PMP Formulas and Calculation for PMP Certification Demystified

Download the FREE 1-page guide on what maths formulas you will need to remember for the PMP Exam

pmp formulas and calculation
Summary: Many Aspirants, especially those who do not come from science or mathematics background, would consider the most difficult part of the PMP exam to be the calculation questions involving PMP formulas. The good news is that PMP calculation is not quantum physics, and the PMP Exam is not a test of your mathematics. You just need to understand and memorize the following PMP Calculation formulas in order to be well prepared. Keep calm and study on and get PMP certified! (You can read more about my PMP exam and certification journey here.)

Note: There is no need to bring your own calculator to the PMP Exam centre, either an on-screen calculator and a physical one will be available to you. Plus, there is not much questions that would require you to make use of the calculator.

Article Highlights


PMP Formulas mentioned in the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition

The formulas table below summaries the most important PMP Formulas that Aspirants would need to understand plus learn by heart in order to be able to answer PMP maths questions correctly. There are tons other formulas you may find from the internet that claimed to be related to the PMP Exam (e.g. there are over 40 different EVM formulas). The good news is the other formulas not listed below are mostly from previous versions of the PMBOK® Guide / PMP Exam that Aspirants are safe to ignore as proved by my own and many other Aspirants writing their PMP Exams.

As PMI requires Aspirants not only to remember the PMP formulas but also understand their meanings and application, I have published another article with in-depth explanations of the Earned Value Management (EVM) formulas. You can click the link to read the article for free.

PMP Formulas
Name (Abbreviation)FormulaInterpretation
No. of Communication Channels

n (n-1)/2

n = number of members in the team

n should include the project manager

e.g. if the no. of team members increase from 4 to 5, the increase in communication channels:
5(5-1)/2 – 4(4-1)/2 = 4
Schedule Performance Index (SPI)


EV = Earned Value
PV = Planned Value

< 1    behind schedule
= 1    on schedule
> 1    ahead of schedule
Cost Performance Index (CPI)


EV = Earned Value
AC = Actual Cost

< 1    Over budget
= 1    On budget
> 1    Under budget

sometimes the term ‘cumulative CPI’ would be shown, which actually is the CPI up to that moment
Schedule Variance (SV)

SV = EV – PV

EV = Earned Value
PV = Planned Value

< 0    Behind schedule
= 0    On schedule
> 0    Ahead of schedule
Cost Variance (CV)

CV = EV – AC

EV = Earned Value
AC = Actual Cost

< 0    Over budget
= 0    On budget
> 0    Within budget
Estimate at Completion (EAC) if original is flawed

EAC = AC + New ETC

AC = Actual Cost
New ETC = New Estimate to Completion

if the original estimate is based on wrong data/assumptions or circumstances have changed
Estimate at Completion (EAC) if BAC remains the same


AC = Actual Cost
BAC = Budget at completion
EV = Earned Value

the variance is caused by a one-time event and is not likely to happen again
Estimate at Completion (EAC) if CPI remains the same


BAC = Budget at completion
CPI = Cost performance index

if the CPI would remain the same till end of project, i.e. the original estimation is not accurate
Estimate at Completion (EAC) if substandard performance continues

EAC = AC + [(BAC -EV)/(CPI*SPI)]

AC = Actual Cost
BAC = Budget at completion
EV = Earned Value
CPI = Cost Performance Index
SPI = Schedule Performance Index

use when the question gives all the values (AC, BAC, EV, CPI and SPI), otherwise, this formula is not likely to be used
To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI)

TCPI = (BAC – EV)/
(BAC – AC)

BAC = Budget at completion
EV = Earned value
AC = Actual Cost

TCPI = Remaining Work
/Remaining Funds

BAC = Budget at completion
EV = Earned value
CPI = Cost performance index

< 1    Under budget
= 1    On budget
> 1    Over budget
Estimate to Completion 


EAC = Estimate at Completion
AC = Actual Cost

Variance at Completion


BAC = Budget at completion
EAC = Estimate at Completion

< 0    Over budget
= 0    On budget
> 0    Under budget
PERT Estimation

(O + 4M + P)/6

O= Optimistic estimate
M= Most Likely estimate
P= Pessimistic estimate

Standard Deviation

(P – O)/6

O= Optimistic estimate
P= Pessimistic estimate

this is a rough estimate for the standard deviation


LS = Late start
ES = Early start


LF = Late finish
EF = Early finish

= 0    On critical path
< 0    Behind schedule

If you wish, you can download the PMP Formulas table above as a PDF file instantly for your future reference.

