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Shawn Black: The CRFP & Me

Ah, the CRFP certification. This had been on my calendar taunting me for months and months. So why did I take the CRFP? Was it for the knowledge? What about the recognition? Was it for the cool CRFP title? How about the chance to walk on stage and see all your colleges as you make your way up the stairs without falling, the answer is yes. All of these were fun but it turns out the educational value is the biggest benefit.

I did it, I made the decision to get going so I logged on to find there was some really good information and there were several tidbits that I just didn't know. Let's be honest, I blasted through the courses in a very short time in order to take the take the test. I have never been much of a traditional learning student so this format was a great way for me to learn on my own terms. I asked around, finding that other test takers were encouraging and confident that I could pass the exam on my first attempt.

I get asked how long it takes to prepare for the exam; let's just say it took a long, long time for me to get to the actual business of studying and completing the course, but once I did it went by pretty quick. I think a person could complete the entire thing in about two weeks if they had the time blocked out and stuck to the schedule.

My advice would be to take two modules a day and then test out to see if you retained the information. I set a goal to walk at RFMA's annual conference last year and I didn't want to let myself down. I certainly had external pressure to perform but ultimately it was the commitment to I made to myself that drove me to complete the courses and take the test.

Here are a few things that I think you should know before taking the test.

  • It's harder than you think: The actual test is quite a bit different from the study questions and practice exam. I have heard that this was on purpose as the creators of the exam wanted to make sure you content was absorbed and not just memorized.

  • Give yourself time: This is a big one, block out plenty of time to arrive and get yourself situated. I took my test at SDSU and that campus is enormous. I am very glad I allowed for enough time to locate the testing center.

  • Leave as much of your stuff behind: You will have to lock up all your items you bring with you so limit what you take. Keys and wallet. Leave the rest! You will need to present two forms of ID so be prepared.

  • Use your exam time: You get 3 hours to take the test and trust me you will need it. I finished in 2.5 hours. I started the test it thinking an hour would be plenty but soon realized there is a reason they give you 3. The questions a complex and much longer than the study guides so take the time to read them thoroughly

The morale of the story is, don't be afraid. The CRFP exam isn't as bad as it seems and if I can make the time to do it, you can too!

-Shawn Black

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