To pass your PRINCE2 Foundation exam with flying colours and prove your fabulous knowledge of the PRINCE2 methodology, your revision and exam preparation must be approached in the right way.If you like this article, please link to this page, or share it on social media.
Exam pass ratesIn the UK, the national average PRINCE2 Foundation exam pass rate is 97%. You don’t want to be one of the unlucky 3%. In addition, candidates who score highly on the Foundation exam are also likely to do better on the harder Practitioner exam.In fact you shouldn’t worry too much if you either attend a classroom PRINCE2 Foundation course or study PRINCE2 Foundation online because our exam pass rate is over 99% for both.PRINCE2 Foundation exam tip - aim for the highest mark you can on your PRINCE2 Foundation exam by using this guide to help you.
Topics to knowThe PRINCE2 Foundation exam assesses whether your knowledge and understanding of the method is sufficient to be able to work effectively with, or as a member of, a project management team working within an environment supporting PRINCE2.The exam addresses each of the following areas:
- Overview of PRINCE2
- Benefits of PRINCE2
- Project management team roles
- Management products
Question typesThe PRINCE2 Foundation exam is made up of 60 multiple-choice questions, which you must complete in 1 hour. All the questions are contained within a question booklet.The pass mark is 55% so you need to score at least 33 correct answers to pass. The exam is closed book, which means that you cannot take the manual or any other printed or electronic materials with you into the examination room.The exam contains 3 types of question style: ‘classic’, ‘list’ and ‘missing word’. The questions are always in multiple-choice format, so you simply need to pick one answer out of the four options given. There are no trick questions on the exam paper and each question only has one correct answer.
‘Classic’ style questionsThis is the style of question which you will have answered many times before. For example:Q. In which of the following processes does the project board choose a suitable risk response?
- Controlling a stage
- Managing a stage boundary
- Directing a project
- Starting up a project
‘List’ style questionsFor example:Q. Which of the following tasks form part of the product-based planning method?
- i. Writing the product descriptions
- ii. Creating a product flow diagram
- iii. Designing the plan
- iv. Creating the product breakdown structure
- (i), (ii) and (iii)
- (ii), (iii) and (iv)
- (i), (ii) and (iv)
- (i), (iii) and (iv)
‘Missing word’ style questionsFor example:Identify the missing word in the following sentence.A purpose of the [ ? ] theme is to control any unacceptable deviations from the project's objectives.
Exam practiceThe most common revision method is to practice those exam questions! As the questions are compiled from a limited question bank, the more practice questions you attempt, the more prepared you will be. The PRINCE2 exam board provides 2 sample PRINCE2 Foundation exam papers to PRINCE2 Accredited Training Organisations, so if you have studied using an accredited training course, these should be provided to you.PRINCE2 Foundation exam tip - practicing sample exam papers helps refine your exam technique. To try a sample Foundation exam, click the button below.
ParaphrasingThere will be a considerable number of questions which ask you the purpose of a management product, a theme or a process. Since there’s 26 products, and 7 themes and processes, that’s 40 purposes you need to remember. That can be too many things. You need some trusted methods to help you remember so try paraphrasing.Go to Appendix A in the PRINCE2 manual and one by one, read the purpose of each of the 26 management products. To be clear – that’s subsection A1.1, A2.1, A3.1 etc. If you don’t understand it, read it again. Then write down in your own words the meaning of the product. Try to write it in less than 10 words.PRINCE2 Foundation exam tip - paraphrasing forces your brain to engage with the subject matter which helps with longer-lasting memory retention, and deeper learning.Try paraphrasing the purposes of the 7 themes and 7 processes too.
Mind-mapsVisual revision tools, such as mind-maps or flow charts can also help. Creating these for yourself will aid your understanding of PRINCE2, and ultimately improve your chances of exam success. Try to create one mind-map for each theme and one for each process.After you’ve created your own mind-maps you can compare them against the ones we produced inside our themes and processes ebooks.PRINCE2 Foundation exam tip - drawing mind-maps is a great way to aid your understanding of PRINCE2.
Exam timingThere are three things to keep in mind during the PRINCE2 Foundation exam – timing, question complexity and making sure to answer every question.Timing is the most important aspect to keep in mind. The exam consists of 60 questions, and there are 60 minutes to answer them. This only allows 1 minute per question. When faced with this small time-frame, it’s best to have a good strategy during the exam which maximizes your chances of scoring highly. The strategy we recommend is the three-pass approach.
The three-pass approachPass 1Go through the entire question paper from start to finish and answer those questions which you feel confident about which only take a few seconds to answer. Mark your answer on the answer sheet and mark your question paper so show you have answered the question. Leave any questions you are unsure about. Often at the end of this first pass, you might only have spent 15-20 minutes and possibly answered 30-40% of the questions.
Pass 2Go through the unanswered questions, this time spending 10-15 seconds reading each one. If you don’t understand what it is asking you, read it one more time. If you think you know the answer, mark the answer sheet with your answers and your question paper to show you have answered the question.If you don’t know the answer, skip it and move to the next question. At the end of this pass you will only be left with those questions which take a long time to answer, or you are still not sure about.Pass 3Re-read the remaining questions – the ones you haven’t yet answered. When answering a question, by a process of elimination, discount those options which you think are definitely wrong. Cross them out on the question booklet. If you do this, you can often eliminate 2 options straightaway which will leave you with 2 options left to choose from. Read the question and the 2 remaining options one more time and if you really cannot decide guess.Whatever you do, make sure that one option has been selected on your answer sheet for all 60 questions in the question booklet.
- Apply the three-pass approach to maximize your chances of passing.
- Do NOT spend too long on complex questions - skip them and answer them last.
- Don’t over-analyze questions.
- Think carefully before changing answers. Your initial response is often correct.
- Only select one option for each question and ensure you have filled in your answers correctly.
Exam dayOn the day of the exam, you must bring:
- Photo ID (such as a passport or driving license) otherwise you cannot sit the exam.
- Pencil and eraser – for answering those questions!
- Water – ensure you have water to drink during the exam. Studies show that students who drink water during exams, on average score 4.8% higher marks than students who don’t drink water.