Stunning PMP Exam Tips and Tricks to PASS the PMP Certification Exam

PMP exam tips and tricks are some important practices followed by many practitioners, to prepare and pass the PMP certification exam.

My intention is to only share these PMP exam tips with PMP aspirants to help them in going through the journey of PMP certification. However if anyone feel that, a specific pmp exam tip or trick is not applicable to them or does not work with them, please feel free to follow your own way.

PMP Exam Tips

I have categorized PMP exam tips and tricks into the following section to make it easy for the readers to follow the PMP exam tips and tricks at different stages.

  1. PMP Exam Tips and Tricks to follow during PMP Preparation
  2. What PMP Exam Tips and Tricks you need follow before PMP Exam
  3. Which PMP Exam Tips and Tricks will be of help during your PMP Exam

PMP Exam Tips and Tricks during PMP Preparation

1.   Warm Up!

PMP exam is not easy. One has to have lot of preparation and practice to crack the PMP exam. Remember there are no shortcuts to achieve PMP certification.

If you really wanted to crack the PMP exam, prepare your mind first for the efforts and time that you are going to invest in PMP preparation.

Plan and get buy in from your family and friends on the time and effort that you are going to keep on the exam. PMP preparation takes good amount of time and effort. Hence setting the expectations to family and friends will really help you to concentrate on the study.

2.   Know about the PMP Certification Exam in detail

In case if you are not aware of the information on the PMP Certification prerequisites, I have written a detailed blog post on PMP Certification Prerequisites, PMP eligibility requirements.  This is not a PMP exam tip, but you must know in detail about the PMP exam, before you start preparing for it.

3.   Unlearn your project management experience

For the purpose of PMP exam, you always follow the procedures or methods guided in PMBOK guide. These are tested best practices by many experienced project managers and are idea solutions for these project management issues or scenarios.

Your real life project management experience may have a different way of dealing with a specific project management problem. However for the purpose of PMP exam, understand and follow the way that PMI suggest to deal with a specific project management scenario. I think this is the one of the primary PMP exam tips you would here from many of the PMP preparation courses.

4.   Choose PMP Study Guide that best suits your reading style

Choose a study guide that is suitable to your reading interest and needs. Revise the study guide at least couple of times.

Also complete all chapter end exercises, and record your lessons learned from each of this exercise. Most importantly record why the question went wrong and what is the correct answer and why. This way your fundamentals will be very strong and you will never forget about the concept.

Just in case, if you are looking for how to choose the best PMP book that suits your reading style, here is the detailed post on How To Choose A BEST PMP BOOK That Suits You


5.   Create your PMP Study Plan that matches your objectives

This is very important step. This step would make you answer some of the most important planning aspects of your PMP Certification preparation.

6.   Initiation Process group – Your First Goldmine

There are only two processes in this process group, and expected to have 26 questions on the exam.

The processes in this process group are

  1. Develop Project Charter and
  2. Identify stakeholders.

You must target these two processes, in such a way that you get 100% marks in the exam on these two processes. Meaning that 26 questions must be answered correctly, targeting only two processes. This is a must follow tip among the PMP exam tips.

7.   Closing Process group – Your Second Goldmine

Again here are also there are only 2 processes. They are

  1. Close Project
  2. Close procurements.

There are 14 questions on the exam on these two processes. You must target to get 100% marks in these two processes also on the exam. The concepts are pretty simple and this is easily doable. This is also a must follow tip among the PMP exam tips.

8.   PMP Formulas – Not a rocket science

Formula related and network diagram related questions are pretty easy. Do practice them well to get complete score on these questions.

9.   Practice PMP mock exams

After you complete few revisions of the PMP study guide and PMBOK, take handful of “Quality” PMP mock exams. And make sure you get 75% to 85% consistently, to decide whether you are ready for the main exam.

Again do not get disappointed, if you get very less. This is absolutely normal. See where you are going wrong and try to learn and understand those concepts clearly and attempt the exam once again. Repeat this process a few times, until you get the good score of 75% to 85%.

10.   Dump your PMP formulas and other important concepts on scratch paper

Practice on how to dump critical points on scratch paper, just in case if you wanted to do this to release your mind from stress of storing critical points or formulas. Practice this activity with a time binding of not more than 5 to 10 minutes. Meaning that you need to fill the scratch paper in 5 to 10 mins with all the concepts you wanted to dump.

PMP Exam Tips and Tricks before PMP Exam

  1. Try to schedule your PMP exam slot for the morning session. This would make you feel fresh during the exam.
  2. Exam room will have good level of air conditioning. So if you are not comfortable with the atmosphere inside, try getting a sweater with you.
  3. Take a good sleep the night before the exam. Do not over study this night.
  4. Visit the exam center, before the exam day so as to avoid any last minute surprises. Plan for how to reach easily on the exam day.
  5. Call the exam center (PROMETRIC) and ask whether they provide ear plugs. Sometimes you may hear noise from within your room or external to the exam center which may distract you during the exam. Ear plugs will help you to avoid any external noises and keep you focused on the exam.

