Published on Aug 24,2015
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Touted as the fourth highest paying certification around the world, according to a survey conducted by Global Knowledge in 2015, PMP® spells ‘Lucrative’.

PMP® stands for Project Management Professional Certification, a certification that unlocks all opportunities that are available out there for you as a project manager. A project ideally goes through five phases, namely, initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. No matter how many distinctive qualities you have that can seemingly help you create a career in project management, without a proper certification you would be just like one of those people who suggest medicines to acquaintances, without a degree in medicine.

At the end of the day, PMP® is about instinct, adaptability, vision and attention to detail, but the threshold always has to be strong with knowledge. A PMP® certification doesn’t just sit quietly in your file of degrees and qualification, but effectively takes over your career, guiding it to greater echelons. In a nutshell, calling yourself a project manager without having a PMP® certification is as hollow as calling yourself a doctor without MBBS.

The most robust certification in Project Management that you can get is from the 46-year old veteran Project Management Institute (PMI®). It is the most recognized project management certification worldwide.

PMP® exam fee

It is highly recommended that you become a PMI® member prior to signing up to take the test. The membership fee is $139 and an application can be submitted online at If you are a PMI® member, the exam fee is $405, as compared to the fee of $555 for non-members. Becoming a PMI® member will not cost you much, and you will gain PMI® membership privileges including connections to peer communities, prospective employers at PMI® career headquarters, and exclusive access to cutting-edge literature on project management.

The real challenge begins after filling up the application form online. When it comes to PMP® certification, the benchmarks are not really set. Be it the preparation time required or the passing marks, one cannot have a clear cut numeric answer. Still, through the right guidance and training, you can make these aspects of the exam as clear as possible.

PMP® exam passing marks

The PMP® exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions to be completed within four hours. Now don’t heave a sigh of relief at the later part of the last sentence, because four hours would never seem a lot once you are actually taking the exam. Each and every minute in these four hours would be precious and would have to be judiciously used. Of the 200 questions, only 175 are testable. This means that there are 25 “pre-test” questions, which are only there to test the suitability of the exam question for future exam takers. The tricky part is that you would not be able to distinguish these 25 questions from the rest of the questions and your performance in these questions won’t matter.

Until November 2005, PMI used to publish the passing rates in the PMP® Handbook, which used to be 61%. PMI® does not publish the passing rates any longer. This is because of PMI adopting a more “scientific” approach to judge whether a PMP® aspirant is eligible for the PMP® title or not. The scientific approach means that since every candidate gets a different set of questions, the passing score for each candidate is different. The statistic model termed as psychometric analysis is applied in order to make sure that the difficulty to pass the exam is same for all the candidates. So naturally, one gets more marks solving a difficult question correct than correctly solving a relatively easier question.

In 2007 the PMP® report card was revised to give only the proficiency levels (i.e. Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient). There is no set combination of proficiency level in different areas to ensure that you pass the test. In the past, some candidates with the below proficient level in one or two areas have also passed the test.

Having discussed this psychometric approach, it is still important for you as an aspirant to establish a benchmark for scoring, So, keeping the past benchmark of 61% and adding 15-20% with fluctuations in mind, you should be able to attempt 80-85% of the questions correctly in to be sure about passing the exam.

How long does it take to become a PMP®?

It depends on how much experience you have as a project manager and how familiar are you with PMI’s terminology. However, you should expect to spend two to three hours per day for at least two months before you take the exam. But once you finish your online exam, it could just take you a fraction of a second to become a certified PMP®.

This article might have intimidated you a little, but as TV host Steve Harvey said, “The road to success is always under construction”. PMP® exam will challenge you, hone you, wear you out, and yet be the best career path you ever walked on!

Got a question for us? Please mention them in the comments section and we will get back to you. 

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About Author
Nishant Shukla
Published on Aug 24,2015
Nishant Shukla heads the certification business at Edureka. He is a passionate business leader with over 2 decades of experience in Project Management.

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