How Soon Should You Begin Studying for the CFP Exam?

    Joseph M. Gillice

    If you are considering taking the CFP exam, you’ve probably wondered how many hours are required to study, in order to be ready to pass the CFP exam. Well, to be truly “exam ready”, you should expect to study about 200 hours to prepare for the exam.

    At THE DALTON REVIEW® for the CFP exam, our review consists of pre-study materials, a review class and post review materials. The study plan should break down as follows:

    Pre-Study Materials – students should expect to spend 100-125 hours working through pre-study materials. This includes, reading notes, making flashcards and working practice questions. Completing all pre-study materials is critical to being well prepared so that you’re ready to attend the CFP review class.

    CFP Review Class – CFP candidates should plan on spending 35-40 hours in a review class, listening to an instructor teaching the material.

    Post-Review Materials – At this point, CFP candidates should expect to spend another 40-60 hours working CFP sample exam questions, CFP practice exam questions and CFP exam cases.

    So, to answer the question, “How soon should I begin studying for the CFP exam”, it really depends on how many hours you can study each week leading up to the CFP review class. If you are 10 weeks away from the CFP review class starting and you need about 100-125 hours to finish the pre-study materials, then you need to average 10-12 hours per week leading up to the review. That means you’ll need to study for about 2.5 – 3 months (100hrs/10hrs per week) before attending the review class. So, the best rule of thumb is to determine how many hours you can study each week and how many hours it takes to complete the pre-study materials. Once you know both of those, you can calculate how many weeks ahead of the review you should start studying. Since most reviews take place about 4-6 weeks prior to the exam, that will put you in a good position to complete the post review materials.

    For more information on how THE DALTON REVIEW® can help you prepare for the CFP exam, please visit our website at

    Good luck with your studies.

    Joseph M. Gillice, CPA, CFP®

    Instructor Joseph M. Gillice

    Joseph M. Gillice

    MBA, CPA, CFP®

    Mr. Gillice is a co-founder and President of Dalton Education, LLC. Previously, Mr. Gillice was Director of University Programs for BISYS Education Services, where he implemented and managed financial planning programs at Georgetown University, Duke University and many others. Mr. Gillice is a former adjunct faculty member at Georgetown, Northwestern and Duke Universities where he taught financial planning, insurance and investment planning. He is the author of Financial Calculator Essentials, co-author of Fundamentals of Financial Planning, The Dalton Review Pre-Study Materials in Investment Planning and Fundamentals of Insurance Planning. Mr. Gillice has a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University and a finance degree from Florida State University.

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