ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PMP: Exam, Cost, Requirements, Worth etc

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pmp exam

In the world of project management, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) stands as a hallmark of expertise and skill. If you are interested in making a career in the project management field, PMP is the right ladder for you. This credential is considered to be one of the most challenging to acquire due to its vast course and exam requirements. But is this myth really true? Let’s unleash! This comprehensive blog aims to provide an in-depth overview of the PMP certification, its significance, eligibility criteria, exam structure, preparation strategies, and benefits.

Exam Details of PMP Exam

Time and Questions 

The duration of the PMP exam is 230 minutes. There are total 180 questions, out of which 5 are pretest questions. The pretest questions are not marked and they are just to the test the liability to be placed in the upcoming exams. 

Exam break 

PMI understands that it is hard to solve 180 question in a single go. The break time is 10 minutes. There are two breaks in the exam. Firstly, you can take the break after 60 minutes. Secondly, you can have the break after 120 minutes. During the break, you can review the answers in your exam. Once the break time is over, you cannot return back to see the questions in the previous section. 

Course Outline of PMP Exam

The exam topics are broadly divided into 3 main categories. The weightage of the exam questions is divided into these categories as shown below:

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

The total percentage of the exam is 100%. There is no practical or lab exam. The entire exam is theoretical. 

Cost of PMP Exam

You are required to pay the exam registration fee to take the exam. The fee is variable for the PMI members and the non-members. The cost of the exam for PMI members is $284. For non-members, the cost of the exam is $555. The cost of PMI membership is $109 per year. You need to pay the yearly fee to maintain the membership. Membership to PMI has many other benefits like you can open many tools and templates and become a member of the PMI community. However, it is not mandatory to become a PMI member to take the PMP exam

Eligibility to Take the PMP Exam

To take the PMP exam, you must have the required education or professional experience. This indicates that, unlike other certifications, a candidate with no formal education is not eligible to take the PMP exam. A bachelor’s degree or alternate experience is mandatory. You are required to have the experience within the last 8 consecutive years. The table below shows the required education or professional experience in detail.

Educational Requirements:

Required Education Professional Experience
Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) Minimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent) Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience
Bachelor's or post-graduate degree from a GAC accredited program * (bachelor’s degree or master's or global equivalent) Minimum two years/24 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience

Contact Hours Requirements

Formal Project Management education is also required to take the PMP certification. The following take describes the criteria:

At least 35 contact hours of formal project management education OR CAPM certification holder

Worth and Importance of Gaining PMP Exam

Before you decide to take the PMP exam, you will always consider the benefits of the exam first. So, in this section, you will learn the perks and benefits of obtaining the PMP certification. 

  • As compared to the non-certified professionals, PMP professionals can earn 16% higher salaries. 
  • Project Management Institute (PMI) is one of the leading provider in the management certification. It is widely recognized throughout the world. 
  • The credential is very popular among the aspirants. More than 12 million candidates hold the PMP certification badge. 
  • Your chances to get the get the job are elevated 70 times more. So you can easily get your desired role.
  • The course is well-defined and contains the advanced tactics and skills in management. You can easily polish your skills in this course. 

Salary and Job Roles of PMP Professionals

In general, Project managers who have earned a PMP certification can earn a good amount of salary. The hourly, monthly and yearly salary of a PMP is given below. The information has been taken from ZipRecruiter.

Least salary Median Salary Highest Salary
Hourly Rate $15.62 $47 $61.78
Monthly Rate $ 2,708 $8,164 $10,708
Yearly Rate $32,500 $97,970 $128,500

The following are the job roles that are available to the

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Time Taken to Prepare for PMP Exam

The time required to pass the PMP exam is quite variable. The time is dependent on factors like previous experience, learning pace and the study material. An average student take 2-3 months to prepare for the exam. However, using appropriate materials can greatly reduce the preparation time to 1 month. But it is also worth noting that you cannot prepare for this credential in just a couple of days. The course is diverse so you need to prepare for the exam vigilantly. 

