March 3, 2021
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Project Management Certification: The PMP

  • By Steve Rowe
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What's on the PMP Exam

If you have the credentials to pursue the PMP exam, you may be curious as to what you will be tested on by the PMP exam. The exam itself is 200 multiple choice questions, and you must score a 137 to pass. The following list the knowledge areas you must master for this exam:

  • Project Initiation
  • Project Planning
  • Project Execution
  • Project Control
  • Project Closing
  • Professional Responsibility

In sum, these topics will comprise an exam that will test you on your knowledge of project management, tools used, and techniques mastered. Many questions are situational; so it is advised that as you study you should heavily review actions you have taken in past projects.

Study Materials and the PMBOK

Many study materials exist for the PMP. If you need advice on what materials to choose or what training to attend it is advised that you seek out a local chapter of PMI to network with other project management professionals for this advice. Also, many local chapters offer training and educational opportunities. Also, local training centers and colleges are beginning to offer project management classes. Since the exam tests your knowledge of the practice of project management it is advised to get more than one source for study so you can get a broad range of views and experiences from different authors.

One book you absolutely must have is the PMBOK. This stands for the Project Management Body of Knowledge. PMI offers this body of knowledge under the name of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK. Guide). This is the guiding set of knowledge that spells out what PMI expects you to know for the exam. This is important because while the exam tests you on experience and practical "know-how", to pass the exam you have to know PMI's views, nomenclature, and thoughts when it comes to project management processes. In other words, the terms and techniques you use may not necessarily be correct according to PMI.


There is no doubt that the field of project management is growing rapidly. Not only is this field growing in the IT space, it is growing in fields such as construction, engineering, and medicine. More and more, one can find avenues for quality training in this field as well. If you do not have the prerequisites to take the PMP exam, don't fret — take some training and begin to build your experience levels so you can pursue the PMP. Passing the PMP exam will highlight your mastery of project management abilities, and the pursuit of continuing education requirements needed to keep your PMP status will ensure that you stay on the cutting edge with this growing and vibrant field.

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This article was originally published on June 30, 2003

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