On May 27, 2008 the CFP Board issued the following email to all review providers:

“Effective immediately and beginning with the July 2008 examination, students will be advised that programming functions on a programmable calculator are not to be used and calculators are to be cleared of all programmed formulas prior to each section of the examination.  Calculators are subject to inspection by proctors and violation of this policy will result in removal from the examination and forfeiture of the exam registration fee.”

One of the most important factors in a candidates success on the CFP®  Certification Examination is the amount of time they spend studying for the exam. Consider that it takes about 150-175 hours of total prep time to get “exam ready”, not including time spent attending the review. Figure 100-125 hours to work through pre-study materials and another 40-60 hours of post-review studying.


 dalton logo red                                                                                                                        howard logo                              

 News Release


Howard University to Offer Certificate in Financial Planning


Dr. Barron Harvey, Dean of the Howard University School of Business announced today two new exciting programs:

The Virtual Classroom Certificate in Financial Planning and the Self-Paced Online Certificate in Financial Planning Programs will be offered by the university in partnership with Dalton Education beginning immediately. The Virtual Classroom Certificate in Financial Planning Program is a live-online, instructor-led, comprehensive financial planning education program that satisfies the education requirement to sit for the CFP® exam. Students can take this class from the comfort of their home or office without worrying about traffic, parking, or leaving work early.

The Self-Paced Online Certificate in Financial Planning Program also satisfies the CFP® certification education requirement and is designed for students who prefer self-paced learning but are too busy to commit to regularly scheduled class meetings. This variable learning method will result in students being able to successfully complete the program, in as much or as little time that they need, in order to gain a complete and thorough understanding of the material.

Howard University's School of Business has been a model for higher education since its founding in 1970. The innovative, new CFP® certification education program will expand the offerings of the school and garner additional attention for Howard University graduates within the financial planning field.

“The new Virtual Classroom and Self-Paced Certificate in Financial Planning programs are a significant development that address a growing need in the financial planning community for educated planners and advisors,” said Dr. Barron Harvey, Dean of the Howard University School of Business. “By working with Dalton Education, we are now able to extend our highly regarded program to students across the country and grow the career prospects of the Howard University Financial Planning program graduates.”

In conjunction with the initiative launched by the CFP Board in 2017, Dalton Education has also launched a diversity initiative that is aimed at expanding the gender and racial diversity within the financial planning profession.  Financial Assistance for women and minorities interested in a career in financial planning are available for Dalton CFP® certification education programs including earning an education certificate from Howard University. Partnering with this premier HBCU, Howard University, to offer CFP® certification education courses is another step towards building a stronger and more diverse financial planning community.

"A partnership between Howard University and Dalton Education brings together two organizations committed to excellence," said Joseph Gillice, president of Dalton Education. “We look forward to working with Howard University to offer virtual classroom and self-paced online financial planning education programs. This partnership will raise awareness about careers in financial planning, provide students lifelong personal financial planning skills, and satisfy the education requirement for CFP® certification."

For more information about the CFP® certification education program and how to obtain a certificate from Howard University School of Business, contact Chel Bernard 678.727.2344 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit howard.dalton-education.com


About Howard University

For the 12th consecutive year, The Princeton Review has ranked the Howard University School of Business #1 in opportunities for minority students. Since 1970, over 3,500 alumni have graduated from this department and represent the largest number of African Americans on Wall Street. The Finance program offers comprehensive, intensive, and rigorous curriculum for students who wish to pursue careers in corporate finance, investments, investment banking, commercial banking, financial analysis, personal financial planning, and other areas of the global financial services industry.


About Dalton Education

Dalton Education is a leading provider of innovative education programs in CFP® certification. Dalton CFP® education and review programs are delivered through a virtual classroom (live online), self-paced online, and traditional classroom formats. Dalton Education also offers an exclusive Guarantee to Pass program which is a 100% money-back guarantee that students will pass the CFP® exam or receive a full refund. Dalton Education has helped over half of the 80,000 CFP® professionals in the country earn the CFP® mark through textbooks, education programs, and CFP® exam reviews.

April 30th, 2015 




The CFP Board sets rules regarding materials allowed in the exam room, and will usually "clear" calculators. Proctors at exam testing centers are resetting all financial calculators back to original factory settings. 

As a result, any settings for compound interest and decimal settings are being deleted.

One student reported, “Prometrics reset both of [my calculators] to factory settings before I entered the exam. It was quite a shock to see my calculator wasn’t the way I set it up when I turned it back on.”

To solve this issue, we recommend you clear your calculator and practice the steps for resetting it back to the essential compound interest and decimal settings.

