type of questions pmp exam

The PMP is one of the most valued certifications for project professionals. To attain it, you will have to go through a process. In the end, you must pass a computer-based exam in a controlled environment.

The PMI will test your knowledge on various aspects of project management, such as analytical, logical, mathematical, management, and leadership skills.

The PMP exam is a multiple-choice exam, and you have to answer 180 questions in four hours.

These questions are in different styles, and in order to prepare well, you will have to understand them properly. Each type has its own purpose and collectively they make this certification exam quite challenging.

Types of PMP Exam Questions

On the PMP exam, you will see six different kinds of questions:

  1. ITTO-based questions
  2. Definition-based questions
  3. Situation-based questions
  4. Formula-based questions
  5. Interpretational questions
  6. Questions on professional and social responsibility

Let’s discuss them one by one.

ITTO-Based Questions

ITTO stands for “Input, Tools & Techniques, and Output.” You will see many ITTO-based questions on the exam. You may be asked to select the correct Input, Tool & Technique, or Output for a given process.

Example

What is the output of the develop project charter process?

a) Risk register
b) Stakeholder register
c) Project charter
d) Issue log

Clearly, in this case, the output is the project charter.

To solve these types of questions, you should have read the PMBOK Guide multiple times and understood its processes.

Definition-Based Questions

These are the most straightforward questions that you will see on your PMP certification exam: the definition of risk, secondary risk, residual risk, etc.

Example

A risk that is a result of a response to any risk is known as a(n):

a) Primary risk
b) Secondary risk
c) Residual risk
d) Unknown risk

Here, the answer is “b,” because the secondary risk is a result of a response to any primary risk.

To solve definition-based questions, you will have to read reference books for definitions of terms and understand the concepts.

Situation-Based Questions

In this type of question, you will be given a situation and asked to find the best answer for that scenario. These questions are very challenging because all options may seem correct. However, you have to choose the best option.

Example

Your client asks you for a minor change on your project which you believe will not affect the cost or schedule baseline. What will your next step be?

a) You will implement the request because it will not affect the project.
b) You will not implement the request.
c) You will review the request with your team members.
d) You will inform management.

You will neither deny nor accept any request from the client promptly unless you review it and the client is aware of and agrees to its impact. For any change request, first, you will review it with your team members, and then you will decide your next step.

Situation-based questions are usually wordy and have a lot of unnecessary information. You have to read them carefully and ignore unneeded information. Be careful with critical words like except, not, always, and only.

Your experience will help you understand the situation, but to solve it, you have to think the way PMI thinks. You have to assume that you are working on an ideal project and everything will go according to procedures and guidelines.

Formula-Based Questions

Here you have to solve questions that use mathematical formulas. These questions may come from the critical path method, PERT, earned value management, etc.

Example

You have a project that is worth 100,000 USD. To date, you have spent 30,000 USD and 25% of the work is completed. What is the Cost Performance Index (CPI)?

a) 500
b) 833
c) -5000
d) 2

Cost Performance Index = (Earned Value) / (Actual Cost)

CPI = EV / AC

According to the question:

Earned Value = 25% of 100,000 = 25,000

Actual Cost = 30,000 USD

Therefore, CPI = 25,000 / 30,000 = 0.833

Hence, the answer is “b”.

The formula-based questions on the PMP exam are not tough. If you know the formulas and understand when to use them, you will be able to solve most of them.

Just a little practice is enough to solve this type of question.

Interpretational Questions

In this case, you will be given some data and you have to analyze it to find the correct answer.

Example

You have a project worth 100,000 USD. To date, you have spent 30,000 USD, and 25% of the work is completed.

For the above project, which statement is correct?

a) The project is under budget.
b) The project is over budget.
c) The project is ahead of schedule.
d) The project is behind schedule.

We calculated the CPI in the previous example, and it is 0.833. Since the CPI is less than one, the project is over budget.

A clear understanding of concepts and practice of mathematical questions are both required to solve this type of question.

Questions on Professional and Social Responsibility

Since you are going to be a PMI Certified PMP, the PMI expects you to follow a specific code of ethics and professional conduct in your behavior.

According to PMI, “As practitioners of project management, we are committed to doing what is right and honorable. We set high standards for ourselves, and we aspire to meet these standards in all aspects of our lives; at work, at home, and in service to our profession.”

Example

During a bidding conference, you notice that a bidder is your friend. What will your next step be?

a) You will help your friend.
b) You will not tell anyone.
c) You will disclose it.
d) You will not attend the conference.

There can be a conflict of interest, and in this case, your first step is to reveal your friendship to management. Hence, the correct answer is “c.”

To solve this type of question, you will have to understand that the PMP expects that you will never break the law under any circumstances. You will always abide by the rules, display high moral behavior, follow ethics and never run away from your social responsibilities.

You are going to see this type of question on your PMP exam. 

Therefore, to practice this type of question, I suggest you try some simulated tests before you attempt the real exam. These will give you an idea of the actual environment, and you can check your progress and find your knowledge gaps.

Conclusion

On the PMP exam, you will see six types of questions covering all aspects of project management. The exam will test your understanding of the PMBOK Guide and its processes, project management concepts, your experience with complex situations. It will check whether you have leadership and management qualities. If you have all these qualities, knowledge, and skills, you will pass the exam easily.

What type of questions do you find challenging? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

To check your readiness for the real PMP exam, attempt my PMP Question Bank and PMP Mock Test. This Question Bank has 360 PMP exam sample questions, and the Mock Test has 180 PMP exam sample questions.