Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Types of PMP® Exam Questions You Should Know to Pass The PMP Exam

Anyone who has sat for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam knows that studying A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and having 35 Contact Hours is just not enough. When you talk to them about the PMP® Exam, they will tell you it covers a lot of ground and the questions are not as straightforward as one would hope. Of the ones that have passed the exam, an overwhelming percentage of them will tell you that they used more than just one study method.

Just as a golfer must learn to “drive” and “put” before they ever step onto an 18 hole golf course, the PMP aspirant must also learn the mechanics of taking the exam and what to expect when they arrive on game day. Employing multiple study methods, as well as having a PM Exam Simuator to help, gives you a triangulated understanding of the material as well as illuminates what you do know and what you don’t know.

Being able to answer sample PMP exam questions is crucial to your exam success. Simple? In concept; yes. However, there are a number of question styles; each has its purpose and caveats, which makes knowing how to get the most of each question exponentially crucial.

What Type of PMP Exam Questions You Need to Know

1. Situational PMP exam questions

The vast majority of the questions on the PMP® exam are situational. Situational questions test your ability to apply theoretical know-how to real-life project management situations. Some questions are short and vague, others are long-winded and ambiguous. The idea behind this is that in real life you will be handed both relevant and irrelevant information. Your task is to identify what’s relevant, ignore what doesn’t matter, and then act upon the real issues. Be sure to read and accurately identify the actual question being asked of you, so that you can eliminate the useless information.

Often, situational questions will offer two (or more) choices which are both reasonably correct, so it’s vital that you identify if the question is asking you to identify the BEST course of action, or the NEXT step the project manager should take, or the EXCEPTION, or the ONLY answer.

2. Formula based PMP exam questions

Formula-based questions are more than just ‘solving for the median’ or calculating earned value. While there are only a few calculation questions on the exam and most do not require complicated calculations, there are around 50 various PMP formulas that you will need to know backwards and forwards in order to pass the PMP Exam. Understanding them thoroughly down to the importance of each element will give you the decision making criteria to include or exclude the values in the PMP exam question.

3. Knowledge based PMP exam questions

Knowledge-based questions require you to apply your understanding of principles from the PMBOK® Guide or the Agile Practice Guide. A knowledge-based question may, for example, ask you to identify a chart or graph, such as recognizing a RACI matrix or Pareto chart.

4. Interpretational questions

Interpretational questions test your ability to deduce a situation or condition from the description of a status or problem. For example: “If your project has an SPI and a CPI both greater than 1, how well is your project performing?” To solve this, you will need to know how SPI and CPI relate to the project’s performance.

5. Specific Technique questions

Specific Technique questions will provide a snapshot of a situation, like a network diagram, and ask you to provide an element that’s inherent in that diagram such as forward pass or backward pass.

In conclusion...

You need to answer dozens of samples from each question type before you will feel ready to tackle the exam. But how and where do you find good PMP mock exams?

There are many free PMP sample questions available just one short Google search away. However, you want to be very careful, because with free mock questions more times than not, the old adage “You get what you pay for” applies.

The best way to practice sample questions is by signing up for an online PMP exam simulator. You can access the questions over the internet from anywhere and on your schedule. Be sure the questions were created based on the most recent version of the PMP® Examination Content Outline.

So, there you have it. If you want to pass the PMP exam, you need to learn about the different types of questions that appear on the exam and practice them using the best PMP Exam simulator you can find online.

Once you know how to identify the real question being asked from each of these question types, you’ll greatly increase the odds of arriving at the correct answer. I know this sounds simplistic, but it is no small task because you’ll need to be able to recall and apply all the theoretical knowledge required, combine it with your own project management experience, and relate this to the question at hand.

Watch this video for more tips:

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