What is the Passing Score of PMP Exam?
Is there a passing score for PMP® exams? The short answer is: NO. The long answer is: PMI would determine your passing score based on the difficulties of the set of PMP® exam questions you have answered. The time-tested way of ensuring a pass in the PMP® Exam is to get at least 75% in quality PMP® Exam Sample Questions (click here for some quality ones).
Perhaps you are worrying about the fact that the PMP® Exam is adopting a NEW syllabus from 12 Jan 2016?
Rest assured that the PMP® Exam changes are considered to be minor and the level of difficulty is about the same. PMP® aspirants are safe to begin the PMP® Exam prep journey now.
Lessons learned from recent PMP® candidates taking the NEW PMP® Exam 2016 have attested to this.
Someone Stated that the PMP® Exam Passing Score is 61%. Right?
Yes and no. In the past, 61% was published by PMI as the passing score for the PMP® Exam (which means that PMP® aspirants need to correctly answer 106 or more PMP® questions out of the 175 real questions). In fact, PMI played around with the passing score several times. It once set the passing score to 81% in 2005 and the number of candidates who could make it dropped dramatically, leading PMI to reset it to 61% in just a few months. At that time, PMP® candidates would get a report card with score (in percentage) for correctly answering questions in each domain.
But no more now. From December 2005, PMI ceased to publish the passing score as it has adopted a more “scientific” approach to judge whether a PMP® aspirant is eligible for the PMP® title. Later, the PMP® Exam report card was revised in 2007 to give only the proficiency levels (i.e. Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient).
Latest update: the PMP® report card now shown the “Target” level: Above Target, Target, Below Target and Needs Improvement (basically very similar to the proficiency level with “Above Target”=”Proficient” and “Target”=”Moderately Proficient”).
Actually, PMI has made this clear in the PMP® Handbook:
The passing score for all PMI credential examinations is determined by sound psychometric analysis. PMI uses subject matter experts from across the globe to help establish a point at which each candidate should pass the examination(s) and the examination point of difficulty. Data that shows how candidates actually performed is cross referenced with the subject matter experts to ensure that the point of difficulty on each examination is healthy.
Basically, the above paragraph states that the passing score for every candidate is different. As no two PMP® aspirants receive the same set of PMP® exam questions, setting a definite passing score for the PMP® exam is not fair to the candidate who, unfortunately, receive more the “difficult” questions. The statistic model, termed as psychometric analysis, is used to calculate the passing score of each individual set of PMP® exam questions to make sure the “difficulty to pass the PMP® exam” is similar for each individual candidate.
Do I Need to Get Above Target and Target in All Domains to Pass?
One or two “Below Target” would not automatically declare a fail to the PMP® Exam. In fact, whether a candidate will pass or fail the PMP® Exam is judged on the overall performance of the exam. I have personally know some candidates who got two “Below Target” and yet pass the exam. As PMI has put it, the proficiency levels for the domains are intended as a guidance for PMP® candidates to understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they will know which area(s) to focus on for their PDU activities or re-exam.
But as the number of questions for the five domains is different (according to the PMP® Examination Content Outline):
|Monitoring and Controlling||25%|
You will surely want to get “Above Target” (previously “Proficient) or “Target” (previously “Moderately Proficient”) in the heavy weights (i.e. Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, Planning) to assure a pass in the PMP® Exam.
And the “Above Target”, “Target”, “Below Target”, etc. will only be shown on the exam report card, these proficiency levels will NO shown in the PMP® Certificate and others cannot gain access to this information without your permission.
So, How Many PMP® Exam Question Should I Answer Correctly?
As the passing score of PMP® Exam is now based on “psychometric analysis”, candidates would get a higher score if they can answer the harder questions correctly and a lower score for the easier questions. This means that the harder questions are worth more than the easier questions. So, the minimum number of correct answers needed to pass the PMP® Exam is determined by the overall difficultly of the exam.
Therefore, when preparing for your PMP® Exam, do not just rely on a single provider of PMP® practice exams / exam simulator. It is more advisable to try questions from different providers in order to understand your strengths and weaknesses.
It is also advisable to make use of the old “61% passing score” for the PMP® Exam as your starting point and add 15%-20% more to account for the fluctuation in difficulties. That is, if you could get over 75%-80% for each new set of PMP® sample exams you have answered, you can almost be assured of a pass in the real PMP® exam provided that you perform normally during the exam.
Look here for a list of suggest free/paid PMP® sample exams that are time-tested and of high qualities. I have personally relied on these practice exams to help me pass the real PMP® Exam.
Wish you PMP® success!