CFP Exam

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc (CFP Board) grants the Certified Financial Planning (CFP) certification to financial planners to indicate that the certified candidates attain the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, ethical standards and expertise in financial planning.

Candidates desiring to obtain the CFP certification must pass the CFP Certification exam, pass CFP’s Fitness Standards for candidates and Registrants, and follow the CFP Board’s Code of Professional Ethics and Professional Responsibility and comply with the Financial Planning Practice Standards.

The CFP Exam is held three times a year, and is divided into three parts.  As the CFP Exam is a ten hour exam, it is divided into one four hour session held on a Friday and two three hour sessions held on Saturday.


CFP exam content is divided into seven sections

  • General principles of financial planning-11%
  • Insurance planning and risk management-14%
  • Employee benefits planning-8%
  • Investment planning -19%
  • Income tax planning-14%
  • Retirement planning-19%
  • Estate planning-15%



Candidates need to be graduates in any discipline with a degree from an accredited college or university.  Apart from this basic qualification, the candidates should take courses in the above mentioned topics to ensure mastery, currency and comprehensive knowledge of all exam topics.


Since the CFP exam tests your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge to real life situations, textbook knowledge has to be complemented with sufficient work experience. Three full years of work as a financial planner is required.


This is the last requirement after education and experience.  The candidate is required to complete the CFP Certification Application, where the candidate has to state whether he is involved in any inquiry proceedings. The candidate also has to agree to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Candidates are also required to pass the CFP Board’s Fitness Standards for Candidates and Registrants.


Exam results are delivered eight weeks after the exam.  There are no scores, percentages or grades provided.  The CFP is a pass or fail exam, a modified version of the Angoff method is used to establish pass scores based on criterion reference.

CFP Recertification

Certification renewal requires certification application, renewal fees, and 30 hours of Continuing Education every two years.


Exam Date Format Registration Deadline Withdrawal Deadline
July 18-19, 2014 Paper-based June 10, 2014 June 10, 2014
Exam Date Testing Window Format Registration Period Education Verification Deadline
November 18-22, 2014 Computer-based June 2 - November 4, 2014 October 15, 2014

Certification fee: $325

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