What are the various types of questions in the PMP Exam?

Most of the questions will be case studies or situation-based questions. There will be a few with pure numbers, for example from procurement, risk, or cost knowledge areas. Some questions will be difficult, for which even expert project managers could select the wrong answer.


Some questions will seem to take more than two or three minutes during the exam. In that case, mark those questions for later review and move on to the next. Some questions will have vague or confusing choices. Some will have two or more choices that appear to be correct, in which case you need to select the best or most correct choice.


Below is a list of question types that you can expect in the exam.


1. Questions based on ITTO (input, tools and techniques, outputs

2. Questions that require a deep understanding of a Knowledge Area

3. Questions that seem to have two or more correct answers, where you need to select the “most correct” or best answer

4. Situational questions (Case Studies)

5. Questions with irrelevant information

6. Questions where you need to watch out for keywords such as not, always, never, should, must, etc.

7. Questions that require formulas

8. Questions that relate to multiple knowledge areas

9. Questions with terms that are not in the PMBOK

10. Questions where you need to know the difference between similar-sounding terms


Here is a question with terms that are not in the PMBOK!

Sample Question: Samuel Simpson is a project manager for a QA team and has selected 20 samples of the engineering drawings for manual inspection. This is referred to as:

A. Selective sampling

B. Optimized sampling

C. Random sampling

D. Statistical Sampling

The correct answer is D or statistical sampling. Statistical sampling is selecting a part of the population to verify quality. This is done because verifying quality for all the units (100% of the population) would be too expensive, time-consuming or unnecessary. See Page 303 of the PMBOK for more on statistical sampling. All the other terms in the choices are not in the PMBOK!

Here is a Questions where you need to know the difference between similar-sounding terms


Question: It is vital for project sponsors and stakeholders to know when a project would be completed. Various empirical and value-based measurements (rather than predictive measurements) can be used to estimate completion time. Which of the following is often the largest time duration, and cause for significant delay to the completion time?

A) Lead time

B) Reaction time

C) Response time

D) Cycle time

Correct Answer: A

Lead time is the total time to complete an item (story or requirement). It is measured from the time the work is added to the task list to the time it is completed. It includes all the waiting and development times. The reaction, response, and cycle times are smaller.

Reaction time is the time that a work item (user story or requirement) takes to be completely documented and placed on the task list (for example, the Ready or first column of a Kanban Board).

Response time is the amount of time that a work item waits after it is placed on the task list (Ready column of Kanban Board) and until work starts on it.

Cycle time is the amount of time required for development or processing.



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This guide is based on the PMBOK 6th Edition® and is meant for PMP® Exams conducted until December 31, 2020