Skip to main content

CFP Board wants you to feel comfortable and ready to take the CFP® exam. By preparing ahead now, you'll be better positioned for a successful, positive exam experience. To help you do that, we've provided details on everything from what to bring to how to check in.

CFP Board's exam staff walks you through exam day. Watch our webinar, What to Expect on Exam Day.

On exam day, you will arrive at your testing center and be greeted by the Test Center Administrator. You'll be asked to:

  1. Present a valid, unexpired government-issued, photo ID.
  2. Offer a fingerprint, take a photo and undergo a brief body scan.
  3. Store your belongings while you are taking the test, with a locker and key provided by the test center.

The Test Center Administrator will guide you through rules and regulations of the test center, review your calculator, and provide a scratch paper booklet for use during the exam. They will also show you to your test seat when you are ready.

What to Bring to the Exam  Check-In Process  Exam Procedures & Candidate Conduct

Make sure to bring:

  1. A valid, unexpired government-issued photo ID
  2. One or more battery-powered, non-programmable, dedicated financial function calculator(s)

Read more about what to bring to the exam and prohibited items.

more about what to bring

The check-in process at the testing center verifies your identity and ensures that nothing is taken into the testing room that could jeopardize the security of the exam.

Read more about verification, locker storage, and your testing workstation.

more about Check-in details

Once you are seated, you can progress through the exam at your own pace. You are expected to conduct yourself in an ethical manner before, during and after the CFP® Certification Examination.

Read more about timing, breaks, the Exam Pledge, and the Pathway to CFP® Certification Agreement.

More about procedures & conduct


Exam Preparation Checklist

As you prepare for exam day, be sure to review our Exam Preparation Checklist and explore all Exam Prep Resources.

Exam Day Policies

You need bring both of these items to the exam site:

  1. A valid, unexpired government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, exactly matching the name under which you registered (a nickname, such as Catherine to Cathy or James to Jim is acceptable)
  2. One or more battery-powered, non-programmable, dedicated financial function calculator(s) (See Calculator Policy)

While testing is in session, you are prohibited from accessing electronic devices other than an acceptable calculator. You will be able to store your electronic devices in your locker but will NOT be able to access them until testing is fully completed.

You may also bring food, water, and notes. However, you may only bring a clear bottle of water with all labels removed into the exam room. You may store them in your locker and can only use them during your scheduled 40-minute break.

You will need a dedicated financial calculator to help with exam questions that may require calculations of the time value of money, unequal periodic cash flows and internal rate of return (IRR).

View approved calculators here.

Calculators will be inspected by the Test Center Administrator before the start of the exam. You will be required to clear your financial calculator's memory prior to each session of the exam. (Please do not ask Test Center Administrators employed by Prometric to clear your calculator's memory.) It is your responsibility to revert your calculator back to your desired setting(s) once the calculator’s memory has been cleared.

If your calculator has notes and/or formulas printed on the back, which includes pull-out cards or contains other supplemental material, you must remove or mask this information with solid-color tape before entering the testing room.

You may bring in extra loose batteries, without packaging, to the testing room.

The check-in process at the testing center verifies your identity and ensures that nothing is taken into the testing room that could potentially jeopardize the security of the exam.

As part of the check-in process, you will be provided with a locker key and instructed to leave all personal belongings in your assigned locker.

Once your personal items are secured, the check-in process continues with the verification of valid, government issued, photo ID, and electronic capture of fingerprints and photograph. A scan of your fingerprints is captured every time you enter or leave the exam room.

Prior to entering the exam room, you will be asked to verify you have nothing in your pockets and the Test Center Administrator will conduct a brief body scan using a portable wand (much like TSA at the airport). Calculators are inspected according to our calculator policy, and memory is cleared before entering the exam room.

After You Check In

When you've finished the check-in process, the Test Center Administrator will show you to your assigned workstation.

A packet of scratch paper will be provided for your use during the exam. And noise cancelling headphones will be available, upon request from the Test Center Administrator. Any notes that you make will be collected and are not permitted to leave the exam room.

Security of the exam is vital and protected by active proctoring and monitoring of video camera surveillance. The digital video recordings are retained until after exam results are official.

Once you're seated, you may take the exam at your own pace.

Before you see the first exam question, you will be required to agree that you understand that you are prohibited from sharing exam questions with any entity other than CFP Board. Revealing questions may result in disciplinary action including, but not limited to, monetary restitution, being permanently barred from taking any CFP Board exam or prosecution under copyright law.

If any individual or entity (including a review course provider or academic program) asks you to reveal contents of the exam, please report the incident to CFP Board.

Timing of the exam begins with the first exam question.

Exam Schedule & Break

Exam Structure


Exam Sections

2 minutes

Non-disclosure agreement

5 minutes


180 minutes

Subsection 1a (43 items)

Optional Unscheduled Break

Subsection 1b (42 items)

40 minutes

Scheduled Break

180 minutes

Subsection 2a (43 items)

Optional Unscheduled Break

Subsection 2b (42 items)

5 minutes


The CFP® Examination consists of a total 170 multiple-choice questions, including stand-alone questions and sets of questions associated with short scenarios or more lengthy case histories.

The examination is divided into two 3-hour sections, with two subsections in each section (total of four content subsections).

Subsection 1a contains 43 questions and Subsection 1b contains 42 questions with a shared pooled timer of 180 minutes so please allow enough time to complete each section of the exam.

You will be able to take an “Optional Unscheduled Break” after subsection 1a of the exam. If you take the unscheduled break, the exam timer will not stop and your time for the remaining section will continue to decrease during the break. After completing a subsection in the exam, candidates will not be able to access the previous subsection.

After completing Subsection 1b of the exam you will have a 40-minute scheduled break. If you do not wish to take the break, then click “Resume Test” and the exam will restart on content section 2.

If additional time remains after all exam questions have been answered, you may review your work from section 2b only.

You may submit your exam for scoring before your final 3 hours has expired. After submitting your exam for scoring, you will be asked “Are you sure you want to submit your exam for scoring?” Once you click Yes, your exam session is ended, and you cannot return to view your exam.

You will answer a short survey, and then your preliminary results will be displayed. You will also receive an email from Prometric with a copy of your preliminary results.

When you are done, you will exit the testing room and report to the Test Center Administrator. At that point, you can retrieve your personal belongings from your locker and return your locker key.