Can't pass the CFP-advice?

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lady_trader's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-12

I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.

Iocaine's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-25

Surprisingly the pass rate is highest for first time test takers.  Statistically your odds of passing it on a second or third pass are much lower.  With that said, I used Kaplan for studing and it worked out well.  10 weeks before the exam you should plan on studying 40 hours a week and work question after question after question.  Do not spend more than 10% of your time working time value of money problems, it is a planning exam, not a math exam.  Work the test sections in the the following order: stand alone questions, then item set questions, then case study, and finally the 2-3 hardcore TVM questions you will get in each section.  That way you will not get frustrated and end up spending 15 mins calcuating a duration change on a portfolio of bonds.

If you used Kaplan, I highly recommend setting up their study calendar and following it in a disciplined manner.  The game is won or lost in the amount of time you spend 10 weeks prior to the exam in my opinion.  Oh and I also bought the flash cards and MP3 study aids.  Listen to the MP3s in the car, while exercising, etc and carry the flash cards with you all the time so you can whip them out when you have a few minutes.  I know I got a handful of questions right through osmosis in listening to the MP3s.

 
Finally, this should be common sense but I will say it anyway, make sure you spend most of your time on your weak subjects.  I tested well on investments, fundamentals and estate planning so I spend the vast majority of my time working insurance, tax and retirement planning questions.  We all tend to want to work questions that we are comfortable with so spend most of your time in the areas you are weakest. 
 
That is all
 
Here are the stats on first time vs second time takers.  First time takers are in the 50-60% range compared to 30-40% for retakes.
 
http://www.cfp.net/media/survey.asp?id=9
 
 

Roxie's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-19

Ugh.  You have my sympathy....  I am a brilliant test taker and needed to sit for this one twice.  The first time, knew that it wasn't going to happen and took it to see what would need to be done for the second time.  (Yes, my SO pans on me for not having belief.) After the first time went back to each book, all six and read them cover to cover to read and understand. 
Looking at your previous posts you may have waited too long to take it again.  Can't comment on best way to study locaine's methods may be spot on, but take it again the NEXT time you can register and study your butt off. 
 
For today, go work out, endorphins are wonderful things.  Remember it is just a test and not a reflection on you.

traveler's picture
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boxtowire's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-27

lady_trader wrote:I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.
 
Gauging from the test scores?? The CFP Board NEVER tells you scores.  You only know if you passed or didn't pass.  From what I remember, the more common the knowledge, the more the answer weighs in your score.  So, if each question is worth 3 points, and the question is known by about 70% of other advisors, then that question will be worth 70% x 3, or 2.1 points.  Point being, don't worry if you don't know some esoteric fact--you just can't afford to miss the easier ones.  Also, the test is scored by very conservative advisors/educations, so when you answer questions--answer as if you were a very conservative 65 yr old advisor.  
 
Also, because the test is so long, you can get mentally fatigued and miss the easy ones.  Get lots of rest prior to the exam and make it a point to stay focused during the exam--take a short mental breather if you need to in the middle of the exam.   
 
The best thing you can do, however, is take one of the week long review courses.  Sometimes they are broken up into 2 three-day weekend sessions.  It may cost you another grand, but it's money well spent.  And if you fail, check with the provider, but most will let you take the week long review course again for free.      
 
What motivated me when I got burned out on studying was thinking--I do NOT want to take this test again, so focus RIGHT NOW and keep going.
 
Take review exams until you want to puke.  Good luck and study hard.
  

nestegg's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-14

Try another career?

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

I suspect your problem might be related to trying to memorize the material as opposed to really knowing/understanding the material.  I thought the test was pretty straightforward, but it's not like the 66 or 24 where you do a lot of memorization to pass.

Cowboy93's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-10

Iocaine wrote:
Surprisingly the pass rate is highest for first time test takers.  Statistically your odds of passing it on a second or third pass are much lower 
 
 
It is not "surprising," it is basic statistics....the re-take population by definition includes people who failed the first time.  Generally people don't take it just for fun and therefore either can't grasp the material or misjudge how prepared they are; both traits are likely to persist on the 2nd or 3rd try.

LA Broker's picture
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Joined: 2008-12-03

lady_trader wrote:I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.
 
Send me a PM and will give you a few tips that got me through it.

LA Broker's picture
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BioFreeze wrote: lady_trader wrote:I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.You are a trader. That means you actually do something for people. CFP's don't do anything for people. Thus, you shouldn't pass the cfp quiz.
 
