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How Long Should You Study for the CFP® Exam?

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.

How Long Does It Take to Study for the CFP® Exam?


An average of about 200 hours is a good rule of thumb. Depending on your experience, it could be more, it could be less. Determining how many hours to study for the CFP® is personal for every candidate and there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer.

A quick breakdown of study time for The Dalton Review is:

  • 100-125 hours understanding pre-study materials prior to attending the CFP® review class.
  • 35-40 hours of study during an instructional review course.
  • 40-60 hours completing CFP® post-review materials.

How Long Does It Take to become a CFP® Professional

Just as studying for the CFP® exam varies by person, the amount of time it takes to be fully-certified will be different for everyone. Obtaining full certification faster than others is largely based on previous experience.

You may ask the question, “how long does becoming certified take and what does the process consist of?” CFP Board breaks it down by completing the education requirements, the exam, experience, and ethics. The average certification timeline is between 18-24 months to become a CFP® professional, but there are requirements following exam prep and the exam itself.

You can use these guidelines for your own process:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in any discipline from an accredited educational institution within five years after passing the CFP® certification examination.
  • Complete required coursework from a CFP Board Registered Education Program and
  • Pass the national exam
  • Finish either 6,000 hours of professional financial planning experience or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship experience and other requirements before or after your exam.
  • Complete an ethics requirement to uphold certain standards and a fiduciary responsibility.

How Do I Receive CFP® Exam Study Help?


The best way to study for your exam is to follow guidelines set forth by our education professionals. Dalton Education CFP® exam prep courses provide a comprehensive exam study package that caters to multiple learning styles.

Receive the help you need with resources to pass your exam that are created by those who know the exam. With assistance from some of the top professionals in the industry and extensive resources at your fingertips, we guarantee you will have what you need to pass or receive 100% of your money back. Learn more about our CFP review courses.

What CFP® Exam Study Schedule Should I Follow?


Dalton Education has put together a flexible CFP® exam schedule so you can attend classes and ask questions or receive feedback during office hours.

Your CFP® exam study schedule is entirely based on the time you have available. We know you are busy, so we make every effort to deliver the study tools you need and that fits your schedule.

Options include:  

  • Classroom Time – weekend, weeknight, and four-day options are available.
  • Office Hours – four different class office hours are available.
  • Coaching – one on one coaching after the Review Readiness and our Exam Readiness Assessments, as part of our Guarantee to Pass program.
  • Post Review Q&A – another opportunity for instructors to teach you the material, just before the CFP® exam.
  • Attend both live online, traditional classroom and watch recorded reviews, all for the same price. In fact, we encourage students to attend the review multiple times before testing.

Private reviews and reviews by city are also often made available.

Create Your CFP Exam Study Schedule

Looking for CFP® Education from Top Universities?


Dalton Education wants to make the process of earning obtaining your CFP® certification rewarding and applicable to your daily job of working with clients. That’s why we partner with top universities in the country so you can have a university certificate that is aligned with an educational institution of your choice. We believe the education is just as valuable, if not more valuable than the CFP® marks. While the CFP® marks will get you a seat at the table, your education will keep you at the table.

Prospective clients wants to see a certificate from a prestigious and rigorous university. Clients want to know their trusted advisor has attended a top education program and is fully qualified to help them meet their financial goals.

View Our CFP® Educational Partnerships

How Difficult is the CFP® Exam?

The CFP® exam is a rigorous national exam, equally as challenging as the CPA exam, CFA exam or bar exam. Taking the test and feeling confident that you will pass comes from learning the content and being able to apply the financial planning concepts. We believe teaching you the material is your key to success. Exam tips, tricks and gimmicks don’t work. Instead, learning the material and applying is the difference from those that pass and those that don’t.

Dalton Education teaches you through everything you need to know about the most basic to the most challenging concepts, so you will be confident and prepared to pass the exam.

Good luck with your studies.

Regards,

Joseph M. Gillice, CPA, CFP®

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