You have studied the PMBOK® Guide and numerous additional materials; you believe you have a solid understanding of project management theories and the application of those theories; and you have taken the steps to schedule your PMP Exam, there is just one lingering question…how can you make sure you are able to identify the best answers when it comes time to take the PMP Exam?
The PMP Exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions that need to be answered in four hours. For each question you are provided a scenario along with four answers to choose from. Your job is to choose the correct answer, which can be difficult when more than one answer may look correct. One thing to remember that no matter your personal experiences or even other project management training, the PMBOK® Guide is the basis for answering PMP Exam Questions.
There are several strategies you can use to help yourself determine the best answer when taking the PMP® Exam:
- After you read the scenario, come up with the answer in your head before taking a look at the answers supplied by the exam. You may already know the answer without taking a look at the four answers provided. There is no need to allow the answers provided to confuse you if you know the answer.
- Read all of the answers provided before choosing one. There is no way of knowing if you have made the best choice if you do not read all of the answers.
- Answers questions that you know and return to those you have not answered later. Return to the more difficult or complex questions after taking care of the questions you know. This allows you to obtain the easy points and spend the remaining time on the questions you skipped.
- Eliminate any answers you know are not correct. There are going to be times when you are going to be able to completely eliminate an answer or two which will make answering the question a lot easier.
- Question answers that contain absolutes such as always, all, every, never, none, and only. These answers may look good, but remember absolutes are a dangerous area since there can be exceptions to them. Make sure you consider the restrictive nature of an answer that contains an absolute.
- Doubt answers that are not familiar to you. If any of the answers provided do not seem familiar to you or don’t seem to fit in with the PMBOK® Guide language or terminology, there is a good chance this is not the answer to the question.
- When two answers seem correct, compare their differences. In the case of two answers that seem to both be correct, compare the differences to determine which one is the best answer. There will be differences even if they are slight.
- Select the answer most logical to you, based on the PMBOK® Guide. Based on your knowledge of the PMBOK® Guide select the option that seems to be most logical to you.
- Answer each question even if you just guess. There is no penalty for guessing on the PMP Test. Make sure you select an answer for all 200 questions on the exam even if you guess…you have a 25% chance of getting it correct.
- For computational questions you are familiar with do the work and then refer to the answers provided. If you are familiar with the required calculation to find the correct answer, work the problem before looking at the available answers.
- For computational questions you are not familiar with work the problem backwards. Four possible answers are provided that you can use to work the problem backwards to determine which the correct answer is.
- Check your answers; only change an answer for a really good reason. Your first answer is generally your best so only make changes if you are sure or if clues within the text cue you another answer.
Remember, PMP Questions are based on the PMBOK® Guide and it is your job to find the “best” answer to the scenario provided while taking the PMP® Exam. It is entirely possible that the correct answer may not seem to be evident even using the strategies listed above. Even if there are a couple of questions that seem unanswerable, make sure you at least guess…you have a 25% chance of answering correctly when guessing, where if left unanswered you have a 100% chance of getting it incorrect.
The best method for learning how to put the strategies above to use is practice, practice, practice. Using a PMP Exam Simulator will provide you with that kind of experience. The PMP Exam Simulator at www.pm-exam-simulator.com closely replicates the actual PMP® Exam environment, is based on the current PMBOK® Guide, contains hundreds of sample questions, and provides detailed explanations for all answers. When you are ready to put these test taking strategies to practice and prepare for your opportunity to take the PMP® Exam go to www.pm-exam-simulator.com for free three day trial of a PMP Exam Simulator.
About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 18,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast at http://www.pm-prepcast.com and he guides PMI credential holders on earning PDUs with The PDU Insider at http://www.pdu-insider.com