Tips for Passing the Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® Exam

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The Project Management Institute – Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® certification is geared toward project risk managers. Obtaining this certification shows that you can describe and apply the principles and ITTO’s of Risk Management. You will need to study Chapter 11 of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Practice Standard for Risk Management and as well as other sources to be ready for the exam.




As a trainer for PMI-RMP certification, I will recommend the following tips to help you study and pass the PMI-RMP:

1.       Know the five domains of risk management. The PMI-RMP has 170 questions; 150 are scored and the others are pretest questions. The exam is split among PMI’s Five Domains of Risk Management, which are:

  • Risk Strategy and Planning: 19-20 percent. Concerns tasks and processes for selecting   and developing risk management procedures and tools, producing the risk management plan, and setting procedures for evaluating risks and updating the risk management plan. Be familiar with the parts of the risk management plan, especially its inputs.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: 19-20 percent. Activities related to getting stakeholders and project team members on board with risk management. These tasks are important to develop a team-wide, and even organization-wide, commitment to risk management. Be familiar with risk communication procedures, enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets, and risk tolerance evaluation.
  • Risk Process Facilitation: 25-28 percent. Activities related to executing the risk management strategy. Be familiar with qualitative and quantitative risk analysis tools and techniques, estimating probability and impact, and developing contingency reserves.
  • Risk Monitoring and Reporting: 19-20 percent. Activities related to evaluating risk response against data gathered, updating stakeholders and the project team on risks, and continuously improving risk management. Be familiar with data gathering and management techniques and communications management.
  • Perform Specialized Risk Analyses: 14-16 percent. Activities related to advanced risk identification, analysis, and tools and techniques. Be familiar with statistics, especially concerning interpreting quantitative and qualitative data, and with building representative risk models.

For more on these, review the exam outline, handbook, and eligibility guidelines at PMI’s RMP home page.

 2.       Be familiar with both quantitative and qualitative risk techniques. Quantitative risk techniques to study include sensitivity analysis, expected monetary value (EMV), Monte Carlo simulation, Latin Hypercube simulation, integrated cost/schedule, multi-factor regression analysis, and bowtie analysis. Qualitative risk techniques include probability-impact analysis and scenario planning. Don’t forget to perform analysis for both threats and opportunities. Responding to threats can decrease the chance of project failure, but being able to respond to opportunities can help increase the project’s value.

3.       Start with the PMBOK® Guide but be prepared to move beyond it. Chapter 11 of the PMBOK® Guide deals with Project Risk Management and is an excellent resource for each of the items that is on the exam. It will not be enough just to read Chapter 11, though; you will need to understand and be very familiar with each of the processes and its inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. Additional chapters from the PMBOK® Guide that will be helpful in your study include Stakeholder Management (Chapter 13), Communication Management (Chapter 9) Human Resource Management (Chapter 10) Quality Management (Chapter 8) and Procurement Management (Chapter 12).

Likewise, be prepared to read additional sources to supplement the PMBOK® Guide. Recommended supplemental texts include:

4.       Be familiar with Stakeholder analysis as it relates to risk management. This includes developing a sense of each stakeholder’s risk attitude. Remember that a risk attitude is composed of three parts:

  • Risk attitude, or how much risk one is willing to take to get a certain reward
  • Risk tolerance, or how much risk one is willing to withstand
  • Risk threshold, or the point above which further risk is unacceptable.

Knowing how each stakeholder approaches risk, along with studying historical information to gauge the organization’s risk approach, are both key inputs to establishing an appropriate risk threshold for the project.

5.       Be familiar with communication procedures related to risk management. The key points to remember here are to consider both communication to involve stakeholders in defining the risk management strategy and communications to update stakeholders on risks. Both are important. Stakeholders who help define project risks are likely to be more engaged on the project and will be more eager to hear updates. Make sure that stakeholders and the project team receive regular updates in consistent format on how project risks are progressing.

6.       Apply the test-taking approach of taking the exam in rounds. Like many other certification exams, it can be useful to approach the PMI-RMP exam in several rounds. First, identify and answer the questions with which you are most confident and mark the rest for review. Second, take about a minute or two per question to analyze each remaining question and answer the ones you can after this time. Then, mark the remaining questions for review again for a third round in which you approach them in-depth, taking between three to five minutes per question. If any are left after this process, take a guess based on your instinct. The purpose of this approach is to identify the questions that need more of your time before being answered. It is important that you do not leave any questions unanswered because a blank response is 100 percent likely to be wrong and you are not further penalized for wrong answers.


Note: PMI, PMP, and PMBOK Guide are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc


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