The examination to qualify as a certified financial planner will be administered electronically for the first time later this year, the organization that grants the mark said Thursday.
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. said that it will launch computer-based testing with its November exam. The final paper-based tests will be given in March and July.
Replacing pencil-and-paper tests with an electronic version will make the examination process more flexible and efficient, allowing an expansion in the number of testing dates and sites, the CFP Board said.
The group stressed that the exam content will stay the same, even though the delivery format is changing.
“This move to computer-based testing provides test-takers increased opportunities to take the exam while retaining the rigor of the CFP certification examination,” CFP Board chief executive Kevin Keller said in a statement.
The new process will give test takers a “greatly improved experience,” he said.
The exam will be streamlined from its day-and-a-half format with 10 hours of testing time to a one-day event requiring six hours of testing.
Test takers will be able instantly to access preliminary, unofficial results. The official results will be available in one to two weeks rather than five weeks.
In addition to passing the certifying exam, CFP candidates also must satisfy experience requirements, pass a background check and have a bachelor's degree before they can receive the designation.