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CFP Exam 101: Everything You Need to Know to Pass the CFP Test

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THE CFP EXAM IS FOR THE financial industry what the bar is for the legal industry. Being a certified financial planner (CFP) is largely considered the gold standard in financial planning. Of the approximately 270,000 financial advisors in the U.S., only about 83,000 are CFPs.

“If you’re serious about personal finance, your education and standing out from the masses, you want the CFP,” says Rianka Dorsainvil, a certified financial planner in the District of Columbia, and founder and president of Your Greatest Contribution. That said, becoming a CFP is no cake walk.

The certified financial planner exam is likely the hardest test you’ll ever take, Dorsainvil says. “Think of the hardest exam you took in college then times it by 10.”

Preparing to take the CFP exam begins months or even years before you actually sit to take the test. Many prospective financial planners begin preparing for the CFP exam, but not all complete it.

“We’ve done studies around when we lose people in the process,” says John Loper, a certified financial planner and the CFP Board’s managing director of professional practice. “We lose a lot of people after the first and second course, and I think it’s primarily because they underestimate the amount of time and dedication required to pursue the CFP exam.”

To successfully pass the CFP exam, you must get yourself in the proper mindset. That mindset begins with knowing what to expect from the CFP exam.


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