The above 17 PMP formulas are all that you’ll need for the PMP Exam in the latest PMBOK® Guide edition. Try to learn them and understand their applications by heart and you will be able to solve the calculation questions in the real PMP Exam.

Additional Free PMP Maths / Formulas Questions Resources by Edward


Most Popular PMP Certification Exam Articles

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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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87 Responses

  1. Vinod says:

    Hi, I have just finished reading the article you wrote on PMP & it is wonderful. really it’s amazing. thanks for sharing this type of content. Keep posting

  2. Arindam Thakur says:

    Dear Edward,

    I really appreciate all the work put together by you to help students like us for acing the PMP and other examinations. Kudos to you and your team!

    I am planning to take the PMP Exam next month and would like to buy an exam simulator which would prepare me well for the upcoming exam. I wanted your suggestions on this. Is there any specific Exam Simulator you would recommend to me? Any article which could compare various exam simulators so that I can make my decision and invest in the right simulator.

    What are the scores one needs to have in these practice tests in order to be confident enough for the actual PMP Exam?

    Look forward to getting a response,

  3. nicole says:

    “I found most helpful of my prep experinece 1/your explanation of 47 easily confused terms, 2/your study notes and 3/ your list of mock exams.”

    Can you tell me where to find these items referenced below? Would love to use these. Thank you:)

  4. CCT says:

    Hi Edward,
    Thank you for sharing, i am preparing for my 2nd attempt…

  5. Lorraine says:

    Hi Edward, Thank you for the EVM section it clarified everything for me. Your content on this and other subject helped me solidify PMP. I took the exam on Monday and passed. Thank you. Regards, Lorraine

  6. Corina says:

    Hello , I found a book of practice exams in our company’s e-learning. There are tons of questions on project selection criteria. Do I need to memorize other formulas not in PMBOK?
    Present Value = Future Value / (1 + interest rate) ^ Period
    BCR = PV of inflows / PV of outflows


  7. Craig says:

    Your VAC formula states <0 over budget correctly when scrolling and viewing . However when you "click here to print", you have it stated <0 under budget which is wrong. Just thought Id point that out. Thank you for all the information you have provided…going to take test very soon.

  8. Raymond says:

    Nice Blog.

  9. Busie says:

    Hi Edward
    Please help me out with my question below:
    You are a project manager of a road construction project. A total of 100km is to be built including one high level bridge along the route. The project has 5 phases:
    1. Design $50000
    2. Bridge construction $684000
    3. Road preparation $95000
    4. Road construction $175000
    5. Completion $96000.
    The project is to take 10months at a cost of $1100000. The project is 77% completed and the bridge construction is 24% over budget. Complete necessary calculations and give status report of the project to date.

    • Hi Busie,

      This seems not a PMP Exam question as all PMP Exam questions are multiple choice questions. Wonder when do you find it? And is there any hint on the requirement of the status report? The status report for each project may be different. Thanks!

      Wish you PMP success!

  10. Rasha says:

    can you share the formula sheet for PMP 6th edition

  11. caro says:

    Many thanks for this blog. it is very useful!!!!

  12. Julia Stokes says:

    Your formulas compilation were really helpful, I also used this other free resource, is a gigantic visual guide to all the process groups, knowledge areas, and ITTOs,

  13. Sam Gaston says:

    Hey Edward. Thanks! I recalled that green website I studied from many a time.

  14. Angelo says:

    Hi Edward – I wanted to share my experiences in preparing for the PMP exam. Where could I email you my narrative?

