pass pmp exam on first try

Whenever I had discussion with a pmp aspirant, the first question that I am asked;

How To Pass PMP Exam On First Try ?

Let me make it clear, the pmp exam is not a rocket science.

Yes ! I agree, the pmp exam is a little bit tricky, hard, but, that does not mean it’s impossible to write.

Hopefully this blog has all the tips needed for the exam.

I will teach you all the tips, tricks and techniques that will for sure help you pass pmp exam on your first try.

In this blog post, we will try to cover some basics that you need to know to study for the exam, in order to ace it the first time.


Pass PMP Exam


Disclaimer: what works for me, might not work for you. So, I do not take any guarantee or claim these tips are a sure cut but they are the best pratices for helping and hopefully passing the exam.

1: Study Smart Not Hard

There are hundred’s of articles, books, materials, forums, groups, blogs that helps achieve pmp success.

But you do not need to read all the articles or books or join all the forums and follow all the blogs (except mine :)).

So what I would suggest:

  • Join one or maximum two forums. ( Or you can ask any question from me here: PMP Forum. Update: Forum is disconnected.)
  • Follow a couple of blogs.
  • Read pmbok along with a reputable study guide.
  • Study before attending boot camp.



Do not try to memorize the pmbok guide.

Let me repeat, do not memorize the pmbok, rather implement the pmbok in your real world, in your real projects.pmbok6 updated 2018

Try to seek and implement each pmbok process in your project, in your surroundings whether other projects tend to be happening.

The pmp exam is not about memorization of the pmbok guide.

Rather, it tests your ability of implementing the pmbok processes in your project.

Grab yourself a copy from Amazon:


I have written an interesting article on whether PMBOK is indispensable for PMP Exam or not.
You can read it here: PMP Exam and PMBOK 

3: PMP Boot Camp Training

Almost everyone attend the boot camp for pmp exam preparation.

But, I have seen almost everyone coming blank to the boot camp and going back blank too.

Please read Tips for PMP Boot Camp article to get maximum benefit from your boot camp preparation and help your self out to pass pmp exam on your first try.


4: PMI Point of View

No matter what your background of managing projects are;

Whether you are a seasoned professional project manager, managing projects over 20+ years or new immature project manager.

The key to pass pmp exam is to think and answer all questions keeping in mind pmi point of view.

Here is an interesting article with valuable PMP Exam Tips which for sure will be very helpful.

Update May, 2018:

5: Reputable Study Guides

I am always asked about reputable study guide to read along with PMBOK.

I have already written an article PMP Certification Books but if you are lazy like me, I have shared below 5 recommended books aligned with PMBOK6 .

Rita Mulcahy 9th

PMP Exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam 9th Edition:
(Updated 2018)

Get a copy from Amazon:




head first pmp 2018

Head First PMP: A Learner’s Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam 4th Edition:

Pre-Order from Amazon:





kim heldman study guide 2018

PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide 9th Edition:

Get it from Amazon:






pmp study guide joseph philips 2018

PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide, Fifth Edition:

Get it from Amazon:








I will try to keep this thread alive and updated.

Meanwhile if you have some tips on how to pass pmp exam on first try, please do share.



  1. This is very interesting! Great information and it is also very well written. I will bookmark and comeback soon.

  2. […] PMP Audit GuideTestimonialsBook Review: The PMP Exam – How to Pass on Your First Try | Delivering Value through Process SolutionsPass PMP Exam On First Try […]

    • @ayman.

      It’s an article on how to achieve success in PMP exam.

      There is of course a book How to pass PMP Exam on First Try by Andy Crowe and it’s available on Amazon..

      Here is the link to the book: It’s Version 5 and it’s aligned with PMBOK5
      If you are in India or Pakistan, there are hard copies available in major stores..

    • أنا آسف، أنا لم يكن لديك ذلك، ولكن حتى لو كان لي ذلك، وأنا لن تجعله على شبكة الإنترنت
      .السبب: بعض واحد تنفق الكثير من الوقت والجهد في كتابة هذا التقرير.

    • I am a blogger ayman and I teach people to be ethical and fair in their dealings. I hope you understand !!.
      If there’s anything else, Please let me know and I’ll try to help.

