Candidates' Study Plans

Whew…This exam was quite a journey! I felt like I was on a roller coaster most of the time, but I passed on November 7, 2022. In this post, I share my study process and approach that helped me get there. -Jackie Cummings Koski, CFP®, MSPFP, AFC® CAREER CHANGER I retired early from my corporate job in 2019 to pursue my passion around financial literacy and education, so I guess that makes me a career changer. CFP® certification was not initially on my radar, but I knew I wanted to focus on personal finance. While pursuing my master’s degree at Kansas State University (Personal Financial Planning & Financial Therapy), I quickly realized that the ...
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Practice Makes Perfect A Pass When approaching the CFP® exam there are usually two kinds of people. People who think they are going to pass the exam with flying colors, and people who think they need to study every second they are breathing. I’m here to tell you that neither of these are sustainable approaches. In the famous words of Bruce Lee, “after a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady.” Being a collegiate basketball player, I approached the exam as I would if I were about to play in the biggest game of my career. I apologize in advance for all the basketball analogies coming your way. The months leading ...
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How I Studied and Passed the CFP® Exam Timeline I learned about the existence of the CFP® certification in January 2021. Given my lack of financial literacy, I decided to get certified (what a leap, I know!) In mid-April this year, I started studying for the exam, and the serious prep sessions took place in June and July. And I passed! Elements contributed to my success Stick with your study materials. There are a lot of questions on the forum regarding choosing materials and review providers. I would suggest picking one based on your budget and stick with it. Some programs are more expensive than others, and it’s usually the live sessions ...
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My first attempt at taking the exam was over six years ago. Unfortunately, I did not adhere to the study guidelines set forth in the Dalton preparation course I’d enrolled in to prepare for exam. The biggest mistake I made was not dedicating the necessary amount of study time the CFP Board and Dalton provided as a framework for successful test takers, 225-250 hours. I simply sat for the exam too soon. On my second attempt, I was determined to not repeat that same mistake. Taking into consideration the amount of time since my first attempt, I decided to add 50 hours to my preparation runway. The additional time allowed me to revisit the material at a comfortable ...
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The CFP Board Candidate Forum has been a useful resource and was instrumental in successfully passing the CFP® Exam on my first attempt. I wanted to share my study plan with folks on the path or coming back to finish their journey. It started with developing a schedule which began when I was going through the education requirement and completing the coursework. I chose an online education program that was self-paced because I needed the flexibility due to my work schedule and busy family. I made it a point to block out three hours per day (7-10pm) four days during the week, six hours on Saturdays and would put in four hours on Sundays. After completing ...
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Training for a marathon; solving a 1500 piece puzzle. Daunting at first glance? A long road ahead? I'd like to share my plan on passing the exam on the first attempt in March 2021, as an advanced career-changer with no prior experience in financial planning. Liken it to a 26-week training schedule for a marathon. Liken it to your game-plan of solving the puzzle - piece by piece, pattern by pattern; first outline, then corners, then details. Begin each day with the end in mind - and why CFP® certification is important to you. When nothing else makes sense at the time, begin with why . 1st 12 weeks (moderate) time: 10-12 hours per week I had completed ...
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