Frequently Asked Questions About CTPQ. How long will it take me to prepare?
A. Conservatively, you should allow as much as 12-13 weeks, with your study load spread out fairly evenly over that time period. You need time to let everything sink in.
Q. What if I cram?
A. Don't fall into this trap. There is far too much material for you to absorb in a very short period of time. Unless you can do nothing but study for the exam for a few weeks, you won't be prepared for the test. The test will be much harder than you think, if only by its length (three hours).
Q. I/ve been in the field for 10 years, how will I do?
A. You'll do all right if you prepare. You'll have to gauge your knowledge vs. the material given in Essentials, and you may have to unlearn material so you can approach the questions at a beginner's level, because that's the level at which the test written. You will probably do less well in the subjects you know a lot about.
Q. I'm a banker with only a few years in the field, how will I do?
A. You'll probably be OK, but it will be harder for you than in the past because the material in the body of knowledge has been greatly expanded away from core cash management to a broader financial context. Bankers used to have a slight advantage in taking the exams before 2005, but now it may be more difficult for bankers than corporate treasury managers.
Q. What if I disagree with the Essentials book?
A. You should stifle such feelings because they won't help you study effectively. The Essentials book (or AFP on-line study product) defines the body of knowledge. As such, it is the final word. There may be some gray areas that are subject to interpretation, but the book has the final word. Remember that the test is targeted toward treasury professionals with a small amount of experience and that the book is supposedly written at that level. In other words, ignore your feelings and stick to the study plan.
Q. Is the test always the same?
A. No, the test can vary from time period to time period. Each test is composed by selecting questions from a question bank and is weighted so that the tests are on an equal basis from year to year. Thus, if one year's test has more of the tougher questions, its passing score will be adjusted (downward, in this case) to make it comparable to an easier test, which would require a higher number of correct answers to pass.
Q. Is the test given by chapter?
A. No, the questions are randomly mixed. In your preparations for taking the test, be sure that you try practice questions that are mixed from several chapters or all chapters. This will help you get over the initial shock of a random mix of questions.
Q. How can I handle all the math formulas?
A. If you have trouble remembering the formulas, and you shouldn't if you've done enough practice problems, write them down on the scratch pad or white board that you'll receive at the testing center. The formulas are not difficult, but it takes a little time to commit them to memory. That's why working problems helps.
Q. Do problems count more than other questions?
A. No, they count as one question each, but they are usually grouped to use common information. That doesn't mean you should skip over them; just don't spend too much time on them. Give yourself about one minute per question.
Q. What if I draw a blank on any question?
A. Skip the question or mark it for review, and come back to it later. You may come across another question that jogs your memory enough to help you with the question you didn't know. Don't panic. You can also try a wild guess just to have an answer submitted if you run short on time.
Q. What happens if I guess at a question?
A. Nothing, except you have three out of four chances of picking the wrong answer. If you can narrow your choice, your chance of getting the right answer increases. If you're running out of time, by all means guess. Try to leave no question unanswered.
Q. What if I disagree with the answers on the exam?
A. This falls into the same category as arguing with the Essentials book. Try to suppress these feelings. However, if you find that three out of the four answers seem perfectly correct, go back and re-read the question. Chances are that it is an exception question, where you are asked to select the incorrect answer. These questions can be tricky.