PMP Question Types

Next to studying the PMBOK Guide®, practice questions are your most important study activity. After all, the PMP Exam is not a simple memory-recall, multiple-choice test. You have signed up for a four-hour, 200-question multiple-choice exam with up to five question types. These include complex situational questions, short situational questions, formula-based questions, knowledge-based questions and interpretive questions. Each question type has its own purpose and pitfalls, which makes knowing how to get the most out of each question crucial.

Situational questions test your ability to identify the relevant and ignore irrelevant content. These questions tend to be lengthy so it is especially important to read and accurately identify the ACTUAL question, so that you can eliminate insignificant information.

Formula-based questions are more than just “solving for the median” or calculating earned value. There are about 49 PMP formulas that you must know backwards and forwards, ranging from simple averages to Probability and Depreciation. You must know both the formula and how to perform the calculation in order to get the answer right.

Knowledge-based questions require you to know facts — most often from the PMBOK Guide. These questions also occasionally ask which processes belong to which Knowledge Area, or which Inputs, Tools & Techniques or Outputs go with which process. Sometimes you are asked to identify an example chart or graph, such as recognizing a RACI or Pareto chart.

Interpretational questions may also test your ability to deduce a situation or condition. For example: “If your project has an SPI and a CPI both greater than 1, how well is your project performing?”

Specific Technique questions will contain a tool or technique like a network diagram and ask you to provide an element that’s inherent in that diagram such as forward pass or backward pass.

While there are some free PMP exam sample questions available online, that is just a start. As you move further along in your studies, you will probably want more and harder questions. Your best bet is to get quality questions in an exam simulator.

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