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Part III: “It’s not over, until I win” – How I passed CTP Exam?

Inspiration: "Its not over until I win" – Les Brown 

So what kept me hanging in there? The challenge.

What did I do differently?

Change in Strategy.

Failure on the first attempt made me go through some reflection moment. Things that I should do differently. Time Management, Prioritize, Focus, Persistence.

Well, my initial intention to attempt this exam was to learn about the Cash Management. However, I realized that I need to invest more time to build better understanding of the Treasury business as a whole (for instance working capital, funding, financing).

Although everything you need to know to pass the exam is in the Essentials of Treasury Management handbook, I figured I needed some other source of information in different format. Just so I could think of business from different scenarios’ perspective. Hence, I registered (~USD700/-) for Online Treasury Learning System (TLS).

This comes with hard copies (by post) that include all of the detailed modules and question base.

I kept my focus on the Online TLS only.

I think it’s a very good program with Module Specific questions, and formula based questions. You have as many examples as you want to practice. The key is to "Understand" what you are being asked; and in order to understand that, you must have the Concepts clear. When you submit a wrong answer to a question; the next screen shows you the correct choice/s and the "Rationale" behind that answer. So that helps in building better understanding of overall business flow.

Click here to go through TLS online demo: http://www.afplearningsystem.com/treasury/free-demo

A good, three to 4 months are required to build the momentum towards the exam day. Daily study is a must! Go through TLS test scenarios every day.

The other thing I would recommend is to start using a basic 4 function calculator regularly. This will make you comfortable and help pick up the speed to calculate complex questions quickly. Saving in large numbers in memory, memory addition/subtraction, rounding off, % increase, % decrease etc.

Exam Day

The test is an online Computer Aided Test (CAT) having 170 questions; which means, you have ~80 seconds per question approx.

IMO, make three rounds of 170 questions. Actually Online TLS can help you build that practice.

First round (Approx, 1hr): Walk-through the whole test to answer the easy questions – that you are 100% sure, which is on your fingertips.

Second round (Approx, 1.5hr): Go through formula based and answer difficult ones – mark “Very Difficult” as “To be Reviewed”

Third round (Approx, 1.5hr): Go through questions that are Marked-For-Review

You have to be very strategic to pass the exam.

The Result

The status of the result (pass/fail) you get to know on the spot at Pearson VUE Test site.


I passed the exam in second attempt (read, How to fail an exam: http://izlooite.blogspot.ae/2015/02/how-to-fail-exam.html), but finally nailed it. If you would like to know more about CTP Exam, check out my earlier post, What is CTP Exam: http://izlooite.blogspot.ae/2014/07/what-is-certified-treasury-professional.html.

However, official announcement is made by AFP during the first week of August. Announcement is sent out to all candidates who passed the examination. This email will allow candidates to look at their certificate and confirm the shipping address. During this process you will also be able to download a soft copy of your certificate.

As per (Window 2015A) Stacy Saul – the Director of Examinations at Association for Financial Professionals, the current pass rate is: 48% (Very low, IMO).

Out of 170 questions - 150 are scored and 20 are not (un-scored). The un-scored questions are newly developed questions that must be beta-tested before they can be moved to a scored position. Un-scored questions are part of the Test Specifications.

Lessons learned: Practice, Patience, Persistence!

With all this in mind, I continue to believe that education/knowledge is an important step forward in personal growth, and is not meant to satisfy friends, colleagues, parents and the society. Its not just the certificate you get after passing it – the education, or the “journey” towards that education is far more than that. It is the value addition that we get every day because of learning something new; and help those in need.

Good luck!

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  1. Anonymous27 June

    Thank you for this and your other post. I just took the CTP today and got 295 when 300 was needed to pass. I am still not over it (been a bit emotional). Hearing that the pass rate is only 48% doesn't make me feel quite as bad. I will try again and will continue to work on the online learning system.

  2. Anonymous02 February

    Your comments and advice are very true to me too. I also failed, except not only once, I was stubborn and refused to study. When I concentrated and learned especially the math and the material, it all worked and finally passed. It's a very hard test. The passing rate is more like 20-30% where we are at. Study hard and be prepared. It's all possible.

  3. Anonymous25 January

    I just failed for the second time. the first time i wasn't prepared but this time i remembered most of my formulas and put in lots of study time.
    Does any one have tips for time management during the test. some of these questions take 2 minutes to work out and half way through the exam i was rushing. Someone beside me came in 15 mins after i started and left 1 hr before i ran out of time.
    i'm taking this really hard due to the investment ive made. this prep for both times has been over US$5K and i don't know if i can emotions and financially afford to take it again.

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