The Ultimate Guide To PMP Exam Questions [2021]

Are you worried about the PMP exam questions?

In this post, you will find answers to all your queries related to the PMP questions. It will help you in passing the PMI credential test successfully.

You will find answers for:

  1. What are the different types of questions in the PMP exam?
  2. How many questions come in the PMP exam?
  3. How many correct questions do you need to pass the PMP exam?
  4. What is the utility of pretest questions?
  5. How to answer the PMP questions?

What are the Different Types of Questions in the PMP Exam?

You will find seven different types of questions in the credential test. These are:

  1. ITTO Questions
  2. Definition/knowledge Based
  3. Mathematical/Formula Based
  4. Diagram Based
  5. Data Interpretation
  6. Professional Responsibility Questions
  7. Situational Questions

Let’s understand them in detail.

ITTO Questions

These are based directly on the ITTO (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs) that are listed in the PMBOK Guide.

Example Question:

Which of the following is not an Output to the Close Project or Phase?

  1. Final report
  2. Formal acceptance
  3. Lessons learned
  4. Final product, service, or result

Answer & Explanation

A is the correct answer.

Refer to PMBOK Guide 6th Edition page no. 121, table no. 4.14.

This question has been taken from the PMP ITTO Quiz that is available on this blog.

You can Download Free PMP ITTO Process Chart to start your ITTO learning.

Definition/Knowledge Based

These are directly based on the concepts enumerated in the PMBOK Guide. They are usually come from Process definitions or Tool and Techniques as explained in the Guide.

Example Question:

Which of the following technique is used for idea generation and analysis?

  1. Focus groups
  2. Mind mapping
  3. Affinity Diagrams
  4. Brainstorming

Answer & Explanation:

D is the correct answer.

Refer to PMBOK Guide 6th Edition 4.1.2.2.

Mathematical/Formula Based

These are based on the formulas and mathematical concepts that are explained in the PMBOK Guide. Usually, these come from the following chapters:

  • Integration Management
  • Schedule Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • Communication Management
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement Management

Example Question:

Given that, PV = $4000, AC = $7000, and EV = $6000.

The Project is:

  1. Ahead of schedule and over budget.
  2. Ahead of schedule and behind budget.
  3. Behind schedule and over budget.
  4. Behind schedule and under budget.

Answer & Explanation:

Option A is the correct answer.

Calculation:

SV = EV – PV = 6000 – 4000 = 2000

CV = EV – AC = 6000 – 7000 = -1000

Since Schedule Variance is positive and Cost Variance is negative, the project is ahead of schedule and over budget.

For more information on this topic, you can read my detailed article on Earned Value Analysis.

Diagram Based

These are based on the figures and diagrammatic concepts that are explained in the PMBOK Guide. Usually, these come from the following chapters:

  • Schedule Management
  • Risk Management

Example Question:


For that same network diagram, what’s the float for activity A?

  1. 0 days
  2. 1 days
  3. 2 days
  4. 4 days

Answer & Explanation

A is the correct answer.

After solving the network diagram, difference between Late Start and Early Start of activity A is 0 days.

Data Interpretation

These are based on the data interpretation concepts that are explained in the PMBOK Guide. Usually, these come from the following chapters:

  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management

Example Question:

Given figures for a Schedule Variance Control Chart

LCL: -5.9%, UCL: +5.9%

LSL: -3.9%, USL: +3.9%

10 consecutive weeks of Schedule Variance data: -3%. -2%, -1%, 0%, +1%, +2%, 3%, 4%, -4%, 6%

The project schedule can be considered out of control after week:

  1. 10
  2. 9
  3. 8
  4. 7

Answer & Explanation:

Option D is the correct answer. According to “Rule of Seven”, a process is out of control when seven consecutive points are in a upward or downward trend.

Professional Responsibility Questions

These questions are based on the “PMI Code of ethics & professional conduct” as defined by PMI.

Example Question:

You are submitting a proposal for an advanced technology telecom software project. The project is likely to awarded to your company as you are the sole bidder for the project. You enjoy a long and friendly relationship with the customer representative. He has advised you to increase the estimated cost by a factor of 23%. He informed you that his organization always negotiates to reduce the cost estimates by a significant amount. So, in order to get proper funds, you should inflate the cost.

