Top 6 Reasons People Fail the PMP Exam


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The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is one of the most difficult professional certifications to get, yet many people take it lightly and think they will pass easily. Because this certification can set you apart from the crowd and take your career to new heights, you should never leave it up to chance. The PMP exam is a hard nut to crack, so you have to put both time and effort into preparation! When you prepare, you invest your money, time, and effort, so you would obviously want a positive return on that. In this article, we will be talking about the top reasons people fail the PMP exam. Once you have understood the reasons, you will know how to avoid these mistakes and pass the PMP certification in your first attempt. Read more: Top 10 Best PMP Exam Simulators for 2021

Top 6 Reasons People Fail The PMP Exam

1. Not Preparing Enough

The most common reason people fail to pass the PMP is lack of preparation. You will have to put in a lot of time and effort to clear the exam. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your PMP exam:
  • Set time aside to study: No matter what you do, if you don’t take enough time to study, you won’t have enough knowledge about project management. Cramming to learn the concepts at the last minute like your college exam is not going to work here.
  • Studying on your own is important: It doesn’t matter who you are learning from; you can’t pass the PMP exam without also studying on your own. Spend some additional time studying to ensure you have understood all the essential concepts.
  • Take practice exams: Be it the PMP or any other exam, practice exams are the best way to test your preparation and understand exactly where you stand. Take at least 5-6 simulated practice tests before diving into the final exam.

2. Taking the PMP Exam at the Wrong Time

Timing is crucial for any exam. Don’t take the PMP exam until you are fully confident about passing it. PMP is quite costly, so don’t waste all of the time and effort until you are confident. Here are some typical timing mistakes aspirants make:
  • Taking the exam before mastering PMBOK concepts: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is the best source for learning project management-related methodologies and terms. Mastering it is a must before taking the exam. It may sound like an exaggeration, but read the PMBOK guide at least twice before taking the PMP exam.
  • Taking the exam before consistently scoring 80% or higher on practice exams: Go for the PMP exam only if you consistently score well in practice exams. If your practice exam score is less than 80%, consider postponing your actual exam until you’re ready.
  • Waiting too long after taking a training course: Don’t wait for too long after taking a training course because, after some time, you start forgetting the concepts. It is usually recommended to take the exam within 30 days of completing a training course.

3. Not Taking a PMP Exam Prep Course

Some people have the habit of saving money and doing everything on their own. Unfortunately, this will backfire on you in the case of the PMP exam. Prep courses are usually created by experts who know how to pass the exam; they have essential tips, tricks, and methodologies you won’t learn elsewhere. And the best part is they can help you reduce preparation time. Also, enrolling in a prep course enables you to prepare for each specific section of the exam. It will also break down significant concepts to ensure you have an in-depth understanding. Do your own research, find a good institute, and enroll in a PMP exam prep course or workshop to learn from experts and professionals who have already passed their own PMP exams.

4. Overconfidence

Many people think their project manager work experience is more than enough to help them pass the exam. They neither study, nor enroll in any prep course, just because they are overconfident in their project management skills and knowledge. It’s important to have real-world experience, but ignoring everything else will fail you. You have to have a comprehensive understanding to pass.

5. Focusing on the Wrong Concepts

The syllabus of the PMP exam is enormous; there is a lot of material to cover. It is easy to lose focus and hone in on the wrong areas. Strike a balance between everything to have a well-rounded understanding of everything the test will cover.

6. Only Using Free Resources

Free resources and tools are very helpful, but only using free resources is a sure way to fail the exam. You will have to invest in paid tools and resources because most of the free resources you see on the internet are inaccurate, incomplete, and outdated. Stick to the material provided by your PMP course trainer. To pass the exam, you need the right resources, not the free resources. The PMP exam is too important; don’t risk your time and career in a futile attempt to save a few bucks.


These are the common mistakes most people make when preparing for the PMP exam. Do make note and be sure to avoid them! The PMP exam is tough and requires a great deal of hard work and dedication to pass. To all the people who ask how to crack PMP Certification in the first attempt, the answer is studying well and following the right processes. Read next: Google Certification: Project Management

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