BioFreeze
You are an insurance salesman.  Check out this site:
 
http://www.insurance-forums.net/forum/

lady_trader's picture
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Joined: 2007-05-12

Bio- I am a trader, who might some day want to transition to more of a broker role. This is why I am taking the CFP now.Another poster is correct. They do not tell you by what percentage that you failed, however Kaplan did provide a guide to gauge what your score was if you failed. I suspect that Indyone is probably correct. Most of the Series tests are memorization based, not true understanding like the CFP. I have a feeling that is mostly responsible for the failure. I am almost thinking of doing Zahn. I met a guy who passed with Zahn who failed the Series 63 a bunch of times. That really spoke volumes to me. Thanks for all of the comments. If any re-testers have good advice, I am all ears.

nestegg's picture
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Joined: 2007-06-14

The difference with the CFP vs the 7 and most other tests is you actually have to know something to pass it. It isnt just memorizing...being a good test taker does not mean you understand or have knowledge, hence a fail on the CFP...study up and take it when you truly understand and know the material

NOVA's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-11

take the CFA - the CFP will feel a lot easier.

Shania Twain's picture
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lady_trader wrote: I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.

Drop your expectations to pass it.

Give the material another chance with a totally different mindset.

Work to try to ENJOY learning with a goal of a REAL understanding of big picture concepts.

change your thinking from:

"what do I need to get from this to get the answers right".

to:

How do i feel about this concept?    Where did it come from?   Why is it important?    How would i do it? etc etc

Like Luke.

relax. let the force be with you.    
trust yourself

enjoy the journey.   

Sportsfreakbob's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-24

FWIW - Lady - i passed the first time, I am admittedly not all that smart, but i am a good test taker.
I took the Kier Review and found it excellent. I was given the books 4 months before the test and started the self study at that time (concurrent to finishing up the last required course). And then i took a one week class review, the instructor was excellent and he focused on test taking strategy as well as the actual knowledge and concepts. He is in NY. If you have an interest PM me and I'll get you his name.
Aside from that, you probably know this already, but the key is to take as many practice tests as possible. Take the test, score it, then review the answers AND explanations, not only on the ones you got wrong but also on the ones yougot right.
Take practice tests over and over. On paper and on disk.\
Good luck.

usplanner's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-12

I highly recommend KenZahn.com for you at this point in your studies. His approach is highly unique and his instruction is particularly good for people who learn best with material that is highly visual in nature such as diagrams/charts/graphs, etc. His material is laser focused and he really helps you to understand both the concepts as well as how to analyze the questions to make sure you are really understanding what they are asking (and not get sidetracked by all the surrounding information in the questions). I originally used other material as well but his program put it all together for me. I only purchased the class notes/material and that alone helped tremendously to pass. I think going to the actual live review course would be even better. You will get a whole new sense of motivation and inspiration that you can pass the test. You can do it! I wish you great success.

thenewbull's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-21

I would say forget the CFP unless your practice involves true planning i.e., you're an indy or a fee-planning firm. If you work for a national wirehouse or even a regional firm...it's a waste. At the wires, you're paid to bring ng assets and either wrap them in a fee or get a commission and that takes SALES & CLOSING ability.

I work for a major wire and have 25 CFPs in my office....I out produce all but 1 of them. They're all great guys (and girls), but they over-think the process and can't close.

AGEWACHWELLS's picture
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Joined: 2009-06-30

True! Staring at a computer screen or books does nothing to bring in new assets or teach you how to convince someone to move all of their life savings to you. CFA is the same thing... waste of time.

Shania Twain's picture
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thenewbull wrote:I would say forget the CFP unless your practice involves true planning i.e., you're an indy or a fee-planning firm. If you work for a national wirehouse or even a regional firm...it's a waste. At the wires, you're paid to bring ng assets and either wrap them in a fee or get a commission and that takes SALES & CLOSING ability. I work for a major wire and have 25 CFPs in my office....I out produce all but 1 of them. They're all great guys (and girls), but they over-think the process and can't close.
 
man, aint that the truth.

Vikram Pandit's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-23

lady_trader wrote: I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.

Tell the CFP board you can't read and ask for an oral exam.

ytrewq's picture
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Joined: 2008-08-02

No question.  Ken Zahn.

gettingstarted's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-25

thenewbull wrote:I would say forget the CFP unless your practice involves true planning i.e., you're an indy or a fee-planning firm. If you work for a national wirehouse or even a regional firm...it's a waste. At the wires, you're paid to bring ng assets and either wrap them in a fee or get a commission and that takes SALES & CLOSING ability.

I work for a major wire and have 25 CFPs in my office....I out produce all but 1 of them. They're all great guys (and girls), but they over-think the process and can't close.
I hear ya - Have heard CFP actually stands for --- Can't Fu%$in Produce 

Lawrence's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-04

lady_trader wrote: I have taken this test twice and failed. I would say that I am not a good test taker in general, but dang it, I have spent the money and want to pass it. Although, gauging from the test scores, I was close both times.Any advice from others? I tried both Kaplan for both.

You failed because you BELIEVE you are not a good test taker.