PMP Exam Tips and Tricks during PMP Exam

1.   Know the Prometric center environment

Locate rest room, before your exam so that you won’t waste any time later asking for the rest room directions, when you have to take a break.

2.   Be cool!

Do not get scared, if you do not know the answer for some of the questions consecutively. This is absolutely normal and happens to almost everyone. You will also find some easy and direct questions to balance this out. Take deep breaths, when you feel you are stressed.

3.   Be conscious to spend no more than a minute or two on any question.

Do not spend more than a minute or maximum two on a question. Choose your best guess, mark it for review and move on. Later come back and visit the question, once you complete the first round of answering the questions.

Sometimes, last few questions will be very simple. Hence you should save time to walk through all the questions and should not miss the simple ones at any circumstances.

4.   Dumping Formulas on Scratch paper

There will be a 15 minutes of window for you to go through the computer tutorial to understand the ways of the exam. Earlier prometric centers were offering to dump the critical points on scratch paper during this 15 mins time before the exam starts. However this practice is discontinued now by PMI.

So if you think that, you need to dump your critical points on to scratch paper, then use 5 to 10 minutes of your initial exam time to do this. You need to practice to dump the required critical points and formulas on the scratch paper during your PMP preparation with time binding.

Start dumping the formulas, ITTO s and anything you feel like difficult to remember on to the scratch paper, so as to free up your mind.  Exam may test you with Earned Value Management question at may be in the last part, when you are so tired. Dumping the formulas on the scratch paper will help you free up your mind and keep you focused on the question.

5.   If you are not sure about the answer of a question

When you get a question, for which you are not sure about the answer, make the best guess on the answer, mark the best answer and then mark it also for review. Do not leave the answer blank and mark for review. Sometimes, at the end you may not have time for the review, that time your best guess is considered.

6.   How to deal with Wordy PMP Questions

If PMP Exam question is wordy or lengthy with one or more paragraphs, read the questions, which will be at the end of the question in most of the cases.

After reading the question, go to the rest of the paragraph to understand the context. In such cases the context is not required to answer the question.

For example, they build a story around a project manager working in a specific type of organization and then finally ask about what are the organization types. To answer what are the organization types, you do not need any context really.

7.   Pay attention to the words such as NOT, EXCEPT, MUST

Some questions may contain words such as “NOT”, “EXCEPT”, “MUST”, etc… Pay attention to these words, as these words in question will help to choose the best answer.

8.   Use Elimination Method, if you are in doubt

During the exam, when you do not know the direct answer, try to apply elimination method to choose the best answer.

First eliminate the first worst answer, which you are sure that this is not the answer for this question. Second worst answer is also easy to eliminate in most cases, if you understand the concepts reasonably.

When you have two answer options remaining, this is the difficult step to choose and option among the two. Take your best guess. Do not leave any question unanswered.

9.   Remember the following points

While answering the PMP questions,

  1. ALWAYS follow PMBOK. Do not follow real time project experience, if it is different than what is followed in the PMBOK.
  2. If the type of organization is not mentioned, assume that the question is talking about matrix organizations.
  3. If size of project is not mentioned in the context of the question, then assume that, the question is talking about larger projects not smaller projects. And the project manager is handling this larger project.
  4. There would be scenario based questions where the project manager is put on pressure and ask the question on how the project manager should deal with the scenario. Remember one thing that project manager always has to do things in the way, which PMBOK is expecting. Does not matter whatever be the situation. Customer may be angry, or someone in the top management has high influence, etc… statements should not influence your answer.
  5. Sometimes, one network diagram is referred towards multiple questions. So do not worry, if the questions are a bit wordy. Sometimes these questions may be very complex, but finally what they ask may be very simpler such figuring out float value.
  6. For the questions pertaining to PMP Ethics and professional responsibility, always keep in mind that project manager must act as role model.

10.   Minimize your bio breaks during the exam

When you take a break for the rest room, remember clock will keep ticking and count the time on the PMP exam screen.

At every break, if you are going out of the exam room (means to the rest room), there will be security checks, while you enter the exam room again. Hence it consumes another 3 or 4 minutes extra for this security checks.

11.   Do not leave early from Exam room

Do not leave early even you complete the exam much ahead of time. Utilize the available time for reviewing the questions. Utilize complete exam time. Don’t be over confident.

12.   Read all the four choices

Do not select an answer by reading only one or two choices. Most of the times, you would need to choose the best answer, not just the correct answer. There may be more than one correct answer to a question. PMP exam expects the best answer among these.

If you have not read my blog post on what are the do s and don’t s on your pmp exam day, please go through a detailed post PMP Exam Day – Ultimate Guide to Dos and Don’ts on the The D-Day.


PMP Exam tips ensure you to take all the measures and follow best practices to Pass PMP exam on your first try. These are proven practices collected by many experienced project managers. Hope this article helps you to pass your PMP exam.

If you have any queries or feedback, please drop me a comment below. I would be glad to hear from you.

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