PMP® Exam Tip #29: What’s the Bottom Line?

Home The Savvy PM Blog PMP® Exam Tip #29: What’s the Bottom Line?

102 “Cut to the chase.”      “What’s your point?”      “What’s the bottom line?”

Has your discussion ever been cut short with one of the previous comments?  Maybe you are describing a situation that needs a decision – and there is a lot of detail!  It can take time to completely paint the picture for a manager or steering committee that is being asked for a decision.  Sometimes there is not enough time for a full discourse, so you are prompted to get to the question at hand.

Because time is limited in taking the PMP® Exam, you should also get to the bottom line more quickly.  Try this technique as you perform practice quizzes for exam preparation:  Read the last sentence of the question paragraph first.

OK, let’s practice…   Read the following example question, then think of the correct answer:

Question: George has a project where task A is dependent on the project start and has a duration of 3. Task B is dependent on start and has a duration of 5.  Task C is dependent on A and has a duration of 4.  Task D is dependent on B and has a duration of 6, and the finish is dependent on tasks C and D.  George is using precedence diagramming method to help create the project schedule baseline.  George’s project schedule variance is managed using which process?


  1. Estimate activity durations
  2. Determine budget
  3. Control schedule
  4. Develop schedule

I almost feel guilty (but I don’t) by making you read that long project story and then posing a simple question at the end.  Is this similar to something that you might see on the real PMP® Exam?  If you do see this type of question, you’ll have a better appreciation for this exam tip!      By the way, the best answer is #3 – Control Schedule.

Question writers are notorious for placing more information in the body of the question than is necessary to answer the question.  If you read the last sentence first – or the question that is being posed – then when you read the full question paragraph, you can do so with better comprehension.  You will be more apt to pick up on the important and pertinent points in the question;  you can skip over most of the “fluff” that has no bearing on answering the question correctly.

This technique will improve your test-taking productivity.  Running out of exam time is a fear that adds to test-taking anxiety.  Be efficient at reading exam questions by starting at the bottom line.

“What’s the bottom line?”  The question being asked.