    I passed mine yesterday (‘Above Target’ on all domains), and your website was extremely helpful! Many thanks for putting this together!

  15. Ksenia says:

    Hi Edward,
    yesterday I passed the PMP test at first attempt after 2 weeks of self-study only (very extreme but i had to! – 8 hours per day, every day) and a lot of credit goes actually to YOU and your website.
    I found most helpful of my prep experinece 1/your explanation of 47 easily confused terms, 2/your study notes and 3/ your list of mock exams.

    I spent last 5 days before the exam taking the mock tests (i confirm it is a MUST) starting at exactly the time of the day when the actual test was scheduled (2PM), and the results were 69% for Oliver 75q, 76% for Headfirst, 70%-50%-69% for Free PM exam simulator, 69,5%for SimplyLearn, 76% for Oliver PDF, 82% for Edwel Mock. As one can imagine, i was not confident at all about the test 🙂 and even wanted to reschedule it the day before the exam but found out it is not allowed.

    The test took actually 3 hours 40 minutes (vs my usual 3hours at mock exams), probably because i could only get 5 hours of night sleep (not advisable but happened!) because I was very nervous, and most of the questions i had to read twice to answer.
    (in fact, the rest 10 minutes of tutorial time i spent taking somewhat of a power nap, right there sitting in the class room)

    As for the exam experience, 90% of the questions were situational, not math! And i must say in 90% of the questions the two wrong answers were rather obvious! And as you strike them out, it makes so much easier to make a final decision.
    last 20min of exam i cam back to marked questions, but managed to review only half of them. Still that was helpful – i corrected answers in around 10 of them, as i think.
    I would say that if one is limited in terms of prep time, it is better to focus on getting firm understanding of basics – 47 process and ITTOs, the logic and maybe memorise to some extent (personally i got numerous questions on “whic type of diagram”), EVM/NPV formulas- and project docs!

    I got 1 Proficient on Initiating and 4 Moderately. It probably could be better if i had more than 2 weeks but i was very limited for time. In the end i am so happy I passed it, because starting from the 1st half of the exam i was 100% confident i will not, and this “Congratulations” note came as a very big surprise i must say.

    Having said all that i wanted to once again say huge “THANK YOU” to you! You are doing amazing work, and your website is extremely useful, i will recommend it everywhere I can for PMP prep!

    I wish you all the best in your future achievements and career!
    Thank you

    • You are amazing! Thanks a lot for sharing your experience of passing the PMP with just 2 weeks’ self-study! Your experience proves that it is possible to pass the PMP Exam with a short period of preparation.

      Thanks and congratulations!

  16. Don Tufano says:

    Thank you

  17. alex says:

    Thank you, very useful

  18. Ajit Kudtarkar says:

    Dear Edward,

    Many thanks for providing PMP formulas interpretations, notes, discussions on various topics and last minute preps. It clarified lots of concepts to me and I referred to them in days and hours prior to giving PMP exam (which I passed).
    Wanted to check on the general topic of Change management (there were so many questions on this topic …). Scenario – if a previously unidentified stakeholder requests/demands a change during UAT which is critical to the product acceptance what should PM do next? Should he accept the change request or should he revise his stakeholder management plan?

    Although I passed PMP exam, I am not sure that I have all the ideas of change management sorted as required by PMI.

    • Congratulations on passing the PMP Exam!

      Yes, I agree that change management is a very important but confusing topic as in reality whether including a change depends on a number of factors.

      For your question, if “performing change analysis and escalating the change request to change control board” is an option, I would choose that.

      And you view on this?

      • Ajit Kudtarkar says:

        I selected for revising the stakeholder management plan as first activity. By reviewing the stakeholder management plan, and identifying the reason why this stakeholder was not found at earlier stage, one can contextualise the related other requirements as well apart from the newly identified by this stakeholder. The other follow on activities would be for the PM to analyse the impact of the changes based on stakeholder analysis and providing a CR to change board. but according to me, first activity would be to review stakeholder management plan..

        but as you correctly said, its very confusing and I am sure there are other arguments in favour of other options.

