How to Manage Your Time During the PMP® Exam?

The PMP® exam is for aspiring project managers. You need to read the PMBOK guide to prepare yourself for this test and become a qualified project manager. The exam doesn’t only test your knowledge, but it is used to evaluate your time management skills. You get a set of questions and a fixed deadline by which you must answer each question and submit your paper to the supervisors. That’s why it’s advisable that you take practice tests of the PMP exam before appearing for the main test, as this will give you a better understanding of how much time you should allot for each question and how much time it takes you to solve different sections.

Managing Time During the PMP Exam

When you walk into the exam hall, you must be prepared to solve the question paper within the allotted time. You must have a plan for how much time is needed for each question, when you should take a break and how long it should be, what to do if you are running out of time, etc. Let’s see how much time you get for PMP and how you should use it wisely.

First things first, each student is allowed 230 minutes for the exam. You also get 2 breaks of 10 minutes, which you can use after attempting 60 questions. There are a total of 180 questions. Ideally, you have 1.28 minutes for each question, but the sooner you get them, the better. Breaks can be avoided, but we’d advise you to use them, as they will refresh your mind. Besides, they are not included in the 230−minute exam time.

Like other exams, you should track your progress for the PMP after attempting a couple of questions. Check the exam (or the number of questions) and the total time left. This should give you a clear picture of how much time you have for each question and whether you will be able to finish the test on time. This should be your general approach for all types of exams, whether you are attempting a test of 10 or 100 questions.

Manage Time for Each Question

As a general rule of thumb, you should devote 1.28 minutes to each question. The best way to attempt a PMP exam is to do the easier ones first and save more time for the tricky ones. Just go over the question paper before you start answering questions. Attempt the ones that you are confident about and are easier to do, and use your first break once you are done with the first 60. There’s nothing wrong with saving the difficult questions for the end. If anything, it’s easier to finish your PMP exam that way, as more time means you can brainstorm many ideas.

Although 1.28 minutes are enough for a simple question, you might need more time for complex ones. So, the best thing you can do is categorize each question into the following types. Here are the three categories you can consider.

I know this − These don’t require a second guess. The easiest ones should go into this section, and you must not waste more time on this. These questions should be attempted first.

I have no clue − There’s no point in wasting time on questions that you are certain you don’t have correct answers for. If you have no clue about the question and all options look the same, your best bet is to guess their answers and get done with them quickly.

I have doubts − That’s where you should take more time. Suppose you are stuck with a question you had read somewhere, but you aren’t sure what the correct answer is. You have eliminated two options completely, and now you have doubts about whether the answer is the first or the second. There’s a good chance you will get the answer right if you take more time.

How to Attempt the PMP Exam?

Preparing for the PMP exam requires a clear understanding of project management and a better knowledge of the PMBOK guide. Consider this exam as a real−world challenge. Suppose you are working on a project with a tight deadline, and your stakeholders require you to finish it before the deadline without compromising on the quality of the work. How are you going to do it? Your exam is the first step to becoming a successful project manager.

Before you dig into a question, understand the question properly. In fact, you should spend more time understanding the question than thinking about the solution. By following this approach, you are bound to attempt the PMP exam confidently and perform your best without exceeding the deadline. Remember, if the time ends and there’s any question left, you can’t attempt it. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you attempt the questions you know before the complicated ones. The last thing you want is to lose marks on the questions you could have solved easily but missed because you ran out of time.

You can return to the questions you skipped once you have attempted the ones you know the answers to. Make sure you read the question paper thoroughly before you start attempting the questions. Another important thing to note is that once you have taken a break, you can’t go back to the questions you attempted before the break. For example, if you used your break time after 60 questions, that section will be over and submitted. You can’t make changes to the answers or re−read those questions.


The PMP® exam comes with a set of tricky questions that test your ability to perform as a project manager. It consists of project management methodologies, tools, technologies, and other concepts that you might need to perform better in the test. It’s important to read the PMBOK guide thoroughly before you appear for the test and follow the above tips for managing time properly.