The exam has a duration of 3 hours (there is no additional reading time allowed), with up to an additional 5 minutes at the end of the exam to collate the papers.
There are sixteen questions in the examination paper and candidates are required to answer 10. If more than 10 questions are attempted, examiners will mark the first 10 provided and disregard any additional answers. Each question on the paper is worth 50 marks.
Answers must be written on only one side of the A4 paper provided. Answers must be written in pen (black or blue ink). Pencil is not accepted.
If there are any workings or errors on the exam paper that you do not wish to be marked, a clear line should be put through it.
The pass mark is 55% of the total available marks – i.e. 275 out of 500
We find that many candidates fall short because of their examination technique. The following advice is offered as a reminder of the points that candidates need to bear in mind.
Each question carries equal marks (50 marks per question) so therefore an equal amount of time should be spent on answering each question. It is common practice for the APM to split their questions into 5 elements, with each element worth 10 marks. In terms of time management this represents a clear indication of how you should be allocating your time.
Answering the questions
The questions in the PMQ exam use several verbs that request different levels of detail in candidates’ answers. The following guidance is provided to indicate the depth of response required in order to provide a satisfactory answer.
List & Describe: the typical styles for answering are;
A list of requisite items, followed by equivalent number of paragraphs or a number of paragraphs with embedded headers.
State: The typical style for answering this type of question is a coherent statement that answers the question as posed. This may be a phase or sentence.
Explain: the typical style for answering this type of question is a number of sentences or paragraphs providing a coherent explanation to the question posed.
Determine: the typical style for answering this type of question is a numeric value, calculation or formula.
Questions which include calculations require the candidate to include each formula used and to show their workings as well as the final answer. In all cases, the number of different points candidates are expected to make is explicit in each question.
How much should you write?
The APM are of belief that to cover a subject in enough detail to ensure a respectable mark you will “need about two well-spaced out pages”.
On the principle that the majority of questions have five elements worth 10 marks each the APM believe that to achieve a high score you will need to write a “meaty paragraph” for each part of the question. This will allow you to demonstrate in sufficient detail that you fully understand a topic.
Use short sentences and simple words. Avoid all use of jargon and acronyms. If you do use them, explain what they mean. Don’t keep writing. Each point you make should be a new paragraph and that means leaving 2 or 3 lines gap between the paragraphs. This stops you waffling on a about a single point, keeps you on track, and makes it easy to mark.