  19. nidhi says:

    Hi Edward,

    Please help with the below question.
    You are managing a software project which is due for design document release next week. You are currently reviewing the document, when an influential stakeholder asks you to add a feature to the existing design. This stakeholder has earlier also tried to bother you with unreasonable demands at the last days of release. What is the best you can do in this situation?

    • I just assume that this question is for PMP Exam (as PMI-ACP would handle this differently).

      If I were the project manager, I would ask the stakeholder’s to submit change requests and meanwhile focus on finishing the product for release.

      If after careful consideration, the feature is just a simple one and the change control board has approved the change, I will definitely have to include this in the release.

      But if the change is considered too much, I would object this strongly in the CCB.

      Hope I have answered your queries. Thanks!

      • nidhi says:

        Thanks so much for your reply Edward. Yes- This is for PMP.

        As per Rita’s course material, before submitting a change request, one has to analyze the impact as well and then raise a change request and that is where I am confused.

        Whenever a customer asks for a change and he has not raised a change request and the project manager has also not analysed the impact, should the project manager then also ask the customer to raise a CR and then analyse the impact?

        Does the impact analysis for a change start only after the customer has submitted a CR?

      • Just my two cents as I am not quite sure how to answer this question. Maybe if the change is to be raised by the Project Manager, they have to analyze the impact first. But for changes raised by customers, the analysis will only be able to carry out after the change is submitted. That’s from my working experience, but probably may not be aligned with PMI-isms.

  20. Shane Bridges says:

    First, thanks for posting your notes and formula sheet. I hate reinventing something the wheel. Anyway, for the formula sheet the note next to VAC is incorrect. If VAC > 0 then you are under budget. If it’s < 0, you are over budget. Probably a typo.

    • Hi Shane,

      Thanks for your comment. Since VAC is the difference between the original estimate and recent estimate, if the recent estimate is smaller (i.e. VAC is positive), the project would be under budget and vice versa.

  21. Meena Kumar says:

    Hi, Edward. I have read your articles many times and I also liked your formulas on Facebook, where I was provided a link; however, I was not able to download the PDF of the formulas. Would you kindly send them via my email address? Thank you!

  22. Trish says:

    Yikes! I shared on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (more than once) and still do not see the link. I don’t know if it’s not showing up because I’m using my iPad, but I feel a bit silly. Could you provide me with the link to the .pdf? Thanks!

  23. Cynthia VanRenterghem says:

    I’m having the same issue with the PDF of the formulas that it looks like a number of people are. I liked this post on FB and the PDF appeared but when I opened it, there was just one page. Can you please send me the full PDF asap – this is my second request. Thank you.

  24. arif ali says:

    I am a person who prints and write notes on side. Is there a way to print your study notes without all these ads (I don’t want to get distracted and waste paper)? Is there a separate link where I can download your study notes and print them (no Ads), please? Lastly are your notes upto date with latest PMBOK?

    • Yes, you can get the download link to the notes in the box titled “New function! Download this post as PDF” at the end of every article. Simply share the post and you will be able to download the notes without any ads.

      Yes, the PMP notes are for PMBOK Guide 5th Edition (i.e. the latest edition).

      Wish you PMP success!

  25. Fouzi says:

    Hi Edward,
    I’ve just shared on my tweeter but don’t see where the downloadable formula sheet can be found.
    Could you please help?


  26. Samantha says:

    Hello, I shared you post on both FB and LinkedIn and could not find a link to download the1 page formula sheet. Can you please email it to me?


  27. Lily says:

    Hi Edward,

    I shared this post and do not see a link to the PDFs file for the formulas. Can you email it to me please?

    Thank you.


  28. Rhonda says:

    Hi Edward,

    I’ve shared on my social media platform but don’t see where the downloadable formula sheet can be found. Could you please email it to me?

    Many Thanks,


  29. Max says:

    Hi Edward,

    Should the formula for the “Estimate at Completion (EAC) if substandard performance continues” actually be the following:

    EAC = AC + [ (BAC -EV)/(CPI*SPI) ]

    Notice the use of the square brackets. The way you have it written could imply that the the AC is included as part of the divisor rather then added to the result of the division part of the equation.

