Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Practice All Question Types to Pass the PMP® Exam

Anyone who has sat the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam knows that studying the A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and having 35 contact hours is just not enough. Most of them will tell you they used PMP free exam questions to boost their studies as well.

Successful test takers will tell you that the exam covers a lot of ground and the questions are not as straightforward as one would hope. Studying with a free PMP exam simulator is a good way to gain exposure to the types of questions you can expect.

Of the ones that have passed the examination, an overwhelming percentage of them will tell you that they used more than just one study method.

Just as a golfer must learn to “drive” and “put” before they ever step onto a golf course, you must also learn the mechanics of taking the test and what to expect when you arrive on game day. Using a PMP practice exam (or several) will give you a better understanding of the types of PMP exam questions you'll face on the test. PMP mock tests will also help highlight what you do know and what you don’t know (yet).

Practicing with free PMP questions will help you prepare adequately for your project management exam. Ready to learn more? Read on!

About the PMP Certification

What is the PMP certification exam? The PMP certification exam is the 200-question multiple choice test taken by thousands of project managers around the world. If you pass, you earn the coveted Project Management Professional credential. During 2020, PMI hit 1 million active PMPs globally.

This professional certification is widely considered a pre-requisite for many project management jobs. It shows that you have the skills and knowledge and -- importantly -- can apply them in different scenarios to lead your projects successfully to completion.

Applicants for the assessment must demonstrate their past experience in the field of project delivery. This makes the PMP certification exam different from many other credentials out there. As only people who can evidence their experience working in a project environment can apply, passing the test also shows that you have relevant experience.

That's why selecting your PMP exam simulator is so important. Once you've got the experience, skills and knowledge to get a good proportion of the answers right, using PMP practice questions will help you gain confidence in test techniques so you boost your chances of passing first time!

What Does the PMP Certification Exam Consist Of?

If you are already committed to taking the test, you want to know what is the scope of the exam, and what does it usually ask.

The questions are drawn from a huge pool of questions, so no two tests are the same. You won't get the same questions as a colleague who is also taking the certification, which is why it is so important to practice a variety of test-taking strategies and prepare for all the question types you can expect.

The PMP Exam Content Outline sets out exactly what topics are covered by the test. It outlines the weight given to each subject which gives you an idea of how many questions you are likely to see from each domain.

PMP Exam Question Types to Expect On Your Exam

Being able to answer sample test questions is crucial to your success on assessment day, and one of the top reasons for using a simulator that we hear from students. Is it really that simple? In theory, yes. After all, the test only has multiple choice questions. However, there are a number of question styles; each has their purpose and caveats, which makes it crucial to know how to answer each type of question.

Here's a list of the question styles you can expect to see on the screen as you take the test.

  • Formula
  • Situational
  • Knowledge
  • Interpretation
  • Technique
  • PMBOK® Guide Knowledge
Tip: Make sure your mock tests include all the question types. This should be one of the PMP simulator features you check to make sure your practice PMP exam is as realistic as possible.

Let’s jump into the PMP exam question types.

Formula

Formula based problems are more than just ‘solving for the median’ or calculating earned value. There are around 49 formulas that you must know backwards and forwards in order to pass the test. Understanding them thoroughly down to the importance of each element will give you the decision making criteria to include or exclude the values when selecting the right answer.

Situational

Situational questions test your ability to apply theoretical know how to real life project management situations. Often, these questions tend to be very long winded. The idea behind this is that in real life you will be handed both relevant and irrelevant information. Your task is to identify what’s relevant, ignore what doesn’t matter and then act upon the real issues. Be sure to read and accurately identify the actual question being asked of you, so that you can eliminate the useless information.

Often, situational problems will offer two choices which are both reasonably correct, so it’s vital that you identify if the question is asking you the BEST choice, or the NEXT choice, or the EXCEPTION, or the ONLY answer.


Knowledge

Knowledge based questions require you to identify the meaning of the situation based on your understanding of the facts provided. You may also see problems that ask, “What is the exception?” For example, ‘Group brainstorming encourages all of the following except:' and you have to select the appropriate answer.

Knowledge based questions may also ask you to identify an example chart or graph, such as recognizing a RACI or Pareto chart.


Interpretation

Interpretational questions test your ability to deduce a situation or condition from the description of a status or problem. For example: “If your project has an SPI and a CPI both greater than 1, how well is your project performing?” To solve this, you will need to know how SPI and CPI relate to the project’s performance.

