Failed PMP exam second time.....with the same result...

Hi folks,

Yes, that's true I failed PMP exam second time with the same result comparing to first one.

Initiation = BP

Planning = MP

Executing = MP



Now i'm more confused than before to figure out how can I fill up gaps in these two processes. At my second time preparation, I completed PMBOK 4 times and Rita 2 times with many mock up exams. From my perspective, the exam was not that complicated but trickey and most of the questions were written in vague statement for an e.g. you are a project manager of XYZ project and sponsor just handed you signed off project charter what is the next activity you should start working on?


A) Start work on gathering requirements 

B) Start create Risk management plan

C) Start work on creating high level Proj. Management Plan

D) Start implemeting Communication plan

I let you pick the correct answer but in exam i picked option C. I had many quesitons in exam that followed above logic and i'm pretty sure i provided enough incorrect answers to get BP in initiating. 

In short i still have some knowledge gaps in Init. and M&C. Also, I'm not sure if i will read PMBOK three more times that is going to fill up knowledge gaps. Very confused...not nourves but confused. I'm still feeling strong and going for third trial in next three weeks.

Guys, please help me to fillup my gaps specific to below questions:

1) At initiation process how to choose what comes after next specially when the provided choices doesn't look approprate (i memorized pg # 43 of PMBOK but when provided answers doesn't match with cronological order of KA)

2) I am not quiet sure where i've gaps in M&C. I memorized all TT and output of M&C and how the process works. What else i have to know more than that.

May be with all your help i can make it in third time.....


Sorry that u didnt clear the exam second time as well.

Try to take mocks processwise and also read pmbok processwise which might help u fill ur gaps in these areas.

Im also in preparation mode for first time and this is just a suggestion.

and for the question posted,

After project charter, u identify stake holders in initiation which comes in communication management plan.

So I think answer should be D.Start implemeting Communication plan.


 Thanks a lot!

admin's picture

 All you need right now is to be strong and positive-minded. A positive attitude and spirit will keep you focus on those KA with BP. Don't give up at all, because you can't win by so doing!. Good luck!!.

 Sorry to hear that. Still admiring your resolve to give one more crack at it, I would have quit of I had failed the first time.

May I suggest the following

1. Read Headfirst PMP, you may be able to download it. It is easier and simpler and will help you get the basics fixed in your brain.

2.Please read my lessons learned (and those posted by others too) posted in this site. It might help you.

3. Try to  understand the flow rather than take the chronologival order of KAs at their face value. Remember- all the processes are iterative, they may repeat iteratively in whatever order possible.

4. Google is your friend. Any time you feel things are vague, google it, and you might find articles/blogs explaining the same concept in a simpler way.


Best of luck, do not give up!





Thanks everyone! I really appreciated for all your feedback.

Mercury, do you know from where i can download the Headfirst PMP?




 The Answer is D and I reckon it is not such a difficult question (Medium difficulty)

Reading the options given, the first one clearly says - start gathering requirements - This cannot be done without knowing who the stakeholders are (which clearly gives you the hint).

Preparing a high level project management plan is ruled out because, the inputs for that are planning processes should be completed. To prepare a project management plan, scope, schedule, cost, quality, risk HR management plans should be in place.

Creation of a Risk Management Plan is a trickier one, but the fact that it has planning meetings with the stakeholders as a technique, which again means that you need to know the stakeholders.

So, the only thing that could be done after the project charter is handed out is that you can Identify the stakeholders, prepare a communication plan and implement the same and start communicating with the stakeholders on the next steps.

Explaination aside. Now coming to the real problem of how we can improve upon your result. If you can share details on how you prepared and what your approach was, then, I can suggest something. You can also go through my experience which I posted just recently.



Hi Prasad,

After failed in first attempt, I gave my self more than 6 weeks. First three weeks I read PMBok 3 times and Rita 2 times with end of chapters. In Rita's chapter i was getting consistenlty 70-75%. Remaining three weeks i was taking full 4 hours mock up test every weekend (Sat. and Sun). The mock up test results were consistent between 70-75% (including PMStudy, oliver lehman 175, Christopher(13-18), pmstudy3 and Headfirst). After done with testing i was just reviewing all incorrect answers. But was not going back to PMBok and review particular section that i have incorrect answers. 

So this is the first lesson I learned by reading others LL on PMZilla that after each test I have to review all incorrect answer using PMBOK concept.

Socond, during exam I had difficulties/confusion identifying common definitions for some of the terms such as difference between Desing of experiement and Statistical sampline...or when to use Trend Vs. Varience analysis... and so on... Based on past experience, I've to build my muscles on all different terms and when to apply. 

Third, I have to manage time in exam. Since, I had some gaps in my knowledge it was taking little extra time for each quesitons than planned. I only had 8 minutes to finish last 20 some questions. I think if i build strong muscles around all different terms and process and when to use what and how then i can definitely resolve this timing situation.

