PMP Exam format

PMP Exam Pattern, Changes & PMI Triangle

The Project Management Institute (PMI) announced several changes to the PMP test that would be implemented in July 2020, according to the organization. However, as a result of the global pandemic, PMI decided to postpone the modifications, which became effective in January 2021 instead. In this article, we will go through all of the changes that have been made to the PMP exam pattern for 2021.

In order to prepare for the PMP exam as a prospective project management professional (PMP) certification candidate, you must be aware of the most recent changes made to the PMP exam pattern.

PMI has made several changes considering the domain and PMP exam pattern as follows:

      Old PMP    New PMP
Number of Domains          3            5
Number of Tasks          42          35
PMP Exam Pattern

PMP Exam Relevance 

Candidates studying for the PMP exam can expect to answer between 2000 and 3000 questions in order to pass the exam on the first try. The exam starts with a tutorial and then moves on to a survey. The average time it takes most students to complete this survey is 15 minutes. 

PMP certification indicates that you have the project leadership skills which that employers are looking for.

The new PMP includes two key approaches.

1Predictive or Waterfall50
2Agile (Adaptive) + Hybrid50
PMP Key Approaches


What Is the PMP Exam Pattern?

PMP Exam Pattern

The PMP exam will include 50% of questions based on the agile or hybrid approach to project management and 50% of questions based on the predictive approach to project management. 

The following are the characteristics of the new PMP test format:

Number of Questions180 out of which 175 are scored
Exam TypeClosed Book
Questions TypeMultiple choice, multiple responses, hotspot, matching, fill in the blanks, etc.
Time Duration230 Minutes
characteristics of the new PMP test format

Talents & Competency in Domain

The PMP exam has a total of 180 questions. However, 5 of the 180 questions are random pre-test questions that have no bearing on your final score. This means that only 175 items are truly scored. Those 5 questions, however, are distributed randomly throughout the exam, so you might not be able to tell them apart from the 175 scored questions. As a result, it’s preferable to answer each question to the best of your ability — the 5 questions could come from anywhere.

For computer-based tests, there are two 10-minute breaks, which is one more break than in the previous pattern. For paper-based tests, there are no scheduled breaks. The exam must be completed within the four-hour time limit. It’s worth mentioning that the exam doesn’t have a break after it starts.

Eligibility Criteria for PMP Certifications

PMP certification has numerous advantages and is internationally recognized. Certification may provide you with benefits in your current position, such as raises in pay and the possibility of progress in your organization. It’s vital to remember that getting permission to take this exam isn’t just a matter of showing up.

Before you may appear for the exam, you must meet certain conditions, including the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree (four years) or its international equivalent.
  • In the last three years of project management practices, a minimum of 4500 contact hours has been spent leading and directing projects.
  • A certified education provider must deliver project management training or education with at least 35 contact hours.


  • A bachelor’s degree, a high school diploma, a secondary school diploma, or its international equivalent.
  • In the last five years of project management practice, a minimum of 7500 contact hours have been spent leading and directing projects.
  • A certified education provider must deliver project management training or education with at least 35 contact hours. 

Documentation & Required Attached Certificates

  • Certificates demonstrating a person’s educational experience.
  • Verification forms for gained experiences. These are seen as evidence of project management expertise.
  • A certificate indicating the completion of 35 hours of project management training.
  • If you match the criteria mentioned above, you are considered eligible to take the exam. The examination fee for registered members is $405, and for non-registered members,it is $555.

It’s worth noting that you can meet the 35-hour education requirement (Professional Development Units-PDUs) by attending workshop sessions, coursework, and training sessions offered by a globally certified PMI Education Provider. One hour of instruction is equal to one Professional Development Unit. If you are not eligible to sit the examination on your first attempt, you may retake it once you have met the prerequisites by paying the examination fees again. Fees for re-examination are slightly lower; for example, a PMI member pays $275, while a non-member pays $375.

PMI Talent Triangle 

The optimum skill set for a leader includes technical, leadership, strategic and business management expertise, and digital skills. This implies concentrating on gaining the additional skills you’ll need to keep up with your profession’s changing needs. As a result, you’ll become a more important strategic partner in the company’s success.

Project managers that can learn rapidly and stay up with the newest technical breakthroughs are essential in today’s environment of technological disruption. The PMI Talent Triangle picture has been modified to add a new digital overlay to emphasize how digital transformation influences all aspects of our work.

Furthermore, the exam will be more difficult. This new test will necessitate substantial preparation because PMBOK 7 includes so many new subjects and methodologies. The exam will be objectively more difficult as a result.

Also, checkout the Introduction to Project Life Cycle and Knowledge Areas in this detailed article.

 History of PMP Exam Scores

Until 2005, the passing score was 68.5 percent, which meant that you had to get 137 out of 200 questions right on your first try. Following that, it soared to an all-time high of 80.6 percent. After some deliberation, the administrators revised the PMP certification exam format and changed the score to 60.6 percent. After that, you needed to get 106 out of 175 questions accurate in order to qualify.

Since 2007, PMI has changed the PMP exam format to ensure that all candidates pass the exam and discontinue reporting results. Instead, they began mentioning the level of skill for each domain in the test results. You wouldn’t know the numerical % for every skill nowadays.

