PMP Lessons Learned: Passing the 2nd Try

PMP Exam Experience Sharing

It is not the end of the world after failing the PMP Exam at the 1st attempt. Every PMP Aspirant is given two more opportunities to write the exam within the same year after failing the first try (actually, Aspirants will be allowed to re-apply for the exam after failing all 3 tries after waiting for a year — virtually unlimited number of tries).

Ola failed the first try of his exam. He was not discouraged but tried hard to find out the underlying root causes of failing the exam. And in two weeks’ time, he proudly told us that he passed the 2nd try!

Ola Passed the PMP Exam at 2nd Try

Below is the sharing by Ola who have recently passed the exam after failing once:

I was approved to write the exam about a year ago, January 2015. Because of a couple of engagement including work, I couldn’t prepare to write it until it was getting late. So I decided to book the exam and started reading in August. I tried to use both PMBOK® Guide and Rita. PMBOK® Guide was a bit boring to read and Rita seems to be bulky as well. I read the two once and skipped through the second time. I only practiced 1 test before the first attempt. I didn’t score well in the test. But because I didn’t want to miss the deadline, I went ahead to sit for the exam. There were lots of gaps that I noticed like not taking time to study the processes very well. I also did not take time to know some of the PMP formulas extensively etc.

I failed my first attempt. My wife encouraged me to try again. I had only two weeks before my 1 year window ends so I had to book a space to resit within 2 weeks.  I booked for the 2nd attempt which is about two weeks away. That’s the best I could do to meet up with the deadline. I had to find other means to prepare in a short period. I bought PMP gold plan on PM study for 89 dollars (without Contact hours) and went through their videos and study guide. I did their four simulated test – each test has 200 questions. I also stumbled on Edward Chung’s PMP website and read the PMP Exam journey ( including some of exam tips which I found very insightful and useful (though I found it late).

I also used a number of good videos on YouTube. My scores on the 4 simulated tests on PM study are 85%, 67%, 69% and 76%. I think had 75% in Oliver Lehman 75Q. I think using other resources to break down PMBOK® Guide and Rita was added advantage for the 2nd trial.

Two days to the exam was when I decided it is important to know the processes and I was able to memorize it with some guides from YouTube. I also memorize more formulas. I re-sat for the exam today exactly 2 weeks after I failed.

My exam supervisor said they do not allow brain dump before the exam starts, so one must get to question one before you start writing on the scratch paper. Writing out the 47 processes and some formulas on scratch paper took about 10 minutes of my time. I finished the exam with about 30 min left. The questions I marked altogether were about 60 that I had to review and at about 1 minute to the end, I ended the exam.

Below is the result of my 2nd try:

  • Initiation – Moderately Proficient
  • Planning – Moderately Proficient
  • Executing – Moderately Proficient
  • Monitoring and Controlling – Proficient
  • Closing – Moderately Proficient

I am glad to say that I am certified now. Thank you for the good job and keep it up!

Thanks again Ola for the detailed account of your exam success story. This shows exactly that with determinations, every Aspirants will ultimately be able to get certified even with more than one try.

I have also published a guide to those who failed the PMP Exam the first try.

Wish you PMP success!

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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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3 Responses

  1. Ola says:

    Hi Edward,

    Just saw the post, thank you for sharing my experience. Keep up the good job. I have refer your website to friends who want to write PMP.

    • Rosy says:

      hello Ola/Edward,

      Could you tell me if there is a required wait time if I am to fail the 1st attempt?

      Here is my scenario –
      I am planning to write the PMP exam in the week of March 12 i.e 13th or 15th. Say worst case scenario, I don’t make it through the first attempt, is there a wait time – say I can apply only after 7-10 days? In other words, can I book another appointment on the same day (as of the day of my first try)?


      • Edward Chung says:

        Hi Rosy,

        In the unfortunate case of failing the exam, you can in theory book the next exam session immediately without any wait time.

        Wish you PMP success!