The CFP exam is undoubtedly the toughest and most challenging exam in the financial industry. I was passionate about studying finance and solving people’s financial problems. After my graduation, I decided to give the CFP exam. I could not clear the exam in my first attempt, and I used my knowledge to understand where I failed. I have cleared the CFP exam in my second attempt, and this has opened doors for my future.
Here I am giving you some helpful tips on passing the CFP exam that may prove useful to you.
1. Choose a good review course
First, if you feel that no one is there to guide you or you do not know where to start, the best option is to select a good CFP review course. These courses will help you narrow down the important topics and weightage allotted to each topic in the exam. I enrolled in one of the best review courses – CFP Prep by Achieve. It has 1900+ CFP questions and it helped in understanding the topics where I should be spending more time before the test. This helped me to secure optimal marks in the Certified Financial Planner Exam..
2. Making Notes
I already had a habit of creating hand-written notes, which helped me a lot to clear the exam. So, whenever I wanted to remember any formulas, I would write them down in the notebook for future reference. You can do this in the exam by writing the important formulas just before sitting in front of the computer. This would free up your brain so that you can concentrate on the question at hand.
3. Focus on Your weakness
Most CFP aspirants focus on giving practice tests before giving the exam, but I have seen that they do not analyze those tests afterward. Yes, I know that it may feel tempting to continue answering the easy questions again and again in the practice test because it boosts confidence, but then you lose all the purpose for the practice test. My review course of CFP Prep by Achieve analyzed all the practice questions and indicated where I lagged. This helped me pinpoint the weaker areas and work on them for a better score. I would go back to the concepts again and would solve the questions on that weak topic until I mastered the concepts.
4. Practice Early
I cleared the exam in the second attempt. I did not start practicing questions until a month before the exam in my first attempt. But by then, I was too late because my low scores in the practice test dropped my confidence, and I left the CFP practice questions afterward. I would strongly suggest every CFP aspirant to start practicing from first day of their preparation.
5. Track your progress
My CFP review course provided me with daily practice questions. After solving the questions, it would provide me ranks compared to my peers who were giving the same daily tests. I kept a notebook where I maintained all my ranks. From a rank of 5000 three months before the exam, I managed to start getting in 100s just a few weeks before the CFP exam. This enhanced my confidence before the exam.
6. Spending Time on Client’s Case-Studies
The CFP exam is all about putting the concepts into practice. I practiced from my CFP review course by Achieve to study the type of case studies involved. I tried to understand the individuals’ financial stories. By really understanding the different pieces of the client’s story and regular practice, it helps in understanding what parts or info is important. 7. Review the CFP board’s code of ethics
To ace the CFP questions, it is important that you answer the questions through the lens of ethics and standard of conduct. Therefore, you should know the CFP Board Code and Standards. I read and revised the code every single day, three weeks before the exam, to ensure that I answered in line with their terms.
8. Pace Yourself
The exam is for six hours in two sessions with a break in between. I decided that I would have to build the endurance and approach to power the tough two sessions. Also, since the CFP syllabus is so vast and expansive, I needed to create a good timetable ready to keep myself organized. You can’t take the exam with the ‘sprinter’s mentality.’ The breadth and length of the exam are so expansive that I focused on regular practice-keeping the marathoner’s mentality alive.
9. Focusing on Things Which I Could Control
You must have a positive mindset before the exam. I focused on things I could control and didn’t harper on things that were mentally taxing. Be prepared, practice and revise questions, and leave the noise out.. Ensure that all questions are answered in a timely manner and leave ample time to revise them afterward.
10. Do not Doubt Your Efforts
In my first attempt, I was a bag of nerves. I was full of self-doubt and thought that I would fail. I failed. In my second attempt, though I was nervous, I didn’t let it create havoc on my system. I answered all the case studies and never second guess myself. If I didn’t know the answer, I eliminated the wrong choices, but I did not mark the question, just “because I felt it was right.”
These are the tips which if you follow could help you to ace the CFP exam. I diligently followed these and hope it brings value to your CFP prep too.
All the Best!