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CFP® Exam Preparation

Planning for Success

Ready to get started preparing for the CFP® certification exam? Consider your personal circumstances and these 4 key factors to improve your chances for success.


4 Key Factors to Success

 Your ability to achieve your certification is influenced by 4 key forces: motivation, environment, situation and performance. Think about your personal situation regarding each of these factors.

Find Your Motivation

CFP® certification prepares you for a career-long commitment to meeting the needs of your clients. But your own individual reasons for pursuing CFP® certification can dramatically influence your behavior. Revisit your motivation throughout the process to keep you on track to achieving your goal.

Find a Mentor
Mentors can share their strategies for achieving certification and steer you in the right direction.
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  • Do you have any professional role models?
  • What are you expectations for getting certified?
  • How familiar are you with the job market?
  • Do you have access to career options?
  • Will your quality of life improve?
  • Are you anticipating financial rewards?

Create a Supportive Environment

Establishing a supportive learning environment is critical to your success. As you prepare for the exam, you’ll need to take steps to establish organizational support and create an environment that makes you feel safe, secure, valued and empowered.

  • Have you told your employer about your plan to achieve certification?
  • Are there company resources that may help, such as in-house development opportunities or new financial planning projects you can participate in?
  • Is your employer willing to finance your study program?
  • Do you have flexible work opportunities to help balance your job and your studies? 

Address Your Personal Situation

Pursuing CFP® certification will require you to balance your studying with your personal and family commitments. Before you get started, make sure you have the social and emotional support you need from friends and family.

  • Are your finances in order? Do you have the money to cover exam preparation and your living expenses?
  • How is your physical health? Are there any medical issues you should address before starting your study plan?
  • Do you have the support of your family members?
  • Do you have a work/life balance that offers enough time to study?
  • What’s your current life phase? Is it the right time to pursue certification?
  • Are you experiencing any other hardships that could detract you from achieving your goal?
Make an Impact:  You can make a difference at a time when more Americans are struggling to pull their finances together and plan for the future.

Maximize Your Performance

Candidates pursuing CFP® certification come from varying backgrounds, and some may have more knowledge or experience in financial planning than others. You need to take time to assess your own background, and be sure to address gaps in your training and work experience.

  • What’s your education level? How much training have you done?
  • How much experience do you have in financial planning?
  • What are your individual skills, competencies and abilities? What areas do you need to work on?
  • What coping mechanisms can you turn to when you experience challenges or knowledge gaps?