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PMP Exam Day Tips

~ By PMConnection

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You have devoted at least 4,500 hours to project work, you have sat through at least 35 hours worth of classroom training on project management, you have studied for hours and answered hundreds of practice questions, you have completed PMI's application for the PMP exam, you have paid roughly £235, you have received your acceptance letter, you have even scheduled your exam date. In short, you have a lot invested in this exam. Are you nervous? Well here are some tips that should help calm your nerves:

Exam Day Tips

  • Drive to the testing location prior to the test day
  • Arrive early on test day
  • Bring two forms of ID and your letter from PMI
  • You will be assigned a small locker
  • They will give you six sheets of paper, two pencils and a small calculator
  • They will escort you to your seat
  • You will walk through instructions for taking the exam
  • You have 15 minutes to complete the instructions
  • You have 60 seconds to start the online test after completing the instructions
  • Once you begin the test, you have 4 hours. The clock does not stop if you take a break
  • Before answering any questions perform a brain dump
  • Have a game plan, example:
    • 75 Questions - Break
    • 75 Questions - Break
    • 50 Questions and Review - Complete
  • Each time you take a break, you must sign out and back in with the attendant and must also show ID
  • A water fountain is available, but take a snack
  • You cannot wear a hat into the centre
  • You cannot reach into your pocket
  • No talking
  • People will come and go, but don't let this shake you
  • Read the entire question fully - usually there's more information than needed
  • Read the answers from the bottom up
  • If you are unsure of an answer, do not guess on the first pass. Simply mark the question for review
  • Do not struggle too long on one question. Mark it for review and come back
  • If you find questions further in the exam that will help you answer the questions that you marked for review, jot that question number down with a brief reference
  • Once you get to the end, you can then review the questions you previously marked. Many of these answers will now come quickly
  • After completing the questions marked for review, you can now click on "complete exam"
  • It will prompt you "are you sure"
  • Once you choose yes or ok, the hourglass will appear on the screen as it calculates you results. This takes about 15-20 seconds
  • Once complete the words "you passed" appear on the screen (hopefully!)
  • Your test results are then printed with the attendant
  • Turn in your pencils, paper and calculator
  • The attendant will give you a certified copy of your test results
  • You will receive certification via mail

Good Luck!


PMConnection provides free information on project, programme and portfolio management as well as MS Project, Project Server, PMO's and the PMP.


Comments (8)

Topic: PMP Exam Day Tips
5/5 (7)
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15th August 2019 11:51pm
Michelle Lim (Singapore) says...
Thanks for the tips! They were very helpful, I passed my PMP exam on the first attempt.

The one I found especially helpful was the one on taking breaks - it was a little counter intuitive for me initially to take those breaks because the clock keeps running, but it proved to be the tip that kept me focused throughout the exam.

My advice to others taking the exam is to take those breaks. The exam is tough, you need that focus and taking a break in between is a great way to stay sharp.

I also did the brain dump of the 5 process groups, 10 knowledge areas, 49 processes, and all the formulas which gave me more confidence that I was ready to tackle all the questions.

In terms of prep, I studied both the PMBOK and Rita's 9th edition book two months in advance of the exam. Both materials are very different in writing style, Rita's book was more reader-friendly and it feels like she's there explaining to you those concepts when you read it. In her book in the last chapter there was also a formula summary, which I made sure I understood all of them before heading into the exam.
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25th September 2018 10:53pm
Ryan Whitney (SAN FRANCISCO) says...
Can you bring a snack and a water bottle into the exam with you?
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15th August 2019 11:53pm
Michelle Lim (Singapore) says...
No, you can't. You are allowed to take breaks where you leave the exam area to visit the toilet, take a drink or eat something, but when you return you are subject to checks again.
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26th August 2016 7:21pm
Nihanth (Toronto) says...
Why do you suggest reading the answers bottom up?
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1st September 2016 8:01am
Duncan (London) says...
The technique is designed to stop you from latching onto the first answer, which might be plausible, but might be wrong.

You'll often find it is easy to eliminate two of the answers leaving two plausible-sounding answers. This is when you will call on your training and PMBOK knowledge to select the right answer.
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28th April 2016 7:49pm
Edward (Johannesburg) says...
Thanks for these tips - especially the 75-75-50 strategy and it worked superbly! I took the exam today and passed on my first attempt after 3 months of prep (privately).
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29th April 2016 7:01am
Duncan (London) says...
I'm glad the tips helped. Well done on your success.
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5th August 2014 11:35am
Hemant S (India) says...
Good last minute tips. Especially reading the answers bottom up. This has helped me in the dummy tests that I've performed.

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