Examination Standards:

The candidate must pass a single or multiple certification examination(s) based on Financial Planner Competency Profile

The Competency Profile:

  1. Tests the knowledge and abilities of candidates, covering the Fundamental Financial Planning Practices and Financial Planning Components described in FPSB’s Financial Planner Competency Profile; and
  2. Is independent of examinations provided as part of an education program.



FPSB member organizations’ examination(s) meet the following standards:

  1. Research (job analysis) should be conducted to demonstrate that tests address current and anticipated critical work functions, job tasks and financial planning knowledge, skills and abilities.
  2. A test specification relying on FPSB standards should be developed by an expert panel that uses its expertise, and the results of a job analysis, to define cognitive levels and weigh content areas based on importance and frequency.
  3. Item writers (i.e., subject matter experts), reviewers and editors should be trained in the form of test being used (multiple choice, constructed response, etc.).
  4. Test items should be written to the test specification.
  5. Test items and test forms should be independently reviewed and approved prior to being used.
  6. Test items should incorporate cognitive levels appropriate to the learning outcomes being measured.
  7. Item-level data should be used to select equating items (the score on a new exam form and the score on a reference form should be equivalent) and to assess item performance for test administrations.
  8. All reported scores should be based on a pass-fail standard to assess competency in financial planning, with sufficient data to show a high level of reliability and validity.
  9. Test results should be repeatable; therefore, data should be collected and analyzed at the item level to show reliability, errors of measurement and difficulty.
  10. All forms of a test should be statistically equivalent until a new test specification is implemented.
  11. The Certifying Body should understand and be able to justify the test pass rate over time.
  12. Test administration procedures should be developed and consistently administered that address uniform test administrations, test security, irregularities, scoring and score reporting.
  13. Programs should document and publish test policies and procedures to comply with all applicable domestic laws and requirements for testing individuals with disabilities.
  14. Policies and procedures should be implemented to ensure that all test candidates are treated equally and fairly.
  15. Programs should develop and implement test policies and procedures that address the rights of a candidate to appeal assessment results within a reasonable period of time.
  16. The Certifying Body should document exam processes and procedures including those to develop and administer tests, establish the passing score, analyze item data and evaluate candidate performance.
  17. The Certifying Body should retain data about test candidate performance for a reasonable period of time.