Four Steps to Recover from a PMP Exam Failure

I love helping people with questions about their project management careers.
I offer and recommend training to help you with your career coaching and general project management knowledge.
What happens if you fail to pass the PMP exam?
It’s not all Puppy Dogs and Rainbows
I have noticed that more people are contacting me after failing the PMP exam and asking for advice.
My guess is that people took the exam in a hurry to pass the August PMP exam changes. I was not advising against this.
They weren’t ready.
Failure at anything can be a major blow to your self-esteem. Let me share some tips on how to deal with it and move forward.
Step 1 – Mindset
“Our greatest glory does not consist in failing but in rising up when we fail. “-Ralph Waldo Emerson
First, stop beating yourself up. It might be a good idea for you to take a break from your studies and allow yourself to have some time and space to think.
I believe that failure is the best way to learn, provided you have the right mindset. Would you have ever succeeded if you tried everything?
“It is hard not to fail, but it’s worse to never have tried to succeed.” “-Theodore Roosevelt
I believe it’s healthy to see failure as something you should expect to fail every now and again. You should avoid it if possible.
It’s not worth beating yourself up over it after it happens.
Get up and get moving with your new insights.
“I have failed repeatedly in my entire life. That is why I succeed. “-Michael Jordan
Concentrate on the lessons learned and try to objectively evaluate what you could have done differently…more specifically, what your next time will be better.
This is the next step, assessment.
Step 2 – Assess
Once you have a clear view of the situation, it is time to ask some hard (but very useful!) questions.
Memorization vs Understanding
Do you feel that you really understand the concepts and are able to recall them easily? Or do you feel that you’re just memorizing what you’re doing?
You were listening to the PrepCast and studying. Did you ever find yourself asking questions such as “but what does it really mean?” or “I don’t understand, I need an explanation.” These types of questions should be asked all the time during study…and then you can go out and answer them.
You’ll discover that you will feel more confident and knowledgeable about the content if you are open to asking questions.
Once you reach that point, passing the exam will be easy because you are now pursuing mastery and not just passing.
Did you have any particular struggles or general difficulties?
Be honest. Did you not understand risk management or do you need to be more familiar with the concepts? What are your top areas of focus?
Was your preparation sufficient?
Please describe in detail what you have done so far to prepare ….how you have been using the materials. How confident were your knowledge (true understanding) of the concepts? This is not a question about how much you spent. I’ve seen people who spent thousands to get nothing, while others who spent less than a hundred were fully prepared for mastery and not just passing.
Is English your native language?
I’ve heard that the test can be very difficult for people who speak English as a second or third language. If you feel that the main reason you were having trouble with the exam was because of a language barrier, you can explore the root cause.