    • Thanks Babasaheb for the comments.

      Well, after you attend exam, immediately you are notified of the result. The result card shows only Pass/Fail and your level in each process group.

      But it’s been famous that one should at least score above 60% to pass the exam..

      hope it’s helpful..

  3. I passed on the first try. I took a course (Cheetah Learning), used Rita Mulcahy’s book, and also used the free exam at Practice

  4. PMBOK Guide 5th Edition is released now. Even though new edition of the book is out, PMI is still following the PMBOK Guide 4th edition for the PMP exam until July 31, 2013.
    All PMP training and study guide providers are in the process of updating their materials for upcoming change. New versions of the PMP 35 Contact Hour Trainings will be available sometime in June. But if you are preparing for the PMP exam now, it is highly recommended that you take it before July 31st using PMBOK Guide 4th Edition. This will give you access to a lot of PMP Exam lessons learned and other study aids.

  5. It is really good post and really helpful , It is informative post who want know about PMP certification.

    Thanks for your good post ,keep it up.

  6. Salam u Elykum,

    Dear Amir,

    Can you please let me know, if i should start preparing for the PMP exam from PMBOK 4th( exam Before 31 July) or wait for PMbok 5th edition( exam After 31 july) ?


    • Wassalam Imran,

      It’s upto you.
      The real thing is concepts. If you know PMI concepts then studying PMBOK4 or PMBOK5 won’t make any difference.

      PMBOK5 is already out and I don’t know whether you are ready for exam before july, so better to start with PMBOK5.

      Hope it helps.

    • How to Pass PMP Exam in 4 Steps (Simple & Straightforward)

      You’re bound to Pass the exam if you follow the 4 simple steps below:

      1. PMBOK Guide (One time ream for General Grasp)

      2. Read a reputable Guide twice.

      3. Complete at least a couple 200 Questions.

      4. Create your own PMP Notes for Revision.

      All the best for your exam!



  7. Hi, I am a PMP for 5 years now. As I can still remeber the hardest part of learning for the exam was to memorize the inputs, tools & techniques and outputs (called ITTO’s) from PMBOK. From August 1st 2013 PMP examination is based on PMBOK 5th edition, which brings some more processes and ITTO’s. My trick at learning was to use this free tool: PMP Itto quiz ( It is now available online and free for all. Good luck with the exam!

  8. Hello,

    I just passed my PMP exam yesterday. I used your recommendation to prepare and found it key to passing the exam. Many thanks for what you wrote (and the comments afterwards). To share with the group, I was very tight on time due to my work schedule (and coming close to expiry of my eligibility period). I basically registered for the exam on July 6th and the exam was on July 29th. I mainly had 3 weeks to study. My strategy was as follows:
    – I read first the PMP exam book by Andrew Crowe. I read all the book material, solved all the practice exams and the final exam. I studies afterwards the key answers and wrote down why I got wrong and why did I get it wrong. I believe the book is the first one that should be read as it is a good introduction. I did that reading during 7-8 days (in total spending about 40 hours on that)…
    – I then read Rita’s book (PMP exam perp). I read every word, marked key areas, and took all practice exams (and also looked at all that I did wrong. I did this in about 5-6 days (about 40-50 hours). Focused also on solving the exercises on Rita’s book (not just reading the answers)
    – I then spent 1-2 days reading the PMBOK guide (about 10-12 hours).
    – Finally I spent 2 day writing my study notes (listing all key inputs and processes, tools and outputs, and knowing all the equations in cost management process). This took easily 14 hours to complete, but it was crucial for me to put it together.
    – I spend a day skimming through all 3 books (inc. practice exams) and writing down in 2 papers what did I get wrong and why did I get it wrong in the practice exams.
    – I did not have time to do further mock tests (so, just used the practice questions in Rita’s and Andrew’s book). I would not recommend that if you have time (and would recommend doing 3-4 complete practice exams. e.g. in PM study)
    – I went to the exam and it took me all 4 hours to finish the test (I took 3 minutes break every hour). I finished exactly at 3:59 (with 1 min to spare). So did not have time to review the answers for the questions I marked for review. (probably because I have not practiced mock questions before)
    – I passed the test and I am now a PMP:).
    – Looking back at it today, I would strongly recommend to:
    o Read Rita’s book (after Andrew ones) and read every word of it. It may seem quite wordy but it was instrumental
    o Try to solve all the exercises in Rita’s book (and exam questions) and write down why you would get something wrong
    o Put all the ITTO together in study sheets (write them to solidify the material in mind)
    o If you have time, re skim through all 3 books once more at least
    o Solve 3-4 mock exams before taking the actual test.
    o Once you get to the exam, Perform a dump download (especially the equations) in a sheet of paper (after 3 hours of the exam, I was very tired that I would not have remembered the formulas, if I did not write them down in the beginning of the exam).
    – I wish you all the best in passing the exam:)