As of the old PMP Exam Format, To pass the test, you must correctly answer 61 percent of the 200 questions. Although there are no penalties for answering questions wrong, it is still preferable not to leave any answers blank. You’ll notice that 60% of the questions are based on real-life scenarios, so while tutorials and books might help, it’s here where your experience counts. That’s why you have to work in the sector before taking the exam for a particular amount of time. Project management requires a great deal of experience.

As of New PMP Exam Format, The PMP certification test consists of 180 questions distributed according to percentages, and you must strive to answer all of them. Your field experience is frequently the most significant piece of this, and even if you’re unsure if what you’ve done corresponds to the question, it’s better to include it regardless. It is recommended that you concentrate on the project start and conclusion groups of questions, as they contain the fewest questions. If you don’t do well in those two areas, you might find that you don’t do well in others as well.

PMP Certification Cost

Now, the cost of training for the PMP test varies depending on which training provider you choose in India. The typical cost of a decent PMP training provider, on the other hand, ranges between $250 and $300. (USD).

PMP ExaminationPMI Member Examination Fees(USD)Non-PMI Member Examination Fees(USD) 
PMP Exam- First Time            $405            $555
PMP Re-attempt Examination            $275            $375
PMP Certification Cost

Points To Remember

There are important points to remember when studying for the PMP Certification Exam.

  • The PMBOK Manual Guide is the primary foundation and recommended book for review. It goes over every detail of what to expect in the examinations in great detail. The book is internationally recognized because it is published and endorsed by PMI.
  • Online training, PMP Sample Questions, practice examinations, video tutorial courses, and study manuals can assist you in fully comprehending project management. 
  • PMP software programs will aid applicants in their study efforts. Various project management software applications will teach you to concentrate your thoughts to improve your project management skills.
  • It’s important to remember that Project Management Professional Certification is intended to help you progress your career. This is possible if you can manage people, time, and, of course, multiple levels of projects inside your sector.

PMP Exam Pattern – New vs Previous

Old Format

The 2015 version of the exam had 200 multiple-choice questions entirely based on a formula, circumstance, and knowledge. They concentrated on five domains: initiating, which accounted for 13% of the test, planning, 24% of the test, executing, 31% of the test, monitoring and controlling, 25% of the test, and closing, which accounted for 7% of the test.

                                DomainPercentage of Items on Test
Monitoring and Controlling25%
PMP Old Format

New Format

For instance, under the new format, the exam will consist of 180 questions and be scheduled for 230 minutes. In other words, They have also reduced and focused the domains to three, with people accounting for 42% of the weightage, process 50%, and business environment 8%, respectively. People will have 76 questions, processes will have 90 questions, and the business environment will have 14 questions, according to the three sections’ expected questions. This time there will be no negative marking.

                    Domain      Percentage of items on Tests
Business Environment8%
PMP New Format

The PMP certification validates that you are highly skilled in the following:

  • People: Focussing the soft skills you need to lead a project team efficiently
  • Process: Reiterating the technical aspects of effectively managing projects
  • Business Environment: Stressing the influence on projects from organizational strategy

According to PMI’s research, today’s project management practitioners work on many projects and employ several project management methodologies. As a result, this new test pattern is intended to encompass and reflect a broad range of value-added services.

Difference In the Pattern

In the first half of the exam Predictive project management approaches, while hybrid approaches are in the second. The PMP exam now includes two 10-minute breaks. It will appear once you’ve completed the questions and read all of your answers. A second break will be available for you immediately following the end of question 120 and confirmation that you have evaluated all of your answers. 

You will not be able to return to questions from the previous portion of the exam after reading your responses and taking a break until you have examined your responses. When you log back in after each break, the remaining time will be available to you (s). You’ll have 230 minutes to complete all 180 questions. The examination is preceded by a tutorial and followed by an assessment.


PMP exam Pattern has no clear passing mark because each candidate will receive a distinct set of question papers. Questions are given varying weights, and each skill level is assigned a set percentage score based on the answers. In order to obtain a better understanding of the PMP test format, as well as some past year exam solutions, you can enroll in the PMP certification training course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is PMP an open book exam?

No, PMP is not an open book exam. PMP is a one-day exam with no textbooks. This means that you will not be able to refer to any materials during the course of the exam. To complete the exam, you will be given four hours. These questions are in accordance with the PMBOK specification and the PMP Code of Ethics.

Is the 2021 PMP exam hard?

You can pass the PMP exam 2021 if you have the necessary resources and prepare properly. The Project Management Professional (PMP) exam covers a wide range of project management topics. 

Can I take PMP from home?

Yes, you can now take the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam online. It is easy to take your exam from home, but it necessitates preparation, the avoidance of disturbances, and a good, stable internet connection in order to get ahead.

How to apply for the PMP Exam?

Complete the application in only three steps by following the instructions on the screen. The most important objective is to outline your experience and training in order to demonstrate that you have what it takes to become a PMP. Further, you can find the necessary steps here.

How can I prepare for the PMP exam in 2021?

In order to prepare for the PMP Exam 2021, you can refer to the PMBOK Guide for learning and our Techcanvass PMP training courses instructed by qualified experts. Here you will get training with live interactive sessions and quality support in each step.

Which certification is best for project management?

Project Management Certification (PMP) is considered a widely recognized certification for project management offered by PMI.

Can I take the PMP exam without experience?

No, you can not take the PMP Exam without passing the eligible experience criteria in accordance with the PMI Institute. It clearly signifies that a minimum of 3 years of experience in managing and directing the project is needed to be eligible to apply for the exam.

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