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 consider the most difficult part of the PMP® exam to be the calculations and PMP® formulas. Luckily PMP® calculation is not quantum physics, you just need to understand and memorize the following PMP® Calculation formulas. Keep calm and study on! (You can read more about my PMP® exam and certification journey here.)

Calculate

PMP® Formulas mentioned in the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition

NEW! Click here if you would like to have a more in-depth explanation of the Earned Value Management (EVM) formulas.

PMP® Formulas
Name (Abbreviation) Formula Interpretation
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)

SPI = EV/PV

EV = Earned Value
PV = Planned Value

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

CPI = EV/AC

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

EAC = AC + BAC – EV

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

EAC = BAC/CPI

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 

ETC = EAC -AC

EAC = Estimate at Completion
AC = Actual Cost

Variance at Completion

VAC = BAC – EAC

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
Float/Slack

LS – ES

LS = Late start
ES = Early start

LF – EF

LF = Late finish
EF = Early finish

= 0    On critical path
< 0    Behind schedule

Note: Wanna download all PMP® Formulas as a printable file for your PMP® Certification exam prep? Please share this post to your social network first and you will be able to see the download link. Thanks for helping this PMP® website grow!

The above 17 PMP® formulas are all that you’ll need for the PMP® Exam. Learn them and understand their application. You will be able to solve the calculation questions in the certification exam.

However, if you are still struggling with PMP® formulas or you want some more guided descriptions on how to apply them with PMP® practice questions, you are advised to explore the PM Exam Formulas Study Guide authored by Cornelius Fichtner (the same author of the acclaimed online PMP® Exam Prep course which I used to clear my PMP® exam – the PM PrepCast™).

 

Other articles in the series PMP® Exam Preparation
  1. An Introduction to PMBOK Guide 5th Edition: Knowledge Areas, Processes and Process Groups
  2. How to Study for PMI PMP? Learn PMI-ism First!
  3. PMP Certification Study Notes 1 - Terms and Concepts
  4. PMP Certification Study Notes 2/3 - Project Management Processes and Knowledge Areas
  5. PMP Certification Study Notes 4 - Project Integration Management
  6. PMP Certification Study Notes 5 - Project Scope Management
  7. PMP Certification Study Notes 6 - Project Time Management
  8. PMP Certification Study Notes 7 – Project Cost Management
  9. PMP Certification Study Notes 8 - Project Quality Management
  10. PMP Certification Study Notes 9 - Project Human Resource Management
  11. PMP Certification Study Notes 10 - Project Communication Management
  12. PMP Certification Study Notes 11 - Project Risk Management
  13. PMP Certification Study Notes 12 - Project Procurement Management
  14. PMP Certification Study Notes 13 - Project Stakeholder Management
  15. PMP / PMI-ACP Certification Study Notes - Professional and Social Responsibility
  16. PMP Formulas and Calculation for PMP Certification Demystified
  17. Are You PMP Exam Ready? List of Free PMP Mock Exam Questions w/w Benchmark
  18. PMP Earned Value Management (EVM) Calculation Explained in Simple Terms
  19. Top Tips for Tackling PMP EVM Questions (20+ Practice Questions Included)
  20. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [A,B]
  21. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [C,D]
  22. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [E,F,G]
  23. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [H,I,J,K,L]
  24. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [M,N,O]
  25. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [P]
  26. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [Q,R]
  27. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [S]
  28. PMP Exam Glossary Flashcard [T,V,W]

 

* Hope this PMP® Exam Formulas Guide will help you with your PMP® Exam. If you find PM Exam Formulas Study Guide suitable and if you enjoy my PMP® articles, please consider buying it though the links on this page. I will earn a small commission (at NO extra cost to you) to sustain my website costs. Thank you.

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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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52 Responses

  1. 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.

    • Edward Chung says:

      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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. arif ali says:

    Edward,
    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?

    • Edward Chung says:

      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!

  6. 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?

    Thanks,
    FZI

  7. 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?

    Thanks!
    Samantha

  8. 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.

    Lily

  9. 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,

    Rhonda

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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?
    Thanks

  13. 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.

    • Edward Chung says:

      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!

  14. Jim says:

    Edward,

    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

  15. 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?

    • Edward Chung says:

      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!

  16. 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?

  17. Scott says:

    Thanks. I located the .pdf for the formulas.

  18. Scott says:

    Hello,

    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?

  19. 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

    • Edward Chung says:

      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!

  20. 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!

    • Edward Chung says:

      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!

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

  22. Eugene Ng says:

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

  23. 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.

  24. Udayakumar says:

    Hi,

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

  25. 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.

  26. Nil says:

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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!!

  29. 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!

  30. Tone says:

    Hi,
    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).

  31. Nag says:

    pls share the formula sheet. Thanks!

  32. 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.

    • Edward Chung says:

      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!

  33. 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?

    • Edward Chung says:

      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?

      • Edward Chung says:

        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!

  34. 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.

    • Edward Chung says:

      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.

  35. 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?

    • Edward Chung says:

      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.

  36. Edward Chung says:

    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.
    Thanks!

    • 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.

  37. 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.