What to Do After Failing the PMP Exam the 1st Try?

What to Do After Failing the PMP Exam the 1st Try?

The PMP® Exam is certainly NOT an easy exam (and that’s why the PMP® Title is such a prestige designation for project managers). In fact, the PMP® Exam is indeed quite difficult as the “unofficial” guess of the passing rate of PMP® Exam is around 60% meaning that 2 out of every 5 PMP® Certification Aspirants will fail the PMP® Exam.

It needs to be stressed that “it is not the end of the world after failing the PMP® Exam at the 1st attempt“!

Every PMP® Aspirant has another 2 tries to crack the PMP® Exam within the 1-year validity period. As a matter of fact, even if one fails the PMP® Exam 3 tries (which is extremely unlikely but it is always good to know you have another chance), they will be able to re-apply for the PMP® Exam after 1 year to get another 3 trials of PMP® Exam — the chance to pass the PMP® Exam is unlimited (though PMP® Certification Aspirants will have to pay the PMP® exam / re-exam fee each time).

Advices to crack the PMP® Exam the second try

Below is my advices to those who unfortunately cannot pass the PMP® Exam the first try. Remember: if you persist, you will success!

  1. Review your PMP® Exam results
    • There are three proficiency levels for the 5 project management process groups:
      • Proficient (P) — meaning your knowledge in that domain is better than the average
      • Moderately Proficient (MP) — your knowledge in that domain is average
      • Below Proficient (BP) — your knowledge in that domain is worse than the average
    • If you believe that you should have passed the PMP® Exam (e.g. with all Proficient and Moderately Proficient without Below Proficient), you may submit your appeal to PMI directly to have the staff there overlooking your exam results.
    • If not, just go to Step 2.
  2. Allow you sometime to relax (or lament, or remorse…)
    • It is important to release any psychological stress that has been built up after learning that you have not made it the first try of PMP® Exam.
    • Give you sometime (maybe several days or weeks) to just do nothing or things you love that are not related to PMP® Exam study.
    • Talk with your PMP® study group or friends over your frustrations and anger of not passing the PMP® Exam the first try.
    • After you have released your stress, you will be much better prepared for beginning another round of PMP® Exam study.
  3. Be positive
  4. Understand the results of the first PMP® Exam try
    • Begins with the domains that are Below Proficient in your PMP® Exam results by going through the related chapters of the PMBOK® Guide as well as the PMP® Exam Prep books.
    • If you just rely on the PMBOK® Guide in your first PMP® attempt, you are highly encouraged to purchase an additional PMP® Exam Prep Study Guide / Reference Book (with previews)  as the PMBOK® Guide does not cover the whole PMP® Exam syllabus.
  5. Try more PMP® mock exam questions
    • It makes sense to get exposed to different PMP® mock exams provided by different vendors / instructors. Here is a list of recommended and free PMP® mock exams every PMP® Aspirant should attempt.
    • Finish each PMP® mock exam in 4 hours and go over each and every answer explanations (not just those you have got wrong).
    • Jolt down your own PMP® study notes that can be used as last minute study notes.
    • Get at least around 75% or above in at least 3 mock exams in a row (those PMP® mock exams must be taken the first time only).
  6. Be psychologically prepared for the PMP® Exam
    • Psychological preparation is extremely important for such a long and difficult exam as the PMP® Exam, having or lack of it often means pass or fail.
    • As you have already tried the PMP® Exam, you should be much better psychologically prepared for the PMP® Exam than the average PMP® Exam takers — bear in mind that the PMP® Exam results are compared with other exam takers to see if you are better (i.e. pass) than the performance of others.
    • Be confident that you will pass the PMP® Exam and get ready for the 2nd try!

Wish all PMP® Certification Aspirants PMP® success the second try!

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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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