Since announcing that I passed the CFP exam, I have received requests for advice on passing the exam. So, I'll do my best, but everyone's experience may differ. Here you go Zook.
First, let me explain how I went about the process. I began the process without a sense of urgency. The company that I was working for neither paid for the classes, nor was very supportive about it. They were strict money managers, and financial planning was viewed as an elaborate ruse to get people to buy life insurance. Ignorant, I know. But they are very old school.
So, watching my budget, I went with the online only classes through the College for Financial Planning. It was cheaper than any actual classroom version. Besides, the "at your own pace" sounded attractive. Initially, I went at it pretty diligently. I had some friends who were studying at the same time, so we formed a small group to keep each other on track. However, as they began to drop off, that support dissolved.
From the time that I enrolled, to the time that I took the test, it was almost two years. In my opinion, too long. See, I thought that my prior experience in financial services would allow my to walk through the coursework in the self study mode. It turns out that there is a tremendous amount of detail that is covered, and knowing what to study is probably the most important thing of all.
After finally completing the coursework, I enrolled in a CFP Exam Review course. There are courses offered by a host of companies, some with classroom, some without. Here, in Los Angeles, there are two ladies, Linda Hewitt and Nancy LeClair, who teach classes at UCLA extension, and UCI extension. They are a two weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday deal. It's not cheap, something like $1,200, but man it's worth it.
They take all that you have studied, and say, "okay, don't worry about all that, here's what you need to know, and here's how you should approach the test." They have been teaching CFP classes for years, so they know what to expect, and they know how to prepare you. This was the most important thing that I did.
So, what I would have done differently.