Best CFP Study Materials

Becoming a CFP is an excellent career choice. You can make $100,000 a year in positions that are in high demand now and in the near future, according to data gathered by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. 

However, the process involved in becoming a Certified Financial Planner is so difficult that you might feel discouraged even before you start studying for the exam. All CFPs must meet an education and work requirement before sitting for the exam, which is notoriously difficult. 

Luckily, there are ways to make the preparation process easier for yourself and get the motivation you need to succeed!

Online CFP exam prep courses make it easier to study for the certification exam. You still have to work hard if you want a passing grade, but many of the best courses guarantee you can pass if you follow their recommended study schedule. Aside from that, these courses come with a wide range of study materials, educational technology, and extra support from instructors and fellow students.

Check out our picks for the best CFP review courses below and start studying this week!


1. Wiley CFP

For the ideal combination of old and new, alongside helpful features that encourage you to keep making progress, Wiley’s financial planning education can’t be beat!

Course Details

Wiley uses modern tech to bolster the effectiveness of their traditional study materials. The end result is a one-of-a-kind curriculum and format that’s extremely effective at preparing you for your CFP certification.

With over half a million students helped and a company history over two centuries long, Wiley is one of the most trustworthy online education resources around. Whether you want to watch video lectures, answer practice questions, or work through flashcards on your phone— their CFP exam prep courses have everything you need and more.

You have three different options to choose from. The most affordable is their CFP Self-Study Course for $445, which includes over a thousand questions, 2 mock exams, and 1,400+ digital flashcards. For a little more you can get their CFP Silver Course, which adds video lectures— and for a little more you can get their $745 CFP Gold Course that adds a 7-week virtual class. I recommend going for Silver or Gold due to the lecture content.

Overall Score:

95%

Wiley CFP Features

  • 7 Weeks of Live Virtual Classes
  • 2 Full Length Practice Exams
  • 850+ Test Bank Questions
  • 390 End of Lesson Questions
  • 15+ Hours of On-Demand Video Lessons
  • 2 Volume Study Guide

Study Materials:

100%

Technology:

90%

Ease of Use:

95%

Support:

95%

Wiley CFP Pros and Cons

  • Easy Mobile Access: With so many practice questions and flashcards, it’s appealing to try and study whenever and wherever you are. Thanks to a companion mobile app for Android and Apple devices, you can easily accomplish this with no downtime thanks to offline compatibility.
  • Impressive Technology: Aside from the mobile app, Wiley also offers technologically advanced performance metrics as part of their exam prep course. It doesn’t matter which of the three packages you choose, since they all come with their award-winning assessment and progress tracking tool.
  • Extracurricular Activity:  Outside of watching lectures or practicing on flashcards, Wiley also offers resources that let you communicate with fellow students. This is yet another way you can compare your progress to other aspiring financial planners— and you may even discover some networking opportunities!
  • Free Trial: If you’re even slightly interested in what Wiley has to offer, I recommend checking out their 2-week trial. This will get you acclimated to everything Wiley CFP Review has to offer, and it comes with no financial commitment and no strings attached.
Bottom Line: Wiley Efficient Learning is truly a powerful educational tool that could have a profound impact on your success on the exam. I cannot recommend it highly enough— stop reading this and start studying right now!

2. Boston Institute of Finance

Boston Institute of Finance has a very well-rounded CFP education, and offers a high-quality CFP exam prep course to supplement this. All aspects of their course are 100% online, with guidance from expert instructors with ample professional experience.

Course Details

Boston Institute of Finance focuses on delivering high quality financial planning education through well-written textbooks, flashcards, guided lessons, and on-demand web lectures taught by four experienced CFPs.

Boston Institute of Finance students have an 80% pass rate for the Certified Financial Planner exam after completing their exam prep course. This is due to the help they received throughout the study process; instructors are readily available to answer your questions and help you work through difficult financial planning concepts and terms.