I recommend AnthonyRobbins.com

pbfinanceman's picture
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Joined: 2012-10-18

thenewbull wrote:
I would say forget the CFP unless your practice involves true planning i.e., you're an indy or a fee-planning firm. If you work for a national wirehouse or even a regional firm...it's a waste. At the wires, you're paid to bring ng assets and either wrap them in a fee or get a commission and that takes SALES & CLOSING ability.

I work for a major wire and have 25 CFPs in my office....I out produce all but 1 of them. They're all great guys (and girls), but they over-think the process and can't close.

This might be true. being a CFP is more about taking into account every aspect of someones finances, not just gathering assets and charging a fee. CFPs have a moral standard to actually help people, thats why our firm which is all CFPs take the majority of our clients from wirehouses, probably just like yours. So please dont get your CFP, you would give us a bad name

Takingnames's picture
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Joined: 2007-11-09

PB Finance man.

Clearly you need to retake the test. It is a FIDUCIARY standard, not a moral standard. I might add it is issued by a private non profit organization, not governed by any regulatory body. There are no teeth, investigators, regulators involved. There is no oversight. No one watching the CFP watchers. The self appointed watchers.

The CFP board is a private non profit - not subject to governmental oversight or public input. They OPPOSE government oversight and being put under the auspices of the SEC or FINRA; and are selling the CFP standard to the public as a "should have" and to advisors because of courses and fees that generates revenues. 6 classes and a test + ongoing CE won't give you a moral standard.

Non CFP advisors more often than not do help people. Taking the moral high ground on something like this puts you in a great spot to be pushed down. The CFP organizations says that they set and enforce the standards for financial planners. Really? Wow. They do, eh? No. Only for the ones that they have issued the certification to. The ones they created. They spank their own baby. I believe Registered Rep magazine had an article about a year and a half ago that more CFPs are in bankruptcy as a percentage than the general population. Cannot find it though.

The CFP board only this year included publishing bankruptcies - yet FINRA and the SEC have been doing so for years.

Here is an example of the fiduciary standard in practice. In the Northeast this summer, a CFP was issued a cease and desist..... http://www.sos.nh.gov/securities/Press_Releases/PRESSR_2012-08-30.pdf

Wire house and other advisory firms have layers and layers of oversight and routine regulatory audits. CFPs don't have that. The CFP organization doesn't issue the certificate to advisors who do not have experience (3 years worth). They don't have the authority to regulate or legislate.

The non profit organization behind it generates more than 17 million in revenues a year, the CEO made $412,000.00 in 2010 AND another $176,000 in other compensation from the organization (research this folks - read the 990 document you can get a copy on Guidestar.org) You have to create a user name and password to do this.

tnrep's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-06

I agree with takingnames. I took the CFP classes and I really don't see a need to get the three letters. I already have the fiduciary resposibility with my Advisory licenses and series 7 etc... I have CFP's in my area that I take busines from all day - they think they can charge more for the same service because they have the CFP letters.

TickTock's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-16

I took the Dalton CFP online courses through Northwestern and the 4 days of 10 hours cram session. I did no other studying for the CFP, just the 40 hr cram session. I found the CFP, Series 7/66 all easy (7 was 93). I found it easy because most of it applied directly to my practice and my clients. I do believe I provide better advice having learned the 6 subject areas in depth. Few new prospects have any idea what CFP is or the value. AUM is $130mil and trailing 12 is $1.2 mil inside a bank program, commission and fee. Self built book, 1/2 banker referrals. My conclusion, some CFPs can close business.

amanthapeterson's picture
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Joined: 2013-11-09

The Certified Financial Planner designation has come to be widely considered as the definitive mark of competence by investors and financial professionals. Many educational pieces available to the public encourage novice investors and clients to seek professionals who have earned this credential. Not only will the material learned from the CFP course curriculum increase a student's professional competence, but the prestige of holding the designation will likely increase his or her business as well. One of the main advantages that the CFP designation offers is the ability for a financial professional in any given field to better understand how what he or she does fits into a client's overall financial situation.

Jeff S's picture
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Joined: 2013-04-10

Hi...strong suggestion. Ken Zahn is supposedly great, Brett Danko (who I believe studied or worked for or works for) Ken Zahn is excellent. Not judging Brett vs Ken, I've just had a lot of experience with Brett. I took his class and sent something like 8 of my staff to his program pre-exam. Its awesome.

Good luck!

RealWorld's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-13

thenewbull wrote:
I would say forget the CFP unless your practice involves true planning i.e., you're an indy or a fee-planning firm. If you work for a national wirehouse or even a regional firm...it's a waste. At the wires, you're paid to bring ng assets and either wrap them in a fee or get a commission and that takes SALES & CLOSING ability.

I work for a major wire and have 25 CFPs in my office....I out produce all but 1 of them. They're all great guys (and girls), but they over-think the process and can't close.

I honestly can't wait until the industry gets rid of commission turds like this.

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