The following article was excerpted from the FP&A Exam Preparation Blog. Visit the blog for more helpful tips on preparing for the FP&A Exam.
When sitting for the FP&A Exam, you can either choose to take both parts on the same day or on different days. I chose the latter option when taking the beta exam in 2014. The exam was fair and I think by and large it did a good job of capturing the key concepts taught in the curriculum.
Why did I decide to go for the FP&A Exam? I expect this certification to become just like the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) for the FP&A profession. The growth trajectory of FP&A is projected to be huge and folks who can demonstrate proficiency and real world experience will be in high demand. Go read any survey of CFOs on the skills they are looking for and what area of finance they want to grow in; FP&A will be at the top of the list.
This is my general take on the multiple choice section in part one. Additional sections, and part two, will be covered in future posts.
Multiple choice section
I was able to finish this part in about an hour and change, giving me enough time to do a full second pass to focus on the harder questions that I was in between answers on. Time was not a huge factor for me and it usually isn’t on multiple choice exams. The questions were fair and you could usually narrow down the choices to two. Picking the right one was the tough part.
The quality of questions on the exam was good. They’re not ambiguous; I didn’t need to read them three or four times to make sure I was understanding the question.
It is important to note that the questions are not simple regurgitations of questions from the study materials. You have to actually synthesize the material to be able to answer some of them. This is a good thing’ it separates the adults from the kids.
Also, there are more calculations on the exam than what I expected. You should go into it prepared to do some math.
I’m sure I got some questions wrong and/or made some careless mistakes that I would kick myself on, but I was pretty confident that I did well on this section. I felt somewhere in between how I felt coming out of the CFA Level 3 exam (relatively confident) and Level 1 exam (I knew I destroyed it).
Jim Morales, FP&A, is Manager of Business Planning & Strategy for U.S. Gas & Electric Inc.