Overall Score:

82%

Boston Institute of Finance Features

  • 4 Textbooks
  • 1,500 – 2,000+ Practice Questions
  • Unlimited Practice Exams
  • Flashcards
  • Financial Glossary
  • 17 Modules
  • Certificate of Completion

Study Materials:

80%

Technology:

85%

Ease of Use:

84%

Support:

80%

There are two different CFP exam prep courses offered by Boston Institute of Finance. Core Exam Prep costs $995 and includes a curriculum with 25 hours of video content, over 1,500 practice questions, online textbooks, and a private student forum for extra help. Upgrading to Premium Exam Prep for $1,795 includes everything in the core curriculum plus 10 more classes, 1,000 extra practice questions, and additional study sheets covering important topics.

Boston Institute of Finance CFP Pros and Cons

  • Expert Guidance: All content included with Boston Institute of Finance is designed to offer the ideal compromise between independence and expertise. Their Core Curriculum unlocks as time passes, ensuring you keep a competitive pace and avoid getting over your head during studies. This is reinforced by multiple options to connect with your instructors for support.
  • Premium Content: Every aspect of the course has been designed by practicing CFPs. That way they can teach you what you need for the test and what you need to know during your professional life. Other courses only want you to memorize CFP concepts; Boston Institute of Finance wants you to understand and internalize them.
  • Enhanced Textbooks: As a modern web-based learning tool, Boston Institute of Finance took the initiative to enhance their textbooks with integrated audio clips and practice questions. This added level of interactivity makes their written CFP study material much more engaging, which will help you learn the lessons on each page.
  • Strict Pace: This is not a fully self-paced course, even if you choose to enroll in BIF’s Core Curriculum that doesn’t include live lectures. By limiting access to specific course materials until a set amount of time has passed, this can be somewhat annoying if you’re just looking to cram for your exam as quickly as possible.
Bottom Line: Boston Institute of Finance has some solid instructors. They also guarantee you a passing grade on the test.

3. Dalton CFP Review

Dalton Education Review Course

Course Details:

Dalton takes a much more structured approach to prepare you for the CFP exam. Their course has been divided into 3 major parts:

  • The first is the pre-study section. This consists of 5 booklets that are made up of study notes, practice questions, exam tips, and more. 
  • Once those are completed you’ll be enrolled in the 36 hour virtual classroom. This builds on your initial studying through live classroom sessions. 
  • Lastly, the post review section allows you to reinforce your weaker areas and ask for help before the exam.

Dalton includes a lot of similar content to our #1 pick with a lower cost. They also offer a Guaranteed To Pass package that combines their self-paced and live online material, but the prices for all their CFP exam review courses wildly vary depending on the sponsored education provider you choose.

Overall Score:

80%

Dalton Features

  • 5 Pre-Study Booklets
  • 36 Hours of Classroom Instruction
  • Exam Focused Handout Book
  • Post-Review Office Hours
  • 2000+ Question Testbank

Study Materials:

90%

Technology:

70%

Ease of Use:

70%

Support:

90%

Dalton CFP Pros and Cons

  • Lecture Archives: Every lecture you attend is automatically saved for future review. This includes content from all 3 sections of the course. This makes reviewing areas you need extra help with easier than ever— simply re-watch the lectures that you need as many times as you want.
  • Comprehensive Review: Dalton’s 3-part study course ensures that you learn everything you need to know about the CFP exam. You’ll start with a solid baseline of information before being developed into an expert. After that, you’ll brush up on each content area to reinforce everything you’ve learned. Using this strategy makes passing the exam simple and easy.
  • Variable Pricing: Pricing for Dalton’s courses vary based on who the education providers are. As a result, there are no uniform prices for these CFP courses. Certain providers charge extremely high prices while others are more reasonable; that disparity makes finding a course much harder.
Bottom Line: Dalton is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a structured and guided review course. However, some of the education providers will ask for nearly double what you can expect to pay from Wiley CFP, which offers better study materials at a fraction of the cost.

4. Kaplan CFP Review

Kaplan CFP Review Course

Course Details:

As you might expect from one of the most recognizable and longstanding names in test prep, Kaplan offers a wide variety of materials to help you pass the CFP exam. In order to avoid student burnout, their curriculum is designed to encourage students to cycle between different study methods— keeping things fresh and engaging. 