    • WoW

      Thanks Hany.

      I’m so grateful you share your PMP lesson learned with us.
      Plz, don’t stop your help in helping others achieve success in PMP Certification..

  9. Hi All/ AMIR,

    First of all thank you for the Blog, its very informative.

    Am working as an operations manager for a web hosting company, dealing with Support and handle dual line of business. Am not sure whether i will benefit with PMP, as i have a perception that this is specifically for Project Manager’s handling IT related projects(Ex: Software projects 4 planning , hiring, quoting man hours etc…) but not with ITES Domain. Please guide. Just a short history, i have a decent knowledge in ITIL.

    Looking forward for your suggestions.

    • Hello Skiran,

      Thank you very much for the kind words.

      Sorry, your perception is wrong.
      You can call ITIL (Targeted for IT Specific Industry) but not PMP.

      PMP is industry independent and any one can benefit in any industry using PMI and PMI techniques..

      Also, PMP is not just for people with Project Manager’s title, again anyone can benefit from this certification 🙂

      Hope the conversation on this topic continue and other may chime in to have their say.

  10. I have prepared for PMP exam on PMBOK 4 and for several reasons my exam has been set this week, do i have to reschedule it in order to read PMBOK 5 or not please advice

    • Hello Maen,

      It’s a tough question.

      If your concepts are clear, then there is little need to read PMBOK5 but if you feel you didn’t had the required study, then you may re-schedule your exam and learn PMBOK5..

  11. Dear Abbas,

    Thank you so much for above tips….well, in the month of October I am going to attend a Boot camp…I hope these tips will be very helpful to me….

    I have already start reading PMBOK-V as you say….I am not able to understand many of the topics but some of them I can able to understand as I have been working in a Project since 8yrs. But no matters I will try to Read PMBOK guide more than 1 time before attending my boot camp.

    Well, will you really advise me to purchase Rita Mulcahy’s book for PMP examination ? if it is so then I will order for the same and try to read that one also before attending my boot camp….actually my in-law who is in Chicago also suggest me to purchase it.

    But I want your guidance in it…..

    And Abbas what you mean by the picture of PMP exam…will you please elaborate it ? So sorry for such type of nonsense question….I have already kept PMP in my eyes and my mind is always thinking to get it anyhow…..I hope I will get it in the first attempt.

    • Dear Hitesh,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      No question is stupid. If you ask a stupid question, you remain stupid for only 5 minutes, but if you don’t ask a stupid question, you remain stupid your entire life.

      We are all beginner’s and I remember I ask the stupid of all question’s, when I started 🙂

      Regarding Rita book: .. Yes, buy it. don’t hesitate.

      You may not understand PMBOK, but it’s good to have an idea before bootcamp and if you purchase rita book, it will give you an added advantage in bootcamp and you will get great value for your bugs 🙂

      Wish you all the best for your study and exam and keep me posted of your progress..

  12. I passed the new PMP exam based on the 5th edition PMBOK in August. My advice: all of the preparation you’re doing-you’ll need it. The exam is as hard as you’ve heard, but if you prepare properly you shouldn’t see anything that you’re not familiar with. Some of the questions didn’t resemble any of the practice questions (I did 1400, but most were based on the 4th edition). Get familiar with the PMBOK 5th edition so you can understand where PMI is coming from.

    I also suggest saving the EMV questions until the end. Some of those questions were tough, and I personally believe that these are the questions that stand between a pass and a fail. I had 3 MPs and 2 BPs-remember the test is based on psychometric testing, so not all questions are created equal. I didn’t know this going in. Also, take the tutorial time to write down all of the EMV formulas-you’ll have fifteen minutes. This will help you in so many ways. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

    Good luck!

