All of the questions on the PMP exam are multiple choice. There are only four choices for each question, and there are two hundred questions. This means that you will have an average of only 1.2 minutes per question. This is not a lot of time, but it is usually enough, if English is your native language, that is. Otherwise, you may have some problems with the timing of the exam.
The best approach to the exam is to go through it rapidly, answering all of the questions that you are certain about. I can remember doing this on the old PMP exam and realizing that at the end of the process I was not sure of any of the answers. When you are done with those, go back and answer the questions that you skipped. This will take advantage of any information that you can learn as a result of answering the questions you know. If you definitely know the answer to a question, then you also know that the other answers are wrong for that question. This information may allow you to answer a question that you skipped earlier. Be sure to answer every question on the exam. There is no subtraction for wrong answers. Only the right answers are counted.
The trend in the PMP examination is to use questions that are ''situational'' in nature. This means that the questions will be more like the word problems you had in your high school math classes. Situational questions go something like this: If Joe has four apples and Sally has three oranges, what time will the train from Chicago meet the train from New York? This is thought to test the candidate PMP more thoroughly in the competence of project management and less in the area of rote memorization. This has been accomplished. While the other project management organizations around the world may be critical of PMI for not using the interview methods that so many other organizations favor, PMI has achieved the recognition of the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 9001: 2000 certification for the process of certifying PMPs. This means that the process that PMI uses does what it is supposed to do, and it does act to select project management professionals from those who are not qualified.
PMI uses the Angoff modified technique for constructing the questions. This means that a large number of PMPs are used in the process. First, PMPs are trained to write questions for the exam. These questions are then reviewed by committees of PMPs, after which they are given to an independent professional who reviews the questions again for construction and ambiguity.
Once the questions have been reviewed, they are submitted to another group of PMPs who are asked to rate the questions in terms of whether they think a question tests a person seeking the PMP certification who is ''minimally qualified.'' Each question is evaluated this way.
Although there is a passing grade for the exam, it is not necessarily going to be the same from year to year. PMI rates the difficulty of each question on the exam. A mixture of questions of varying difficulty are then selected so that the difficulty of each version of the exam is about the same. Each question on the exam is given to a group of PMPs who are asked the question, '' What is the probability that a minimally acceptable candidate will answer this question correctly?'' The probabilities are summarized, and each question receives a difficulty rating. So, if you take the exam with one set of questions and then take it again a year later with a different set of questions, the difficulty rating for the whole exam should be about the same, even though you have a different set of questions. The passing grade for each exam should be about the same as well, but this is not necessarily the case.
The questions fall into three categories. ''Recall questions'' are similar to what most of the questions on the PMP exam used to be like. These questions give you a definition and then different items, one of which is the item whose definition was stated. The ''application questions'' ask you to pick out what a project manager should do under the situation described. The ''analysis questions'' require you to take the information offered and, by looking at the relationships among the various pieces of information, come up with the correct answer.
You can expect that for most of the questions two of the four answers are easily discarded, and the remaining two will often be difficult to separate into the right and wrong answer.
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.