Become a CFP® Professional

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Exam Day Experience

What you can expect during the CFP® Certification Examination.

Quick Links: Check-in Process | Taking the Exam | Ending the Exam What to Bring | Candidate Conduct and Exam Security

Check-in Process

The check-in process verifies the identity of the candidate and assures nothing is taken into the testing room that could potentially jeopardize the security of the exam.

As part of the check-in process, candidates are provided with a locker key and instructed to leave all personal belongings in their assigned locker. 

Once personal items are secured, the check-in process continues with the verification of valid, government issued, photo ID and electronic capture of fingerprints and photograph.  A scan of the fingerprint scans is captured each time a candidate enters or leaves the exam room.

Prior to entering the exam room, candidates are asked to verify they have nothing in their pockets (pull-out pockets), and the proctor conducts a brief body scan using a portable wand (much like TSA at the airport). Calculators are inspected according to CFP Board’s calculator policy, and memory is cleared before entering the exam room.

Upon completing the check-in process, the proctor escorts the candidate to the assigned workstation. 

Scratch paper and noise cancelling headphones are available, but optional.  Scratch paper is collected and is not permitted to leave the examination room.

Security of the exam is protected by active proctoring and monitoring of video camera surveillance.  The digital video recordings are retained until after exam results are official.


Taking the Exam

Once seated, a candidate may progress through the exam at his or her own pace. Basic instructions are provided at the onset, and timing of the exam begins with the presentation of the first exam question.

The exam is presented in two 3-hour sessions separated by a scheduled 40-minute break. An exam clock is provided to show available time remaining. 

During the exam you have the ability to highlight text and mark questions for later review. To assure familiarity with the computer interface and functionality, candidates are encouraged to complete the online tutorial in advance of exam day. The tutorial is available at no cost.

CFP Board Practice Exams provide the functionality and a user interface very similar to the actual computer-based CFP® exam.

Learn More About the Practice Exams

Break Time

The 40-minute break will begin upon completion of all the questions in the first session, or when time expires – whichever occurs first. Be sure to return to your workstation before the 40-minute break time ends. If you are late, timing of the second session will begin. 

Candidates may also take unscheduled breaks; however, the exam clock continues during such absences. Fingerprint scans are used to document the time each candidate leaves and returns to the testing room.

Ending the Exam

If additional time remains after all exam questions have been answered, candidates may review their work and make any desired changes to responses until time expires. 

If desired, candidates may submit their exam for scoring before time has expired. After submitting the exam for scoring, the candidates are asked “Are you sure you want to submit your exam for scoring?  Once validated, the exam session is ended, and candidates cannot return to view the exam.

After Completing the Exam

Upon completion of the exam, candidates exit the testing room and report to the proctor. While the proctor is printing the preliminary exam results, candidates retrieve their personal belongings from their lockers and return their locker keys. The preliminary results are provided in an envelope, and results are verified by CFP Board within approximately three weeks after the close of the examination window.  

What to Bring to the Exam

You should bring the following items to the exam site:

  • Valid government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, exactly matching the name under which you registered
  • One or more battery-powered, non-programmable, dedicated financial function calculator(s) (See Calculator Policy below)

Food and drink (including water) are not permitted in the exam room. Individuals who require access to food or liquids for medical reasons during any of the exam sessions are required to file a Special Accommodations Request Form (PDF, 230KB). All exam sites provide access to water fountains located outside of the exam room.

No notes of any kind are permitted in the testing room(s).

While testing is in session, examinees are prohibited from accessing electronic devices other than an acceptable calculator.

Calculator Policy

You need a dedicated, non-programmable financial calculator to assist with examination questions that may require calculations of the time value of money, unequal periodic cash flows and internal rate of return (IRR).

Calculators with alphabetic keys or paper tape printing capabilities are prohibited. No notes of any kind are permitted in the testing room(s), including manually programmed formulas. You are required to clear your financial calculator's memory prior to each session of the exam. If your calculator has notes/formulas printed on the back of the calculator, includes pull-out cards or contains other supplemental material, this information must be removed or masked by solid color tape before entering the testing room. Calculators are subject to inspection by proctors.

Cell phones or other electronic devices that have multifunction capabilities cannot be used as a calculator. While testing is in session, examinees are prohibited from accessing electronic devices other than an acceptable calculator.


Candidate Conduct and Exam Security

Misconduct
You are expected to conduct yourself in an ethical manner before, during and after the CFP® Certification Examination. Actions such as, but not limited to, using any prohibited aids in connection with the exam including violations of the Calculator Policy, attempting to give or receive assistance, or to otherwise communicate in any form with another person about the exam during the exam administration, will result in investigation by an independent entity and/or CFP Board. In some cases, CFP Board may take disciplinary action, if appropriate.

Before taking the exam you will sign a statement prohibiting you from sharing exam questions with any entity other than CFP Board. Revealing questions may result in disciplinary action including, but not limited to, monetary restitution, being permanently barred from taking any CFP Board exam or prosecution under copyright law. If any individual or entity (including a review course provider or academic program) asks you to reveal contents of the examination, please report the incident to CFP Board.

If CFP Board or the exam proctors find reason to believe that you are involved in examination misconduct or any other testing irregularity that could compromise the integrity of the exam, your exam may not be scored, the exam fee may be forfeited and you may be barred from taking future CFP Board exam administrations.

Examinee Agreement

Please familiarize yourself with the Examinee Agreement. Examinees are required to sign this agreement before the start of each exam session. Signing this agreement is a commitment to behaving ethically before, during and after the exam.

Exam Integrity Tip Line

CFP Board's confidential, toll-free Exam Integrity Tip Line – 1-855-EXAMTIP or 1-855-392-6847 – is available for examinees to report any type of exam-related security issue or misconduct.

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