Top Reasons Why You Fail in PMP® Exam

Top Reasons Why You Fail in PMP® Exam

You should understand that PMP is a tough exam and thousands of candidates fail every year. PMI has deliberately made it a difficult test to maintain its value and sanctity. Passing the PMP® exam is not easy and it can cost you a lot of money and time. If you do not pass in the first attempt and end up sitting multiple times, it is not a desirable outcome for your career.

PMP certificate gets good recognition in the job market. 

But this poses a challenge for you. How will you attain the PMP certification if it is such a hard nut to crack? How can you be sure that you will not fail in the exam?

If you fail 3 times, there is a waiting period of one year from the last exam date. There are many reasons for failures and the reason varies from person to person. Whatever may be the reason for failures, the outcome is still very unpleasant nonetheless.

Well! The answer is easy. There is a golden rule of life – learn from the mistakes.

Let us look at the top reasons why aspirants fail in the PMP exam and what we can learn from it.

1. They do not attend formal PMP Facilitation Training

PMP exam is one of the toughest professional exams. It needs serious preparation. A formal PMP training gives you that preparation.

PMP training is costly but it is well worth the investment. They offer very good quality PMP training at a very reasonable price. A formal PMP training can greatly enhance your chances of passing.

Some people avoid the training because of the high cost. They think that they already have the requisite hours through college credits or through previous training.

Some others attend a cheap training program just for the sake of getting 35 contact hours.

By doing these things, you can certainly save some money. But the cost of not attending a good training program is very high.

I would recommend you to attend a formal PMP boot camp. A boot camp program has many benefits over other types of courses. But, if you feel that the fee for a good boot camp is high, then you should attend an online self-learning program.

2. They Do Not Study the PMBOK Guide

Some candidates sparingly use the PMBOK Guide,  just study it superficially or just skip it altogether while studying for the exam. They find the Guide to be boring, dry, and soporific (tending to cause sleepy).

It is true that the Guide is not written in the most lucid manner. But it is also true that the PMP exam is based on the Guide. You should read the PMBOK Guide at least once to increase the chances of your success.

There are numerous reference books in the market. No other book or study material should replace the PMBOK Guide. It is a standard for project management. It includes project management processes, best practices, and guidelines. It is published by PMI, which is also the test-taking body. The language of PMP exam questions is very similar to the Guide’s language.

It is an important resource to understand PMI’s terminology, concepts, and language. To succeed in the exam, you should not ignore the PMBOK Guide. It is PMI’s publication and there is no substitute for it.  

3. You Should Not Use Personal Experience to Answer Exam Questions

You should not use your own personal project management experience while answering the PMP questions.

Some candidates are possibly experienced project managers. They tend to use their own experiences to answer the PMP exam questions. They believe what has worked in their projects is a good project management practice.

These project managers don’t realize that the exam is based on the PMBOK Guide.

Project Management is a very practical subject. The PMP exam is not based on your project situations. It is based on the processes and guidelines described in the PMBOK Guide. It tests your knowledge of the theory and concepts detailed in the Guide.

You can use your project management experience to understand the concepts of the PMBOK Guide. But you should never use it for answering the PMP questions. You should use Guide’s concepts to answer the questions.

4. Must Do Enough Practice Exams

PMP is not a normal exam where you can just pass by studying the books. It needs a lot of practice. The exam preparation can be validated only by doing a lot of mock questions.

As per my experience, candidates should practice at least 2000 mock exams. Each test is 4 hours. This is to simulate the whole test scenario. Should do a combination of free and paid tests before appearing the exam.

Many candidates do not practice enough questions before sitting in the exam. Some candidates think they are confident enough after studying the books.

You should do a few sets of full length practice exams. This will improve your concentration level, sitting capacity, speed, and accuracy for a 4 hours test.

I would also recommend that you look at my 1000 test questions. Have students feedback me that few questions from my 1000 test questions appear in their exam. They are delighted.

5. Ignore Irrelevant Or Extraneous Information In The Question

There are few methods of attempting the PM examinations.

  • Eliminate methods – Most of the time, out of the 4 options given, there are 2 options that are able to be eliminated very quickly. Thus remaining 2 options for you to choose.

  • Be careful of the questions that have some special keywords: ONLY, MUST,

  • Last resort – Choose the longest answer as the answer. The answer is explaining the questions. This method used to be applicable, however, this method doesn’t seem to work in the recent questions. However, this is a last resort if you are really unsure of the answer.

6. Understand PMBOK Guide’s Concepts And ITTO

You should thoroughly understand the concepts written in the PMBOK Guide including Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs (ITTO).

Most of the exam questions are situational questions. ITTO is just the tip of an iceberg and memorizing them does not really help in the exam.

Many people are fearful of ITTO. But, you don’t have to worry. The real preparation comes from understanding the PMBOK Guide’s.

7. Don’t Take The Exam Before You Are Ready

This is a tricky one. No one knows if she/he is ready for an exam. Any exam.

If you are not ready, then it is better to postpone your exam date (even if it means losing some money).

8. Taking Own Sweet Time

Many candidates spent too much time on the first 100 exam questions, and did not manage time wisely. Leading to a rush to complete the last 25 to 50 questions.

If you are unsure of a particular question, mark on the review button and move on to the next questions. 

Once you have finished attempting all 200 questions, Goto the review page, click on those questions that you had marked “review” previously and revisit the questions.

9. Candidates study only from the free material available on the web

Many candidates do not foresee the traps of free content.

I am not saying that all free content is bad. But most of the free content on the web is not reliable. You would find old content based on previous editions of the PMBOK Guide, mock questions that have no explanations, and incomplete & below-par material. This can reduce your chances of passing the exam.

Generally, the candidates are not able to distinguish between substandard and good quality content. It is better to use free study material provided by big training companies. You should create a proper exam prep strategy and use a mix of reliable free content and good quality paid content.

10. Candidates do not take up enough mock tests

This point is related to the #4 above. Many candidates do not practice enough questions before sitting in the exam. They feel confident after studying the books.

PMP is not a normal exam where you can just pass by studying the books. It needs a lot of practice. The exam preparation can be validated only by doing a lot of mock tests.

You should choose a training course that provides a number of practice tests. And you must consistently score about 80% in these tests. This will greatly enhance your chances of success.

I would also recommend that you look at my 1000 test questions. Have students feedback me that few questions from my 1000 test questions appear in their exam. They are delighted.

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