  30. Bonney says:

    Edward – I posted your formulas to my Facebook page but there is no PDF that I’m able to download – can you please email to me?

  31. Ray says:

    Hi Edward – I shared the link on Fb but i can’t see a download link. Can you please send me PDF in email?

  32. Cornald Orjiako says:

    I expected to see formulas for Point of Total Assumption (PTA) for different contract types in the list. This would have increased the number of formulas from 17.

    • Hi Cornald,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the formulas for Point of Total Assumption (PTA) are mentioned in some PMP Exam Prep books. However, it seems that not many PMP exam takers have reported having questions on PTA calculations in their PMP Exam paper. In the interests of simplicity, the PTA formulas are intentionally left out. Thanks!

  33. Jim says:


    Thank you for your time and patience in helping so many prepare for the exam. I am testing on 8/13. Can you send me the formula PDF? I wrote out the processes and am writing them again. Some stick better than others, can you give me something to help me here? The mind maps might help, memorization is probably not the best tool for me to remember these things. Thank you for your help! Best regards, Jim

  34. ahmed ragaey mahrous says:

    what about PTA (Point of Total Assumption)

    PTA=((Ceiling Price – Target Price)/ Share Ratio) + Target Cost
    you do not mention it with PMP Formulas. why?

    • Thanks for raising this question. It seems that Point of Total Assumption calculation is not mentioned in PMBOK 5th Edition and therefore it is not included here. However, since the PMP exam is not just about the PMBOK Guide, you may encounter questions about Point of Total Assumption in the real PMP Exam. Thanks!

  35. Seema Prakash says:

    Hi Edward,
    I did share on my facebook and did see the pdf link, but the contents did not have the formulas. Can you please email the formula sheet?

  36. Scott says:

    Thanks. I located the .pdf for the formulas.

  37. Scott says:


    Thank you for the great information. After liking your site on Google +, I was not able to download the full page of formulas. Any suggestions?

  38. sb says:

    Hi Edward, your site’s been very helpful. Thank you so much!
    I have a question for you, when you signed up for language aid, was it more of a distraction for you?
    I’m having a hard time trying to decide if I should sign up for language aid or not. English is not my first language but I’m Ok for the most part. the trouble is that my reading speed is very slow and understanding the question takes couple of passes. If I were to read my own language, I can read faster but may not be able to recognize PM vocabulary. I just wanted to get an idea if it would be more of a distraction for me or not. thx

    • The language aid will never be an distraction. You just scroll down to read the language aid if needed, other than that, you will have to answer questions normally (i.e. you will have to mark the answer on the English version of the question NOT the language aid).

      Hint: the translated question is usually a bit shorter and more direct in its presentation, this is especially useful for longer questions!

  39. Hamish says:

    Hi Edward,

    Great site!! Are these formulas provided in any form within the exam, or do their application AND forms need to be committed to memory? Thanks very much!

    • You will have to memorise all the PMP formulas as these will not be shown on the exam paper but you will have to use them to calculate the answers. It is therefore highly advised to commit all these to your memory. Thanks!

  40. Great resource! I shared with my friends on Facebook but was unable to find the pdf download link. could you email it to me?

  41. Eugene Ng says:

    Hi Edward, I have shared in tweeter but I cant download the document. Appreciate if you can email it to me.

  42. Shoba Annavarjula says:

    I too could not find a link to download the PDF, after I posted on Twitter. Could you please email the PDF?
    Thanks so much.

  43. Udayakumar says:


    I shared in tweeter, can you share the document in email since i could not get the download link.

  44. Russ F. says:

    A great resource. Just finished Knowledge Acadamy Online and just bought Dummies book but your notes help me figure most important areas for studying.

  45. Nil says:

    Good summary of the required formula. I was struggling to grasp the formula required to pass the PMP. good job!

