Over the years, we have spoken to many candidates who have failed the CFP examinations, and who have told us that they ran out of time and did not answer all of the questions. Failure to manage one’s time is probably a more frequent cause of failure than not knowing enough technical information.
An Examination Item is a client situation and the accompanying questions.
Some of the Examination Items may have only one question and as few as 3 marks, which you would expect to complete in 5.4 minutes. Some of the Examination Items may have three or more questions, which could take much longer.
One candidate reported, “I spent the 3 hours in the morning on the 7 cases presented. Each case had from 1 to 3 questions.”
“Your study material was good; however your constructive questions were very specific. The constructive questions in the exam were general: a lot of questions I couldn't actually figure out exactly they were asking for?”
You are going to have great difficulty trying to manage your time if you do it by 5.4 minute intervals. You will spend more time noting the times and checking your watch than it is worth.
We have found that it is practical to manage your time by 18 minute intervals, which just happens to be the amount of time that you have for 10 marks.
At the start of the CFP Examination, you want write on your exam paper the times at which you should have completed each block of 10 marks. However, you also want the times when you should have completed an Examination Item.
Suppose that we started on the constructed-response questions at 9:00 a.m.
Count up the marks for the Examination Items until you have about 10 marks. Multiply the actual number of marks by 1.8 minutes per mark to determine how long you can spend on that block of Examination Items and, at the end of the last question, write the time at which you should have completed the block of Examination Items.
Suppose that the first Examination Item had 5 marks, the second had 4 marks and the third had 6 marks; the first and second Examination Items would have 9 marks, the closest to 10 marks.
So, you would want to be finished these two Examination Items at just past 9:16 am, calculated as (start time for block of Examination Items of 9:00 am + (number of marks of 9 × 1.8 minutes per mark)).
You would then repeat this process for the remaining Examination Items.