Successful completion of the CFP® Certification Exam is a major milestone in any financial advisor's career. Achieving this designation signifies to fellow professionals and clients that you have mastered both the theory and application of financial planning.

If you have yet to complete the required educational coursework, The American College of Financial Services (The College) offers a comprehensive training program with industry-leading pass rates. If you’ve already completed the prerequisite coursework for the CFP® certification, The College can help you prepare for the next CFP® Certification Exam with review courses. To get you ready for it, here is a brief overview of the exam content, its format, and (most importantly) how The College can help you earn your CFP® certification on the first try.

Understanding and preparing for the CFP® Certification Exam

Exam Topics

The CFP® Certification Exam covers eight major topics with a weighted breakdown as follows:

  • 6 percent of questions relate to Education Planning
  • 7 percent of the test is comprised of Professional Conduct and Regulation questions
  • 12 percent of the exam covers Risk Management and Insurance Planning
  • 12 percent of the questions involve Tax Planning
  • 12 percent of the exam includes Estate Planning questions
  • 17 percent of the exam is dedicated to General Financial Planning Principles
  • 17 percent of the questions focus on Investment Planning
  • 17 percent of the exam is devoted to Retirement Savings Income Planning

Test Structure

Offered in March, July, and November, the CFP® exam consists of two, 3-hour testing sessions. Candidates are given a 40-minute break between sessions. Computer-based, the exam must be taken at a Prometric testing location.

The actual test is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions that includes a mix of individual questions and question sets that require you to analyze either short scenarios or lengthier case histories. Aside from needing to complete the exam within six hours, CFP® candidates test at their own pace and receive preliminary pass or fail results immediately after the final question is answered via the computer-based testing system. Results verified by the CFP® Board may take up to three weeks to receive.

How Can The College Help You?

The American College of Financial Services offers two options to assess your CFP®  knowledge. The first option is a CFP® Certification Review course, that is conducted live, in-person over a four-day block; another review option is a six-week live webinar class, held twice a week.

Each webinar course focuses on financial planning learning objectives, case study reviews, and test-taking methodology. You receive 1,000 pre-work questions to assess learning objectives knowledge when you register, along with access to all of The College's CFP® certification training materials.

Once you’ve completed the full educational prerequisite curriculum and courses through a CFP® board-approved organization like The American College of Financial Services, you can go the extra mile of preparation for the CFP® Certification Exam by taking our review course. If you opt for the live, onsite review, you’ll spend two and a half days with a professor intensively reviewing key concepts and preparing for your exam. During the classes, you'll receive study outlines and slides, 1,000 domain-based questions, and 200 questions encompassing case studies and item sets. After the course, students will receive daily CFP® questions and a two-hour intensive web review the weekend before the exam.

By offering multiple review options, The College equips serious CFP® candidates with powerful steps for final preparation before the exam. To find out more about how The College can help, read through our guide, 6 Ways An Advanced Financial Designation Helps Grow Your Practice.

Want to grow your practice? Take the first step with a financial advisor designation. Download your guide.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP (with flame logo)® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP® Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. The American College of Financial Services does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with flame logo)® certification marks. CFP® certification is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience, and examination requirements.

 


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