PMP FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Project Management Professional exam. Click on any of the questions to get more information.

The PMP certification is an accolade with high standards that can help you stand out in your industry. There are over 650,000 certified PMPs worldwide, but the certification is not easy to obtain; below, we detail the requirements to even apply, as well as details about the exam that follows.
The PMP certification is an excellent asset to demonstrate your knowledge, experience, and skills to employers and clients alike. Its merit is internationally accredited and globally respected; the certification increases the chances to be hired, especially for higher-paying positions. Some positions will only consider applicants with the certification.
In order to be eligible for the certification, applicants need to have either:

  • A secondary degree, 5 years of project management experience with 7,500 hours spent leading the project, and 35 contact hours of formal education completed by the time of application submission.
  • A 4-year degree, 3 years project management experience with 4,500 hours spent leading the project, and 35 contact hours of formal education completed by the time of application submission.
You can apply through PMI’s online certification system. You have 90 days to complete the application from first opening it. If you are unable to complete an online application, Customer Care may send you a printable version that you can mail to PMI.
The exam costs $555 for non-PMI members and $405 for members. Reexamination costs slightly less, at $375 for nonmembers and $275 for members. Of course, you should also factor study materials and preparation into your overall cost.
PMI states that the average successful PMP candidate spends 35 hours preparing for the exam at the very least.
The test has 5 main sections focusing on different steps in project management. The sections and their percentage of the overall test are as follows:

  • Initiation, 13%
  • Planning, 24%
  • Executing, 31%
  • Monitoring and controlling, 25%
  • Closing, 7%
Many estimates find that 40–50% of test-takers fail on their first try. Due to the range of skills tested, the length of the exam in the given amount of time, and the amount of preparation needed, the PMP is considered difficult.
No. Nothing is allowed to be brought into the testing center. This includes study materials and personal items.
The examination consists of 200 multiple-choice questions: 175 scored and 25 unscored. You have 4 hours allotted to complete the exam, and although there are no scheduled breaks, you are allowed to take breaks during your exam time.
The PMP changes every 4–5 years, most recently in 2018.
After an application is approved, you have a one-year eligibility period in which you are allowed to take the test (up to 3 times). You can only schedule your exam after you submit your payment for the certification. If you would like to test before July 1st, 2019, you may schedule your appointment through Prometric; if you would like to take the test after that date, you may schedule through Pearson VUE. You can reschedule or cancel your exam up to 2 days before your appointment, but any change within 30 days of the testing date will result in a fee.
Testing occurs at Pearson VUE testing centers, which can be located as you schedule your testing appointment. Alternative options may be available for those who live in a country that has no sites available or live more than 150 miles from the nearest testing location.
The passing score is established by psychometric analysis from subject matter experts; there is not a certain number of questions you can get right to pass. Questions are scored differently based on difficulty and how a candidate’s choices show their ability to perform well. Thus, one person may pass despite scoring a few percentage points lower than someone else who failed.
If you take the exam at the testing center, you will receive your results that day at the center, and a digital copy will be uploaded to their online certification system no more than 10 business days after the test. Candidates that take a paper-based examination will receive their report 6–8 weeks after the examination, where it can be accessed online.