Passing PMP certification exam is a difficult proposition. It is unlike any other test. You have to practice a lot of PMP exam questions and mock tests before you can say that you are ready for the exam.
But you would ask, how many questions to practice for passing the PMP exam? What number is enough to help you crack the exam?
After the latest exam change by PMI (Project Management Institute), you should practice about 2000 sample questions for the PMP exam prep. You should plan to take the PMP certification test only after you start feeling confident about the real exam.
Read on and you will find answer to these queries.
How Many Questions to Practice for the PMP Exam?
I Practiced Only 600 Mock Questions when I did my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification way back in 2005. In those days, there weren’t many sources for doing PMP sample questions. You could find some mock tests in a few PMP reference books that were available in those days but that was the end of it.
So, I had to rely on what was available. The trick was to slice and dice the available material. I studied hard and prepared for all kind of surprises.
Although I could pass the exam by practicing only 600 questions, things have changed drastically since then. Today, there are umpteen sources of the mock tests & sample questions. And, at the same time, the competition for the exam has increased substantially.
Now, practicing 600 or even 1000 sample questions is not enough to pass the exam.
I have been conducting PMP training programs since 2008. Over last few years, I have noticed something very interesting. I have observed that, if someone has a good understanding of the PMBOK Guide and practices about 2000 sample questions, she/he invariably passes the exam.
Now, 2000 is not a foolproof number. The actual number may differ for each PMP candidate. It will depend on your project management experience and educational qualifications. However, if you do about 2000 questions, you will have an extremely good chance of becoming a PMP certified project manager.
Let us look at a complete strategy for doing 2000 questions.
PMP Practice Exam Strategy
Step I – Practice 800 Questions while Studying the PMBOK Guide
PMI formulates exam questions on the basis of PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO). You should have adequate knowledge of the project management tasks defined in the ECO in order to become a certified project manager.
The best way to understand ECO tasks is by studying the PMBOK Guide (A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge) and Agile Practice Guide.
Many people find it difficult to read these books. I concur that these books are not reader friendly but you should not skip these books. You can read my series of articles that will help you to easily study the PMBOK Guide. You can download these books free of cost by becoming a PMI member.
However, if you still find it difficult to follow the Guide then you can study from a good PMP reference book. You can refer to my article on the best PMP study guide to choose a good reference book.
You should practice about 800 questions while studying the PMBOK Guide. This will help you in understanding the Guide’s concepts in sufficient detail. You can take either of the following 2 approaches:
- If you are studying the PMBOK Guide Knowledge Area (KA) wise, then you should do 30-50 questions for each KA (depending on the size of KA).
- If you are studying the the PMBOK Guide processes Process Group (PG) wise, then you should do about 125 questions each for Planning, Executing & M&C PGs. In addition, you should do 50-75 questions each for Initiating and Closing PGs.
The actual number may vary for each individual, but most PMP aspirants get a good hold of project management concepts after doing 800 questions.
You should feel comfortable with the PMBOK Guide’s concepts before moving to the next step.
Step II – Practice 1200 Questions after Understanding the PMBOK Guide’s Concepts
In this step, you should do 1200 questions from a few different reliable sources.
I have noticed that many PMP candidates start to feel confident after completing the chapter questions. But, I would strongly recommend you to do 1200 mixed questions and full-length 180 questions mock tests before taking the actual exam.
Additionally, I would suggest that you do these questions from 3-4 different sources. PMP is a difficult exam. The questions are composed by a committee of authors. So it is better to be exposed to different styles of questions before taking the final test.
Free Practice Test vs Paid PMP Exam Simulator
I have written separate articles on why paid tests are important for your PMP preparation and how you should mix free and paid tests to check your exam readiness.
Best Practices for doing PMP Mock Questions
You should adhere to the following points while doing questions. You should:
- practice questions from 3-4 different sources to get different flavors. PMP prep course and reference books are good sources of study.
- do some topic specific (KA, PG, and Agile) tests. This way you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Work on your weaknesses by reading specific portion(s) of PMBOK Guide and Agile Practice Guide again.
- practice a few questions everyday without fail to maintain the continuity.
- do sample tests of varying lengths. However, just before the actual PMP exam, you must do at least 2 full length tests in a single sitting. This will test your ability to sit for 230 minutes and withstand the stress levels.
- practice questions from authentic sources. There are plethora of websites that have old/incorrect questions or wrong answers/explanations. You should avoid these sources, so that you don’t get demotivated and/or disappointed.
- do the questions from a source which provides answers with good explanations.
- read the answers & explanations carefully after doing the sample tests. You should do this even if your answer was correct in the first place.
- try to re-frame each question to suite the other 3 incorrect options. This can be mentally done after you have completed a sample test. This way you will be potentially doing 4 questions instead of only 1 question.
- do not avoid any specific kind of PMP questions like numerical, long questions, case study based questions, questions from a particular topic etc.
Whew! That was lot. Let us do some sample questions. Er…I mean let me answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
I believe, you should do a mix of questions from both free and paid sources. You should read my article that talks about 13 reasons to invest in Paid PMP Tests to understand why it is beneficial to do the questions from a paid source.
If you are looking for free questions, you can check my post reliable sources of free tests.
If you are looking for the top sources for paid questions, then you you can look review and comparison of Top PMP Mock Tests
Over To You
How many questions do you intend to do? Which sources are you using? Are you satisfied with your preparation level?
I would love to hear from you.