Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

How To Handle Your Actual PMP® Exam Day

What to Expect on Your PMP Exam DayYou have come this far and after weeks of study, you are now ready to take your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. You know you have prepared yourself physically and mentally and that you are ready to tackle the exam questions confidently. And that is the attitude needed to forge ahead - an attitude borne out of determination to pass this important exam, so positive that others can actually feel it from you.

But as in any endeavor, you will need to be ready for the actual battle - in this case, the PMP exam. The day before, you should have a good rest and eliminate any distractions. For instance, be sure that you take a day-off from your work on the day of the exam. The last thing you need is be concerned with issues regarding your job. Empty your mind of these kind of distractions for the exam. 

Here are some PMP® exam tips on how to handle your actual PMP exam day:

Wake up early

Rise early and have a good breakfast, avoiding anything unfamiliar, or any exotic food that would give you an upset stomach. (This actually happened to me and I was feeling quite ill throughout my 4-hour exam.)

Wear comfortable clothing on your PMP exam day

You don't know the temperature at the exam site so it is best to come prepared. Wear several layers of clothes that can easily be taken off in case it becomes warm enough for you, or you can bring a sweater or jacket just in case.

Bring your IDs

As a general rule, you must present at least two ID's to sign in. Bring your passport and Driver's License with identical information which means they have matching data such as your name, address and other information about you. Social Security ID's and work badges will not be accepted.

Be early on your PMP exam day

It is also a good idea to go to the exam site early in order for you to take in the location and adjust your mind and body to the actual examination. There is nothing like getting in tune with the surroundings before an exam to help you relax. Besides, being an early bird adds to your confidence.

Everything you need on your PMP exam day is provided

You will not be allowed to take anything inside the actual testing room. Everything you need for the exam is provided. You will be assigned to a locker for personal items like your wallet, cellphones, and your watch. Also put your bottled water and snacks for your break into the locker. Don't worry about a calculator or watch. You can use the computer-based calculator and tell the time from the computer you will be working on during the exam.


Before you actually start, take a little time to sit before your computer, breath deeply and absorb everything you see to help you relax. Find your rhythm before plunging in. Once you are ready, take the 5-minute guided tour to learn about the exam interface. I didn't take it and almost missed a few questions because I didn't fully understand it. Spending time on the guided tour will help you calm down and understand the interface. The tour does not count towards your exam time. Once you begin your exam, the clock starts and the four hours begin ticking. And it doesn't stop ticking should you take breaks. But a 5-10 minute break at around half-time is recommended.

Read each question carefully and understand them before answering

If you are not sure of  your answer, you can "mark" them and move on to the next question. Marking allows you to quickly find it again and come back later to check the answer. Many test takers also report that they may come across a question later on in the test that triggers a memory to correctly solve one of the questions they marked.

Don't panic

Do not panic when you come across series of difficult questions that you cannot answer. That happens to everyone. Mark the questions and move on. Let your subconscious work on them while you focus on other areas of the exam. Then come back and suddenly the answer seems obvious.

Ignore other examinees

Throughout the exam, you will notice a lot of people coming and going. Ignore them! These are examinees who take different exams with different durations.

You can see how important it is to be prepared for your exam day.  There is a lot to do before you actually sit down at the computer to take the test! So it’s a good idea to have as many things ready the night before as possible; it will make your morning calmer, more organized and put you in the proper frame of mind to pass your exam.

Hope you find these PMP exam tips useful! You can also watch this short video: What to Expect on Your PMP Exam Day

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