What are PMP “pre-test” questions?


For each set of 200 PMP® Exam questions, only 175 will be counted towards your final score. The rest 25 questions are termed as “pretest questions” according to PMI.

Pretest questions can be considered as “trial” questions which are used to gather statistical information on the “validity” of the question. If the performance of the candidates on a pretest question is in accordance with normal distribution, PMI will consider adding the question to the question bank for the real PMP® exam.

Otherwise, should too many or too few candidates are able to answer the pretest question correctly, the quality of the pretest question is in doubt and would probably not to be included in the real exam.

What has “pretest questions” to do with PMP® candidates?

PMP® candidates are affected by the pretest questions in the following way:

  • Since pretest questions are distributed randomly in the set of PMP® questions, PMP® candidates will have no way to determine whether a question is “real” or “pre-test”.
  • If many of the “pre-test” questions are too difficult to answer, this may adversely affect the psychological state and confidence of the candidate. This may directly affect the performance of the candidate in the real exam.
  • PMP® candidates may be tempted to spend too much time on the pre-test questions since some pre-test questions are not constructed clearly.

In my PMP® Exam, the first 10 questions were very difficult that I spent more than expected time on that, I couldn’t but think that “will I fail the exam?”. Luckily, the rest questions were similar to what are on the sample question papers that I had tried before. I managed to get a pass in the first try.

My recommendation is to prepare well for the PMP® Exam and ignore those “out-of-syllabus” questions by guessing the answer and move forward. Don’t be discouraged if many “out-of-syllabus” questions appear in a row or at the beginning of the exam. Remember to keep your cool and move on!

I have also shared other psychological preparation for you to ace the exam:

FAQ Category: PMP Certification Exam, PMP Exam Prep

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Further Reading: The PMP Certification Guide provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to get started with your PMP Certification journey. Read it now!

Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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