PMP Exam Passing Rate: What Percentage of People Pass The Exam?

pmp exam passing rate

Did you know that pmp exam passing rate is extremely low?

Yes, you would know that. But, you must be wondering what percentage of test takers pass or fail the certification exam. What is the exam passing or failure rate?

Well! No one would know that answer except for the few folks at Project Management Institute (PMI). But, PMI does not release much statistics related to its credential exams.

So, the next best thing to do is to ask a large number of people who have been in the PMP training industry.

PMP Exam Passing Rate

To find PMP passing rate, I conducted a small survey.

I posed a question to project management trainers and experts on Linkedin. I asked them, what in their opinion was the percentage of people passing the exam?

The result of my survey was not surprising.

Percentage of ExpertsPMP Passing Rate (How many people pass the exam?)
40%<50%
20%50-60%
20%60-70%
20%>70%

​​40% of the surveyed project management experts opined that passing rate for PMP exam is less than 50%.

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I must say that, strictly speaking, my survey was not completely scientific. But it gives us an indication of how difficult the PMP exam is.

Why is PMP Certification Passing Rate So Low?

I think there are three reasons for such a low passing percentage:

  1. PMP is a difficult exam. It requires serious study, hard work, discipline, and perseverance. Many aspirants do not use good study sources and eventually fail the PMP exam.
  2. PMP exam is conducted only in English language. But people from all over the Globe attempt the exam. Many of them are non-English speakers. They are not able to interpret the English idioms and phrases correctly. The exam becomes extra difficult for these aspirants. There is a general opinion that the failure rate of people from non- English speaking countries is very high.
  3. PMI wants the passing rate to be low. And, you would also want it to be low. Otherwise, if the exam was made easy, reputation and credibility of the certification would go down. And, PMP’s value in the job market would decrease.

Why Do PMP Training Companies Claim A High Passing Percentage?

Many training companies claim a very passing rate. Some of them tout that 99% of their students pass the exam.

In my experience, 99% or anything close to it is just absurd. It is nothing but the marketing speak. Someone should go and ask them how they arrived at such a high number.

If the passing rate was so high everyone who enrolled into the training would be PMP certified by now. But, that is not case. Many people just attend a 35 contact hour training. They never take the exam.


Final Thoughts – Ignore PMP Failure Rate & Pass The Exam In First Try

The PMP exam is not easy. It is one of the most difficult exams. Every year many people fail the exam. No one knows for sure what the PMP failure rate is. There is a general belief that the rate is very high.

But, we should not worry about the passing or failure rate. You should prepare well to and pass the exam in your first try. It can give you a bump in your career.

Here are 7 steps to crack the exam in your first try.

  1. Prepare a study schedule.
  2. Use only English language study material as the final exam will be in English.
  3. Study from a good reference guide.
  4. Enroll into a reputed 35 contact hours training course.
  5. Practice a lot of mock questions.
  6. Invest in other study material like tools for ITTO learning.
  7. Practice 200 questions mock test from a good simulator.

Over To You

Why do you think PMP exam passing rate is so low? Do you know of anyone who failed the exam? What are you doing differently to pass the exam in your first try?

I welcome your comments below.

Praveen Malik, PMP

​Praveen Malik ​is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) with a rich 23+ years of experience. He is a leading Project Management Instructor, Coach and ​Advisor. He ​has successfully trained thousands of aspirants for the PM certification exams.