Technique

Questions about a specific technique will provide a snapshot of a situation, like a network diagram, and ask you to provide an element that’s inherent in that diagram such as forward pass or backward pass.

PMBOK® Guide Knowledge

PMBOK® Guide Knowledge questions test your familiarity of specific areas, such as “Which of these processes are not part of the Initiating Process Group?” or “What are the inputs to the Create WBS process?"

Sample Questions for the Exam

Below you will find a few sample questions for the PMP exam. The correct answers are listed and explained underneath the question, so cover the screen if you want to test yourself!

Question 1

You are part of a cross-functional development team piloting an adaptive approach to project management in an organization that has traditionally used a predictive approach. You realize that you have to tailor the template of the schedule management plan.

Which of the following components of the template are you likely to tailor the most?

A) The rules of performance measurement, the summary milestones, and the key deliverables

B) The organizational procedures links, the units of measure, and the project organization charts

C) The schedule model development, the release and iteration length, and the reporting formats

D) The project schedule model maintenance, the level of accuracy, and the level of precision

Answer

The correct answer is C. Here's why.

A) The rules of performance measurement, the summary milestones, and the key deliverables

Incorrect. Only the rules of performance measurement are a component of the schedule management plan. Since the summary milestones and the key deliverables are components of a project charter, this choice is an incorrect answer.

B) The organizational procedures links, the units of measure, and the project organization charts

Incorrect. Only the organizational procedures links and units of measure are components of the schedule management plan. The project organization charts are part of the resource management plan, making this choice an incorrect answer.

C) The schedule model development, the release and iteration length, and the reporting formats

Correct. The three components listed in this answer choice are all part of the schedule management plan and are the most likely candidates to be tailored to the adaptive approach, making this choice the best answer to the question asked.

D) The project schedule model maintenance, the level of accuracy, and the level of precision

Incorrect. While project schedule model maintenance and level of accuracy are components of the schedule management plan, the level of precision is a component of the cost management plan. Therefore, this answer choice can be eliminated.

Explanation

The question suggests you are carrying out the Plan Schedule Management process. The schedule management plan is the primary output of this process. The schedule management plan establishes the criteria and the activities for developing, monitoring, and controlling the schedule. Of the choices presented, only the schedule model development, the release and iteration length, and the reporting formats are components of the schedule management plan.

All three of these components would merit significant tailoring to reflect an adaptive approach to project management. The project schedule model development specifies the scheduling methodology and the scheduling tool used to develop the schedule model. For an adaptive approach, the schedule model will be a selected series of activities needed to complete a high-priority subset of the project scope that can deliver value quickly. The release and iteration length determine the time-boxed events that must be completed and how long it will take to release the iteration. The reporting formats will be driven by the adaptive schedule model and the iteration length.

The other answer choices contain components that are not part of the schedule management plan.

Reference

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 181-182

Question 2

A corporate restructuring project is in execution. The job responsibilities of many key stakeholders are being disrupted, which has caused challenges in keeping the stakeholders engaged in a positive manner.

Which of the following actions is the project manager least likely to perform in this situation?

A) Manage stakeholder expectations through negotiation and communication

B) Develop approaches to involve stakeholders based on their needs, expectations, interests, and potential impact on the project

C) Address any risks or potential concerns related to stakeholder management and anticipate future issues that may be raised by stakeholders

D) Engage stakeholders at appropriate project stages to obtain, confirm, or maintain their continued commitment to the success of the project

Answer

The correct answer is B. Here's why.

A) Manage stakeholder expectations through negotiation and communication

Incorrect. A corporate restructuring project is a very sensitive project, which will require considerable care in managing stakeholder engagement. It will be critical in this scenario to manage stakeholder expectations through negotiation and communication.

B) Develop approaches to involve stakeholders based on their needs, expectations, interests, and potential impact on the project

Correct. The question states that the project is in the execution stage. This answer choice describes the development of the stakeholder engagement plan, which is performed during project planning. Hence, the project manager would not be developing the stakeholder engagement plan in this scenario, making this answer choice the 'least' likely activity to be performed in this scenario and, therefore, the best answer to the question asked.

C) Address any risks or potential concerns related to stakeholder management and anticipate future issues that may be raised by stakeholders

Incorrect. Risks and concerns related to stakeholder engagement will be inherent in a corporate restructuring project. It will be vital to the success of the project that the project manager address these risks and concerns as well as anticipate future issues that may be raised by stakeholders.

