Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Top 10 Features of a PMP® Exam Simulator

You’ve read the A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), you’ve studied hard and you feel that you are ready to take the PMP® exam.

But understanding the topics isn’t the only thing you’ll need to make a success of the test. Wouldn’t it be great to have the chance to take some PMP exam sample questions, so you really know what the assessment is going to be like?

You can use a FREE PMP exam simulator to give you an insight into what sort of questions you’ll face on your test day. However, it's important to choose software with the right PMP simulator features, so it adequately mimics the environment you'll get on the computer-based test.

The assessment is a multiple-choice test, but taking quizzes from the back of a book or from a Google search won't give you the full examination experience. In this article we'll explain what to look for when choosing which PMP exam simulator to use.

Top Benefits of a PMP Simulator

There are loads of reasons why practicing with a professional simulator gives you the advantage on your test day. Here are our top three benefits of using a PMP exam simulator.
  • Gain confidence with the user interface
    You might have taken online quizzes before, but the PMI platform is not like anything most people have ever used. There are advanced features, navigation options and the timer to get used to. Our mock exam simulator gives you a realistic experience, as close to what you will see on your test day as possible.
  • Learn while you practice
    Good simulators use more than one reference and provide detailed explanations for all the answers -- even the incorrect ones. You'll learn as you study by reviewing what you got wrong and why. In a study on mock exams, researchers found that students who did a period of study and took mock assessments did better than those who simply studied. That's all the proof we need that practice tests help you learn as well as assess what you know!
  • Practice pacing yourself
    The examination is long, and if you are anything like most people, you won't have sat at your computer trying to focus on anything for that length of time before! Simulators help you experience the full duration so you can get comfortable with what it feels like to be committed to an online test for such a length of time.

Top PMP Simulator Features

Take your time to choose the best PMP simulator out there on the market for you. Choosing the right product could literally make or break your chances of exam success. And a poor product could be as bad as throwing money away: not only your investment in the system, but also in the fees from having to take the test again.

We encourage you to check out each product thoroughly, read reviews from past students and make an informed decision. Here are the 10 features we believe make the difference between a quality simulator and one that won't do the job.

  • Does it have full exam mode?
  • Does it have lots of questions?
  • Are the questions presented in the same proportion as in the exam?
  • Is the vendor a Project Management Institute Authorized Training Partner?
  • Who wrote the questions?
  • Is there a ‘mark for review’ feature?
  • Does it have a learning mode?
  • Does it explain why you got questions wrong?
  • Is it based on the most recent PMBOK® Guide?
  • Will it let you take the tests multiple times?
What do we mean by all that? Let's review the features so you know what to look for when selecting your PMP exam simulator.

1. Does it have full exam mode?

Choose a simulator that offers full exam mode. This will show you what the PMP exam is really like. You can take a complete practice test in your own home or office. It’s very realistic, and taking practice exams like this will help you understand what to expect on the day.

Another benefit of full examination mode is that you get to see what your results would be for a whole test, made up of a variety of questions covering the entire exam content outline. You'll get an overall view of how ready you are for the test. Plus, you'll start to learn how to pace your time... this is one long online assessment!

2. Does it have lots of questions?

You don’t want to be sitting at the computer after a day of studying and find that the same questions appear on the screen time and time again. Choose an exam simulator for PMP that has lots of questions, preferably over 1,500. This will give you plenty of variety and the chance to take all the question types. Varied questions are more challenging, more interesting for you, and make your experience of the simulator more realistic.

Some tools offer free PMP exam questions in a simulator environment, so you can see what the quality will be before committing to using the tool.

You won't see any of the simulator questions on your real test paper, so practicing with as many different types, formats, styles and topics will help you work out how to choose the most appropriate answer each time.

3. Are the questions presented in the same proportion as in the exam?

Having lots of exam questions is only half the story: you also need to make sure that the questions presented on screen are shown in the same proportion as in the real assessment.

The proportion of questions related to each domain is covered in the exam content outline. You'll be able to see how the topics break down and get a feel for how many times a broad topic will show up on the test. That gives you useful information about the subjects to study in detail, especially if you aren't comfortable with them yet.

