How Many Times Can You Take the PMP Exam?

PMP (Project Management Professional) exam is one of the toughest certification exam ever. Having a PMP certificate will instantly boost the career, so many people attempt the exam every year. Sadly, almost half of the examinees fail the first time.

If you happen to fail the exam, don’t worry! You’re not alone and there is no reason to berate yourself. What you should ask now is that how many times can you take the PMP exam?

And how should you prepare again? We tried to gather all the information about retaking the PMP exams and how you can prepare better for the next time. Let’s go and find out!

Why Do People Fail PMP Exams? 

Let’s start by understanding why so many people fail at the first attempt. The first reason is pretty obvious- PMP is tough. If you are preparing with diligence, you should be at least pass the exam. So, why do people fail? The examiners of PMI said the main reason behind failure is the focus on the wrong aspects.

Many people keep on running through the practice tests and never go back to the concepts. Just giving exams blindly drags away the focus from improving the basics. Other reason is the test anxiety.

This is fairly common for an exam. Also, using only the free materials won’t complete the training. Free exams and prep guides are not the standard of PMP. The examination actually difficult. So, this might be the reason why so many people fail the exam. 

How Many Times Can You Take the PMP Exam?

The general guideline says that you can fail the PMP exam for maximum three times, meaning you have three retaking opportunities. If you fail twice, you have two options to consider.

You can just prepare for the exam and take it again for the third time. This is the most recommended approach. The second option is to wait till your eligibility period expires and then reapply. Some people choose the latter way as it gives more time to sort out things. 

If you fail the PMP for the third time within the eligibility period, you’d have to wait for a year before you can reapply. You can take the exam again the next year or you can opt for other PMI certifications. 

Recovery Is Painful but Possible 

It’s okay to feel a bit dejected after failing a test. The preparation period is pretty strenuous, you have given your full attention, lost sleep and then finding out you didn’t make it- let’s face it, it’s the worst feeling. Many fail the second time just because they still haven’t processed the failure.

So, make sure that you have processed the failure well. The first step to success is to accept the failure. Remember that 1 in 2 people will fail the exam and at times it can be luck than bad prep. Discuss how you feel with your close rather than shutting down. Failure happens and there are many ways to recover.

What to Do If You Fail? 

1. Lessons from the fallen

Discuss with other examinee who also failed the exam for the first time and how they recovered. You will have an idea about retaking procedure and how to prepare for the next attempt. Log in to the PMP exam website and read their blog. Many past examinees shared their experiences, so you can have an idea about how you’d change your strategy.

2. Run to the simulator

The exam simulator should be your best friend during this period. People who failed the first time and retook the exam shared that perhaps the exam simulator is more effective than the live classes. Since you already did the live classes, you can skip it this time and go straight through the exam simulator. 

3. Find the cracks in your prep

Find where you went wrong with the preparation. Often times, people make mistakes of focusing on the wrong things. For instance, many people ignore the prep book and go straight through the PMP Brain Dump.

And yet, 70% of the questions come from these prep guides. Some have trouble to manage the time or keep their nerve under control. Which one set you back? Try to revisit the exam experience and narrow down the flaws.

4. Don’t hesitate to question

Since PMP exam is widely known, you would find plenty dedicated to it. Go over these forums and read the suggestions. Reach out for help in the forums and you’re likely to get a response from the community. Reddit, stack exchange are also great websites to connect with other examinees.

5. Change your study material

This is the secret formula to a solid preparation. You might be facing the practice exams and getting well above the target score, but there is still chances of failing. It could be because the question patter of the real certification exam differed from the sample ones.

If you face a similar set back, it’s time for you to diversify your study materials. Try a new book or try out different simulator exams. Find the pattern of questions in the books, attempt things out of your comfort zones.

6. Be Positive

Try to remain positive. It’s easy to get frustrated. After all, the PMP exam is no easy task. Top examiners always have one thing in common- confidence. So, take your best preparation and stay confident that you’ll Pass PMP this time.

7. Reschedule!

Lastly, reschedule the exams. Log in to the exams and choose an exam date. Try to plan your whole preparation based on the exam date. And always be relaxed before the exam day.

Final Words 

There is no doubt that PMP is a challenging exam. Most people would fail the first time and many even the second time. However, there are plenty of resources out there to get back in the game. Try your best and don’t give up!

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