Consider waiting if you fail your PMP Exam twice

December 2, 2010

Recently I asked Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, host of the PM Prepcast, what would be the best strategy should you fail the PMP exam a second time.

OK, I really hope that you will NEVER have to make use of this PMP Exam tip: If you fail your PMP Exam twice, then consider waiting a bit instead of taking it for a third time right away. Here’s why:Once your PMP Exam application is approved you are given one year and three attempts to pass. In case you fail all of these three attempts, you need to wait one year before filing another application to try again.

So… If we assume a worst case scenario of you failing the exam twice within ten months, this means that you now have two months and one more attempt to pass the exam left. But think about it: you are already nervous, studying to pass the exam has become a real chore and you may question your ability to pass the exam. Add to this your personal life, your work load that may come in the way of your studies and you can see that your third attempt might not go well either. And if you really fail a third time, then you’ll have to wait one year to re-apply.

So why not give yourself a clean slate?

Instead of going head first through this wall and failing for a third time, simply let your PMP Exam application expire, apply again and give yourself another year and 3 fresh attempts. Granted, doing this is more expensive (PMI members pay $275 for a re-examination vs. $405 for a full application), but it removes the pressure of having to cram for your 3rd attempt in the short time left as well as as the mandatory 1 year wait after the failed 3rd attempt.

Of course, this is a very personal choice and the timing of when you failed your first two attempts must be considered as well. If you take good measures to pass on your third attempt, or if your two failed attempts happen early on in your eligibility period then it might be better for you to go and try for a 3rd time right away. But if you’re unsure about your readiness or if time is running out, then letting your application expire is a valid choice.

Until Next Time,

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
The PM PrepCast

How’s that for a plan? Let us know your thoughts and leave a comment.

Cesar Abeid, PMP