  13. Few tips to pass PMP in first attempt 1.Throughly read the PMBOK 5th edition, once good to read before and after attending any classroom 2. Prepare your own notes and always carry it with you till the exam date. 3. Go through 1 more book containing real world scenarios; this will help you to co- relate what you have read with the practical world. 4. Take as many mock tests as possible 5. Get on to some good discussion groups and forums and figure out the Do’s and Dont’s and choose your approach accordingly. 6. Do not study too much a day before the exam take your exam with a relaxed mind.

  14. Education and experience typically drive your base rate as a consultant, but adding a recognized certification to your name can also help bump up the dollar value of your service. This is fueled by an increased interest by mid to large corporations to hire consultants and employees who are certified project managers.

  15. Hello Amir; First I am gland to find this blog. I am new to PMP. I have been in a managerial level position for almost 10 years. Recently I have decided to make some changes in to my career and I found out that most of employer will require PMP. I am confused with allot of different study material available online. So far I got Rita’s book since almost everyone is talking about it and I have PMBOK5. Please tell me if this is enough to study with, I also want to attend a boot camp and there are so many choices and it cost a good chunk of money as well, could you please recommend a good source for PMP boot camp? There are many companies offering money back and pass guarantee, etc…
    Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Hello Shami,

      Glad you find us 🙂

      You took an excellent decision.

      1: Your choice of books:


      Both good and you don’t need any other book .. They are enough.

      I also personally like Head First:

      But those two books you mentioned are enough.

      2: Bootcamp:

      I provide a good online boot camp ..

      Well, to be honest, I am not satisfied with the recorded version of boot camps, that are available on various websites but I would love a Classroom or Face to Face online Training.

      Hope it helps,

      Stay in touch.

  16. Hi Amir,

    I have my exam scheduled on 19th Nov. Although I was eligible to write the exam a year back. I did my bootcamp a year back.
    I am reading Rita’s book for 4th edition and I have Pmbok 5 as well. I do have Headfirst 4th edition as well.
    I have read Headfirst end to end couple of times and also Rita once
    But I am very nervous and scared thinking about the exam.
    Do you think it would make sense to do a bootcamp now before the exam, kind of a refresher.

    Do you see a need for memorizing ITTOs?

    • Hello Srikar,

      Good luck with your exam.

      – No need to be scared, gain your confidence and write the exam.
      Seems you have studied enough. Try to answer some dummy questions and see your score.

      No need for another bootcamp, you had enough, just you are short of confidence.

      No need to memorize a single ITTO.

      Keep me posted.
      Also, you can join the forum:

  17. I failed the new test after preparing for 2 months. Read many books. Didn’t have time to complete. What should be the strategy? Can’t read fast I think.

    I saw strange questions like if someone asks a PM to send report to the administrator of CIO is administrator consider powerful and most interseted and there were many options.

    Then the network diagram questions like:

    Then there was the critical path questions. One was something like ‘A took (X) weeks, B took (X) weeks, C took 6 weeks but had to start 3 weeks prior to C, and D took (X) weeks. What is the relationship between C and D. Answers: 3 weeks lead, 3 weeks lag, 6 weeks lead, 6 weeks lag.

    I wasted 7 minutes creating a diagram but then gave up.

  18. Hi Amir,

    I’d like to thank you for this meaningful set of Information.
    I want to start preparing for my PMP Exam but I am not sure how!
    I have the following books: Rita Mulcahy’s book (8th Edition) and PMBOK (5th Edition).

    I want to start with Rita’s book, focus on it and keep the PMBOK just as a general reference.
    Is this a good/correct way?
    I’d highly appreciate your recommendation.

    Best regards,

  19. Applying for, obtaining, and keeping current with your PMP is no small effort, so build a plan early on to stay on track. Manage this as you would any project! Start by figuring out the current certification requirements on, then set deadlines for when you’ll have all your experience accrued, and when you’ll file your application, schedule your exam, study, and take the test. I recommend allowing yourself several months to absorb and internalize all the materials you’re studying with.

