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Talk Yourself Into A Pass Using Your Cellphone’s Voice Memo for More Points on the CFP® Exam

hand holding a cellphone

Use your cell phone to record key facts you need to memorize to pass the CFP exam. Follow these tips and earn more points on the CFP exam.

The Technique

Grab your notes or study sheet. Choose a section to record. Go to “Utilities” then tap “Voice Memos.” When ready to speak, tap the red circle to start. It changes to a square. Tap the square when complete. Hit “Done.” In the “Save Voice Memo” box, name your recording in a meaningful way like “IRA thresholds.” Recording your take on difficult material encourages your brain to do the “heavy mental lifting” that Cindi May of Scientific American identifies as key to foster comprehension and retention.


Limit recordings to about 3 minutes. Three minutes lets you cover a discrete section but avoids boring or overwhelming you. As you record, when you come to the end, say “end” so that you know you’re done when listening later.

Leave Enough Time to Respond

In your first recordings, you will probably leave too much or too little time for your response. As you make a few and use them, you’ll find the rhythm that’s right for you.

Save Recordings with Identifying Info

As you get closer to test day, you’ll have mastered much of the material and will no longer need to listen to every one of your recordings. If you name your voice recordings, you’ll be able to easily find the ones you still need to work on.

Encourage Yourself

Use your recordings to reassure yourself that you know the material and are going to pass. A positive, calm, confident tone will quiet your worries as you listen. Say “good job” or “you’ve got this” or other short phrases to inspire yourself. Study expert Dr. Clare Mcllwraith confirms that auditory learners can benefit from repeating information out loud to themselves”; take advantage of this theory.

Recordings Need Not Be Perfect

As test day approaches, time gets short. Your recordings don’t need to be perfect. In fact, small slip-ups can aid recall. In one of my recordings, I made a mistake with Earned Income Limits that I corrected on air. The mistake solidified the concept in my memory because each time it came up I was excited to correct the “instructor” before she corrected herself.

Record Related Groups and Random Questions

Grouping related concepts in a recording can help you master the material. It’s also helpful to record random questions that you personally have trouble with. As you listen to your recordings, the unrelated items will form memory connections that will re-emerge during the test and help you get the points.

Use Your Own Voice or Another’s

Many people don’t like to listen to their own voices. If you fall into that group, ask another person to make the recordings for you on your phone. The voice of your spouse, child, or best friend may be more soothing, memorable, or energizing than your own and may help you remember better.

Listen Everywhere to Get More Points on the CFP Exam

I found it very steadying and beneficial to listen to my recordings wherever I went and had a private 3 minutes to listen. I listened during my morning walks and in line at the store. When I drove, I set my cell on my shoulder to listen and respond. It was like having a comforting little angel whispering CFP® exam questions and answers in my ear.

You Can Pass!

You know this material. You are smart, have a good memory, and have a good basic grasp on all this material from the study courses. Even if you don’t feel “ready” or completely competent, you know far more than you think you know right this minute, and you are going to keep learning all the way up to test day. Use these tips to get more points on the CFP exam. You will be ready and you will pass.


May, Cindi. “A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop.” Scientific American. 3 Jun. 2014.

By Kathryn Hauer - writing for the Starks Boot Camp™ Review for the CFP® Exam|CFP® Exam Tricks and Traps


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