Myths Vs. Reality PMP® Registration Process
Now, let’s discuss the so-called “guarantee” that you will pass, whether it is on a Friday after a 4-day prep boot camp or on a date of your choosing after following your own online self-study preparation plan.
What are the odds of passing?
Or in other words, what are the chances of failing?
What kind of guarantee can you expect from training providers and how will this help you manage your risks and build confidence that you are making the right decision?
There are a couple of avenues in attempting to answer these questions. Initially, you could decide to rely on the passing rate advertised by a training provider, however, you would first need to understand how this passing rate is estimated as there is no standard way to estimate a passing rate. Classroom and online training providers sometimes use the same formulas and assumptions and sometimes they don’t. When researching passing rates, keep in mind that a trend these days is for training providers to disclose a success rate in relation to their own pass guarantee.
How does that work?
The number of students who claim the guarantee and did not pass the exam are subtracted from a specific number. This could be the number of students enrolled or the number of students who completed the training. As such, the passing rate is therefore a good indicator of the chances you may not pass and claim the guarantee. But, it does not reveal the actual percentage of students who went on to take the exam or who did not report their pass or failure.
Ultimately, the passing rate disclosure should be assessed for its transparency and it is best used as an indicator of how the pass guarantee will mitigate some of the inherent exam risks you will be facing in the process. At the date of publication, we’ve observed that the vast majority of passing rates disclosed by training providers fall in the range of around 90-99%.
As an alternative approach, we’ve observed that students who manage their own study schedule and include in their preparation working through mock exams before they make the final decision to go and sit for the exam seem to have the best recipe for 100% guaranteed success. And while we’ve received many testimonials about this topic, we do not have survey results to support this evidence yet, due to the difficulty in collecting reliable data.
An additional benefit to this approach is that you can also use your mock exam experience to make a sensible decision about whether to re-schedule or not, and whether you need extra time to study and improve on your areas of weakness. It is quite unheard of that a student who has fully prepared and taken reliable mock exams with consistent success would fail on the real exam, whatever the educational background and format of study, whether in classroom or online.
From our experience and what we’ve observed, the vast majority of exam score sheet cards of students who do not pass and claim the guarantee are showing not one but several weak areas and identifiable knowledge gaps, and students who continue with serious re-training will usually pass their exam with flying colors on their second attempt.
Does all this talk of passing rate have you curious as to what percentage
of PMP® exam takers pass on their first attempt?
The actual passing rate is kept secret by PMI® but it is reasonable, in our opinion, to assume it would be close to the 80-20 Pareto principle, which means that around 20% of all candidates would be expected to fail. But unfortunately, and to our knowledge, there is no publicly disclosed data or statistics collected that would indicate the level of study effort by candidates who did not pass.
That said, based on reasonable assumptions, and in our expert judgment, we believe that if you have enrolled and completed a structured PMP® certification prep training program and used reliable mock exams to reinforce your weak points, and you consistently performed in simulated exams with over 75% proficiency in all knowledge areas, that your chances of taking and passing the exam are close to 100%. Many online training options are available beyond the basic PMP exam prep course, select Project Management courses offering quizzes and reviews of the main topics you will find at the PMP exam.
In another post, we will share some of our students’ stories related to the registration process. By leveraging the experience of other candidates who have been on a similar path as you are now, we hope you will find their stories useful and that they inspire you to grow your own vision of the PMP® registration process, take the lead as you progress through each step, and develop competency and confidence on your path to success.
PMI, PMBOK, PMI talent triangle and PMP are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.