D) Engage stakeholders at appropriate project stages to obtain, confirm, or maintain their continued commitment to the success of the project

Incorrect. As anyone that has experienced an organizational restructuring is aware, obtaining and maintaining the commitment of those affected by the restructuring to the success of the project will be challenging, especially as some stakeholders may be negatively impacted. It will be critical for the project manager to engage the stakeholders when appropriate to at least minimize resistance if not gain support for the project.

Explanation

The question implies that the project manager is implementing the stakeholder engagement plan, which suggests that the Manage Stakeholder Engagement process is being carried out as part of project execution. The development of approaches to involve stakeholders based on their needs, expectations, interests, and potential impact on the project describes the development of the stakeholder engagement plan, which is performed during project planning rather than project execution.

Note, the question is asking for the activity, which is 'least' likely to be performed in this situation. Therefore, of the available choices, the project manager is 'least' likely to be developing the stakeholder engagement plan in this scenario.

Reference

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge,(PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 516, 524

Question 3

The project management plan specifies that a predictive development approach has been selected to produce the project deliverables.

Where in the project life cycle will the overall project risk be the lowest?

(Please note that on the real PMP exam you may be asked to provide your answer by clicking the correct area in the image. But here on this website, make your choice from the answers below.)

A) A

B) B

C) C

D) D

Sample PMP Exam question

Answer

The correct answer is D. Here's why.

A) A

Incorrect. Area A represents project initiation. On traditionally managed projects, project initiation is characterized by the biggest number of unknowns from various categories: technical, managerial, commercial, external, to name but a few. Therefore, overall project risk is greatest at the start of the project.

B) B

Incorrect. Area B represents project planning. On traditionally managed projects, project planning typically involves the development of the project management plan. No deliverables are produced during project planning. However, more is known about the project, and some decisions are made. Hence, the level of risk is not the greatest.

C) C

Incorrect. Area C represents activities associated with project execution as well as monitoring and controlling. The focus of the project during this stage of its life cycle is to produce the deliverables. As deliverables are completed and accepted, decisions are made, and uncertainty is left behind, the level of project risk decreases.

D) D

Correct. Area D represents project closure. At this point in the project life cycle, all deliverables are supposed to be completed and accepted, and project objectives met. By that time, the project is supposed to have little to none unknowns, and, therefore, the overall project risk should be at its lowest level.

Explanation

A life cycle of a typical traditionally managed project consists of initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closure. Overall project risk is the effect of uncertainty on the project as a whole. Many various factors contribute to the overall project risk: technical, managerial, commercial, external, to name but a few. Deliverables are not produced up until the project enters its execution. Project objectives, such as scope, schedule, cost, quality, etc. are not being measured during project initiation and planning. At that point, there are many unknowns, and it's even unclear if the project will meet its objectives.

Therefore, the overall project risk at the beginning of the project is the greatest. As the project progresses, decisions are made, and deliverables and produced and accepted, the overall project risk decreases. During project closure, there are typically not too many unknowns left (if at all). After the deliverables are accepted, and the project's objectives are met, the "victory" can be declared. This is where the overall project risk is considered very low or non-existent. Therefore, of the choices provided, the risk is the lowest during project closure (area D).

Reference

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 549, 397

Question 4

A project is in its initial planning. Due to the nature of the project, the project manager needs to develop a highly detailed project scope statement.

Which of the following elements should be included? (Choose three)

A) A description of the deliverables that will need to be produced to complete the project

B) The conditions that are required to be met before deliverables are accepted

C) The conditions to be met in order to close or cancel the project

D) A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team

E) The identification of what will be out of the project scope

F) The assigned project manager, responsibility, and level of authority

Answer

The correct answers are A, B and E. Here's why.

A) A description of the deliverables that will need to be produced to complete the project

Correct. A list of the deliverables that will need to be produced to complete the project is part of the project scope statement. This information may be provided at a summary level or highly detailed, depending on the nature of the project.

B) The conditions that are required to be met before deliverables are accepted

Correct. This answer choice describes the acceptance criteria for the project. Acceptance criteria are a typical component of the project scope statement. Note, the conditions that are required to be met before deliverables are accepted are not the same as the conditions to be met in order to close or cancel the project. The latter is part of the project charter, not the project scope statement.

C) The conditions to be met in order to close or cancel the project

Incorrect. The conditions to be met in order to close or cancel the project should be included in the project charter rather than the project scope statement. These conditions are frequently confused with the conditions that are required to be met before deliverables are accepted. The latter is part of the project scope statement.

