Whew. One down, one to go.
I woke up this morning feeling pretty underwhelmed about how this evening would go… And, as the day wore on, and I reviewed as much as I could, I was making myself get seriously worked up about this PFP exam. (The AFP 2)
By the time I walked into the examination room at SAIT at 6pm, I was nauseated. I tried to plaster a smile on my face, using my famed “smile therapy” to change my attitude, but I’m sure I must have looked like a deranged lunatic to those around me.
And, then, I opened up the exam and started to write. And write. And, write. An hour in, and the nausea was gone, and I was feeling much better.
I felt prepared. I knew what to expect.
This was, after all, my second attempt at this horribly difficult test. The first time, I failed. And, that’s saying something; I never fail tests. In fact, if I get under an 80% on a test, I feel defeated. So, the first try was a kick in the pants for me. I clearly wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was last November.
What did I do differently this time? …A few things. I prepared differently. I used primarily case studies, and literally studied the AFP 2 practice exam that CSI offers up for a fee, until I was blue in the face. And, I think it made a difference. Well, I know my mark will be better than the last time… I literally missed a pass by a few marks. I’m fairly certain that this time, it won’t be the same.
I also used my time differently, writing this exam attempt. I scanned the case study, and then immediately started writing in the easy answers (the quantitative answers on the cash flow statement, and statement of net worth) and then highlighted the particular areas of the case I knew I’d need for the other longer questions.
So, this time around, I actually finished with about 5 minutes to spare! Surely not my usual speedy exam writing, (I usually complete the multiple choice exams in about 2/3 of the needed time) but being long hand, and breaking a number of pencils in the process, I’m pleased I had time to review a few of my responses before the invigilator called time… He did so, just as I was heading out the door, actually.
For those of you who are preparing to write the AFP2 for the first, or the second time, I urge you to review CASE STUDIES!! Especially those that are prepared by the CSI people. They are identical in nature (not length…) to what you’ll be asked on the exam.
Also, know your implementation well. Things like, how does income splitting work? What tax credits are appropriate to use? When should you deplete the RSP vs. the TFSA, vs. the non-reg holdings in retirement? Also have a very good understanding of risk management and estate planning techniques. I’d bone up on CI insurance if you don’t have a good understanding of it, too. Finally, a large number of marks are geared towards calculating income streams with before and after-tax dollars. This takes up a lot of time, so if you are slow, go to that section first… I think it was worth 16 marks.
Anyhow – time will tell how I did. If it’s anything like last time, I could be waiting six weeks for a mark. Let’s hope that’s not the case, though. That wait killed me!
NEXT UP… The CFP (FPE2) final exam on the 8th of June. I can’t wait to put this all behind me. I’m tired.
YOUR TURN: Are you writing, or have written these exams? Is this feedback helpful?