PMP/CAPM Exam Results: Above Target, Target, Below Target, Needs Improvement

PMP/CAPM Exam Results: Above Target, Target, Below Target, Needs Improvement

[PMP® Exam Change 2018] PMI has recently (from Aug 2017) made significant changes to the performance level of the PMI (including PMP® and CAPM®) Exams from a 3-level (Above Proficient, Proficient & Below Proficient) to 4-level (Above Target, Target, Below Target, Needs Improvement) for the 5 Domains.

In addition, the performance of different Tasks of each individual Domains are provided to give candidates more details on their exam results — particularly useful to those who cannot make it the first try.

PMP®/CAPM® Exam Result Report Card Changes

The exam results report card for PMP® and CAPM® Exams has been enhanced from this

PMP Report Card before August 2017

PMP® Report Card before August 2017

to this

PMP Report Card after August 2017

PMP® Report Card after August 2017

As one can see, much more details are now provided to allow PMP® candidates to understand their actual performance in the PMP® / CAPM® test. For those who cannot pass the exam the first try, they will now have more data to analyze their knowledge gaps and make plans for their subsequent study to re-exam.

The PMP® / CAPM® exam report card now gives clear indication of the candidate’s performance at BOTH the Domain Level and at the Task Level (Domains and Tasks are detailed in the PMP® Exam Content Outline).

  • Domain Level : a 4-level performance scale is used instead of the previous 3-level
    • Above Target: Your performance exceeds the minimum requirements for the PMP®/CAPM® test.
    • Target: Your performance meets the minimum requirements for the PMP®/CAPM® test.
    • Below Target: Your performance is slightly below target and fails to meet the minimum requirements for the PMP®/CAPM® test. Additional preparation is recommended before re-examination.
    • Needs Improvement: Your performance is far below target and fails to meet the minimum requirements for the PMP®/CAPM® test. Additional preparation is strongly recommended before re-examination.
  • Task Level: results on each individual Tasks in each domain is now provided according to the same 4-level performance scale

Comparison between the “Proficient” Scale and the “Target” Scale

Altogether no official mapping has been provided by PMI on the comparison between the previous “Proficient” Scale (Above Proficient, Proficient & Below Proficient) and the “Target” Scale (Above Target, Target, Below Target, Needs Improvement), it can be inferred from the descriptions of the different performance levels for the mapping as shown in the chart below:

Any Other Changes to the PMP®/CAPM® Exams?

Besides the presentation of the exam results, there is no other changes to the PMP®/CAPM® Exams. In particular, there are no changes to the level of difficulty nor the passing scores of the exams.

PMI is yet to announce the PMP®/CAPM® Exam change in early 2018 to be based on the new PMBOK® Guide 6th edition.

Note: All PMP® candidates who have taken the exams before the change will NOT be able to receive the exam results in the new format.

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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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8 Responses

  1. Rena says:

    Hi Edward I want to thank you for all the good notes (so well-organized and easy to digest!) and tips for ACP exam preparation. I passed on my first attemp and scored 5 above target out of 7 domains. I had only discoveres your website 3 days before I took the exam, but highly beneficial. Your website provided good summaries and key points of domain knowledge, sources of mock exams (i only took the free ones:-P ), and most importantly, large amount of experience sharing. Thank you and wish more people find your sharing helpful as I do.

  2. Jake says:

    Hey Edward, I failed the PMP test second time around- I had a very good command of all the formulas, and understood all the concepts very well. What is more worrying is the fact that my rate/bar is just before passing- I secured a Target in Executing and M&C, and the others as Below Target (a Need Improvement in Initiating which was an absolute shocker). I had gotten a Moderately Proficient in Initiating and Closing 4 years ago.

    I just cannot fathom where I went wrong as I know the whole PM framework, concepts, and tools pretty well !

    • Oh, so sad to hear that. Maybe you have a set of more difficult questions or maybe the PMP Exam has changed quite a bit in these 4 years. However, I am sure that you are way closer to getting PMP certified next try. Just keep on working! I can’t wait to hear your good news!

  3. Bob Martin says:

    Hi Edward, What exam prep book is best to purchase for the CAPM certificate? I’ve started the process for certification. Thanks Bob

    • Hi Bob,

      I would recommend Rita’s CAPM exam prep book. However, the latest edition is still in the making. You will probably have to wait a bit longer to get the book.

      Wish you CAPM success!

  4. Max says:

    Hi Edward, so to pass the CAPM exam (to be right in the middle on the bar) – can I still have some of the areas below target while having some other ones on target or above? Will it compensate?


    • Hi Max,

      Yes, as the CAPM handbook just mentions about the overall passing score of the CAPM Exam, this can be inferred that the passing or failure of the exam is determined by the overall score, not by individual areas.

      Wish you CAPM success!