including:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing

You should focus on all of these categories though the initiation and closing processes will have fewer questions than the other three processes, so you may want to spend less time on them. The questions for each process group will focus on measuring your knowledge and skills in relation to that particular part of project management.

Once you understand what you need to study, you can implement the following tasks to help you review for this exam and help you pass:

Go Over Your Notes

Your first step in preparing for the PMP exam should be to review your old notes and textbooks. Go over what you learned and focus on any areas of the project management process that you have trouble understanding.

Check Out Prep Options with PMI

The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several preparation aids through their website ( You'll have access to a small variety of free practice questions. You'll also be able to order A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, which can help you go over the most current guidelines for this subject matter. PMI also provides prep courses.

Explore Other Prep Books

There are other study guides available in addition to the options offered by PMI. You can find a variety of choices through most retailers. Look for books that cover each of the project management processes in depth. You should also try to find choices that include practice questions. Consider options that have a variety of study aids, such as flashcards and online study tools.

Use Online Study Courses

You can find more help for the PMP exam through online courses that allow you to quickly and easily review the processes you'll be tested on by the exam. offers a Project Management Course that covers each process group and focuses on strengthening your understanding of these steps. You'll be able to watch video lessons to study. You can even complete interactive quizzes and tests that will help you get used to answering questions similar to the ones you'll face on the exam.

Be Ready on Test Day

You won't be able to bring a calculator with you to the exam. However, the computer-based test includes a calculator in the actual exam, or you can request a physical calculator and the testing center will provide you with one.

You should try to get a full night of sleep before the exam, and take care of any issues before you begin, as the exam has no scheduled breaks. If you need to step out, the clock will keep running.

Because this is a timed exam, you should try to focus on easy questions first. Return to the more difficult problems afterward. Finally, make sure you don't leave any questions unanswered. Even if you have to guess, there's a chance you'll get the right answer. You can even check out this lesson on overcoming test anxiety to ensure you're ready for the big day.

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