Myths About the PMP Certification Exam

During my PMP exam preparation, I encountered many headache-inducing myths regarding the PMP exam.

Believing false information can affect your exam preparation, which may demoralize you. You should have the correct information on the PMP exam and process before you apply for the exam or start your preparation.

In this blog post, I will bust the six most popular PMP exam myths.

Let’s get started.

Myth I: The PMP Exam Passing Score is 61%

This is the most popular myth.

In fact, until November 2005, the PMP exam passing score was 61%. After November 30, 2005, the PMI stopped publishing the passing percentage and adopted a different methodology, and they now use psychometric analysis to calculate the passing score.

The minimum score needed to pass is determined by the overall difficulty of your exam.

Only the PMI knows the passing score for the PMP exam. Therefore, I suggest you prepare well and aim for over 70%.

Myth II: The PMP Certification Will Get You a Higher Salary

PMP certification has many benefits. It helps you excel in your career, get a better job with a better salary, and your peers will see you as an expert, but it is not a guarantee. It only increases your chance of a raise or an interview with a new employer if you apply for a new job.

In a PMI survey, it was found that the average salary of PMP certification holders had risen. However, past performance is not a guarantee of future performance; you should not have any illusions that this certification will get you an immediate salary increase.

Myth III: PMI Uses Applicant Profiles for Audit Selection

Many experts say that the PMI selects certain kinds of profiles for an audit. You might hear other rumors on the audit process, so please ignore them.

According to PMI, the exam application audit process is entirely random. Therefore, you must prepare to face the audit if you are applying for the PMP exam.

It is in your best interest to be 100% truthful with the PMI while filling out the application form. Keep all the documents you have claimed on your application, such as experience and training certificates.

Inform your bosses that you are applying for the PMP exam, as the PMI may contact them to verify your experience.

Myth IV: You Must Memorize ITTOs

Absolutely not.

You should not waste time memorizing these ITTOs; doing so will not help you understand the logic behind them. The PMI wants you to understand ITTOs, not memorize them.

It is not possible to memorize these ITTOs unless you have special memorizing powers. Also, the PMI words their questions in such a way that even if you have memorized a few ITTOs, you still may not answer the questions correctly.

Read the PMBOK Guide as many times as you can; this will help you understand ITTOs. Try to understand the logic behind them and visualize the process flow.

These days (as of January 2020), there are fewer questions based on ITTOs on the PMP exam than there used to be. So again, there is no benefit to spending time memorizing ITTOs.

Myth V: You Need 35 PDUs to Apply for the PMP Exam

People often confuse contact hours with PDUs. Please note that you need 35 contact hours before you apply for the PMP certification exam, not PDUs.

You don’t need to worry about PDUs until you become a PMP. You need 60 PDUs every three years to maintain your PMP credential.

You require contact hours to apply for the PMP exam, and PDUs are required once you pass the PMP exam.

Myth VI: Only ATPs Can Offer 35 Contact Hours Training

This is also one of the most common myths.

You can get your training from a non-PMI-approved provider. The only benefit of an ATP (Authorized Training Partner) is that their course content is pre-approved, and if PMI selects you for an audit, you don’t have to show them.

If you complete your PMP training from a non-ATP and are selected for an audit, you have to show your course content to PMI to verify if it fulfills the training requirements.

Therefore, I suggest you get your 35 contact hours training from any renowned training program, such as PM PrepCast (read my PM-PrepCast review).

The other advantage of using an ATP is that their training material is reviewed by the PMI, which itself assures you of the quality of the product.


These are six popular myths about the PMP certification exam. You may encounter others, and this is common as PMI updates its procedures, causing old procedures to become myths. I suggest you visit the PMI site and read the PMP handbook to stay current.

This blog post is based on the article written by Cornelius Fichtner, a PMP trainer and creator of PM PrepCast (35 Contact Hours Training Program), and PM Exam Simulator, and is published here with permission from the author. You can find the original article here.

Do you have another myth that was not discussed in this blog post? Please share it in the comments section to expose it.

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