  20. Amir – I am planning to give PMP and have PMBOK 5 but Rita Mulcahy’s book (7th Edition) and Kim Heldman PMP book Sixth Edition as i was earlier planning to appear last year. Are there many major differences in the newer version or I can go ahead with the books I have. Kindly advise. Thanks

    • Hello Archana,

      PMP is about concepts. If you think your concepts are clear, you can carry on with old materials but it’s advisable to get hold of new material.

      Hope it’s clear.

  21. Hi Amir.. thanks for all the valuable suggestions.. the following is my case. I’m not into project management yet but inclined to move into project management soon.. I’m currently an operations manager in IT. I read 10 chapters of PMBOK 5 word by word a couple of times late last year and then gave up due to time constraint.. I could not complete reading the whole book and I didn’t use any other books as reference. I found it very difficult to keep in mind each and every tool and technique. I want to start reading again and then attempt certification. Considering I’m a new starter what should be my strategy. Please advice.

  22. Hello Amir !!
    I have done bachelors in Textiles engineering and Masters in Project management. I have studied all knowledge areas, processes and other relating terminologies. now i planning for PMP exam !! i left my previous job and i have around 3 months time !! i have few questions for u and need ur recommendations
    i hv experience of operations no practical life projects experience, will it effect my PMP score ??
    English is not our native language, how much it matters in scoring in exam bcz majority pmp tricky question relates with English not technically .???
    Need ur guaidance in study plan
    RITA, PM BOK and PMP Exam by Andy Crowe are the sources i have chosen. i want to study each chapter from each book at a time.
    ur recommendations
    PMI membership is quite expensive, any alternate source ? i can only afford exam fees
    by the way my mock test score before starting study is 65% average

    • Hello Ubaid,
      You ask too many questions in one thread 😉
      Let me try to answer one by one.

      1: No, it won’t effect your score but you need to learn and understand how real world projects happen, keeping PMI point of view.
      2: The question’s are normally in plain English, so hopefully that won’t effect your score, and you’ll easily understand what is asked. (Hopefully :))
      3: I think you choose the best study plan.
      4: PMI Membership is not mandatory, you can skip it but it will help you save some money with exam fee. (You can check my post of membership benefits)
      5: When you score above 80% consistent, you can go for exam (But I can’t guarantee, just saying)

      Wish you all the best.

  23. Hi Amir, thanks for the article. I had a question about the study guide section. Can I prepare with only one study guide i.e either Andy’s or Rita’s or is it a must to read both along with the PMBOK guide?
    Thanks for sharing again.

  24. Hello Amir… I am very much interested to prep and pass PMP exam on first attempt. I have few questions; please advice:-
    1. Do I really need to undergo some PMP prep workshop/ course? I have earned 35 PDUs which are per-requiste for exam by an online course offered by Coursera.
    2. Which prep guide I should use?
    3. How much time is required for prep?
    Looking forward
    Ch Sajjad Ahmed

  25. I took the Boot Camp class 3 weeks ago in San Diego. I took the exam today. I passed. Warn your students that scheduling the exam in a neighborhood near you can be problematic. Nearest place was 40 miles away AND the only spot available was a week after I signed up. Or then I would have had to wait until mid June. Centers further away had vacancies.

    Info from my exam
    only 3 questions on EVM. All were so basic I did it in my head. only 3 questions with a network diagram. 30%-40% of the exam was on the concept of change management with most of the questions tied into late in the project changes being discovered by team members or demanded by sponsor/customer. not a single question of the “which does not belong” variety. The other big focus was on the differentiation between SOW, Charter, and other facets of project initiation.

    Been reading the PMBOK since class ended. Reviewed the course materials for few hours. Spent the last two days reading practice questions. Most helpful was the read a question and immediately check the answer. When doing practice tests there was too much time lag between the question and review. My thought is only one or two 100 question practice tests are needed followed by a few evenings of question/answer.

    I paced myself and used 3 hour 54 minutes. I was done at 3:20 and then spent 20 minutes looking at “marked for review” of which I changed 30%. Followed by 10 minutes of randomly looking at questions but mainly dawdling to avoid pushing the “grade my test button”.

    I included the above information as a real life example.

Share your Thoughts !!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.