Project Management

PMP Exam Myths - True or False?

From the Certification Insider Blog
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Cornelius Fichtner help you with your PMP Exam Prep (https://www.project-management-prepcast.com) as well as earn free PDUs (www.pm-podcast.com/pdu). Passing the PMP Exam is tough, but keeping your PMP Certification alive is just as challenging. Preparing for the exam requires an in-depth study of the PMBOK Guide and dedicated study discipline. And once you are PMP certified, then you are required to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification alive. Let me help you make this journey easier with tips and tricks on how to prepare for and pass the exam as well as efficiently earning your PDUs once you are certified.

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Categories: PMBOK Guide, PMP Exam Tip


You have read the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) publication, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), from cover to cover; studied other Project Management-related texts; and you feel you are preparing well to take and pass the Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. There are, however, a number of myths related to the exam process and the exam itself that you are not sure are valid.  In this article, we are going to take a look at six myths related to the PMP® Exam process and bust them so you can quit worrying about what is true and continue with studying for and taking the exam.

PMP Exam Myth

 

Myth1: You need to score a 61% to pass the PMP® Exam

No, while this was true at one time, it is no longer the case. Passing the PMP® Exam is no longer determined by the percentage of questions you answer correctly. It is calculated using a sound psychometric analysis. In essence this means that the harder questions are worth more than the easier questions. So you get a higher score if you answer more of the harder questions correctly and a lower score if you answer more of the easier questions correctly. The minimum score needed to pass is determined by the overall difficultly of your individual exam.

Myth 2: Only PMI Registered Education Providers are authorized to give PMP® Exam Prep Courses

No, there is no authorized or unauthorized training material for the PMP® Exam.  Several types of training companies can provide training for the PMP® Exam, which may include courses or programs offered by PMI Registered Education Providers (REP); training companies or consultants; PMI component organizations; employer- or company-sponsored programs, distance-learning companies, which need to include an end-of-course assessment; or even university or college academic or continuing-education programs. Essentially anyone can provide training for the PMP® Exam. The advantage of ensuring your training comes from a PMI REP is you have the assurance that the provider has been reviewed by PMI for standardization and quality.

Myth 3: Obtaining the PMP® Certification will lead to a higher salary

That depends. The potential to see an increase in salary depends on several factors including your country of employment, years of experience, and the average size of projects you manage. Every year PMI conducts and publishes information related to their salary survey. In the 2012 report, it was found that even with a sluggish economy, the average salary for a PMP® credential holder had risen. However, there is no guarantee that passing the PMP® Exam will lead to a higher salary.

Myth 4: The exam application audit process uses applicant profiling

No, the exam application-audit process is completely random. When completing your PMP® Exam application, keep in mind that you may be audited, so be prepared just in case you are selected. Make sure you are 100% truthful; have documentation to back up anything you claim on your application such as training certificates; and mention to current and former employers or colleagues that you are applying to take the PMP® Exam in case they are contacted by PMI to verify any assertions on your application. Think of this application as a job application; there is a chance that your references will be checked.

Myth 5: You must know the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) by heart

No, you do not need to spend time memorizing the around 500 ITTOs described in the PMBOK® Guide; instead you need to understand the concepts behind them. It is possible you will have questions on the PMP® Exam such as “Which of the following is not an input to the Create WBS process?” where memorizing the ITTOs may help. However, it is more likely you will have questions that relate to how or why a specific ITTO is used in a process and memorization will be of no use to you when answering those types of questions. So, your goal needs to be to fully understand the concepts of each process in the PMBOK® Guide, not the memorization of the ITTOs.

Myth 6: You need 35 PDUs before you can take the PMP® Exam

Almost. You need are 35 contact hours before you take the PMP® Exam -- not 35 Professional Developmental Units (PDUs). So you are required to have at least 35 contact hours to be eligible to take the PMP® Exam. You do not need to worry about PDUs until you have obtained your PMP® Certification, then you must follow PMIs Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) and earn 60 PDUs every three years to maintain your PMP® Credential. Remember, you need contact hours before taking the PMP® Exam and PDUs after.

There are many PMP® Exam myths, and it is often difficult to distinguish what is the truth and what is myth. Myths can be difficult to eradicate so remember, anytime you come across something that makes you scratch your head or say “hmmmmm”, you can verify what you have heard or read by checking the PMP® Handbook or writing to PMI Customer Care; they are happy to help dispel myths.

Posted on: September 04, 2014 06:59 AM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Cornelius, thank you for sharing your perspective on the exam. Myth 3 is an interesting one. I wonder if there have been studies or reports of individuals who have seen a significant increase once they completed the PMP process.

Bruce... Yes! Such a survey exists. It is called the Project Management Salary Survey and it is regularly published by PMI. It is currently in its eighth edition. If you are a PMI member then you can go to http://www.pmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Virtual-Library-Project-Management-Salary-Survey.aspx and download a complimentary copy. (You must be logged in to pmi.org to access the download page).

You'll see that the data is nicely listed by country and there is even a section called "Annualized Salary by PMP Status". As an example you can see for Canada that (on average) you'll earn CAD 94,984 if you don't have a PMP, but you'll earn (again on average) CAD 101,284 if you've been a PMP for 1-5 years.

Many thanks for your clarification and for sharing these information and suggestions!
Indeed many people keep wondering whether it is worth struggling so much to get the PMP certification. I agree with your perspective: it really depends.
The PM Salary Survey is definitely very useful to gain further insight on this.

Thanks for this article. I had the idea to remember all the ITTO for answering direct questions. Yes, it makes more sense to understand why one process will use specific input, Tool and Technique.

Network:4661
Some really great myths especially myth 3

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