Fourth and the most important is I'm a project manager in company where we don't do everything from initiation to closing. Some other organizations responsible for cost and procurement part. Honestly, i haven't had any experience in costing and procurements. Sometimes it becomes hard to give answer on scenario based quesitons for these two KA. 

I think, i've recape the most of errors that i was doing during first and second attempt. If you guys think of something else please add into it and I'll add in my list... much appreciated to everyone for their input....




Your result is same in both the tries so it seems that you don't have problem with Planning (biggest), Executing (big) and Closing.  You need to prioritize your efforts towards Initiating and M&C both of them are smaller areas.  Try to close your gaps in these areas first and do more questions in these areas, this will help you retain the knowledge as well.  Good thing is that there are lot of questions on EVM which are part of M&C, these are scoring questions, do it well and you will be close to eleminate 1 BP.  Network diagram questions are tougher in the exam so pay attention to this area and do lot of mock questions here.  Initiating is very small area and you can refer to different material and notes to close your gap in short time.  I found these mock exams good - PMStudy free, Christopher Scordo, Velociteach (got 1 week free trial with Andy book), Exam Cram book final full test.  I hope you may find this helpful for third try. 

Good luck.


It will definitely help during preparation.




 t's hard to fail the second time but if you manage your time and efforts strategically, you will most likely pass the third time.  

First, "present" a summary overview of each process group [initiating, planning, executing, m/c, closing] -- what are the main elements of each group then logically/visually connect tools and processes by walking a project [invent one] from start to finish.

Second, for initiating -- read Kim Heldman's Guide at the PMI website.  The key areas are:  business  need, business case, SOW, project charter, project manager role.  If you can nail a thorough understanding, you will most likely get P or MP in initiating.

Third, for monitoring/controlling -- this is where the earned value formulas fall under; EAC, SPI, CPI, TCPI to manage the triple constraints [scope, time, budget] as well as risks, quality and report on performance [project as a whole, stakeholders, and vendors/procurement administration].  This section is all about metrics -- measuring project execution/performance against plans.  Strong management skills required for this section in real life as well as in the exam [tricky high-score process group]

The only way you can get through a grueling 4-hour exam is to practice, practice, practice in fron tof a clock!

Wish you luck and hope you make it on the third try.



Hi My friend,

sorry to hear that, I think the problem is not how much you read and study , I think your problem in the exam itself , because it seems you were nervous and reached to the point not able to map the information you have to the question you read , I had this feeling at the begin of the exam for 20 questions and then I controlled this feeling and then the question became more clear, so you need to foucs in this issue and during the exam try to clear your mind and your fear to fail .


Regarding the answer for your questions it is A, because:

1- For answer B risk Mgmt in the planning but not in the beginning.

2- For answer C there is nothing called High level project Mgmt ( there are High-level requirements, product/project discription, risks)

3-For answer D he spoke about the communication Plan not communication process or project communication Mgmt  ( if he mention communication process the it would be correct because we will identify stakeholder after creating project Charter, communication process includes identify stakeholder, plan communication , distribute info and manage stakeholder and report performance)

so the correct answer is A collecting requirements after creating Charter 


I think its option D)

any other thoughts?


 for Answer D he  speak about communication Plan not communication process , it's big difference between the two , so answer D is not the correct one read the question again and analyze it 






So far 657 readers have seen your post.

And about 10 =12 has commented on.

Your question is only answered by 4 out of 657 and among these 4s there is no harmony.

My conclusion is that don’t feel low.

Such questions make problem to majority of people. But PMP results always say 60-70% pass in 1st attempt.

80-85% people pass in second attempt.

In your case there may be some special causes, which can be identified easily.


The key criteria of passing exam is


First pass at home


Pass at home means – get atleast 70% marks- in atleast 5 mock test (in first attempt- fresh test- )


Solve atleast 5000 question.


Review all wrong answered questions and refer them from PMBOK


PMBOK ---- every time refer for every question, which seems not easy for you.


Read notes of NAIR/ RAGA etc.


Glossary/formula/ maths/ittos



Sponsor just handed you signed off project charter what is the next activity you should start working on?

A) Start work on gathering requirements 

B) Start create Risk management plan

C) Start work on creating high level Proj. Management Plan

D) Start implemeting Communication plan

In my opinion – option A would be correct.

Identifying stakeholders is not a part of communication plan.

All high level assumptions and constraints/requirements/scope/ target dates/cost- benefits/risks/stakeholders/plans are framed in initiating process group before of signing of project charter, -----P 45 1st para

So in given option gathering requirements --- will be the first activity, for stakeholders


Thanks everyone for your input on planning strategies. I'm very confident this time that I'll pass PMP exam this time.



 Best of luck, man. Try attempting thousands of questions from different sources. You will definitely pass- as you have a positive attitude.

I got similar question on the exam , I was scared to what to answer after going through so many replies, however when I reread the question, it was much clearer,

they asked what is the next thing you would do in Scope. (it was not like what would you do next)

The choices were the same, so in my case it was Collect Requirements.