Lately, I’ve been saying, “I have to study,” a helluva lot. Some of my friends get it and accept that I don’t have free time, and others take offense, assuming that I must have at least one day a week where I still have the ability to fuck off. I don’t. One whole day of play is not a viable option when preparing to take the Certified Financial Planning exam. Maybe if I wasn’t working 40-ish hours a week, or if I had a staff to keep up on housework, but I do work a full shift and I don’t have a maid. I can’t even afford to think of having one.
So for those of you still talking to me, let me try to paint a picture of what this entails. I could throw quotes at you that say the CFP is more difficult than the Series 7 and it rates up there with taking the Bar or the Medical Boards. But unless you’ve sat for one of those exams, that means nothing. Nothing.
The CFP exam is a two-day exam (day and a half, but no doubt the half-morning free will vanish like time during an alien abduction) with a total of 10 hours of test-taking time. Ten hours! It is 285 questions, including two case studies. That’s about two minutes a question with a half hour leeway to account for calculations, reading the question, and pouring through the case study for relevant facts.
The exam is offered three times a year, so if I don’t sit for the July exam, I must wait until November. (November won’t be a good time of the year for such things, but I don’t expect you to care about that.) The average pass rate is only 50-60%. Yes, a fifty percent chance to fall flat on my face! The grading for the exam is a convoluted method that consists of weighting certain questions more than others, plus some other calculations that I’m trying not to think about because they’ll only discourage me. The short of it is, I can’t say “Oh I’m getting 75% on the practice exams, so I’m good to go.” Nope, not so easy to judge if one is prepared.
There are seven broad categories, but a total of 89 topics, some of which will be tested heavily and others only slightly but, which are which changes from exam to exam, so I cannot count on being allowed to “forget” certain areas with an expectation of only one question being risked.
It takes approximately 1000 hours to prepare for this exam. This includes six required courses and two optional ones. (Note: optional only means they won’t prohibit you from sitting for the exam if I don’t take them. If I want to pass, they should be considered required). 300 hours of independent study are recommended during the three months before the exam. Because of the timing of my classes, I’ll need to get that 300 hours completed in two months.
Yes, I am crazy. (Seriously, you didn’t know that already?)
I know this still does not give you, Dear Readers, the full scope of my masochistic games, but I hope it does clarify a few things. So that when I say “Sorry, I have to study,” or when I sound like a candidate for a Hulu commercial, I hope you’ll understand.
~ Yes Dear Sister, I got your email two weeks ago and I will be looking at those strollers for your baby shower. I’m sorry I haven’t responded yet.
~ I’m sorry I can’t stay up until midnight to write with you Carrie. I have to study when my mind is fresh and, when I’m done, my brains are pickled. The pickling usually occurs before you are free to play at night.
~ Oh, Husband, did you ask me something? It wasn’t in the form of a formula, so I didn’t quite hear what you said. Forgive my lack of attention. Even when the books are closed, I hear case studies through the voices in my head.
~ LARPers, I miss you. One of these days I’ll play make-believe with you again. But The Muse won’t talk to me and I don’t blame her. I ate all her chocolate caramels during the fourth week of the Case course.
Have patience, Dear Readers. I might have my life back by the end of July.