PMP Exam Questions

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP

Preparing to pass the Project Management Institute’s  Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam is difficult. People have lots of questions about the PMP exam. Here are answers to some of the most common.

Is there somewhere I can find a list of all the questions/answers that are going to be on the PMP exam?

Unfortunately the answer is no. Not even the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)® has all the information that is asked on the PMP exam. PMI® wants you to understand the best practices of project management so you can’t memorize answers to questions and pass the exam. You have to learn and understand this material. Additionally, PMI adds 5% new questions every month. So you need to know the material well enough to be able to answer questions that you have not seen before.

Our organization doesn’t do project management the way PMI lays it out. Do I have to learn their way?

Yes. The fastest way to get a question wrong is to decide how you would handle the situation at your work. That will almost always yield a wrong answer. If you want a certification from PMI, you have to learn their way of project management.

I don’t have any experience managing projects. Can I still earn a certification from the Project Management Institute?

If you don’t have any experience managing projects you aren’t eligible for the PMP certification. PMI requires a minimum of 4,500 hours of project management work experience to take the PMP exam. However, you can earn certifications in IT project management, healthcare  project management, construction project management and general business project management. These don’t require years of experience. Project Manager Certifications Main Page

What does it mean to progressively elaborate a project plan?

Progressive elaboration means that you don’t develop all of the components of your project plan at one time and then start work. Instead, you let the various elements of our project plan  (like the schedule and the budget) interact. As you develop one, you may alter another. This process takes longer but it yields a much better plan.

What if I have never done a project the PMI way? Our organization never does all the steps.

Believe me, you are not alone. There may not be anyone who has ever done a project following every step that PMI includes in their Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). 95% of the projects done globally have a project team of three people or less. For projects of that size, many of the steps PMI has identified are simply too much. Even for the small number of project managers who manage very large projects, not all the pieces are necessary or desirable. So don’t feel bad if you haven’t done some of PMI’s steps. For example, we have had clients with thirty-year project management careers who have never done risk management.

Why is there so little “doing” and so much planning in this PMI stuff? This way of doing projects will make them take forever.

There’s no question that PMI and the best practices in project management stress planning. This is a good thing. It produces projects that deliver the scope on time and on budget because you and the team aren’t diverted from those goals by the need to decide what to do next or fight fires. Think about how much time you spend with your team mid-project trying to figure out what to do next. Or how much time you spend solving problems and fighting fires you could have anticipated before you ever started work. PMI’s heavy focus on planning is a good thing and well worth your while to learn (and practice).

We offer an online PMP Exam Prep course where you work individually with your instructor until you pass the exam; guaranteed. Here is more information about our online, instructor-led PMP Exam Prep course.

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Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on