PMI Exams vs Quiz Game Shows - How do they compare?

"If I just read this book 'n' times, will I pass the exam?"

"I have spent considerable amount of time going through the glossary definitions.  Am I prepared for the exam?"

"Why are these questions not straight (forward)?"

"This question appears to be out-of-syllabus!"

"None of the answer options match the definitions that I read from the book!"

"Will I get direct questions in the exam?"

These are some of the questions candidates preparing to write PMI exams, such as the PMP* or PMI-ACP have.  I am sure you would too if you were planning on taking up these certification exams.  I get asked about this all the time.

So, where do professional exams such as PMI's PMP or the newer PMI-ACP exams stand vis-à-vis the above statements?

Before answering the question, let us bring in a different perspective to this.  Have you ever watched a quiz game show, such as the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"?

Consider what capabilities the contestants need to possess to win the game show.  Would this be similar or different to the capabilities a candidate needs to have to take up and pass a professional exam?

Here is a brief list to outline the similarities and differences.  You can help add more to this list by leaving your comments below.

PMI Exams vs Quiz Game Shows - the Similarities

#PMI Exams (PMP, PMI-ACP, etc.)Quiz Game Shows
1 Time bound, which is generally fixed.
(PMP - 4 hours, PMI-ACP - 3 hours) 
Depending upon the game, it is either time bound and / or "whoever answers first"
2 Vast syllabus to cover apart from published standards and reference books Everything under the sun - pretty open!
3 Quick decision making required Having answers at the tip of the fingers helps in scoring
4 Difficult to succeed without adequate preparation Needs long and sustained practice
5 Training can help speed up understanding the concepts Training can help speed up memorizing the facts
6 Results obtained right after the exam Results generally published right after the game
7 Helps grow your career General knowledge helps overall


PMI Exams vs Quiz Game Shows - the Differences

#PMI Exams (PMP, PMI-ACP, etc.)Quiz Game Shows
1 Needs deep understanding of concepts. Memory plays much less of a role here.  Needs deep memory of facts, not concepts.
2 No past actual exam questions available for practice Past questions may be available
3 Logical analysis skills are required.  Can't succeed with just memorizing facts and reproducing them Can't succeed without a good and fast memory store.  Skills required are fast access to facts stored in memory.
4 You pay to take up the exam Generally no charge to take part
5 Need to meet minimum eligibility criteria May or may not have restrictions


Re-read the above table for differences (and pay particular attention to the first three items), for herein lies the answers to the questions posed at the start of this article.

Share your own experience in the comments sections below.


*PMP®: Project Management Professional;     PMI-ACP®: PMI Agile Certified Practitioner


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