How Difficult is the CFP Exam | Kaplan Financial Education

In 2020, just over 7,000 individuals sat for the CFP® examination in the March, July/September, and November exam windows combined. If you are planning to sit for the CFP® certification exam in the near future, you ’ re probably wondering how big of a challenge you ’ re about to face. We ’ ve put together this resource as an across-the-board answer informant for your questions about the difficulty of the CFP® examination … and how to improve your odds of success. CFP® Exam Pass Rate The overall pass rate for the CFP® examination in 2020 was 63 %. That happen rate has remained relatively consistent since CFP Board introduced a new examination blueprint prior to the March 2016 CFP® examination. The new blueprint was based on the 8 Principal Knowledge Topics that were defined in CFP Board ’ s 2015 Job Task Analysis Study.

CFP® Exam Topics

The topics tested on the CFP® examination are basically CFP Board ’ s 8 Principal Knowledge Topic Categories. Every motion you face will directly tie back to one of these eight topics. According to CFP Board, the topic categories, and their weight on the examination, can be broken down as follows :

Professional Conduct and Regulation 7%
General Principles of Financial Planning 17%
Education Planning 6%
Risk Management and Insurance Planning 12%
Investment Planning 17%
Tax Planning 12%
Retirement Savings and Income Planning 17%
Estate Planning 12%

As you can see, there ’ s no single subject that dominates the CFP® examination course of study. The trial is rightfully designed to assess your understanding across all of the Principle Knowledge Topic Categories. But with three of the topics, at 17 % each, jointly making up over 50 % of the examination, it is necessity you have a firm grip on those three topics to be successful. In addition, the examination contains two case studies that comprise 20 % of the 170 multiple-choice questions.

CFP® Exam Study Tips—How to Increase Your Odds of Success

The CFP® examination is not easy. It requires a significant investment of time to be successful. But most of the meter, failure on the exam is the solution of poor readiness. Investing in exam preparation is a way to avoid that. In addition, these tips will help you develop the cognition and confidence necessity to pass the CFP ® examination .

  • Put in the study time: CFP Board says candidates should spend at least 250 hours preparing studying. Don’t take this suggestion lightly. You have a lot of material to cover. Starting early will help ensure you leave yourself
    enough time to master it.
  • Don’t rely on cramming: Candidates who do not manage to dedicate enough time to prepare for the exam might be tempted to resort to cramming. Time and time again, it’s been proven that the best last minute exam prep activities
    are light review and a good night’s sleep. Cramming is not in the recipe for CFP® exam success.
  • Develop and follow a study plan: To ensure you dedicate yourself to proper preparation for the exam, we recommend developing and following a study plan. This will help you spread the curriculum over the time you have available to
    study and game plan to ensure you are giving the right amount of focus to the right topics.
  • Learn how to apply your knowledge to real life scenarios: If you are relying on memorization of vocabulary to get through the CFP® exam with a passing score, you’re going to be in for an unpleasant surprise. It’s
    not enough to be able to recall definitions. The CFP® exam tests your ability to perform the tasks expected of someone who holds the credential. So you need to know how to apply what you know to scenarios you will actually encounter
    when serving clients.
  • Practice, practice, practice: There is no better way to build your confidence ahead of the CFP® exam than by doing practice questions. This type of practice helps you truly assess your comprehension of critical concepts,
    identify and address weaknesses, and get comfortable answering the kinds of questions you’ll face on exam day.


Ensure you are prepared for exam day with the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company’s CFP® exam prep review. Get the expert instruction and education you need to pass the exam with confidence. 

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Category : Finance

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