About Forums PRM Exam Prep Forum PRM exams – how to master it?

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    Since I have been a constant reader of this forum during the last year or so, I would like to share my experience as well. I hope it can benefit the others as much as I did with all the advice I read over here. Usually I take any type of preparation for an examination seriously and consider that every single detail should be taken into account in your planning. So here it goes my feedback:

    To start with I got the results of my final exam (exam II) 2 weeks ago and it’s done! So I finally am a PRM!

    Why PRM?
    I decided to go for PRM after reading all the comparisons FRM vs. PRM done online and the main reason was its flexibility. You can do the exams in the sequence you chose. On top of that you basically chose when to do. So you can plan it at your convenience. The fact that the contents are broken down into 4 exams really helps to make it less heavy and less stressful and allows you to focus on the contents one by one.
    Additionally, the fact that it is somehow linked with the CFA institute (CFA members are waived to exam I) and II) reassures that the contents of PRMIA program are of the highest quality.

    Exam Sequence
    My order of exams was I, III, IV and II. Since I have studied risk management in University, have a good background in maths and have been working in risk management for about 5 years I decided to start with those that I consider the heaviest exams. Those that require more hours of study and those which once you clear them you feel that you will be able to make the PRM certification. If you don’t have much of a maths background I would probably start always with that one since the contents of exam I and III, to be well understood, would require good maths knowledge.

    Exam I
    I did about 3 months of preparation (weekends + a couple of hours during the week), with higher intensity. I read the materials once and at the second time took notes about all the relevant parts which basically let me going through the materials quicker when I needed to revise. (more details are given in the sections below).
    Curiously in my exam I got a question that I’ve seen only in the preparation for exam 3 (something about joint probability of default). I mean: I have seen the same exact question in KESDEEs for exam 3! This made me thinking that the questions in the exam not always are related to the materials of your exam…
    Used both riskprep and kesdee (both very useful).

    Exam II
    For this exam I studied about 2 months with average intensity.
    I remember them asking some optimization problem in the exam for which I haven’t trained the calculation steps but could guess it geometrically (took me about 10 minutes for that question),
    Used both riskprep and kesdee (both very useful).

    Exam III
    This is the hardest exam of all. I did about 3 months of preparation, as exam I, (weekends + a couple of hours during the week), with higher intensity. I read the materials once and at the second time took notes about all the relevant parts which basically let me going through the materials quicker when I needed to revise. (more details are given in the sections below).
    Used both riskprep and kesdee (both very useful).

    Exam IV
    Studied only 2 full days which I would say it was a risky approach. Read the flash notes that are available online in another thread in the forum and did the exams available from kesdee as well.
    The questions are mostly as expected from the main cases. The questions concerning the bylaws and rules can be quite tricky.

    Exams difficulty
    I found the exams normally very difficult. However, if you prepared intensively you normally would pass. Expect at least 50% of the questions to not have a direct answer or to make you at least think thrice. So when you leave the exam it’s normally difficult to predict what the result will be. Basically the exams are done to “test things that you haven’t really seen rather than testing things that you have studied and prepared well”. With this I mean that they can be really tricky.
    If I would rank the difficulty probably: III>I>IV>II.

    Diagnostic exams
    I did the preparation by doing both KESDEE and Riskprep exams (for exam IV only KESDEEs are available). I did about 4 or 5 rounds of each per exam until I was sure that
    If you have time and want to invest in it, definitely invest in both. Both are useful:
    • Risk Prep exams are extremely useful since they touch upon almost every single point of the materials. It helps a lot to learn basic concepts.
    • KESDEE prepares you to the exam type of questions. The wording, the topics, the way of thinking. In some cases the questions you get in the exam (2 or 3 questions) are very similar or equal to those you got in KESDEE.
    Using the calculator can also be tricky. I checked it online before doing the exams. But still is much quicker to use a regular calculator than to use the computer based calculator that they provide.

    Exams length
    I found the length of exams more than enough. Usually I finished the of questions within 1/3 of the time, so I had enough time to review those that I marked as “To review” and try to guess them.

    Number of exams per Exam Window
    To be well prepared I did (and recommend) to do one exam per exam window especially if you are working full time. The only exception could be exam IV which I combined in the same window as exam III since some topics could be related.
    Here’s how I did:
    August window – 1 exam (exam I)
    December window – 2 exams (III and IV)
    March window – 1 exam (II)

    Which formulas shall I memorize?
    Usually, while doing the diagnostic exams I took note of each formula that I had to use and wrote them down in a note paper. My logic was that the diagnostic exams would make me use all the formulas that are really needed. I guess this was right as I did not feel in the exam that I missed any formula. At the end of each exam preparation I normally got 3-4 pages of formulas to memorize (about 40 per exam).

    Exam Score
    I scored in all 4 exams within 70-75% which shows at least that my preparation methods were consistent across all exams. Not sure how the results of other candidates are distributed. Would be interesting to see some graphs! To know averages, etc. I mean, when you do such a certification it’s always interesting to get a comparison.

    Results notification
    The results are normally available on our PRMIA personal page well before you receive the email notifying you. So I basically kept logging into the webpage during the weeks after the exam and the email was sent only a couple of days later. For exam I and III it took about 2 weeks to see the results. Exam IV – 1 week and exam II – 1 day!

    Youtube Tutorials
    Mostly for exams I and III, I looked quite often at the tutorials from David Harper who has a lot of simple to follow videos and can be really helpful for you to get a good understanding.

    Well, I hope this helps some people out there. If I remember something else I’ll post. Good luck and thanks to Riskprep for the fantastic forum and the amount of questions that are available. Really helpful!


    Hi Pedro,

    Many thanks for the write up. It clarifies a lot of things that are still up in the air for me. I just passed 2, and am going to start studying for 1 and 4 for the next cycle. You mentioned some YouTube tutorials by David Harper. For some reason, I cannot seem to find them. Can you please post a link of an example video?



    Hi Osamu,

    I’m glad that this was useful for you.

    This is the link to one of his videos:


    Let me know if it works. You can google something like “David Harper Frm Bionic Turtle”. You can find really a lot of videos on Bionicle Turtle’s YouTube page.

    In case you need further info please don’t hesitate to come back to me.

    Good luck!



    Thank you very much for the info. I am getting around 70% in KESDEE’s PRM model exams for paper III. Is it good enough to attempt main exam?

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