How the PMP Online Exam Works: A Direct Experience

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A Direct Experience

I introduce myself, I am Melina Di Lanno, I have a degree in CTF and I have been working for 10 years in the pharmaceutical multinational GSK dealing with the management of cross-products and multi-sites cross boards.

A stimulating, energetic, multicultural and… very rapid environment that has directed my interest and curiosity towards the world of traditional Project Management and also towards the Agile mindset.

This strong interest made me land in the world of PMI by exploring its most important globally recognized certification: PMP.

After following several PMP exam preparation courses in Belgium through my pharmaceutical company, I started the intense study and booked the exam.

I was supposed to take the exam on March 12th at an authorized Pearson center in Rome, but my complex, challenging path came together in an unexpected challenge in recent times: the global health emergency from Covid-19.

Everything was put on hold but, after numerous connections with many PMI representatives, the good news finally arrived: PMI allowed to take the PMP Online exam, from home "proctored".

I'll tell you my exam:

Before the exam I made an effort to be calm, carefree and above all serene and confident of having studied intensely.

Rich breakfast and off you go! 30 minutes before the start of the exam, I activated the "Begin exam" procedure, I deactivated all the applications from the PC, and from that moment a Proctor connected that spoke to me in English. Usually the visualization of the exam station is required, instead my Proctor did not. I carefully read the instructions on how to use the dashboard, calculator, how to mark the questions for later viewing and then ... the exam started and the 4 hour countdown started!

The examination took place in this way:

  • 89 Questions: analyzed in my case in 1h 45 min (it took too long)
  • 10 minute break
  • 111 Questions
  • I finished the exam after 3h 50min (in the second part I put the turbo)
  • Be aware of two separate exams: after the break, the first 89 questions will no longer be visible! Unless you decide to avoid the break.

In the second part of the exam the real countdown to the end starts and ... a series of conflicting emotions we begin to emerge: tiredness, tension and energies in decline as already partially spent in the first 89 questions; stress, because there is doubt as to how the first 89 questions that were no longer viewable went; anxiety when the last questions approach and the thought that that final click will immediately give you the positive or negative result of your exam; arrhythmia when the end button is clicked; joy when the word "Congratulations" appears.

The exam presented advantages and disadvantages:


  • comfort of being in your own home,
  • absence of relocation stress to go to an authorized center to take the exam


  • possible problems with the home internet connection
  • break possible only after the first 89 questions; no further breaks are allowed
  • the dashboard to consult is not the best (I recommend a preliminary tutorial)
  • not being able to review the first 89 questions already answered as there is no possibility to do so.

Fortunately I passed it with an excellent score, but I think the trick was to analyze the meaning of each question by applying it to my work context. As I reread the questions, I asked myself: "what happens in my job?". Better to avoid assiduously seeking the answer to your question in the PMBOK, be guided by your instincts and your common sense!

In addition, in my experience many additional ingredients have allowed the achievement of this intense and tough goal:

  • perseverance
  • commitment
  • passion
  • result orientation
  • All seasoned by the most important, by the CURIOSITY to never stop learning!

This ingredient gave me the opportunity to increase my networking, to establish new collaborations within the PMI team.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my pharmaceutical multinational that supported me in this mission and that continues to show me esteem, appreciation and admiration (as we learned in the " Develop Team " section, these are the main ingredients to make a resource motivated!).

Now let's get ready for the next goal: the PMI-ACP certification to be more and more ready for an AGILE world!