Passing Score For PMP – Why You Shouldn’t Care

Filed under PMP | Posted by PMStudent

Hi Josh, I appreciate your daily emails, they keep me focused. I have heard conflicting info on what is passing on the PMP exam. I’ve read 61%, 65%, I’ve read you have to pass each of 5 knowledge areas?.

Studying hard, yet curious – does anyone really know?


I received this question as a reply from a message I sent in the PMP Guide newsletter.

It’s a good question, and very valid to be curious about. So if you’ve been wondering about this, don’t be offended by what I’m about to say…

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Care

The PMI does not publish a passing score any longer. Many bloggers and training providers have guessed at what a passing score really is, trying to determine it from various factors. I’m not going to do that, I couldn’t support any number with data.

Back when I took my exam, they did have a published passing score. But I didn’t care what it was. Just as in school, I didn’t care what the passing score was for an exam or class. I think the goal should be to get everything right. Even if you don’t reach that goal, it’s the best way to get the most benefit from the process by learning the most.

Aim For Mastery

If I were taking the PMP exam again sometime soon, I’d want to get 95% or greater on practice exams on a consistent basis before sitting for the real thing. Or, forgetting about scores as a baseline, I’d want to be uber-confident because I know the PMI standard like the back of my hand. ?Because my goal is not passing; my goal is mastery.

That’s just my opinion, and the stance I recommend you take as well. It will push you towards excellence and mastery, not simply a passing score. The learning process, whether it be for a degree, certification, or just for fun and self-improvement, is dependent on how much effort you expend. ?The more you put in, the more you get out.

I welcome any comments with follow-up questions, or berating me for my opinion here. 🙂

Here are some excerpts from the PMP Handbook regarding the scoring if you are curious about some of the details.

PMP Handbook, page 17 - sourced August 10, 2011

PMP Handbook page 29 - sourced August 10, 2011