PMP Passing Score? Focus on the ECO for Success! Bonus: Four ways Master of Project Academy will be your Copilot to an Above Target PMP Passing Score!

9 min. read

If you’re preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, you’ve probably wondered about the magical “PMP passing score.” The truth is, there’s no single number! The PMP exam isn’t like a typical school test where you need a 60% or 70% to pass. The scoring is far more nuanced. But don’t worry! I’m here to guide you on what truly matters for success.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has kept the exact passing score a closely guarded secret since 2005. However, understanding the exam’s structure and focusing on thorough preparation can significantly increase your chances of success.

The Evolution of the PMP Passing Score

Historically, the PMP passing score was well-known. Until November 30, 2005, candidates needed to score 61%, or 106 correct answers out of 175 scorable questions, to pass the exam. In July 2005, PMI briefly raised the passing score to 81%, causing a significant drop in pass rates. This change was quickly reverted to 61% after a few days. Since then, PMI has stopped disclosing the exact passing score, making it a mystery to this day.

The Role of Psychometric Analysis

The PMP exam’s passing score is determined through psychometric analysis, a scientific method that ensures fairness by considering the difficulty of the questions each candidate faces. This means that the PMP passing score can vary depending on the specific set of questions you receive during the exam. For instance, if you encounter more difficult questions, you might need to score around 60-65% to pass, whereas for easier questions, the required score might be higher, around 70-75%2.

The Secret to PMP Success: It’s All About the ECO

One of the most common misconceptions about the PMP exam is that it is based solely on the PMBOK® Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and other reference books. While the PMBOK® Guide is an essential resource, the exam itself is structured around the PMP certification exam content outline (ECO). The ECO outlines the domains, tasks, and enablers that form the backbone of the exam.

PMI, who administers the exam, wants to assess your ability to apply project management concepts in real-world scenarios. That’s where the ECO becomes your ultimate roadmap.

What is the ECO?

The ECO is the blueprint for the PMP exam. It is provided by PMI and details the specific content areas and competencies tested on the PMP exam. It outlines the three main domains tested:

  1. People: Your skills in leading and managing project teams
  2. Process: Your ability to oversee project activities and workflows including the technical aspects of project management, including planning, executing, monitoring, and closing projects.
  3. Business Environment: Your understanding of the connection between projects and organizational strategy, ensuring that projects contribute to the broader goals of the business.

Within these domains, the ECO lists tasks (specific responsibilities of a project manager) and enablers or knowledge areas (illustrative examples of the work associated with each task). Understanding these elements is crucial for any candidate aiming to pass the PMP exam. Lastly, the ECO gives you the percentage of questions you can expect from each. Think of it as a checklist to guide your study plan.

How Does the ECO Differ from the PMBOK Guide?

The ECO is not the same as the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition, which is a comprehensive reference for project management knowledge. While the PMBOK Guide is an important resource, the ECO is what truly defines the exam content. The ECO encompasses a broader range of practices, including Agile and hybrid approaches, and it emphasizes practical application over theoretical knowledge.

Why Focusing on the ECO is Essential

Studying the ECO gives you several advantages:

  • Targeted Preparation: You’ll focus your study time on the most relevant topics, ensuring you don’t waste time on material unlikely to be tested.
  • Test-Taking Strategy: Understanding the ECO’s structure will help you anticipate the types of questions you’ll encounter and approach them with confidence.
  • Real-World Readiness: The ECO’s emphasis on application will prepare you to handle project management challenges effectively in your career.

Tips for Using the ECO

Preparing for the PMP Exam

Given the uncertainty around the exact passing score, the best strategy is to aim high in your preparation. Here are some practical tips to help you succeed:

  1. Understand the Question Types: The PMP exam includes various question types, such as multiple-choice with single or multiple responses, fill-in-the-blanks, and answer selection. Familiarize yourself with these formats to improve your confidence and accuracy.
  2. Practice with Master of Project Academy’s Mock Exams: Aim to score at least 70-75% on your practice exams. Some experts recommend targeting 80% to ensure a comfortable margin. Consistently scoring well in mock exams can be a good indicator of your readiness.
  3. Focus on the ECO: Align your study plan with the domains and tasks outlined in the ECO. This will ensure that your preparation is relevant and comprehensive.
  4. Manage Your Exam Time: The PMP exam is a four-hour test with 180 questions, including 15 pretest questions that do not count towards your final score. Practice managing your time effectively to avoid rushing through questions.
  5. Stay Calm and Confident: Psychological preparation is as important as academic preparation. Stay relaxed during the exam to avoid careless mistakes and maintain focus.