What is the best way to handle this situation?

  1. Give an accurate estimate and don’t increase the cost. However, highlight the cost reduction as a risk in the proposal.
  2. Give an accurate estimate and add 23% as the contingency reserves because the risk of reduction is already known.
  3. Give an accurate estimate and add 23% as the management reserves because you do not want to highlight the risk of reduction in the proposal.
  4. Since you enjoy a good relationship with the customer representative, do not mention the cost of reduction as a risk in the proposal. Just pad up the cost for each task.

Answer & Explanation:

A is the correct answer.

As per the “PMI Code of ethics & professional conduct”, honesty is one of the core values for a project management professional.

Situational Questions

These too are based on the concepts that are defined in the PMBOK Guide. However, they are not direct questions. They try to test your ability to apply the project management concepts in practical scenarios. Usually, these questions are very tricky.

Example Question:

You are performing schedule network analysis along with your team. You want to analyze different schedule scenarios and their impact to the project. Which of the following technique would be useful?

  1. Alternatives Generation
  2. Schedule Compression
  3. Delphi Technique
  4. What-if scenario analysis

Answer & Explanation:

D is the correct answer.

Refer to PMBOK Guide 6th Edition – section 6.5.2.4, para on What-If Scenario Analysis.

How Many Questions Come in the PMP Exam?

The current exam contains a total of 180 questions out of which 175 questions are scored and 5 are not scored.

These questions come from three different domains. The following represents the names of these domains and the percentage of questions that come from each domain:

People: 42%
Process: 50%
Business Environment: 8%

Apart from this, you will find a number of questions from each of the seven types mentioned above. Generally, it is believed that situational questions form the bulk of the exam but no one knows for sure if it is true as PMI keeps on changing the Exam Content Outline and the format of the exam.

Here are the estimated number of questions for each of the seven types:

  1. ITTO questions: less than 5
  2. Definition/knowledge Based: 15 to 20
  3. Mathematical/Formula Based: 5 to 10
  4. Diagram Based: less than 5
  5. Data Interpretation: less than 5
  6. Professional Responsibility Questions: less than 5
  7. Situational Questions: 140 to 150

Note: PMI does not segregate the questions based on their type. They do it for the three domains mentioned in the Exam Content Outline. The above numbers for each type of questions is just an estimate. No one knows how many questions are actually there for each type.

How Many Correct Questions Do You Need to Pass the PMP Exam?

Before 2007, PMI used to have a definite passing criterion. A candidate was required to answer 60.6% of the questions correctly to pass the exam. After 2007, the passing criterion has become obscure.

No one, outside the PMI’s select circle, knows the passing criteria as PMI has not disclosed it. Most probably, the criteria are not based on a definite number of correct questions answered.

In the prevailing system, the PMP exam score report does not mention anything about number of correct or incorrect questions. It contains something equivalent to grades. These are called performance rating categories. There are four of them viz. above target, target, below target, needs improvement.

For understanding more about this topic, you should read my other articles on passing score for the PMP exam and determine your own PMP Score.

What is the Utility of Pretest Questions?

The current exam contains only 5 pre-test questions. These are not scored and are randomly placed throughout the exam.

PMI puts these questions in order to determine the validity and legitimacy of these questions. By asking these questions to a large number of PMP test-takers, they get to know if the questions are valid or not. If they are found to be valid, they can be used in the future tests.

How to Answer the PMP Questions?

I have written a full article on how to answer situational and other types of questions. You should read it for a complete understanding.

In brief, you can follow the following steps to answer the PMP questions.

  1. Read the question carefully
  2. If the question is long (usually PMP questions are long with redundant information) then identify the main part of the question.
  3. Identify the keyword(s) in the question to determine what the question is really asking.
  4. Determine the PG (Process Group), KA (Knowledge Area), and Process of the question.
  5. Eliminate the obviously incorrect choices and choose the correct option.

Final words

The PMP exam is one of the most difficult exams. It not only test your knowledge but also the application of that knowledge. In order to pass the exam successfully, you must read the PMBOK guide thoroughly.

Furthermore, you should be extra careful while answering the situational questions. The best way to prepare for the exam is by practicing many sample questions.

Good luck.

Over to You

Which type of questions do you find the most difficult? can you share the tips and tricks that you are following to tackle these questions?

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