What to do if you Fail PMP Exam in first attempt

So you have failed the PMP exam. The first thing that comes to the mind is why? Was my preparation inadequate, was i using the right study materials, What more could i have done to clear the exam in first try.

On the behavioural side, you must be feeling low, short of confidence and lot of self doubt on whether you can clear the exam the next try.

In my 5 years experience in supporting PMZilla Forum. I have seen many such cases where people have failed PMP in first try but by taking the right steps they clear with good score the next time. The main reason for clearing the next time is the right kind of focus and attention which people give to PMP preparation.

Some of the top reasons for failure

  1. Not reading the PMBoK properly. Just skimming through it
  2. Not giving the right mock exams or doing very few mock tests.
  3. Silly mistakes in exam, not using common sense. Trying to recall things from book
  4. Hurrying with PMP preparation just to meet some deadline.
  5. Inability to understand the subject or knowledge area. Leaving huge knowledge gaps.

How to get back on your feet

First you will need the right kind of mindset a positive one and here are some facts.

  1. You now know what PMP exam questions are. Try to recall some questions and find right answers.
  2. You exactly know your knowledge gaps. The topics where you got Below proficient are your key focus areas.
  3. You know the whole experience of sitting through 4 hours, next time you will not be worried about food, breaks etc. You know your pace of answering questions.

It takes lot of courage and willpower to again gear up for the exam .Give yourself a pat on the back that you faced yourself. Speak to someone you trust and who will motivate you. Their words of trust in you will fill in the requireed encouragement. When you start your study preparation, Dont give mock exams first. You must read and know the subject well.

So ask yourself a question "If there was anything positive about this incident, what could it be ?" List down the points and read it to yourself for motivation.

On the study materials side here are the popular choices for second timers.

  1. PMBoK , but this time reading it more throughly
  2. Abhishek's Version of Rajesh nair notes here on PMZilla.
  3. Rita Mulcahy's PMP exam Prep -Do solve all excercises from Rita. Its must for you. It will help to reinforce the concepts what you have just read.
  4. Headfirst / Andy Crowe / Kim Heldman - any one of these
  5. BrainBok.com forumula challenge Exam-75 Q if you are weak in Maths.

If you have used any other study material and if you feel its adequate. I suggest dont buy anything more. Just check the free materials here on PMZilla http://www.pmzilla.com/pmp-study-material-pmp

On the mock tests

  1. PMZilla 200 questions - Yes if you can score 55% here, you will be through in real exam.
  2. PMStudy tests (2 tests)
  3. Rita mulcahy's fast track - Highly Overpriced , only recommeded if you are really nervous

Free tests

  1. PMStudy Free – 200 Questions  http://www.pmstudy.com/enroll.asp
  2. Simplilearn – 200 Questions  http://www.simplilearn.com/slportal/login/login.do
  3. Oliver Lehmann – 75 Questions  http://www.oliverlehmann.com/pmp-self-test/75-free-questions.htm
  4. PMPForSure – 100 Questions  http://www.pmpforsure.com/pmp/
  5. TechFaq360 – 200 Questions  http://www.techfaq360.com/pmpmockexamstart.jsp
  6. Passionatepm – 100 Questions  http://www.passionatepm.com/free-pmp-exam-practice-test-questions
  7. Bestsamplequestions – 160 Questions  http://www.bestsamplequestions.com/pmp-sample-questions/pmp-sample-quest...

Check this link for details http://pmzilla.com/free-pmp-exam-important-links-best

Some do's and Don't before the exam

  1.  Keep your cool and relax. There is no need to get overwhelmed. Know you can do it
  2. Do not over prepare for the second attempt. Over preparation can be cause of failure too.
  3. Do not overestimate or underestimate PMP Exam. You will pass the exam if you have prepared well.
  4. Do not rush to answer the questions. Read it well there can be some misunderstanding if you rush.
  5. Do not keep gap between preparation and taking real exam. Also do not drag preparation for weeks or months. make a plan and stick to it.

Comments from PMZillans are welcome


Some Great posts by PMZillian's who cleared on 2nd or 3rd attempt.







Time Frame - As per PMI each person has 1 year eligibility period to pass the PMP examination. During the eligibility period, the exam can be taken 3 times . If you fail the examination three times within your one-year eligibility period, you must wait one year from the date of the last examination you took to reapply for the credential. If your eligibility period expires without you passing the examination, you must reapply for the credential. 

Reexamination fees - The second or third time re-examination fee for computer-based testing is as follows:

  • For a PMI Member: $275 USD
  • For a Non-Member: $375 USD

The second or third time re-examination fee for paper-based testing is as follows:

  • For a PMI Member: $150 USD
  • For a Non-Member: $300 USD


cnppmp's picture

This is good post..


 Cn Patil

great! my brother and his mates just failed the exam. ill email him about his page, and i hope this will give him hope not to give up and try again.


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 I could not pass the PMP exam at first attemp, now I am doing well for the preparation to take part in the Exam, If someone write my essay I will be happy and it really help me a lot at the end of my preparation period. Do you provide some more sourece of material for practice?

Will anybody feed me back with CAPM exam like ??


Would like to go for CAPM.

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bphukon's picture

Thank you very much for sharing this post, we can collect a lot of positives from it.

Excellent guielines...Thank you for boosting my confidence again.

This site is very useful for the students i'l suggest this post to my brother. dui defense lawyer phoenix

Good synopsis at PMzilla. The aspirants can also read this article - 15 Reasons Why People Failed the PMP Exam

You should read this and imbibe all the points written in the post. This will help you in determining what you should do and what you should avoid. For example you must attend a training course and you should read PMBOK Guide. But you should not overtly rely on free sources (some free sources are good).

All the best.

Sanjay Kumar's picture

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