The final stretch!

This could be the last few days I ever have to cram this much knowledge in my head. I can’t tell you how excited that makes me.

This past weekend, I missed two events – a summer kick-off BBQ at Erin and James’ place, and a Scotch Tasting. Clearly, going to either would have been a terrible idea, as much as I would have had fun at both. Can you imagine me failing my exam because of points I could have been studying in my final weekend, and didn’t get to? As it was, I studied for 9 to 10 hours each day over the weekend, and still felt guilty for quitting at 8 or 9pm each day.

So, here I am in my final stretch. The last of the review is before me. I should be learning absolutely nothing new at this point, and that seems to be the case, although the review is tweaking my memory on things I’d let lapse in my head over the past several months.

For those of you studying for the PFP or CFP, I can’t stress this enough: The CSI materials don’t cut it. They don’t deal with any implementation or really help with recommendations or factors you should be considering. One big tip I’ve come up with last week? When the tests ask for factors or items to consider, DON’T give recommendations. This is true for both the AFP2 and the FPE2. Apparently, that’s where most go wrong.

The other important item I’ve learned in preparing? If the examiner is looking for three points, give ONLY three points. Not four, not six. Three. They will only look at the first three, so you are wasting precious time writing more anyhow. Make sure the points are unique, and not a slight duplication from the previous point you made.

Finally? Don’t be wordy! Even if the FPE2 exam asks you to write an email or letter to your case study client, use point form. Start the “email” off with a basic intro… “here are three points you need to consider when…” and then list point form points. Don’t forget to include to suggest gaining outside expertise from a specialist where necessary.

Good luck to all those also writing the FPE2 Saturday morning! Drop by and say hi in the comments afterwards!

YOUR TURN: Are you studying for the CFP or PFP right now? Drop me a comment! I’d love to hear from you!


  1. 1

    Cathy says

    Hi Tanya,

    I took my AFP2 and failed. I got 57.5%. I was too worried and my head went blank. For all other courses I got over 80%. I could not understand what went wrong with me. Did you have any tips to share? Thanks a lot.

  2. 2


    Hi Cathy – don’t despair, you are among a great many people who have gone through the same issue, most that I know have failed multiple times. I’m really hoping that the second time around for me gets me through. I don’t think I’ll attempt again if not.

    Def. do review their sample case study on the PFP site (you don’t need to pay for the AFP prep… kind of useless if you ask me) – the one at the end of the PFP exam material is what you want to look at. Your next exam should be very similar to your last one in types of questions. Bottom line? Bone up on your “factors to consider” (under the Financial Management / Estate Planning etc) vs. “recommendations” – don’t give recommendations unless the question clearly asks for that. (there weren’t that many on mine that did)

    Finally, at least 10% of your mark is related to the financial calculations, so learn before and after tax time value of money, and how they want you to display it (refer back to the sample plan, it’s exactly the same on the test).

    I hope this helps! When are you writing next?

  3. 3

    Cathy says

    Hi Tanya,

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips. I am planning to take my exam at the end of June. Did you pass your exam? Do you know if the second exam is the same as the first one? One of my colleague took the first exam, failed and took the second one. The second one was the same case study as the first one and he failed again. Now we are so worried as i truly do not know what examiner is looking for. Thank you for all your help.

  4. 5

    kiki says

    Hi Tanya, I have the same problem with AFP2 exam. Most time my exam marks are over 80, my AFP1 was 81. Sadly my AFP2 was 58 at first attempt, the second was even worse. Can you give some suggestions after you finish your FPE2. I wish you passed the both exams!

  5. 7


    Hi Guillermo, thanks for popping by! I’ve requested this info, and they’ve declined to comment. It must be fairly low, if they keep making changes to how the test is examined, and I detect a little defensiveness in their promo campaigns. I thankfully am done both the PFP and CFP now, but I know several people who have written the ago exam more than twice. :(

    This last CFP final was brutal and I’m shocked at how many of my peers weren’t successful.

  6. 8


    Hi kiki! Thanks for jumping in! Sorry for the delayed reply. They’ve changed the AFP2 exam again since I took it, but the fundamentals are still the same. I’d highly recommend the free form prep such as Gobeil AFP prep or Business Career College CFP webinar (2 days and great prep if you already know the material).

    Bottom line – know the material. You won’t be successful with the PFP designation if you can’t answer free form the application of the material. I hope this helps!

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