Below are the directions to reset your HP financial calculator to the preferred settings when taking the CFP® exam:  

HP10BII and HP10BII+ 
  • Press [ON]
  • Hold the first key from the left ([N]) and the first key from the right ([FV]) on the top row
  • Release all three keys at the same time
  • The calculator will go blank, and then display CORP HP 2000
  • The message will disappear and the calculator will display “ALL CLEARPress the [ON] key to clear the message                            


  • Press and hold [CLR]
  • Press and hold the first key from the top left and the first key from the top right                         
  • Release all three keys at the same time
  • The calculator will display MEMORY LOST
  • Press [CLR] to clear the message 
  • Press ON to turn off the calculator
  • Press and hold the { - } 
  • Press and release ON
  • Release { - }
  • The screen will display “Pr Error”
  • Press {Enter} and the calculator will reset to the default settings, and the memory will be erased.                                            
Setting the Number of Decimals to Four
HP 10BII and HP10BII+                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Keystrokes                                                                         Display                                                                                                 
[ORANGE- SHIFT] [DISP] 40.0000                                         
HP 17BII                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Keystrokes                                                                         Display                                                                                                 
[DSP]SELECT DISPLAY FORMAT                                          
4 [INPUT]0.0000 
HP 12C                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Keystrokes                                                                          Display                                                                                                 
[f] 40.0000                                         
Setting the Period of Compounding to One Per Year
HP 10BII and HP10BII+                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Keystrokes                                                                          Display                                                                                                 
1 [“ORANGE” shift] [P/YR]
(NOTE – the [P/YR] key is the [PMT], not the [N] key
HP 17BII                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Keystrokes                                                                         Display                                                                                                 
[FIN]SELECT A MENU                                          
HP 12C                                                                                                                                                                          
The HP 12C is automatically set to one period per year

Practice and memorize these steps before exam day. The last thing you want is to go to the exam and worry about figuring this out, so make sure you know how to do it before you go to the testing center!

If you have questions about this or have important information about exam day procedures you feel other students should know about, please contact us at (877) 426-2373 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



March 19, 2014


With only two more days remaining until the March 2014 CFP exam, here are a few tips to help ease the stress and anxiety as exam day approaches.

  • Take it easy Thursday night.  If you’ve studied a number of hours throughout the day on Thursday, use Thursday night to rest, relax and take your mind off of the exam.  If you don’t know the exact location of the exam site, maybe take a drive to the location to see if there are any construction delays or to make sure you know exactly where you are going.

  • Friday morning can be used to study and work more questions. Do not work too many questions though, maybe a set of 30-50 questions.  Remember, you have a four hour session on Friday afternoon and you want to be fresh for that long session.

  • Don’t bring lots of study material with you in the car.  Only bring a stack of flashcards that give you the most trouble.  Study those flashcards right up until the last minute.  The second you can start the exam, in your exam booklet, write down those last minute items you memorized.  That will help relieve some stress on those topics because you wrote them down and you can refer to it later, if necessary.

  • Friday night, try not to look through your study materials to determine if you answered a question correctly or not.  It’s just not productive and not a good use of your time.  Instead, use some time Friday night to study topics that give you trouble and were not tested during Friday’s session.  For example, if you struggle with the ISO and NQSO rules and there weren’t any questions on Friday’s exam, then re-study that topic Friday night because you’re almost guaranteed to see questions on that topic during Saturday’s sessions.

  • Don’t talk to anyone before the exam or at lunch on Saturday.  Some people will be asking questions about topics or questions they don’t know and somebody will always try explaining what they think is right.  Don’t listen, don’t participate, it only causes anxiety and they don’t know what they are talking about. Have confidence in what you know!

  • Finally, and most importantly, be confident!  There will be questions and topics that you don’t know about.  If you haven’t heard about the topic, chances are nobody else has either!  In addition, there always seem to be one session on the CFP exam that is more difficult than the other sessions.  Don’t worry, you can miss approximately 90 questions and still pass the exam.  Now, be confident in what you know and go pass the exam!!! 


              Joe Gillice
              President, CPA, CFP®

The CFP Board recently announced some changes to the CFP® Certification Examination, that will be implemented for the November 2014 exam.  The changes include:

  • The exam will now be a computerized exam given at more than 250 testing centers across the country.
  • There will be a five day window when candidates may take the exam, rather than the current Friday afternoon, all day Saturday format.
  • The exam will be 170 questions over six hours, rather than 285 questions over 10 hours.
  • Candidates will receive preliminary results immediately after completing the exam.