Difficulties in Passing the PMP Exam

  • Complex Concepts

The PMP exam assesses a wide range of project management concepts, methodologies, and best practices. The depth and complexity of these topics can be overwhelming for those new to the field.

  • Extensive Content

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, which serves as the primary reference for the exam, contains a vast amount of information. Students must grasp and synthesize this content.

  • Application of Knowledge

The exam not only tests theoretical knowledge but also requires candidates to apply concepts to real-world scenarios. This demands a deep understanding of how project management principles are practically implemented.

  • Diverse Domains

The exam covers a diverse set of project management domains, such as initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing projects. Each domain has its own intricacies.

  • Critical Thinking

Many questions on the PMP exam are designed to assess candidates’ critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. This goes beyond rote memorization and requires the application of concepts to solve complex scenarios.

  • Time Management

The PMP exam is time-bound, and managing time effectively while answering a significant number of questions can be challenging for some students.

  • Real-World Experience Requirement

To even qualify for the PMP exam, candidates need a certain amount of project management experience. This means that many students are also managing work commitments alongside their exam preparation.

  • Stress and Pressure

The significance of the PMP certification for career advancement and professional growth can create added stress and pressure, making the exam feel more challenging.

  • High Passing Standard

The passing standard for the PMP exam is set at a level to ensure that certifieD professionals have a strong grasp of project management principles. This means the exam is intentionally designed to be rigorous

Read more: PMP vs CSM 

Best Tips and Methods for PMP Preparation

  • Understand PMP Requirements

Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, including education and project management experience.

  • Review PMP Handbook

Familiarize yourself with the PMP Handbook, which provides detailed information about the exam, application process, and guidelines.

  • Enroll in a Prep Course

Consider taking a PMP exam preparation course from a reputable provider, which often includes study materials, practice exams, and guidance. You can also opt for self-study. 

  • Create a Study Plan

Develop a structured study plan with timelines for covering each domain of the exam guide.

  • Use Additional Resources

Utilize other study materials like PMP study guides, online tutorials, and practice exams from trusted sources.

  • Practice Questions

Solve practice questions regularly to get accustomed to the exam format and improve your problem-solving skills. Exam dumps like Edurely are best for PMP exam preparation. 

  • Mock Exams

Take multiple full-length mock exams to simulate the real testing environment and identify areas for improvement.

  • Review and Revise

Continuously review your notes, study materials, and weak areas. Focus on understanding concepts rather than memorizing.

  • Engage in Discussions

Join forums or study groups where you can discuss topics, clarify doubts, and share insights with fellow aspirants.

Read more: Top Business Intelligence Certifications 

Registration Process for the Exam

To register for the PMI PMP exam, follow these steps:

  1. Check that you fulfil the eligibility to take the exam. 
  2. Gather all documents that support your eligibility. 
  3. Fill in the application form.
  4. Pay the application fee.
  5. Schedule your exam, deciding the date and time.

Read more: How to apply for PMP Certification Exam

Final Coda

The PMI PMP certification is a prestigious achievement for project managers, highlighting their expertise, knowledge, and dedication to their profession. The rigorous certification process, coupled with comprehensive exam preparation, can lead to valuable career opportunities, increased earning potential, and a deeper understanding of effective project management practices. Aspiring project managers looking to stand out in their field should consider embarking on the journey toward obtaining the PMP certification.

Frequently Asked Questions


Yes, the PMP exam is difficult. If you have the prior working experience, it may get easier for you to prepare for the exam. The passing percentage of the exam is 65%. This means that there are 35% chances to fail the exam if you are not prepared well. So, the PMP exam is not hard

Yes, you can study for the PMP exam. Either you prepare through a trainer-led course or self-study, you need to put in the hard work and struggle in both cases. But, you must make sure that whatever method you choose, choose proper study material.

If you are unsuccessful in passing the PMP exam, you can appear for the exam retake. There are 3 turns allowed for the exam retake in one year. After the third attempt, there is a waiting period of 1 year. This means that after you have availed the third attempt, you cannot take the exam for 1 year. The exam retake fee is equal to the actual exam fee. You need to pay the fee for each exam attempt.



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