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As you study, remind yourself that the rewards, competitive edge and career advancement that come with earning CFP® certification are well worth your effort. And remember the positive impact you can make on other people's lives as a CFP® professional.

What's a Mindset?

Mindset describes the mental attitude you adopt as you prepare for the CFP® exam. Since a negative, defeatist mindset can hurt your performance, you'll want to shift from negative to positive as you put your study plan together, to best position yourself for success.

A defensive or defeatist attitude can creep in as you confront a daunting task — “It’s going to be an uphill battle to pass this exam.” Instead, try turning this attitude around: with careful planning, using all the resources available to you and committing to the amount of study you need, you can succeed — “I’m going to develop an exam study strategy and stick to it, so I can be as well prepared as I possibly can.”

How to Deal With Challenges

"I'm thankful for the questions and answers members posted on the Candidate Forum. I owe the success of passing the exam to the experience and encouragement share by the forum members." 

— Diep Le, CFP® 

Continue to maintain this positive approach as you encounter challenges in your exam prep. Accepting that there will be challenges can help you proactively come up with strategies for overcoming them. For example, identify specific gaps in your learning that you can address, or reach out for help from other candidates on CFP Board's Candidate Forum.

As you prepare for the exam, maintain a positive mindset and continue to remind yourself why you want to become a CFP® professional. Chances are that learning will be more enjoyable, and you'll feel more committed to studying.

Negative Vs. Positive Thinking


   Negative Thinking  Positive Mindset
Belief  "The exam contains subjective questions. To me, these types of questions do NOT test my knowledge of what I need to know to become a successful financial planner. There are VERY circumstantial and I feel I would have gotten several of them correct if they had been in an essay or short answer format. Multiple choice does not seem like the correct formation for recommendations."  "To become a good test taker, I need to understand what the question is asking by reading carefully. I can use my knowledge to evaluate which option is the best course of action."
 Expectation "No resource exists to help me address subjective test questions." "With study and practice, I will be able to focus on the correct response." 
 Attitude "I have accepted that I probably won't pass the exam."  "I'm going to use a well-rounded approach to studying practice exam items and reviewing areas where I am weak. I will review the questions I get wrong to understand WHY I've chosen the wrong answer."
What You've Learned "The exam contains trick questions. It's unfair to evaluate candidates with trick questions."  "I'm in control. I can make the best of my situation to fill in the gaps in my learning. I can learn from my mistakes and improve."


Take a closer look at the impact of each negative statement: a negative mindset blames performance on things that are outside of your control. A positive mindset puts you back in control by allowing you to overcome frustration and move forward.

Get Ready for a Successful Exam

CFP Board is here to help you prepare for a successful exam experience. Take advantage of the resources we offer, and you'll be more confident going into exam day.

Exam Preparation Checklist

Reviewing this list in advance of your exam date can help you feel ready.

Practice Exam

Taking the full-length, 170 question CFP Board Practice Exam leads to greater success on the real exam.

What to Expect on Exam Day

Learning about the schedule, processes and procedures can help you can focus on taking the exam rather than the logistics of the day.

Exam Review Courses

Looking for exam review course providers? We've put together a list. These courses and providers are not endorsed or recommended by CFP Board.

Find more exam resources