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Watch Webinar on Exam Changes

Exam Format, Scoring and Reporting

  • 200 multiple-choice questions (see Sample Questions)
  • Maximum 4 hour timeframe allowed
  • The February exam will only cover laws and regulations in effect through 12/31 of the prior year. All other exams will cover current laws and regulations.
  • Calculators will be provided
  • Instant "Pass/Fail" outcome provided for most computer based exams at test sites. Occasionally, instant outcomes are not provided while statistical analysis is conducted.
  • Official score reports delivered via email within 6 weeks after the close of the exam window 
  • For full details, read the Certification Exam FAQs 

Knowledge Areas (through October 2020 exams)

The CTFA advisory board has determined that a competent trust advisor professional's expertise includes the following knowledge areas. Please review the current CTFA Examination Outline (through October 2020) for more specifics.

  • Fiduciary & Trust Activities
  • Financial Planning
  • Tax Law & Planning
  • Investment Management
  • Ethics

Domains (effective December 2020)

Please review the CTFA Examination Outline Effective December 2020 for additional details, as well as the FAQ Document and Webinar on Exam Changes.

  • Fiduciary Principles and Applications
  • Integrated Planning and Advice (Financial and Tax)
  • Asset Management - Interaction of All Asset Types
  • Administration of Trust Accounts
  • Risk/Compliance Management
  • Ethics
  • Relationship Management

Study Resources 

While ABA recommends these resources as appropriate examination preparation, ABA does not guarantee that you will pass the exam by completing these educational programs or studying these materials alone. The CTFA exam assesses not only your knowledge of the topics on the exam outline, but also your application of that knowledge. You should refer frequently to the CTFA Exam Outline (Aug. and Oct. 2020 exams) and CTFA Exam Outline (effective December 2020) when preparing for the exam.

Examination Misconduct

All persons taking one of ABA Professional Certifications' examinations are expected to abide by all rules and regulations governing the examination before, during and after the examination. Possession of copies of any current or previous examination given by ABA Professional Certifications (formerly ICB) is not authorized and is a violation of the rules governing certification exams. Persons taking an ABA Professional Certifications examination are not permitted to take notes about the examination.

Any person found to have violated any of the rules governing ABA Professional Certifications exams, or to have conducted themselves in a dishonest or unethical manner with respect to the taking of an ABA Professional Certifications exam is subject to sanctions determined to be appropriate by ABA Professional Certifications, in its sole discretion, including, but not limited to: denial of certification; denial of the right to take any or all ABA Professional Certifications examinations. Answer sheets provided at paper/pencil testing sites determined, before grading, to have been completed by a person who has violated ABA Professional Certifications examination rules will not be graded. We reserve the right to pursue any and all remedies available to it, including legal remedies, with respect to any violation of its examination rules against anyone who violated ABA Professional Certifications examination rules or aided another in violating these rules. 

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