Project Management

Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®)

From the The Big Time Blog
Managing any project successfully is all about Team Work combined with years of Accrued Expertise. It is an asset to have an educational background that compliments your field of expertise but "education" without "experience" is like an "arrow" without a "bow." You can never make a perfect shot with a temporary arrow unless you have a permanent bow called: "Life's Experience." Remember, you can never teach experience but you can always teach from experience.

About this Blog


Recent Posts

PMI 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book

Certifications Wall of Fame: Joke to Reality !

Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO II) Certification

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Construction

Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®)


I am glad to announce that I passed the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®) Exam on July 15, 2019 with Above Target in all domains and very proud to be one of the 713 members of this elite group of professionals.

As usual, I am happy to share my lessons learned with the community members hoping that future candidates will find value in them. 


PMI Resources: PMI Standard for Portfolio Management - 3rd Edition. The 4th Edition was issued last year but there was no announcement that the exam changed to reflect the new edition so I mainly thoroughly studied the 3rd edition and briefly went through the 4th edition - If you are a PMP and/or PgMP, the Portfolio Standard will be more than enough provided that you read it several times in details. You will be surprised, but every time you go through the standard, you will discover something new in between the lines. 

Exam Content Outline: It is important to go through it at least once to have an idea of the exam content and other details. 

Course: There is no course required as a pre-requisite for the application. However, it does not hurt to take a course if you feel the need to do so but I personally did it fully self-study. 

Application: The application was very lengthy and rigorous unlike any other PMI Certifications Applications (Except for PgMP). It took me a while to complete my application (A total of 16 Hours of work) - After submitting my application, I got initial approval in 10 days time, I paid the dues ($800) and the application went for Panel Review which took around 3 more weeks before receiving final approval. 

Study Time: It took me a bit more than a month to study. One month might seem light but I used to study 4 hours a day and 6 hours on weekends in addition to that I took a fews days off work to study extensively so it was more of a Bootcamp Personal Plan. At a normal pace, I would say 2 - 3 months (2 - 4 Hours / Day) should be reasonable. 

Simulation Exams: There aren't many resources out there in terms of simulation exams for PfMP so I only went through Rania Al-Mughrabi Questions Bank. There were useful for review only but not close to the real exam at all. 

Colleagues Advice: I connected with a few PfMP's who gave me solid advice and boosted my confidence a lot and I am very thankful for them. They are a good example of people who shares knowledge without boarders. 


I am going to talk about my personal exam experience (Without going into details or specific questions):

Level of Difficulty: The level of difficulty could be easily compared with PMP. In general, the questions were short in nature but I have to say they were very tricky and the answers were even trickier. I kept hearing that the exam is easy from people posting their personal experience but I assure you, it is not easy at all and you need to have an absolutely excellent and thorough grasp of every word in the standard.

Exam Questions (General): Most of the questions were situational (Short Questions) but very tricky. You need to understand the ITTO's, and which part of the output gets updated in every process and above all you need to have a deep understanding of all tools and techniques. It is worth mentioning that you will encounter around 10% questions from outside the standard related to PfMP, PgMP and PMP. 

Exam Depth: The exam tests your understanding of every single aspect of the standard and the portfolio management in general. It goes above and beyond the text book. 

Exam Language: The language of the questions and answers was moderate, You might end up reading the question and answers 3 times. Again, they were short (1 - 2 lines) but very confusing and the answers were even more confusing so ensure you understand everything, without memorizing and ensure you read every question in details. 

Exam Time: The timing was  than enough. I finished the exam in 3 Hours 10 Minutes and then took 50 Minutes to review all questions I marked for review. 

Elimination Strategy: Unlike other PMI exams, in many questions, it was not easy at all to eliminate answers. 

Exam Experience with Pearson Vue: To be honest, I was not as comfortable  with Pearson Vue as I was with Prometric. They had to take the palm prints of both hands and if you want to take a break, someone has to come log you out of your exam session, you have to give your palm print, go out, then palm print again, then they log you in and this is all time wasted at your expense. I find this a bit extreme considering that candidates who apply for exams like PfMP are professionals in managerial positions. I also find not having at least one break allowed for a 4 hours exam somehow unfair and in a way annoying. The purpose of the exam is to test your knowledge and experience, not to test your self control and stress level so I believe candidates should be allowed a 10 min break at the 2 hours mark. 

Good Luck to all future Aspirants !

Posted on: July 16, 2019 01:50 AM | Permalink

Comments (28)

Page: 1 2 next>

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
@Rami - Congratulations!!! thank you for sharing your experience.

@Mayte: Thank you and you are very welcome.

Congratulations! Rami. Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the learned lessons.

@Ashok, @Tiago: Thank you and you're welcome !

Nice work, Rami - good to see that you haven't finished collecting credentials yet!

@Kiron, Thank you my friend. Well, you can say I haven't finished seeking knowledge. I am what my colleagues call me "An Aggressive Knowledge Seeker". I love to combine experience with rich and deep knowledge and if credentials come with seeking knowledge then that's a plus. Learning never ends and we need to stay on top of things and up to date.

Someone once told me that its not important to reach the top, what's important is to stay there :-)

Congratulations! I'm preparing for my PgMP but your lesson learned is very helpful to me! Thank you and wish you all the best!

Congratulations and Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations. Nicely summed up. I have a question: Did you study standard for Program Management? I am a PMP and want to attempt PfMP straightway as I am more engaged in portfolios. Do you feel we can skip in-depth study of SPgM and can rely mostly on SPfM and PMBOK?

@Hai Luong: Thank you and Good Luck with your PgMP.

@Muhammad: You do not need to study the SPgM at all. SfPM will suffice but you have to understand every single detail in it. Good Luck !

Really impressive, Mate!

@Markus: Thanks my friend, appreciate it.

Rami, congratulations! This is a huge step. Wow!

Stephan, Thank You for your kind comment.

Page: 1 2 next>

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."

- W. C. Fields