January 10, 2014

CFP Board Switches to Computer-Based Exam Testing

Final paper-based exams will be administered in March and July

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The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards announced Thursday that it is transitioning to a computer-based testing platform for its CFP Certification Examination.

The move to computer-based testing (CBT) will be effective with the November exam. The final paper-based exams will be administered March 21-22 and July 18-19.

Exam-takers will immediately have access to preliminary, though unofficial, results of their exam, with official results available within 1-2 weeks versus the current five weeks.

“This move to computer-based testing provides test-takers increased opportunities to take the exam while retaining the rigor of the CFP Certification Examination,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller, in a statement. “Those taking the CFP Certification Exam will find a greatly improved experience that tests their knowledge of financial planning and helps prepare them to be ethical and competent certified financial planning  professionals.”

The CFP Board listed the following as additional benefits of computer-based testing:

  • Convenient and comprehensive one-day exam. The current exam is administered over a day and a half with 10 hours of testing time. With CBT, the exam will be administered in one day with six hours of testing time.
  • Expanded number of testing dates. Currently there are three time windows (March, July, November) to take the exam. With CBT, there will still be three time windows, but there will be five testing days to choose from within those windows, for a total of 15 possible testing days.
  • Increased number of testing sites. There are currently 50 paper-based sites. With CBT, there will be more than 250 testing sites in the United States. A site is located within 25 miles of nearly 90% of CFP certification candidates.
  • Best possible exam experience. These professionally designed sites are quiet, comfortable, secure and accessible, offering exam-takers a consistent testing experience no matter which site they choose.
  • Online scheduling. Exam-takers will schedule their exam online, providing them flexibility in selecting their test date and testing site within the five-day window the exam will be offered.
  • Equally rigorous. The exam maintains the same content detailed in CFP Board’s exam blueprint, representing the requisite knowledge and abilities to deliver financial planning services to clients.

In making the transition to CBT, CFP Board is joining many other certifying bodies that administer exams through computer-based testing, including the National Board of Medical Examiners, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, American Board of Surgery and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The CPA exam as well as various FINRA exams are also administered through CBT.

Prometric, a leading provider in testing services, is serving as CFP Board’s partner in administering the exam.

The CFP Certification Examination is just one of several criteria that need to be met in order to become a CFP. In addition to passing the exam, candidates also must meet CFP Board’s experience requirements, pass a background check, have a bachelor’s degree or higher and successfully complete a college-level program of study in personal financial planning.

Frequently asked questions about the transition to CBT can be found here and on CFP.net.

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