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What if you fail the PMP Exam?
By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP

The PMP® exam is not an easy exam. It is a 4-hour, 200 question multiple choice exam. Out of these 200 questions you will have to answer 106 correctly in order to pass. However, candidates fail. It happens every week. That is little or no consolation if the person who fails is you. Now what?

After the exam you will be handed a score report, that doesn’t just show that you failed, it also shows a percentage breakdown of your performance by process group (performance domain). Each of the six performance domains contains a different number of questions and is represented as a percentage. That way you can see in which process group you actually failed the exam. This is important information for you so that you can prepare properly for next time.

If you believe that there was a mistake, you can challenge the result: The PMP credential program is administered and supervised by the manager of PMI’s Certification Program. All challenges are governed by the comprehensive and exclusive rules of the PMI Certification Governance Council’s (CGC) Certification Appeal Procedures. This appeal process is the only method to review all decisions made by the PMI Certification Program Department regarding applications, eligibility, examinations, test administration and results, and other application or testing-related certification issues.

Since you have not passed the exam on your first attempt you may now re-test up to twice within your one-year eligibility period by submitting a completed re-examination form and paying the associated re-examination fee (currently $275 for PMI members). After the third unsuccessful attempt, you have to wait one year from the date of your last test before re-applying and attempting to test again. If your one-year eligibility period expires without having passed the examination you must re-apply for the credential. Re-examination applications can be filed online or on paper.

The best source for all your questions about the PMP exam is always the PMP Credentials Handbook. You can find it here: http://www.pmi.org/PDF/PDC_PMPHandbook.pdf.

And what is the best way not to fail? Read the PMBOK Guide at least twice. Have a sound study plan while also taking a lot of sample tests. And you should also buy a good PMP preparation workbook or subscribe to an online PMP course like The Project Management PrepCast™ at www.pmprepcast.com.

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is the host of The Project Management Podcast™ at www.thepmpodcast.com and The Project Management PrepCast™, the first true PMP® Podcast at www.pmprepcast.com. Cornelius worked as a Project Manager in his native Switzerland, in Germany and in the USA for the last 17 years. He received his PMP credential in April 2004. He has led projects for a management consulting company, a national retailer and an internet startup company. Currently, Cornelius works as a project manager for one of the oldest financial service providers in the USA. His passions are project management methodologies, PMOs and helping others pass the PMP Exam. In addition to hosting the PrepCast™, he is an instructor for the PMP Workshop and the 2007 Chair of his local PMI chapter. He currently lives in Silverado, California, USA with his wife and their two computers.

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