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Applied Financial Planning (AFP) Certification Examination

 

EXAM STRUCTURE

The AFP Certification Examination assesses the theoretical and applied knowledge possessed by fully competent financial planners as identified by industry experts and set out within the PFP® Professional Competency Profile. The AFP Certification Examination requires that you successfully complete two examinations.

Although not required, CSI strongly encourages candidates to successfully complete the AFP Exam 1 prior to attempting AFP Exam 2. The assessment in AFP Exam 2 builds on the content and depth examined in AFP Exam 1 with a greater expectation for candidates to analyze, evaluate and formulate strategies to present solutions for client situations. The Student Performance Report from AFP Exam 1 may also assist candidates in identifying areas of weakness for preparation for AFP Exam 2.

AFP Exam 1: Standalone Multiple-Choice Format

The exam is three hours in duration and includes 100 to 110 independent multiple-choice questions, including possible pilot questions.

The approximate exam weighting of AFP Exam 1 by core competency is as follows:

Appropriate Exam Percentage Weightings of AFP Exam 1 by Core Competency
Develop a professional relationship with clients based on trust and credibility 10%
Analyze qualitative information required to create financial recommendations 7%
Analyze quantitative information required to create a financial plan 8%
Formulate financial planning strategies and recommendations 15%
Prepare financial planning recommendations 15%
Finalize the financial plan with the client 10%
Implement financial planning solutions 15%
Monitor Results of the financial plan 10%
Update the financial plan 10%

AFP Exam 2: Case Scenario - Constructed-Response Format

This examination includes one comprehensive financial planning case scenario with 8 to 12 related questions. The numbered questions may include smaller sub-questions. Candidates have up to three hours to complete the examination. Candidates construct a response to the posed question and provide a written response (in long-hand) in the examination book. The examination may also include a number of charts or data sheets requiring completion (e.g., cash flow, statement of net worth, etc.). Questions may include sub-questions that assess smaller pieces of information.

A case scenario is used to test candidates’ ability to demonstrate the competencies and ability to apply the professional knowledge and skills as set out in the PFP® Professional Competency Profile. Questions presented on AFP Exam 2 will focus on the candidate’s ability to apply their financial planning knowledge to demonstrate professional competence in the practice of financial planning as required by the case scenario and posed questions. The presentation of how the examination is weighted is two dimensional in that the examination is weighted both structurally and by competency.

Any and all competencies from the PFP® Professional Competency Profile are subject to testing in each section of the examination and candidates should be prepared to demonstrate those competencies across all sections of the examination. AFP Exam 2 is weighted by core competency, with an approximate range of +/- 5% variation for each competency, as follows:

Approximate Exam Percentage Weightings of AFP Exam 2 by Core Competency
Develop a professional relationship with clients based on trust and credibility 5%
Analyze qualitative information required to create financial recommendations 10%
Analyze quantitative information required to create a financial plan 20%
Formulate financial planning strategies and recommendations 30%
Prepare financial planning recommendations 15%
Finalize the financial plan with the client 10%
Implement financial planning solutions 5%
Monitor results of the financial plan 5%
Update the financial plan 5%

Preparing for the AFP Certification Examination

Candidates should use the PFP® Professional Competency Profile, any course or learning materials from the completed prerequisite educational route or other learning resources, the examination weightings and the Candidate Guidelines as their study materials in preparation to write the AFP Certification Examination. Additional information on using these materials is available on the Support Materials page. As only the Competency Profile is the basis for the examination, candidates should cross-reference the profile with their study materials to identify any gaps in the materials or their own knowledge, and research independently to fill in those gaps to ensure that they possess the required knowledge and skills and ability to apply those in an examination environment.

EXAM ADMINISTRATION
Exam Format

Paper Based

Exam Length

AFP Exam 1 = 3 Hours
AFP Exam 2 = 3 Hours

Question Format

AFP Exam 1: Stand-Alone Multiple Choice
AFP Exam 2: Case-Based - Constructed-Response Format

Questions Per Exam

Exam 1: 100 to 110 (including possible pilot questions)
Exam 2: 8 to 12 (with sub-questions in most)

Attempts Allowed Per Exam

2
Important: After 2 unsuccessful attempts of either Exam 1 or 2, you are required to wait six months before re-enrolling in the AFP.

Passing Score

60

Candidates must earn a score of 60 or greater to pass each of AFP Exam 1 and AFP Exam 2. The marking methodology is further explained in the Candidate Guidelines

ENROLMENT PERIOD  
Enrolment Period 1 year (no extensions allowed)

Prior to enrolling in or preparing for the AFP Certification Examination, we strongly recommend candidates access and review the support materials listed below to determine readiness for successful completion of the AFP Certification Examinations. The video below provides guidance on preparing for the examinations and using the resources below.

  • The PFP® Professional Competency Profile identifies examinable competencies and knowledge areas.Candidates should use this as a base for preparation as only the content listed therein will be subject to testing on the AFP Certification Examination.
  • The AFP Candidate Guidelines provides information on exam development, differences between AFP Exam 1 and AFP Exam 2, the Competency Profile and samples of the types of questions that candidates will encounter on each exam.
  • Sample AFP Exam 2 is available on your WebCT portal after registering for the certification exam. The Sample AFP Exam 2 provides an opportunity for candidates to practice responding to in-depth and complex questions similar in structure to those that they will encounter on AFP Exam 2. It should provide candidates with a clearer understanding of the examination structure and questions of AFP Exam 2, and the level and depth of knowledge required for the AFP Exam 2.
  • Click Here for AFP Certification Examination FAQs.
  • AFP Exam Prep Tool — The AFP Exam Prep Tool is an optional tool that provides students with a pre-assessment to identify their current level of knowledge, experience and readiness before writing the AFP Certification Examination. Please note: Enrollment in the AFP Certification Exam is required prior to purchasing this product.
  • AFP Exam 2 Prep Seminar — This seminar is designed to help you review the most challenging areas of the second exam of the Applied Financial Planning (AFP) Certification Examination. It will offer a variety of activities designed to strengthen your understanding of AFP concepts and applications. Led by an industry expert and practitioner, students will walk through how to synthesize client information and financial planning concepts in order to construct a meaningful financial plan. Please note: Enrollment in the AFP Certification Exam is required prior to purchasing this product.
    This two day session will include:
    • A review of key concepts
    • Sample Case Studies
    • Sample exam with group debrief
    • Exam writing strategies
  • Course Textbooks — Candidates are encouraged to use the course materials from their qualifying education program, along with any other reference materials, to evaluate their knowledge, skills and readiness to write the examinations against the Competency Profile. A selection of course textbooks from CSI courses on the qualifying education path are available for purchase to supplement preparation materials.

Continuing Education (CE) Credits

Click the links below or the buttons at the top of the page on the right side to access CE accreditation information. To search for specific course information, press Ctrl + F and then enter the course name to search the document for the information you are interested in.

National/Provincial (Excluding Quebec)
Download CE Chart (PDF, 163 kb)

Quebec (IQPF/CSF)
Download IQPF/CSF Chart (PDF, 182 kb)

Please note: While CSI makes every effort to ensure that the information is up-to-date, we are unfortunately unable to fully guarantee its accuracy. The information listed in the charts above may be subject to change.

More detailed information on CE Credits are available.