If your PMP exam simulator shows too few or too many questions from any particular section of the content outline, you won’t get a realistic view of what you’ll be presented with on your test day.

4. Is the vendor a Project Management Institute Authorized Training Partner?

An Authorized Training Partner (ATP) is an organization approved by the Project Management Institute (PMI)® to offer certification exam prep and agile training. Think of the ATP designation as the PMI stamp of approval. Any provider who has earned the right to call themselves an Authorized Training Partner has met rigorous standards for quality and training effectiveness, as set out by PMI.

Make sure that you use a PMP test simulator from a reputable, PMI® approved company so you know you are getting a quality product that is fit for purpose and will do the job of moving you closer to earning that certification!

5. Who wrote the questions?

You want to know who is behind all these questions, don’t you? Try to find a simulator that has questions written by a group of PMPs. That way, you know that behind the scenes the question writers have adapted a variety of styles, debated over the answers and the phrasing, and peer reviewed each others’ work.

Another consideration is how often the questions are reviewed by the authors. Make sure the simulator you choose is regularly updated, as the nature of problems asked on the test evolves with time. PMI is always testing and adding new questions, so it's important your simulator is revised accordingly to reflect that.

Our simulator has been put together by the team behind the popular Project Management PrepCast, and the questions are regularly reviewed. You can be confident you're getting excellent, challenging questions set by an experienced team!

6. Is there a ‘mark for review’ feature?

In the real test software, you’ll see the ‘mark for review’ feature. This enables you to put a question to one side for the moment and return to it at the end. This is a way to make sure that you don’t let a difficult question take up all of your time. There's no value in straining to recall a fact or carrying out a calculation when you could be scoring some easy points on questions you haven't seen yet.

A good technique is to skip the problem you can't solve and complete as many of the questions as possible, then go back to the ones you have marked for review. A good PMP exam simulator will let you do the same and help you learn how to use this feature to maximize your exam time.

7. Does it have a learning mode?

There’s more to test preparation than just taking PMP practice questions. You can also use a PMP simulator to help you learn. In learning mode, you can get hints for the questions, or you can see the answer to the question. This is useful if you want to consolidate what you have learned so far.

Use this feature to check your knowledge at the end of studying a particular section of the exam content outline. You'll end up feeling confident you've fully understood the material so you can move on to learning the next topic.

8. Does it explain why you got questions wrong?

You also need to know why you got questions wrong! It’s very frustrating to just see ‘Wrong’ on the screen without an explanation or a reference back to other materials so that you can revise your understanding of that concept.

A good simulator for the PMP test will explain the rationale and help you understand why you made a mistake. It will use a variety of references to help you deepen your knowledge of the topic so you can broaden your understanding. It will also give you an explanation for the wrong answers so you can reflect on why they are wrong. All in all, those short explanations can make a big difference to learning the best way to approach different question styles.

9. Is it based on the most recent PMBOK® Guide?

This is an obvious one: you need to choose a simulator to help with your PMP exam prep that is based on the most recent PMBOK® Guide! If it isn’t, you can’t guarantee the relevance of the questions or the accuracy of the answers.

Whether or not a simulator is based on the latest information should be clear from the company's website or sales information. If you can't see it, there's a chance that the information is out of date. Make sure to ask before you commit to using their product or you might be wasting your time practicing with old-style questions.

10. Will it let you take the tests multiple times?

A great simulator won’t limit the amount of times you can take the tests. Repeating the tests (especially if you got some of the answers wrong) is a good way to gain confidence and improve your exam results.

You will get different questions on your test day, of course. However, going back over questions you've already taken and reviewing them with a view to choosing the correct answers helps you solidify your knowledge of the topic and gain confidence that you are improving. Look for simulator software that allows you to retake the PMP tests as many times as you like.

Summary

Your PMP exam simulator will not only help you prepare properly for the exam, but it will also help you approach the exam environment confidently. You’ll know what to expect, and prior knowledge is a great stress reliever! A great PMP simulator will give you an important edge in passing that all-important exam and be on your way to becoming certified.

So what are you waiting for? Check out our free PMP exam simulator (which meets all of the criteria above, and more) and maximize your preparation time.

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