CFP Exam

You’ve made an important decision — to pursue earning your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. As you prepare to move forward with the testing process and your career, we’ve assembled some key pieces of information here that will help you prepare for success. As you read on, you’ll learn more about the registration process, the testing costs involved, what to expect on the day of the exam, the types of content you’ll be assessed on and more. We wish you the best as you prepare for this important step.

Exam Purpose and Background

The CFP exam assesses your knowledge and expertise in applying a variety of important financial disciplines to real-world situations and opportunities. This standardized exam continues to ensure that those who earn the CFP designation have achieved a high standard of knowledge and background. In turn, those who become CFPs uphold the reputation of the financial industry and they become even better equipped to meet the needs of those who will rely upon their financial guidance.

CFP Exam Eligibility

If you haven’t already, you can qualify to sit for the CFP exam by finishing a comprehensive financial planning curriculum through a CFP Board Registered program. Another way to qualify is by completing the CFP Board’s prescribed education coursework through either the Transcript Review or Challenge Status options. You can find complete details on all of the CFP eligibility requirements and methods of meeting these stipulations by visiting

How to Register for the CFP

You can find complete registration details and requirements online at In general, you’ll need to create a CFP Board online account, then log in to your CFP Board account and finish the exam registration form. After that you’ll pay your exam fee and schedule your test.

Costs/Payment Options

There are three exam cost tiers, based on how early you register to sit for the CFP exam. The Early Bird fee is $625, the Standard fee is $725 and the Late Registration fee is $825. See for complete details, including specific dates that correspond to each fee tier, based on available testing windows.


When you register, you’ll learn about specific times and locations available.  

When to Arrive for Your Test

It is very important that you arrive at your designated testing center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time.

Test Duration

The CRP exam is broken into two three-hour sessions.

What to Bring:

One form of government-issued Identification, showing your name, signature and photo (including IDs such as a passport, a driver’s license, state/province ID, national ID or military ID). Note: Your name on your ID must exactly match the way your name appears on your registration materials.

You’ll also want to bring at least one battery-powered financial function calculator that cannot be programmed.

What Not to Bring:

  • Electronic devices, including cell phones and calculators
  • Written notes or printed materials or aids of any type
  • Any kind of drink or food

CFP Exam Practice Test

What to Expect During Your Exam

Format/Number of Questions

The exam is administered via computer. The test consists of a total of 170 multiple-choice questions.

Principal Knowledge Topics

There are eight Principal Knowledge Topics that you will encounter as part of the CFP exam. Here’s an overview of each of these areas, along with the approximate percentage that each area represents as part of the overall exam.

  • Principal Knowledge Topic 1: Professional Conduct and Regulation (7%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 2: General Principles of Financial Planning (17%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 3: Education Planning (6%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 4: Risk Management and Insurance Planning (12%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 5: Investment Planning (17%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 6: Tax Planning (12%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 7: Retirement Savings and Income Planning (17%)
    • Principal Knowledge Topic 8: Estate Planning (12%)

Job Task Domains

As you make your way through the CFP exam, you’ll also encounter specific real-world tasks from the CFP Board list of Job Task Domains that are aligned with these categories:

  • Establishing and Defining the Client-Planner Relationship
    • Gathering Information Necessary to Fulfill the Engagement
    • Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Current Financial Status
    • Developing the Recommendations
    • Communicating the Recommendations
    • Implementing the Recommendations
    • Monitoring the Recommendations
    • Practicing within Professional and Regulatory Standards

Calculating Your Passing Score: The CFP exam doesn’t require a specific score to pass. Instead, you will receive either a pass or fail result. Your results will be sent to you via secure email within four weeks after your testing window.

How Can I Prepare for the CFP Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: July 31, 2019