Blog Article

Differences Between Dalton and Kaplan CFP Review for the CFP Exam

I understand that it can be difficult for students to determine the differences between CFP review courses, so I thought it would be helpful to point out the major differences between The Dalton Review® and the Kaplan CFP Review for the CFP exam.

The Dalton Review was developed with the philosophy that students don’t need to score a 100% on the CFP exam. Students only need to study the material that is most likely to be tested on the CFP exam. Our former members of the CFP Board of Examiners developed our study materials to help students cover the 90-95% of the material most likely to be tested. It takes, on average, 100-125 hours to complete our pre-study materials and, with 1,500 questions in the test bank, it will take another 40-50 hours to complete the test bank. The total time commitment with The Dalton Review® is about 200 hours, including attending the review.

The Dalton Review® offers students a tremendous value. We allow students to take the review twice before taking the exam, at no extra cost. Truly a great value for students looking for a little something extra when preparing for the CFP exam. Taking the CFP review twice before the exam certainly isn’t necessary, but can be helpful if you completed your CFP education requirement more than 9 months ago. We also stick with students if they are not successful on the exam, which means students can take our review again at no extra cost if they don’t pass the exam.

An Insider’s Perspective on the Kaplan CFP Review

I spent a number of years at the company that Kaplan acquired to get into the CFP review business, so I have a unique perspective on their CFP review course. The Kaplan review materials and review structure were developed in the mid-nineties. At the time, there weren’t many CFP education programs in the country. So the review was developed with the philosophy of having to teach students all of the CFP education material. This was appropriate at the time, given there were less than 20 CFP education programs in the country.

Over the years, the Kaplan CFP review has gone from 3 volumes and no online test bank to 7 volumes of books and 5,000 questions in their test bank. Yes, that’s right... 7 VOLUMES of books (it’s not a coincidence they use the word “volume” to describe their review materials). At 2 minutes per question, it takes about 170 hours to get through the test bank. You begin to see what I mean about the Kaplan design being more of an education program than a review course.

Today, there are over 300 CFP education programs and Kaplan’s design is now outdated. Students no longer need a review that covers 100%+ of the CFP education material. Students need a review provider that tells them what’s most likely to be tested. I cannot believe part of the sales pitch for Kaplan’s customer service is to emphasize 5,000 questions in their test bank. That would make me run in the opposite direction! If you wonder why the Kaplan CFP review is the most expensive review in the country at $1,348, (as of 4/24/09) it’s because of all the materials they require students to purchase.

In summary, the major differences between The Dalton Review® and Kaplan CFP Review is that the Kaplan CFP review methodology is outdated, overwhelming and overpriced. The Dalton Review® is exam focused, concise and provides students with the greatest value and the clearest path to success.

Joseph M. Gillice, CPA, CFP®
Dalton Education, LLC

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