Taking the CFP exam can be an important step in advancing your career and it’s important to prepare for it thoroughly. Utilizing CFP exam prep materials and resources can help you better understand the scope of the test and what to expect on exam day. You could do a self-guided study but if you’d like something more structured, you may be interested in finding the best five CFP exam prep courses.
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What Does the CFP Exam Cover?
The CFP exam, administered by the CFP Board, consists of 170 multiple-choice questions that are designed to test your knowledge of financial planning. Questions span eight principal knowledge categories, including professional conduct standards, general principles of financial planning, tax planning and estate planning.
Taking the exam is a prerequisite to earning a CFP designation and working as a certified financial planner. The exam is less focused on getting a right or wrong answer and more concerned with testing your ability to apply financial planning concepts to real-world scenarios.
Best CFP Exam Prep Courses
A quick internet search will turn up dozens of results for CFP exam prep classes, but it’s important to dig a little deeper to see what they offer. That’s particularly true if you’re considering a CFP study course that requires a sizable upfront fee.
With that in mind, here are some of the best options for CFP exam prep. These courses are all approved by the CFP Board.
1. Dalton Review
Dalton Education provides an intensive CFP study program that spans three phases:
Dalton offers a “Guarantee to Pass” bundle which guarantees that you’ll pass the CFP exam or get your money back. It’s exceptionally comprehensive and comes with numerous resources to help you to study for the CFP exam as effectively as possible.
2. College for Financial Planning
College for Financial Planning is a Kaplan company, which is well-known in the test prep space. More than 70,000 finance professionals have completed this CFP exam prep course and it offers flexibility in choosing how you study.
Premium packages allow you to choose from:
The cost is expensive. But you can opt for a self-study program instead, which is cheaper. If you opt for the premium study program and are unable to successfully complete the CFP exam, you can get a free premium package review to help you prepare to retake the test.
3. Zahn Associates
Zahn Associates is a leading provider of live CFP study courses. You can choose from in-person or virtual classes which run the equivalent of 34 classroom hours.
There’s a pre-study period before live classes begin, and Zahn recommends students allow 100 to 120 hours for that. You’ll be provided with workbooks, quizzes and mock exams which you’ll need to complete before starting the live classes.
Once you complete the live classes, there’s a 60 to 80-hour post-study period before you take the CFP exam. Zahn also offers one-on-one private tutoring if you need a little more help preparing. There is also a scholarship program you can apply for to cover the fee.
4. Brett Danko Educational Center
The Brett Danko Education Center program is another option to consider if you’re looking for a live review. There are two-course packages offered: Signature and Comprehensive.
The Signature Live Review option includes access to pre-study materials, 35 hours of live classroom instruction, 16 hours of group online study sessions, bonus practice exams and case studies, flashcards, course playbacks and a virtual retake exam.
The Comprehensive package includes pre-study materials, 35 hours of live instruction and study prep tips. Lunch is provided for the first three days, regardless of which package you choose.
As with the other CFP exam prep courses listed here, students are expected to complete a pre-study and post-study period prior to taking the exam.
5. The CFP Board
The CFP Board doesn’t offer a specific course for exam prep but the board does make numerous resources available to help you prepare. They include:
Students can also apply to be assigned a mentor for the duration of their study period. All of these resources are provided by the CFP Board free of charge, which may be appealing if you have limited funds to cover study prep materials.
5 Tips for Studying for the CFP Exam
Practice makes perfect when it comes to studying for the CFP exam. And there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to approach it. The CFP Board offers some tips and strategies to help you prepare for the CFP exam. Some of the best ways to prepare include:
Getting a study buddy or forming a study group may also be helpful if you have similar study styles. You can divide up study tasks or quiz one another to test your knowledge. If you’d rather study alone, you may consider asking someone to be an accountability partner to help you keep track of your progress.
The Bottom Line
Taking the CFP exam can be intimidating. But it’s a necessary step if you’d like to pursue a career in the financial planning industry. Comparing different CFP exam prep courses and study materials can help you put together a plan so that you can approach the test with confidence.
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