Don’t get fixated on a specific “PMP passing score.” Shift your focus to the ECO, your key to understanding the exam’s structure and content. By aligning your preparation with the ECO and Master of Project Academy’s PMP Instructor course or PMP Self-paced Course, you’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to not only pass the PMP exam but also excel in your project management career

Four Ways Master of Project Academy Helps PMP Aspirants Pass the Exam Above Target

Master of Project Academy offers several resources and strategies to help PMP aspirants pass the exam with an “Above Target” score. Here are 4 ways that MPA can help PMP aspirants exceed their target scores:

1. Comprehensive and Aligned Course Content

Master of Project Academy’s PMP training program is meticulously designed to align with the PMP certification exam content outline (ECO). The course covers all three domains—People, Process, and Business Environment—in depth, ensuring that candidates are well-versed in the tasks and enablers specified by PMI and maximize their chances of achieving a higher score. This alignment helps candidates focus on the right content and avoid common pitfalls associated with studying irrelevant or outdated material.

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100% FREE PMP® Pack

Let us send you links for our Free PMP Pack. Package includes:

- PMP Question Bank
- PMP Flash Cards
- PMP Prep Book Sample PDF
- Free PMP Overview Training
- PMP Cheat Sheets & more

Key Features:

  • Detailed Modules: Each module corresponds to a specific domain and is broken down into manageable sections that cover all necessary tasks and enablers. The training includes 300+ video sessions, downloadable resources, and lifetime access to materials, ensuring that candidates can prepare thoroughly at their own pace.
  • PMBOK® Guide Integration: The course content seamlessly integrates with the PMBOK® Guide, reinforcing key concepts and best practices.

2. Interactive Learning and Real-World Application

Understanding theoretical concepts is important, but being able to apply them in real-world scenarios is crucial for passing the PMP exam. Master of Project Academy emphasizes interactive learning and practical application through various methods:

Key Features:

  • Case Studies: Real-world scenarios that demonstrate how project management principles are applied in different industries.
  • Interactive Quizzes: Regular quizzes after each module to test comprehension and reinforce learning. This allows you to assess your preparedness, identify weak areas, and fine-tune your test-taking strategies, ultimately boosting your confidence and performance on the real exam.
  • Simulated Exams: Full-length practice exams that mimic the format and difficulty of the actual PMP exam, helping candidates build confidence and exam readiness. This includes 750+ practice questions and additional sample exams, which help candidates become familiar with the types of questions they will encounter and improve their test-taking strategies.
  • Our exclusive “Sandbox,” membership also includes real-like case studies so that you can retain your project management and leadership skills.

3. Flexible Learning Options

Master of Project Academy understands that PMP aspirants often have demanding schedules. To accommodate diverse needs, the academy offers flexible learning options that allow candidates to study at their own pace and convenience.

Key Features:

  • Self-Paced Online Courses: Access course materials anytime, anywhere, and progress at a pace that suits your learning style and schedule.
  • Instructor-Led Sessions: Live online classes led by experienced PMP-certified instructors for those who prefer a structured learning environment. MPA’s experienced PMP instructors provide valuable insights, tips, and tricks based on their extensive knowledge and expertise. They are readily available to answer your questions, clarify doubts, and offer personalized guidance, ensuring that you receive the support you need to excel.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Course materials are accessible on various devices, including smartphones and tablets, ensuring you can study on the go.

4. Supportive Learning Community and Resources

A supportive learning community can make a significant difference in your PMP exam preparation. Master of Project Academy provides access to a vibrant community of learners and a wealth of additional resources to enhance your study experience.

Key Features:

  • Discussion Forums: Engage with fellow successful PMPs and PMP candidates in Master of Project Academy’s LinkedIn Community Group, share insights, ask questions, and get support from peers.
  • Mentorship and Coaching: Choose MPA’s Instructor-led Pro Plan and get a one-hour One-on-One Session with a PMI-certified instructor who can provide guidance, answer questions, and offer personalized tips. You can also purchase this one-on-one coaching session separately. 
  • Resource Library: A rich repository of study aids, including cheat sheets, process charts, and study plans to help you organize your preparation effectively.

Achieving an above-target score on the PMP exam is a goal that many aspirants strive for, as it not only demonstrates mastery of project management principles but also boosts confidence and career prospects. Master of Project Academy offers a comprehensive suite of resources designed to help PMP candidates excel. 


Master of Project Academy offers a robust and well-rounded approach to PMP exam preparation, designed to help candidates achieve above-target scores. With comprehensive course content, interactive learning methods, flexible study options, and a supportive community, this academy equips PMP aspirants with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to excel in the exam and beyond. 

By leveraging these resources, PMP aspirants can build a strong foundation of knowledge, practice effectively, and approach the exam with confidence, increasing their chances of achieving an “Above Target” score.

Stay dedicated to your study plan, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the PMP exam and becoming an Elite Project Manager. We wish you success on your path to becoming a PMP! Your dedication and hard work will pay off as you achieve this prestigious certification. Remember, the journey to PMP certification is not just about passing an exam; it’s about developing the ability to deliver effective and tangible project results to your team and organization.