Top 5 tips to answer PMP questions correctly

pmp exam

Let’s get this out of the way first – PMP exam is different from every other exam you may have written in the past because of the fact that it is not a test of your memory. You cannot memorize Project Management concepts, tools and techniques, inputs-outputs and expect to pass the exam. PMP is a test of application of the aforementioned. Someone with a really good memory and zero Project Management experience is almost certain to flunk.

The other thing we should get out of the way is the fact that more than 90% of the PMP exam questions are based on certain scenario and do not ask you to select the ‘correct definition’ from four options. Sticking to that, it should also be noted that all 200 questions may not carry equal marks. Ofcourse there is no negative marking and 25 out of 200 are pre-test questions which are not scored, so the test-taker is basically evaluated from the remaining 175 questions. How much should you score to pass?

And that brings us to the next point! Once you are done with the exam you don’t get a numerical score but a grade (Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient) in all five process groups. Bottom line is that there is no way to determine how much you have scored in the exam. That again adds to the uniqueness of PMP.

Notice how PMP exam is completely different from our Indian education system of percentage scores and ranks that produce toppers who can mug up the entire Bible!

As a PMP aspirant, you may have several questions regarding the preparation, the resources to refer to etc but the scope of this blog is only the top 5 tips to answer PMP questions correctly so let’s stick to that.

Tip #1 – Always Correct

Select the option which will always be correct – under all situations. Ofcourse PMP questions pertain to a certain scenario but there are always certain questions that test universal values. Breaking a law, no matter howsoever minor it may seem is against the PMI code of ethics and is thus not expected. A petty stationary theft from the office is a crime and must be reported.

Tip #2 – True Statements

Beware of the true statements as options. In many questions, an aspirant will have a tendency to think more than one answer is correct however a quick check of whether an option is correct or just a true statement will be of great help. True statements don’t necessarily pertain to the question or the question scenario.

Tip #3 – What’s in a Name

Some project management concepts, tools, techniques and processes have more than one name. The questioner can make use of these and give those alternate names as options to elicit some confusion. It is always better to know all names associated to avoid getting into this trap.

Tip #4 – Go Big or Go Home

Whether the projects you work on pertain to large scale construction or smaller websites, it is always better to think in terms of large projects when answering the PMP questions unless otherwise stated. By default a project worth millions of dollars with a schedule of atleast 1 year and about 250 resources working on the endeavor is good enough to consider.

Tip #5 – God May Not be in the Details

God is in the details is what we always thought of but PMP questions tend to have certain amount of red herring which is best to be avoided. A wordy question doesn’t necessarily have useful information throughout and the extraneous details can be the cause of confusion. It is always better to read the last line of the question first to prepare yourself in understanding what the question is talking about.

So those were the top 5 tips on correctly answering PMP questions. Do check out the video that has sample questions for all these 5 tips and will help you understand them better.

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