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10 Common Mistakes people make while taking PMP Examination


PMP Exam is comprehensive examination with 180 questions to be answered in about 4 hours.  It is certainly one of the rigorous examinations. While many of the PMP exam takers pass with flying colors, many fail the exam leading to dejection and a sense of self-doubt. Even sometime people with solid project management experience and knowledge also fail the exam.

While good experience of project management and solid understanding of project management principles are fundamental to pass the examination, a better understanding of the common mistakes people make during the exam can immensely improve the chances of passing the exam.


10 Common mistakes people make while taking the PMP examination:

1. Inadequate understanding of the PMP examination syllabus – If one does not clearly know the syllabus of the examination, this leads to hazy and ambiguous preparation. What is tested in PMP examination can be understood by understanding the PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO). You can read more on this in our article -

2. Applying personal experience and perception – PMP Examination questions should be answered as per the recommended best practices and principles, not based on one’s personal view and experience.

3. Inadequate reading comprehension ability – PMP exam questions and the options can be lengthy and wordy. One’s ability to read the long questions and their options, comprehend them and make right conclusions quickly (about little more than 1 minute per question) is paramount to answer correctly.

4. Inability to understand the project scenario clearly – Many question in the PMP examination is presented as project scenario-based. The question asks as a Project Manager what will you do in this scenario from the given options. It is paramount to understand the scenario clearly. Which stage of the project life cycle this scenario belongs to? Which project management task this scenario is related to? Is the scenario from Initiation or Planning or Executing or Monitoring or Closing part of the life cycle? Is the question about Process Domain or People Domain or Business Environment Domain? This identification will make it easy to answer the question correctly.

5. Not observing the extreme words in the questions – Words like NOT, EXCEPT, MOST-LIKELY, LEAST-LIKELY etc. can completely change the answer. Many times the exam taker does not observe these words and end up answering incorrectly.

6. Answering without reading all answer options – Selecting the answer option in haste just after reading the first few options. Sometime we have to select the best option or most inclusive option. In some question, every option may be right, but which is the best and most inclusive. Just by being aware on this point, 25% of the errors can be avoided.

7. Spending too much time on a single question – Some question may seem lengthy, complex and confusing. If one spends lot of time on a single question, this will create more pressure later. Hence it is important to manage time well on each question. Basic thumb rule is answer in about 1 minute.  If the question seems doubtful, select the best option as of now as per you, and Mark IT for Review. Such questions can be reviewed later. It is important to answer all questions with proper time management.

8. Inability to manage anxiety and pressure – Any examination can be stressful. If the first few questions during the test are difficult and confusing, this can create immense pressure and self-doubt to anyone. At this time, one need to remember that there is going to be 180 questions. There will be enough questions which you will be answer with clarity and conviction and can pass the exam. Hence during the initial one hour of the test, one needs to hold on to the nerve with confidence and hope.

9. Over analyzing the question – Many times one tends to over complicate the given question, while the answer most often will be based on the fundamental principles of project management. Hence always stick to the basics and keep it simple.

10. Over confidence and complacency – Sometime people think, since they have been working for many years as a project manager, they can answer the questions without any preparation and reading. It is important to understand that PMP course content is based on universally standardized body of knowledge of project management. This body of knowledge includes a set of recommended project management practices, techniques, definitions and vocabulary. The questions need to be answered as per this body of knowledge. It is extremely important to read and understand this knowledge before taking the PMP examination.



To excel in the PMP examination, thorough preparation and awareness of common pitfalls are paramount. Utilize effective strategies, invest in quality PMP prep training, and leverage the insights provided above to boost your confidence and pass the exam successfully. For personalized coaching and guidance on your PMP journey, reach out to us at or visit our website at

Best of luck on your PMP exam!

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