Process Improvement

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Regarding PMI Certification Exams - Brainstorming

All PMI certifications are a rigorous test of knowledge and only the well prepared and knowledgeable candidates get through the exams.

However, I am thinking that due to 'no negative marks' for the wrong answers there is still a remote chance of at least some candidates passing the exam by way of luck/fluke.

Introducing a negative marking system for the wrong answers is perhaps one effective way of preventing this remote/unlikely event of an unprepared candidate passing the exam by way of luck.

I suggest PMI consider introducing negative marks for the wrong answers. Only by way of sure knowledge and not by chance a candidate should achieve a PMI certification.

Thoughts by the members highly appreciated. Thank You
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I appreciate your thoughtfulness but I do not totally agree with the concept of negative marking. There is statistically a 25% chance that a person who has not studied for any certification exam, may attempt the question correctly. But it dose not mean at all that 25% of PMPs passed the exam by luck. I have met many people who could not clear the exam even after studying for 2 - 3 months. Its not because they did not study hard but probably they could not relate to the situation or circumstances given in the question to their knowledge base.
By introducing negative marking in any certification would only drop already scarce number of certified project managers and may also demoralize people to take the exam. For me purpose of getting a certification is not to have a certificate only or write PMP in front of your name. Its about becoming more productive, bringing in better results, making efficient use of resources, learning from own mistakes and of others, building courage of accepting flaws and the list doesn't end.
I think people should be encouraged to learn the evolving techniques of managing projects rather than to discourage by making certification exams scarier.

Raising the pass mark would achieve the same thing. Negative marks aren't a good idea.

Thanks Najam and Sante for your insights. Appreciated.

Questions on the pmp test the ability to apply practical knowledge, basically it is a test of theory and practice of project management. Unless you have handled projects it is very unlikely that you will pass the exam only be reading books. Hence adding negative marks don't add any value to the testing and certification process. things don't end with the certification alone one needs to also maintains the certification. So it is not a one time activity but long drawn process of upgrading one's skills and expertise of project management

They do grade you on competency and outline areas that you might have not done as well on the test, which you can use to increase your skills in those areas.

Thanks Atul and Candy for your insights.

My thought process was on how to make the coveted PMP certification a "fluke proof" to the maximum extend possible. However, I am very mindful of the fact that passing by chance is highly unlikely. I thank again those who participated in this discussion. Much appreciated.

IMO, pass fluke in exams like PMP is low because there are many situational questions that needs some thought and understanding of concepts for sure. To counter that, adding -ve mark system is the right approach, however, I am not totally bought into it. I just feel the test is at the right standard for right now. With PMBOK 6th ed and content, don't know how future testing is going to be.

I believe that the way the exam is set right now is more beneficial to the ones that are really interested in using the test feedback for self-improvement. My point is that by stating the weakest points using the project phases as reference compels one to review the main concepts for the entire phase, instead of studying only specific points given by the questions. This brings context to the knowledge built after.

At last, I also don't believe that adding negative marks would eliminate the factor "luck" on the exam, although is very unlikely that one passes the exam without studying anyhow, with either test method.


Just to put things in perspective you are rated on 175 questions, out of the 200 asked.

Assuming a passing mark of 70% - it was 82.5% when I took it in 2003 - you have one chance in 1,605,449,031,193,050,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to pass the exam through random selection.of answers.

To say you can get a PMP through a fluke is hard to accept.

Sorry guys! It looks like the big number mucked up the discussion page. :(
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"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."

- Voltaire