After signing up with Kaplan, you’ll gain access to review books, webinars, mock exams, podcasts, and much more. All of this is backed up by a performance tracker and activity feed that ensure you’re staying on task and shoring up your weak areas.

March 2021 Certified Financial Planner Stats

Kaplan advertises that the CFP exam pass rate for students enrolled in their course is 3-6% above the national pass rate, which is currently 63%. This means that the typical Kaplan student pass rate is in the high 60s to low 70s.

Overall Score:

78%

Kaplan Features

  • Review Books
  • Webinars
  • CFP Exam Podcasts
  • Mock Exams
  • Performance Tracker

Study Materials:

80%

Technology:

80%

Ease of Use:

80%

Support:

72%

Kaplan CFP Pros and Cons

  • Performance Tracker: Kaplan’s courses come with a well designed performance tracker. This will show you how well you’re doing in each area and tell you if you’re on track to pass the exam by your chosen date. Additionally, using this tool allows you to understand which areas you need to focus on. Consequently, you won’t fall behind as you move further through the course.
  • Print Materials: A set of print PFP test materials are included with your prep course. These allow you to take your learning offline when you don’t have access to a solid internet connection. Doing so ensures that you never have to worry about being able to study when you need to.
  • Price: The downside to high quality materials is how much they tend to cost. Kaplan’s courses are some of the more expensive ones on this list. They have cheaper options, but those tend to have far less materials and aren’t as effective. Despite that, this course is well worth your money if you can afford it.
Bottom Line: Kaplan is a good course with varied materials. They lack the focus and pass rates of the other courses on this list, but they’re still a great resource that can help you pass the test.

5. APNA CFP Course

APNA Course Review

APNACourse is an online platform focusing on video content. They offer over 40 hours of video lectures that cover 130 different CFP topics.

Course Details

Although APNACourse offers traditional study materials, that’s clearly not their main focus. Instead, they want to create a cooperative environment between students and instructors. That’s why all lectures can be discussed in an interactive discussion forum, as well as an attached WhatsApp group to help you brainstorm study sessions. These are only a few of the mutual support methods offered to every customer.

There are 3 different plans on offer from APNACourse. The first is a free plan that includes video lectures with ad breaks. By contrast, the $400 standard plan comes with ad free videos and everything else mentioned above. Lastly, you can choose to sign up for an enterprise plan with a group of people. Prices vary on that one, so you’ll need to contact APNACourse yourself to get that info.

Overall Score:

74%

APNACourse Features

  • 42+ Hours of Video Lectures
  • 5+ Practice Tests
  • Interactive Discussion Forum
  • WhatsApp Group
  • Learning Tracker

Study Materials:

73%

Technology:

72%

Ease of Use:

76%

Support:

75%

APNA CFP Pros and Cons

  • Group Learning: Every APNA course incorporates aspects of group learning into their lessons. Each lecture allows for interactive discussion between students and teachers. Plus, everyone has access to a student forum where they can ask questions and discuss CFP concepts.
  • Affordable: APNA’s courses are some of the most affordable ones in the business. They offer a wide range of free courses and paid ones only tend to be around $100. As a result, this is the best course provider for anyone trying to save money while preparing for the CFP exam.
  • Ads on Free Course: As I mentioned above, APNA has free courses on offer. However, the lectures in those courses are full of distracting ads. You’ll still learn what you need to know, but it may be more difficult than if you had paid for the full version.

CFP FAQs

Q: How much do CFPs make?

A: According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Certified Financial Planner is around $100,000 per year. Keep in mind that there are substantial education and work experience requirements you’ll need to complete before making this much money; don’t expect to earn six figures overnight!

Q: What does the CFP exam look like?

A: According to the CFP Handbook, the exam consists of 170 multiple choice questions taken across two 3 hour sessions. The test is entirely computer based, but you’ll still have to schedule an appointment at a Prometric testing center to take it.

Kenneth W. Boyd

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.