Exam structure

The Project Management Professional (PMP) credential examination measures the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques that are used in the practice of project management. The questions are written psychometrically, so there will be some you will be unlikely to answer. 'Psychometric' comes from the Greek psyche (mind), metron (measure), and means the testing of mental ability such as IQ, as well as interests, attitudes and personality. What this means is that there will be questions that test your ability as a project manager if you are sitting the PMP exam. You will not be able to answer these types of questions unless you have actually 'been there, done that and got the T-shirt'. The questions in the CAPM are more factual, focusing on definition and the processes outlined in the PMI PMBOK.

PMI says

The exam questions

'The PMP and CAPM Examination questions:

  • are developed and validated by global work groups of content experts,

  • are referenced to current resources from project management textbook sources,

  • are monitored through psychometric analysis, and

  • satisfy the test specifications of a job analysis.' http://www.pmi.org/


The PMP examination is computer based and has 200 four-option multiple-choice questions to be answered over four hours. The current pass mark is 61%. As this exam tests the project manager's skills, the PMI has broken down the content into the six process groups, shown in Table C.2.

Table C.2. Process groups breakdown in the PMP examination
Project management process Percent of questions
Initiating 11
Planning 23
Executing 27
Monitoring and controlling 21
Closing 9
Professional and social responsibility 9
Adapted from PMI website, http://www.pmi.org/


Like the PMP, the CAPM examination is also computer based. It is a slightly shorter exam 150 four-option multiple-choice questions to be answered over three hours and has a pass mark of 65%. However, in contrast to the PMP exam, where the candidate has to demonstrate their project management skills, the CAPM candidate must show that they have knowledge of the basic terminology, activities, roles and communications. They must also have functional experience in the knowledge areas and be aware of quality management, contract negotiation, the project management processes, methods, policies, rules and external influences. Finally, CAPM candidates must show that they are adaptable, creative and flexible. The exam is broken down by chapter in the PMBOK as opposed to the processes for the PMP exam: see Table C.3.

Table C.3. PMBOK chapter breakdown in the CAPM examination
Chapter in the PMBOK Approximate percentage of items on test
1 The project management framework introduction 4
2 The project management framework the project lifecycle and organization 4
3 The standard for project management of a project 11
4 Integration management 11
5 Scope management 11
6 Time management 11
7 Cost management 9
8 Quality management 7
9 Human resources management 7
10 Communication management 7
11 Risk management 11
12 Procurement management 7
Total 100
Adapted from PMI website, http://www.pmi.org/  


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Definitive Guide to Project Management. The Fast Track to Getting the Job Done on Time and on Budget
The Definitive Guide to Project Management: The fast track to getting the job done on time and on budget (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0273710974
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 217
Authors: Sebastian Nokes
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