As with the PMP Passing Score, there is a confusion on what the passing score for the CAPM exam really is. PMI does not disclose it, however, contrary to the PMP exam, PMI does not claim that the passing score is unorthodox and varies by exam. In fact, the PMI explicitly states that examinees pass/fail the exam based on the number of questions they answer correctly. Similarly to the PMP, the number of questions to be successfully answered is not mentioned anywhere.
Reading the CAPM Handbook, the following can be learned:
- The exam has 150 question, of which 15 questions do not affect the examinee’s score. However, these 15 questions (also called pretest questions) are randomly placed in the exam and there’s no way to tell whether a question is a pretest or not.
- The exam has a percentage of questions allocated to each PMBOK chapter (1 through 12), but as the CAPM handbook states, examinees pass and fail based on the number of questions they answer correctly. This means that even if an examinee gives the wrong answers for a whole chapter, the exam can still be passed. Nevertheless, the examinee will be asked at the end of the exam to improve on some particular areas of Project Management (chapters in the PMBOK) where answers given were mostly wrong.
Clearly, the above removes any speculation about the PMI grading method for the CAPM exam: It is according to the number of correctly answered questions. Multiple sources converge that this number is 88 questions out of the 135, which means that the passing score is 65%, and since pretest questions cannot be identified, this means that the examinee has to correctly answer roughly 100 questions out of the 150 to be on the safe side.
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