The Guide to Examinations for CFP® Certification says:
“FPE1 is a competency-based examination of up to four hours in duration. The examination consists of approximately 95 multiple-choice questions. The examination questions will be presented as a combination of stand-alone multiple-choice questions and two case studies with related multiple-choice questions. Although FPE1 will be administered on a computer, candidates will be provided with a paper version of the case study scenarios.”
The June 2017 FPE1 was four hours in duration and there were a total of 93 multiple-choice questions: 73 stand-alone technical questions and two case studies each with 10 questions.
The case study scenarios or backgrounds usually include about 4 to 5 pages of text plus a statement of net worth and a statement of cash flow. The case study background has headings, such as Insurance, Employment, and Estate Planning.
Case studies require the analysis of data and selection of most appropriate responses to multiple-choice questions covering a variety of topics. The only real difference from a technical question is that you have to search through the case study background to find the information that you need to answer the question. Case studies include the information that you, as a financial planner, would obtain from a new client through questionnaire and interview.