How I maximized my chances of selecting the right answer in the PMP certification exam

How I maximized my chances of selecting the right answer in the PMP certification exam
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Sabyasachi

Last updated March 30, 2017


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Amongst all other certifications available today, PMP® is considered to be the most prestigious, in part because it is highly difficult to attain. The exam is loaded with difficult questions which tests our experience, our knowledge about the processes outlined in the PMBOK®Guide, and our ability to apply this knowledge and experience in difficult situations. It is a cold hard truth, therefore, that many who take up the exam do not pass.

Those who do not pass come from a broad cross - section of people, ranging from people who have approached the exam with extensive preparation to those who have taken up the exam by solely relying on their experience.

We can use some of the following techniques to avoid falling into the traps and maximize our chances of selecting the right answers.

Attempting all questions

PMP® contains 200 multiple choice questions.Out of these, 25 are pretest questions which are randomly placed in the exam and are used for research purposes.

However, we must still answer all the 200 questions since we do not know which are the 25 pretest questions .Also, there are no negative marking system in the exam. This means that if we leave a question unanswered it is marked as a wrong answer.Therefore, we must attempt to answer all the 200 questions on the exam.

Difficult situations

There will often be choices on the exam that allow us to ignore problems, postpone difficult decisions or avoid critical issues .This is not the right thing to do for the questions on the exam.

PMI's perspective

We should answer all the questions from the Project Management Institute's (PMI)® perspective of looking at issues. Many exam takers fail the exam since they answer the questions by solely relying on their experience. Since they do not use all aspects of project management in their projects, they are unable to get the right answers to many questions on the exam. If we are unable to get the right answers by looking at the question from the Project Management Institute's (PMI)® perspective , then we should rely on PMP® training and lastly on our real world experience.

In the project management world, project managers communicate directly. They do not avoid an issue, gossip or imply anything, and they do not communicate through a third party. If they have a bad news to tell the customer, they usually go to the customer and tell them the facts as early as possible. If they have a problem with the team member, they confront the person either directly or by involving the functional manager of the person.

Identifying the actual question early

There are a lot of questions on the exam which are quite wordy and confusing. Due to the time constraint, we need to identify the real question as early as possible .Sometimes, in case of long wordy questions, and the last sentence is the actual question. By identifying the actual question quickly, we are able to get more time for our answers. We can determine what our answer should be and then look for those answers in all the four choices.

Reading all the four choices

One of the main reasons why people answer incorrectly is that they fail to look at all the four choices. This will reduce our chances of getting the best answer for the questions. To avoid committing this mistake we should try reading the answers backwards (choice d, choice c ,Choice b and then choice a).

Options which represent broad sweeping generalization

Options that represent broad sweeping generalization tend to be incorrect. We should always look for options which includes terms like ‘always’, 'must', 'completely', so on and so forth.

Grammatically correct answers

When a question asks us to fill in a blank space, the correct answer may not be grammatically correct when inserted in the blank space.

Choices that contain common project management errors

We should always look for choices that contain common project management errors. These answers are included intentionally to test our knowledge in project management.

True statements

We should always look out for answers which are true statements but they do not answer the question. We should avoid falling in the trap of selecting this answer.

Obviously incorrect answers

We should quickly eliminate answers which are obviously incorrect. There are many questions in the exam which have two plausible options and two options which are obviously incorrect.

Reviews

The exam allows us to mark a question for review and revisit the question later. We can use this facility when we are not sure of the right answers. While reviewing the marked questions it is quite normal for us to change our answers .However we should take care that the reviews should not exceed 10% of all our answers. If we find ourselves changing more than that , we might be second guessing which could do more harm than good.

Thus, by managing our answers and our reviews in the actual PMP® certification exam, we can decidedly tilt the scales in our favor.

PMP, PMI, and PMBOK Guide are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

 

About the Author

Sabyasachi has over a decade’s experience in leading IT and non IT projects in the Healthcare, Oil and Energy, eCommerce, Public Sector Undertaking and Services industry . He is a PMI certified Project Management Professional , PMP, and a volunteer in the Project management community with a focus on best practice and mentoring other project management professionals . His writings are regularly published in several blogs , forums and online project management communities .


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