  46. Urmimala Shome-Dinath says:

    Hi Edward, I left a comment about not being able to access the link to the download yesterday, but now I can’t see it in the comments section. So, I hope you receive this. I shared on my G+ acct so could you please email me the PDF? Thank you.

  47. Urmimala Shome-Dinath says:

    Hi! I shared via my Google+ acct but can’t seem to access the download (not sure if it’s because I’m using Chrome) so can you email me the link to it please? thanks!!

  48. Felicia says:

    I liked the page on my facebook and did not receive the instant link or any link for that matter to download the formulas in pdf. Please email to me. Thanks!

  49. Tone says:

    great site, congratulations
    I think you are missing one formula for TCPI: PMBOK page 224 last formula in the table TCPI= (BAC-EV)/(EAC-AC).

  50. Nag says:

    pls share the formula sheet. Thanks!

  51. Sheryl says:

    Edward – your site is awesome. Our study group is really benefitting from your posts. Just a note: you mention that you had a .pdf formula sheet download… but we can’t seem to find it.

    • Hi Sheryl,

      Thanks for your comment. There is a box below the formula table which will show the download once you have shared the post through facebook, google+ or twitter. Thanks!

  52. Dave Murphy says:

    Scenario 1: If the exam state that you (meaning PM) have 4 team members. So, in this case the N = 4+1 = 5, correct?
    Scenario 2: There are 7 stakeholders in the team. In this case, N = 7, correct?
    Scenario 3: You have 3 team members and 8 stakeholders. In this case, N=11, correct?

    • The question I encountered on the real PMP exam is more or less like scenario 1.

      I would agree scenario 1 and 2 are correct. But for scenario 3, I would take N as 12 as it is said that you “have 8 stakeholders”, i.e. you is not counted as a stakeholder.

      Do you agree?

      • Massimo says:

        PM is not counted as a stakeholder, but he is included as a team member… 8+3 = 11… where does the extra communication channel (12) come from Edward?

      • Hi Massimo,

        For questions like this, you need to read the question *very* carefully. “You have 3 team members” and “There are 3 members in your team” are DIFFERENT.

        You have 3 team members meaning that there are 4 members in the team.

        Hope this help solve your queries. Thanks!

  53. Dave Murphy says:

    My understanding is, by default PM is included only when stakeholders # are mentioned since PM is one of the stakeholders. For anything else, unless or otherwise explicitly stated about the PM we should always add PM to the number. Could you help me to get more details on this please? There are number of questions in the exam, at least 2-4 questions are sure, depending on this. If one question goes wrong all the questions in this area would probably go wrong because of this confusion. All i need to know when to add PM and when not to add PM to the given number.

    • As fas as I know, PM is NOT considered as a “stakeholder” in the PMBOK Guide as the PM is responsible for “stakeholder management / communication” (though by definition, stakeholder can include the PM as well as the team members). I did encounter 1 questions on my PMP exam about communication channel and I included the PM as a team member in the calculation. Hope this clarify your doubts.

  54. Dave Murphy says:

    In your first formula about the no. of comm. channel, should it not be 6 * 5 / 2 – 5*4 / 2 = 5

    Assuming…the team number is not included PM. It’s kind of confusing when to add PM or not to add PM in the given number. Can you clarify?

    • From my experience, if the question mentions the number of team members, the PM is included.
      I do agree sometimes the PM is not considered as “team members”, but for calculation of communication channels, the PM is always included.

  55. Hi Robert,
    I have reviewed Figure 7-12 of the PMBOK Guide and found that the figure is for a project that is over budget (the VAC is negative in this case and would require the use of management reserve). The figure and the VAC formula are telling the same thing.

    • Radka says:

      Hi,in your coment you say when VAC is negative then it is over budget.However, in your formula explanation you have < 0 under budget.Thanks for sharing your materials.

  56. Robert says:

    For the VAC formula, isn’t your interpretation the opposite of Figure 7-12 on p. 219 of PMBOK 5e? That is, if as in the figure the EAC is greater than the BAC then the VAC is negative and the project is running over budget. Please clarify.