The benefits of the changes are obvious.  There’s less time stressing while taking a shorter exam, there’s now a five day window to take the exam so no more giving up all day Saturday to test, there is a more consistent testing experience across the country and candidates receive preliminary results immediately.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard from many advisors planning to take the CFP exam that ask “should I test now under the current format or wait until November, since the November exam will be easier because it will be shorter?”

While I agree that the six hour computerized exam won’t be as physically challenging as the current 10 hour exam, I do  think there are some considerations when deciding between the current format in July versus the computerized exam in November.  Here are some considerations:

Less Questions = Less Room for Error

The playing field for the exam is not changing.  In other words, the same material is being tested, the learning domains are weighted the same and the topical areas will still have the same average representation.  Students are still required to learn the same enormous amount of information.  In fact, it’s likely to be more challenging because instead of a topic like duration having about 4 questions on the exam, there may only be one or two.  For example, you may be comfortable with concepts surrounding duration such as the relationship between, term, yield, coupon and duration but uncomfortable with the actual calculation of duration.  With the current ten hour 285 question exam there may be 4 duration related questions, 3 on the concepts and 1 on the actual calculations.  You may answer the 3 concept questions correct, but miss the 1 calculation question.  With the new six hour 170 question format, the exam may only have room for 2 duration questions, both of which could be the concept questions and you would be in great shape, or one concept and one calculation question, which would be trouble for you or worse yet, 2 calculation questions which could mean zero points for that concept.  

Old Format

4 questions:  3 concept correct, 1 calculation incorrect = 75% of available points

New Format

2 questions:  2 concept correct = 100% of available points
2 questions:  1 concept correct, 1 calculation incorrect = 50% of available points
2 questions:  2 calculation incorrect = 0% of available points

The point is, there’s less room for error with the new format of the exam.  With the current ten hour 285 question exam, candidates could miss 90 or so questions and still pass the exam.  With the new six hour, 170 question format, candidates may only be able to miss about 54 questions.  In addition, if you are a little foggy on a topic, lets hope the few questions on that topic relate to the concepts you know!  

Same Level of Difficulty

The psychometricians (folks that analyze the exam for difficulty) attempt to statistically equate the level of difficulty for every exam.  In other words, if you pass the current exam, you should have passed any previous exams.  If you fail the current exam, you should have failed any previous exams.  The CFP Board has assured us the computerized version will be equally as challenging as the current exam.

My suggestion when deciding whether to take the July or November exam should be, can you make the time to study for the July or November exam?  Don’t let the delivery method of the exam determine when you take it, instead decide when you can devote the most time to studying.  Ultimately, your preparation and knowledge will determine your success on the exam!

Joe Gillice
President, CPA, CFP®

Here is another great piece from Money Education .

The Senate just voted on and passed The Marketplace Fairness Act. What is the Marketplace Fairness Act?

The Marketplace Fairness Act grants states the authority to compel online and catalog retailers ("remote sellers"), no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction - exactly like local retailers are already required to do. However, there is a caveat: States are only granted this authority after they have simplified their sales tax laws.


The 1967 Supreme Court case National Bellas Hess v. Illinois Department of Revenue set the stage for the debate on taxing internet sales when, in its majority (5 to 4) opinion, the court ruled that:

"the many variations in rates of tax, in allowable exemptions, and in administrative and record-keeping requirements could entangle [the company]'s interstate business in a virtual welter of complicated obligations to local jurisdictions" (emphasis added).

In 1992, the matter of sales tax on remote sales came before the high court again in Quill v. North Dakota. This time, the court reaffirmed the earlier Bellas Hess decision (8 to 1), primarily on the basis of stare decisis ("to stand by decision," a doctrine that requires the court to respect the precedent set by prior rulings). The ruling went on to state,

"[O]ur decision is made easier by the fact that the underlying issue is not only one that Congress may be better qualified to resolve, but also one that Congress has the ultimate power to resolve. No matter how we evaluate the burdens that use taxes impose on interstate commerce, Congress remains free to disagree with our conclusions" (emphasis added).

Exemption and requirements:

There is an exemption for retailers with less than $1 million in sales and states are obligated to simplify their sales tax laws.  

Money Education Comment:

On the face of it, the proposal appears to strive for "fairness," as implied in the law's name. However, we are skeptical that Congress and the states will simplify the process such that small businesses are not further burdened with compliance. While the $1 million limit might appear to be high, it is unlikely that retailers of that size have margins significantly high so as to be able to hire an additional person for state sales tax compliance.  As with all proposals, time will tell. Fortunately for small businesses, the bill faces opposition in the House.

Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? So, how does one become a Certified Financial Planner?  Well, the CFP® Board has a path to that designation and it's called the “Four E’s”.  Each E stands for a step that must be taken before the candidate can become a CFP. (Education, Examination, Experience, Ethics)