Tips for Selecting the Right Answer on the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam

  • 22 September, 2020

You have been studying and preparing for your Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, and now it is time to put all of your preparation to the test... literally! You may have heard that the PMP exam is difficult, and the questions-many of which are very wordy-are challenging and often confusing. The good news is that with some proven tactics, you can work your way through even the most difficult questions.

Tip #1: Read the actual question first

Many of the PMP exam questions are long and wordy, and yet, there are typically only a few pieces of information that you may need. To best work your way through a long question, actually read what they are asking you first: skip to the bottom and look at the very end of the question. This is especially important before doing any type of lengthy math or calculations that may end up being a waste of time. And sometimes, you may find you do not need any of the information provided as a lead up to the question!

Tip #2: Read all four answers

You will typically find that one answer is wrong, one answer is kind of right, and the other two both seem to be correct. You are looking for the best right answer, so never stop at the first right answer. Read all four answers before selecting your choice. You may be surprised that there is an even better answer after evaluating all of the options.

Tip #3: Be mindful of keywords

Keywords in the question will enable you to determine the best answer to a question. For example, be on the lookout for words like "except," "always," "must," "never," or "rarely." Undoubtedly you will get a challenging double-negative question that gets your head spinning a bit! Please slow down and read carefully what they are actually asking you to answer.

Tips for Selecting the Right Answer on the PMP Exam

Tip #4: Know when to change your answer

This is a tough one, and there are a lot of mixed opinions out there. My advice would be not to change your answer under most circumstances. Typically, your first or gut response is going to be the correct answer, even if you are unsure of why it is the right answer. Second-guessing yourself can be detrimental in three ways: you are increasing your anxiety, which feeds your flight or fight response; you are losing precious time sitting on a question; and frequently your second answer will be incorrect.

There are two exceptions for when to change your answer: either another question alerted you that you answered the previous question incorrectly or it was a math problem, and when you double-checked your math, you realized you were off. Just because your math answer is there, does not mean it is correct.

Tip #5: Answer with PMI in mind

This can be one of the most challenging aspects of the exam, especially for more experienced or seasoned project managers. To pass the exam, you must answer the questions from the Project Management Institute (PMI) perspective, not using your own experience as a project manager. This means that there may be questions that, in practice, you would not handle the same way as you are going to answer on the exam. That can be tough, but remember, the goal here is that you pass your exam and hopefully on your first attempt!

While there is no 100% foolproof way to pass the PMP exam, using these tips can undoubtedly improve your likelihood. Good luck on your exam!

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

Blogs you might also like