Step by Step Guide to Answering PMP Exam Questions

PMP Exam has 200 questions and you have four hours to answer them. PMP Exam questions could be very tricky and hard to understand at the first look. The questions in the exam come in different flavors. Some of them could be directly related to processes groups, knowledge areas and ITTOs. Other may be related to formulas.There could be several situational questions as well. Unless you follow a methodical approach to understand and answer these questions, there is a good chance of missing some of them even if you know the answer. Follow the steps below to analyze and understand the PMP exam questions and answer them correctly.

Step 1: Read the question completely

First read the question completely. Some questions in PMP exam could be really wordy and confusing when you read them for the first time. So, don’t just skim through them. Read every sentence carefully.

Step 2: Understand the question

Understand the question. After reading the question, see what the question is all about. Even if the question is lengthy, at the end it may be simple and limited to a very particular topic. Lot of times PMP exam questions contain extra information that doesn’t really add anything to the question. Eliminate them first and focus on the statements that really matter to answer the question.

Step 3: Narrow down the question scope

Isolate the question to a particular process group or knowledge area in the PMBOK guide. This will help you pick the answer better. Most questions in the PMP exam tend to be related to a single knowledge area.

Step 4: Read ALL answers

Read ALL answers. Even if you think that the first answer you see is the correct one, don’t stop there. Reading every answer provided is extremely important. Some questions may have multiple answers that could be potentially correct. Then you have to choose the most correct answer.

Pick the right answer if the question is straight forward and there is no computation or situation involved. Lot of questions in PMP exam are situational or involve computation. They would require further steps to answer them.

Step 5: Eliminate wrong answers

Start the elimination process for situational questions. First discard those answers you know for sure are incorrect. Among the possible answers you have to pick the best one. Some times PMP exam questions specially use qualifiers such as FIRST, NEXT, MOST and so on. Pay close attention to such words in the questions. They will decide what the best answer is.

Step 6: Use the right formula

Pick the right formula to be used, if the question is related to formulas. In the question, find the values for different variables in the formula. Compute the value asked in the question and select the right answer.

Step 7: Don’t leave questions unanswered

Don’t leave any questions unanswered in the PMP exam. Even after reading and analyzing the question, if you don’t know the right answer, use your best guess and answer it. There is no negative marking in PMP exam. so, there is nothing to lose by answering them.

Other things to keep in mind…

  • Don’t spend too much time answering a single question. If you don’t know the answer, mark it for review and move on to the next question.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable with first few questions don’t feel discouraged. You will be fine, even if you get first few questions wrong.
  • Don’t take breaks just because the exam format allows it.  By taking unnecessary breaks you not only lose time but also the momentum. however, don’t hesitate to take some break if you really need it.
  • If you systematically follow this approach, you will significantly improve your odds of scoring high and passing the PMP exam with flying colors.

Good Luck.

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