How Many Times Can I Take the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam?

  • 29 September, 2020

The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is considered to be one of the most challenging exams, and it is not uncommon that a project manager may not pass on the first attempt. While it is every project manager's goal to pass the first time, what happens if you don't?

  1. Passing the PMP exam

    Much to the dismay of PMP candidates, the Project Management Institute (PMI) does not release a passing score on the PMP exam, nor do you receive a percentage score on your test result. While this may be frustrating, it is crucial to understand how PMI determines whether you passed or failed.

    There are hundreds of questions in the PMP question bank. When you start your exam, 200 questions (175 that are scored and 25 that are unscored) are randomly selected from five domains:

    Each question has been weighted based on its difficulty, with more difficult questions having a higher weighting. That weighting is factored into the final pass/fail result. For example, if you have an exam with more difficult questions, the threshold to pass the exam will be lower.

    PMP Questions from Five Domain

  2. What happens if I fail?

    If you do not meet the necessary threshold to pass the exam, you will be notified immediately upon completion of your exam. In addition, you will receive a score report that indicates your proficiency level in each of the five domains. While the report does not tell you what questions you missed, it does map the results to the different tasks, which provides some essential insight.

    You can take your PMP exam up to three times during your eligibility year. Your eligibility year begins the day PMI approves your application. Keep this in mind and ensure that you do not put off your exam until near the end of your eligibility year. In the event you do not pass, you want to ensure that you have time to repeat the exam within that time span.

  3. The reexamination process

    It typically takes about 48 hours after your failed attempt for the system to be updated with your result. Once that happens, you will receive an email from PMI advising you that you are eligible to pay your fees and schedule your reexamination. The fees for the re-take are $275 for PMI members and $375 for non-PMI members.

  4. Preparing for your second (or third) attempt

    A frequent contributor to a failing result is fear of the unknown and exam anxiety. Now that you have fully had the experience of taking the exam, hopefully, that anxiety is minimized. Take some time to review your results and go back to the areas where you need improvement.

    To increase your chances of success, it is essential to prepare adequately, but at the same time, you do not want to put off your reexamination for too long, as you may lose some of your prior learning.

  5. What if I don't pass after three attempts?

    While it is not common, occasionally, a project manager will use all three opportunities without passing. If you do not pass on your third attempt, you will need to wait a year before submitting a new PMP application and starting the process from scratch.

    And remember, this is a tough exam! Not passing is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Instead, use it as an opportunity to receive some feedback to place yourself in the best possible position for success on your next attempt!

Project Management Professional (PMP) and "PMP" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Blogs you might also like