PMP Examination Structure c

Today, I will talk about the PMP exam structure.

The PMP certification is the most widely recognized in the arena of project management, and attaining it is the dream of project professionals. It validates your knowledge, skills, and capabilities in leading and directing projects.

You must go through a lengthy process to earn the title of Project Management Professional. The grand finale is a computer-based exam. 

The test comprises five types of questions (multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot, and limited fill-in-the-blank). A good understanding of the PMP exam structure will help you with your PMP Exam preparation.

What is the PMP Exam’s Structure?

The PMP exam questions are distributed throughout three domains:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Business Environment

The PMP exam is composed of 180 questions. Out of these, five are pretests that do not affect your score. However, they are random throughout the exam, and you cannot distinguish them from other scorable questions.

It would be smart to assume that all 180 questions are scorable. These pretest questions are just used to test the validity of future examinations.

The computer-based exam takes 230 minutes with two scheduled breaks of ten minutes. There are no scheduled breaks for paper-based exams.

Before your test begins, you will go through an awareness section. This session will explain how to navigate the exam: how to select and answer, how to mark a question for later review, etc. This lasts for 15 minutes.

As soon as you finish the awareness, your test will start. You cannot make any notes during the exam.

After submitting your answers, you have to complete a survey, and then you can see your results.

The awareness session and the survey are not part of your exam time.

The table below shows how the exam questions are distributed throughout each phase:

latest pmp exam structure

The above table is with reference to the latest PMP exam content outline, applicable from January 2, 2021.

You can estimate that:

  • The People group will have 76 questions
  • The Process group will have 90 questions
  • The Business Environment group will have 14 questions.

Remember that questions based on Professional and Social Responsibility are distributed throughout these process groups. To the best of my knowledge, the exact number of questions has not been made public.

Tips for Attempting the Exam

Keep the following points in mind:

  • You have to answer 180 questions in 230 minutes, which means 1.2 minutes for each question. Manage your time accordingly.
  • Don’t waste time on tough questions. Leave them for later review.
  • Since there is no negative marking, don’t leave any questions unanswered.
  • Try to save 25 minutes at the end of your time to review the answers you marked for later.


The PMP exam has 180 questions, and you have to finish these questions in 230 minutes. If you are well prepared, this is long enough to answer all questions and pass the exam. Attempt them all and ensure that you have enough time for revision before hitting the submit answer button.

Good luck with your PMP exam.

This is where this post on the PMP exam structure ends. If you have any questions regarding the structure of the PMP exam, you can ask through the comments section, and I will reply.

The other posts are as follows:

  1. What is the PMP?
  2. What are the PMP Eligibility Requirements?
  3. What is the PMP Application Process?
  4. How Expensive is the PMP Certification?
  5. What is the PMP Exam Structure? (You are here)
Fahad Usmani, PMP

I am Mohammad Fahad Usmani, B.E. PMP, PMI-RMP. I have been blogging on project management topics since 2011. To date, thousands of professionals have passed the PMP exam using my resources.