What to Expect on Exam Day
Learn about what to expect and be positioned for success on exam day.
CFP Board wants you to feel comfortable and ready to take the CFP® exam. By preparing ahead now, you'll be better positioned for a successful, positive exam experience. To help you do that, we've provided details on everything from what to bring to how to check in.
CFP Board's exam staff walks you through exam day. Watch our webinar, What to Expect on Exam Day.
On exam day, you will arrive at your testing center and be greeted by the Test Center Administrator. You'll be asked to:
- Present a valid, unexpired government-issued, photo ID.
- Offer a fingerprint, take a photo and undergo a brief body scan.
- Store your belongings while you are taking the test, with a locker and key provided by the test center.
The Test Center Administrator will guide you through rules and regulations of the test center, review your calculator, and provide a white board for use during the exam. They will also show you to your test seat when you are ready.
|What to Bring to the Exam||Check-In Process||Exam Procedures & Candidate Conduct|
Make sure to bring:
Read more about what to bring to the exam and prohibited items.
The check-in process at the testing center verifies your identity and ensures that nothing is taken into the testing room that could jeopardize the security of the exam.
Read more about verification, locker storage, and your testing workstation.
Once you are seated, you can progress through the exam at your own pace. You are expected to conduct yourself in an ethical manner before, during and after the CFP® Certification Examination.
Read more about timing, breaks, the Exam Pledge, and the Pathway to CFP® Certification Agreement.
Exam Preparation Checklist
For March 2021 and July 2021 exam candidates: Prometric has NOT rolled back the requirements for test center staff and candidates to wear masks while in Prometric test centers. Prometric is still following CDC guidance — requiring 100% mask compliance for staff AND candidates. Candidates are required to wear a mask the entire time they are in the testing centers (unless approved by TA and for image capture/ ID verification). More details are available at: prometric.com/corona-virus-update.
You need bring both of these items to the exam site:
- A valid, unexpired government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, exactly matching the name under which you registered (a nickname, such as Catherine to Cathy or James to Jim is acceptable)
- One or more battery-powered, non-programmable, dedicated financial function calculator(s) (See Calculator Policy)
While testing is in session, you are prohibited from accessing electronic devices other than an acceptable calculator. You will be able to store your electronic devices in your locker but will NOT be able to access them until testing is fully completed.
You may also bring food and drink (including water) and notes. However, these will not be allowed into the exam room. You may store them in your locker and can only use them during your scheduled 40-minute break.
If you need access to food or liquids for medical reasons during any of the exam sessions, you are required to file a Special Accommodations Request Form. All exam sites provide access to water fountains located outside of the exam room, which you can use during an unscheduled break.
You will need a dedicated financial calculator to help with exam questions that may require calculations of the time value of money, unequal periodic cash flows and internal rate of return (IRR).
View approved calculators here.
Calculators will be inspected by the Test Center Administrator before the start of the exam. You will be required to clear your financial calculator's memory prior to each session of the exam. (Please do not ask Test Center Administrators employed by Prometric to clear your calculator's memory.) It is your responsibility to revert your calculator back to your desired setting(s) once the calculator’s memory has been cleared.
If your calculator has notes and/or formulas printed on the back, which includes pull-out cards or contains other supplemental material, you must remove or mask this information with solid-color tape before entering the testing room.
You may bring in extra loose batteries, without packaging, to the testing room.
The check-in process at the testing center verifies your identity and ensures that nothing is taken into the testing room that could potentially jeopardize the security of the exam.
As part of the check-in process, you will be provided with a locker key and instructed to leave all personal belongings in your assigned locker.
Once your 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 your fingerprints is captured every time you enter or leave the exam room.
Prior to entering the exam room, you will be asked to verify you have nothing in your pockets and the Test Center Administrator will conduct a brief body scan using a portable wand (much like TSA at the airport). Calculators are inspected according to our calculator policy, and memory is cleared before entering the exam room.
After You Check In
When you've finished the check-in process, the Test Center Administrator will show you to your assigned workstation.
A white board will be provided for your use during the exam. And noise cancelling headphones will be available, upon request from the Test Center Administrator. Any notes that you make will be collected and are not permitted to leave the exam room.
Security of the exam is vital and protected by active proctoring and monitoring of video camera surveillance. The digital video recordings are retained until after exam results are official.
Once you're seated, you may take the exam at your own pace.
Before you see the first exam question, you will be required to agree that you understand that you are prohibited 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 exam, please report the incident to CFP Board.
Timing of the exam begins with the first exam question.
Exam Schedule & Break
The exam is split into two 3-hour sessions separated by a scheduled 40-minute break. An exam clock is provided on your exam screen to show your available time remaining.
You will not be able to review or edit answers from the first exam session during or after the 40-minute break.
During your exam, you have the ability to highlight and strike through text, and mark questions for later review.
Your 40-minute break will begin when you complete all of the 85 questions in the first session, or when time expires – whichever occurs first. Please be sure to return to your workstation before the 40-minute break time ends as the second session will begin immediately once the 40 minutes is up.
You may also take unscheduled breaks – however, the exam clock will continue to run.
If additional time remains after all exam questions have been answered, you may review your work from the second session only.
You may submit your exam for scoring before your final 3 hours has expired. After submitting your exam for scoring, you will be asked “Are you sure you want to submit your exam for scoring?” Once you click Yes, your exam session is ended, and you cannot return to view your exam.
You will answer a short survey, and then your preliminary results will be displayed. You will also receive an email from Prometric with a copy of your preliminary results.
When you are done, you will exit the testing room and report to the Test Center Administrator. At that point, you can retrieve your personal belongings from your locker and return your locker key.