Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to pass PMP Exam in first attempt?


If anyone wants to pass PMP exam in first attempt there are five stages:

  • Stage 1: Getting familiarized with PMP & PMBOK®
  • Stage 2: Obtaining 35 PDUs by joining a 4 days formal training course
  • Stage 3: Going through all the study material that you have collected including the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition (after March 25th 2018 it will be PMBOK® 6th Edition).
  • Stage 4: Attempt at least 10 mock tests to align your thought process along with PMBOK® thought process. Re-read all the weak areas that you get aware of while answering the mock tests.
  • Stage 5: On the exam day just stay cool and appear for the exam and come out with flying colors.

Remember for success there are only sure cuts and not shortcuts.

Stage1: Getting familiarized with PMP and PMBOK®
  • Google PMP and you will be able to find many articles. Read only structured articles to get some knowledge about PMP. You can download articles/tools from this blog also.
  • Go to and apply for membership. The membership allows you to obtain a copy of the latest PMBOK® guide.
  • Download this PMBOK® guide and glance through it for first 3 days. Prepare initial notes. Try to understand the structure. The 5 Process Groups and the 10 Knowledge Areas. 
  • Get familiarized with how to read the flowchart on page 60 of PMBOK® 5th edition. If you can understand this then it becomes easier how each process in each Knowledge area is contributing to other project processes. 
  • Try to understand and write the 47 processes at least 5 to 10 times given in Table 3.1 on page 61 of PMBOK® 5thedition.
  • Spend next 10 days to go through all the 10 knowledge areas.

Stage 2: Obtaining 35 PDUs by joining a 4 days formal training course

  • Mean while (out of the first 15 days) try to search for good PMP training provider. I went with “Knowledge Woods.” You can choose as per your convenience. Just Google it. Ensure that they are PMI R.E.Ps (REP stands for Registered Education Provider). You can know more information about what an REP is at You can also search whether the institute that you have chosen is an R.E.P or not at
  • Once you attend the complete course/training provided by them, you will earn your 35 PDUs (PDU means Professional Development Units). The training institute will provide you with 35 PDUs certificate. 
  • The training institute will also provide you study material, guidance on how to plan for your exam and also mock tests for a brief period of time.

Stage 3: Going through all the study material that you have collected including the PMBOK® Guide 5th or 6th Edition.

  • Since you now have all the study material, spend serious time going through the study material. I have gone through Head First PMP, PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition and study material provided by Knowledge Woods.
  • Spend a minimum of 15 days studying both Head First PMP and PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition.
  • At this stage based upon you confidence level, schedule your PMP exam at
  • Select the “Prometric Centre” nearest to your location at

Stage 4: Attempt at least 10 mock tests to align your thought process along with PMBOK® thought process.

  • Now start attempting mock tests.
  • As you progress through the mock tests you will get to know what your weak areas are. Go back to those weak areas and study again.
  • Try scoring a minimum of 80% in at least 3 to 5 tests out of 10.

So Stages 3 & 4 are iterative.

Stage 5: On the exam day just stay cool and appear for the exam and come out with flying colours.

  • Have a very good sleep previous night.
  • On the exam day stay cool.
  • Take a photo identity on the exam day to the “Prometric Centre” where you have scheduled the exam. I have taken my passport (this is always the best option).
  • It would also be apt to visit the “Prometric Centre” before your scheduled date so that you will get familiarized with the location, distance and the duration it will take for you to reach the centre. Calculate and schedule it in such a way that you reach the Prometric Centre at least 30minutes before your scheduled time.
  • Once all the formalities are completed you will be allowed to enter the exam hall. There are standard security procedures. Don’t get annoyed with any of the security procedures and simply oblige them.
  • Remember your aim is to stay cool and pass the PMP exam.
  • You will be provided a locker for keeping all your belongings. Except for the clothes that you wear and the Photo ID you are not allowed to take anything else inside the exam hall.
  • Before entering the exam hall you will be provided blank sheets and two pencils.
  • Once you sit in front of the allotted PC a tutorial will run. This tutorial is scheduled for 15 minutes. But you can finish it in 3 minutes. So after this first 3 minutes, you can dump your memory on the blank sheets provided for you. You can finish off your memory dump in 10 minutes if you wish to. To know what brain dump read the article on it provided in this blog.
  • Practice some slow and deep breathing exercises in the remaining two minutes so that you are ready and cool to take the exam.
  • Once 15 minutes gets completed the screen will automatically take you to the PMP exam screen and the countdown of 4:00:00 hours starts.
  • Go through all the questions and try to answer them in the first attempt. If you are spending more than 1.5 minutes on questions other than the calculations then mark it for later and attempt once you have gone through all the 200 questions. 
  • You can plan your breaks, but remember that the countdown does not stop during your breaks.
  • (I took two breaks, one after finishing the first 50 questions and the other after finishing 200 questions. For the second break I had 34 minutes left for completion.)
  • Once you have completed all the 200 questions, then go back and attempt all the marked questions and if you still have time then you can review the answers.
  • Once the scheduled 4:00:00 hours gets completed the screen will go blank and a survey questionnaire pops up. Answer the survey. 
  • After answering the survey the screen again goes blank and you will see your result popping up on the screen. At this time the Prometric Centre team will help you in getting a print out of the result of the PMP Exam.

For me the screen popped as “CONGRATULATIONS”… in first attempt and I scored “Moderately Proficient” in all 5 Process Areas.


If at any time you are low in your motivation please go through the following links and get motivated.

If you liked this article please leave your comments in the comments box. It will inspire me to write more articles like this.