As you may already know, the PMP exam includes 200 questions: 175 scored questions and 25 pre-test and un-scored questions. Here’s how the exam questions are distributed by process group:
|Domains||Percentage of Items/Domain|
|Monitoring and Controlling||25%|
Until late 2005 PMI maintained a candidate must score at least 61% or 106 out of 175 questions to guarantee passing the exam. This is no longer true. PMI scores the exam differently as it is clearly explained in the PMP Handbook:
The passing score for all PMI credential examinations is determined by sound psychometric analysis. PMI uses subject matter experts from across the globe to help establish a point at which each candidate should pass the examination(s) and the examination point of difficulty. Data that shows how candidates usually performed is cross referenced with the subject matter experts to ensure that the point of difficulty on each examination is healthy.
As it is explained, there’s no one examination score for everyone. PMI scores each exam differently and a passing score for one exam may be different from the other. PMI also doesn’t publish the exam score as it used to and only provides an exam summary report detailing the ‘proficiency level’ for each of the domains (i.e. Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient).
What is then the passing score – you might ask?
It’s very hard to tell as there is no one set score for passing. Using a sound psychometric analysis system implies an exam with many easy questions may have a higher passing score than one with less number of easy questions. So if exam A is “easier” than exam B, exam A passing score is higher than that of exam B. Also in a psychometric system, questions do no carry the same weight- implying some questions may score 1 mark while others may score 5 marks all depending on the overall “difficulty” of the exam.
You don’t need to score ‘Proficient’ or ‘Moderately Proficient’ in all areas to pass the exam. You need to make sure you score ‘Proficient’ or ‘Moderately Proficient’ in high-weight domains (such as Executing and Monitoring and Controlling) to guarantee a pass. For example you may score ‘Proficient’ in two low-weight domains (initiating and closing), ‘Below Proficient’ in two high-weight domains, and ‘Moderately Proficient’ in a high-weight domain thereby leading to a potential overall failing score.