What to Expect on CFP® Exam Day
If CFP® exam day is approaching for you, congrats! Make sure all your hard work studying pays off by understanding what to expect on the day of the exam. You will need to register for the exam using your CFP Board account. You will then be instructed about how to schedule the exam with Prometric. Scheduling is done on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to register early.
What is the CFP® exam check-in process like?
On the day of the exam, you will be asked to present a valid government ID. Proper government identification includes:
- Valid driver’s license
- Valid government issued ID card
- Valid passport
- Valid military ID
The first and last name on your government ID must match the first and last name on your CFP Board account. Ensure you double check this on your CFP Board account prior to registering for the exam.
Your fingerprints will be captured along with a photo for security purposes at the exam. You should also expect to go through a brief body scan. A locker and key will be assigned to you at check-in. All of your personal belongings will have to be put into your locker before you go into the exam room. This includes items like purses, cell phones, jewelry, watches, food, water, electronic devices (except approved calculators), personal headphones, exam notes, or study materials. You will not be able to access these items at all during the exam. It is best if you leave any valuables you will be concerned about at home.
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What items can I bring into the CFP® exam?
There are a number of items you can bring into the testing room, including CFP Board-approved calculators and scratch paper. Prometric will supply up to four pieces of scratch paper for your use. If you need more, you will need to turn in all four sheets to get four new sheets. The scratch paper you use in the first session of the exam will need to be turned in after you are done with the session.
CFP Board-approved calculators include:
- HP 10B
- HP 10BII
- HP 10BII+
- HP 12C and HP 12C Platinum
- HP 17BII+
- Sharp Business/Financial Calculator EL-733
- Sharp Business/Financial Calculator EL-733a
- Sharp Business/Financial Calculator EL-738
- TI BAII Plus
- TI BAII Plus Professional & TI BAII Plus (Business Analyst)
If you are worried about your batteries dying during the test, you are able to bring in loose batteries. You must remove them from the packaging, however. If your calculator has any visible formulas on the reverse side, you must cover them with black electrical tape or blank paper. The testing center may check this.
You are welcome to bring a sweater or sweatshirt to the test if you are worried about getting cold. Expect the testing center to check them before you go into the exam room.
What do I have permission to do during the exam?
You are able to mark questions for review at a later time, and you do not need to answer questions in a specific order. You may also highlight desired text and strikethrough answer choices you have deemed incorrect. In addition, you will be able to review the Tax Tables and Sample Formulas at any time during the exam. Simply click on the icon at the bottom of your screen to pull them up.
How much time do I have to complete the CFP® exam?
The CFP® exam is presented in two 3-hour sessions separated by a 40-minute break. Each section contains 85 multiple-choice questions, for a total of 170 questions. Prior to submitting your answers, you can go back to questions you’ve marked for review or have not answered yet. There is a timer in the corner of the screen that will tell you how much time you have left. When you complete all questions in the first session, you will submit your answers by hitting the ‘in’ button. You will not be allowed to revisit any of your session one questions during session two.
Once your answers for session one are submitted, the testing screen will start timing your 40-minute break. You can elect to take a full or partial break, or no break at all. The timer in the corner will tell you how much break time you have left. Please note, you will not be able to use your cell phone, electronic devices, or study materials even during the break.
After your 40 minutes have expired, or you select to start session two before the full break has passed, you will click the ‘in’ button to begin the afternoon exam session. In session two, you can also go back to questions you marked for review or skipped. When you complete session two, you will submit your answers by hitting the ‘in’ button.
What if I need special accommodations for the CFP® exam?
You are able to get testing accommodations for the CFP® exam. CFP Board will provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to individuals with documented disabilities who demonstrate a need for them. Accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis. To request accommodations, you must register for the exam and submit the required documentation by the Education Verification Deadline for your desired exam appointment. For more information, visit CFP Board.
How will I receive my CFP® exam results?
As soon as you complete the second session of the CFP® exam, you will receive a preliminary pass/fail result. Four weeks after the exam window closes, Prometric will review all candidate scores to ensure there were no irregularities or issues related to the exam. Candidates will then receive their official results on CFP.net.
Those who fail the exam will also receive a diagnostic report indicating their exam performance across the Principal Topics, with indications of strengths and weaknesses to help candidates prepare for a retake. (For more information, here's an article detailing the reasons people fail the CFP® exam.)
Have other questions? Check out CFP Board’s Exam Day Experience webinar for more information.
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Preparing for the CFP® exam can be a daunting task. Making a CFP® exam study plan is the best way to ensure you use your study time efficiently and are ready to pass on test day. Download this free eBook to learn how to create a CFP® exam study plan that works for you.