D) A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team

Incorrect. This answer choice describes the work breakdown structure (WBS) rather than the project scope statement. The WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

E) The identification of what will be out of the project scope

Correct. This option describes the project's exclusions, which is a common element of the project scope statement. Identifying what is out of scope for the project may be helpful in avoiding scope creep.

F) The assigned project manager, responsibility, and level of authority

Incorrect. The assigned project manager, responsibility, and level of authority should be identified in the project charter. This information is not typically included in the project scope statement.

Explanation

The project scope statement provides a description of the project scope, major deliverables, and exclusions. The elements typically included in the project scope statement include the project scope description, deliverables, acceptance criteria, and project exclusions.

The correct answer choices describe the deliverables, acceptance criteria, and project exclusions. The incorrect answer choices represent elements that should be included in the project charter or describe the work breakdown structure (WBS).

Reference

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) - Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 154-155

Question 5

You are managing a renovation project of a house which is to be completed at a budget of $100,000. Earned value analysis shows that so far you have completed 40% of the work and spent $60,000.

How much more will it cost to complete the project if the cost performance remains unchanged?

A) $160,000

B) $149,254

C) $120,000

D) $89,254

Answer

The correct answers is D. Here's why.

A) $160,000

Incorrect. This answer choice does not represent a result of a specific formula used in the earned value analysis. We have obtained this number by adding $100,000, which is the budget at completion (BAC), to $60,000, which is the actual cost (AC).

B) $149,254

Incorrect. The value in this answer choice represents the EAC which has been calculated using the formula: EAC = BAC / CPI, while the question is asking to determine the cost to complete the renovation or ETC.

C) $120,000

Incorrect. The value in this answer choice represents the EAC which has been calculated using the formula: EAC = AC + BAC - EV, while the question is asking to determine the cost to complete the renovation or ETC.

D) $89,254

Correct. The cost required to complete the project is $89,254. The value was derived using ETC = EAC - AC utilizing the formula EAC = BAC / CPI to calculate EAC.

Incorrect. The assigned project manager, responsibility, and level of authority should be identified in the project charter. This information is not typically included in the project scope statement.

Explanation

The total budget, or budget at completion (BAC), is $100,000. The cost so far, or actual cost (AC), is $60,000. You have completed 40% of the work which is the earned value (EV), i.e., EV = 40% x $100,000 = $40,000.

Understanding what exactly the question asks is the key to answering the question correctly. The last sentence of the question starts with "How much more will it cost to complete the project...", implying we are requested to find the estimate to complete (ETC). The ETC can be calculated as follows:

ETC = EAC - AC, where the EAC is the estimate to complete.

Selecting the correct formula for the EAC is another key to answering this question correctly. The last sentence of the question ends with "...if the cost performance remains unchanged?" implying that the formula for the EAC should consider the cost performance index (CPI) i.e.:

EAC = BAC / CPI

The CPI, in turn, can be calculated using the following formula:

CPI = EV / AC = 40,000 / 60,000 = 0.67

The rest of the calculations are shown below:

EAC = 100,000 / 0.67 = 149,254

ETC = 149,254 - 60,000 = 89,254

Therefore, the cost to complete the renovation if the cost performance remains unchanged is $89,254.

Reference

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 267

Exam Tip: Use a PMP Exam Simulator

You need to answer dozens of samples of each type of question before you will feel ready to tackle the challenge of sitting in front of a computer to take the test. But how and where do you find good PMP mock exams?

There are many free PMP sample questions available just one short Google search away. However, you want to be very careful, because with free mock questions more times than not, the old adage “You get what you pay for” applies. Plus, answering multiple-choice quizzes from a website does not give you the same interface or experience as using a specially-designed exam simulator.

The best way to practice sample questions is by signing up to an online PMP exam simulator. You can access sample tests over the internet from anywhere and on your schedule. Be sure the questions were created based on the most recent version of the PMBOK® Guide. There should be a good mix of different types of question and they should cover all the PMBOK® Guide concepts.

Summary

So, there you have it. If you want to pass the test, you need to learn about the different types of questions you'll see on the day and practice them using a high-quality online PMP exam simulator.

Once you know how to identify the real problem you are being asked from each of the different formats and types, you’ll greatly increase the odds of arriving at the correct answer. I know this sounds simplistic, but it is no small task because you’ll need to be able to recall and apply all the theoretical knowledge required, combine it with your own project management experience and relate this to what you are being asked each time.

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