By Greg Lattanzi, CTP
A new job, more responsibilities and longer hours—just what I needed as my CTP exam loomed on the horizon. With a test date of June 27, I had a little over four months to study and prepare for the exam. But with the help of my colleagues—and sometimes large doses of caffeine—I was able to obtain the CTP designation. I’m going to chronicle my journey to the CTP exam and what worked for me. Ultimately, each person has to find out what system works for them to absorb all the information and be able to utilize it on the exam.
I submitted an application to take the CTP exam in the June/July 2015 testing timeframe in November 2014. Turns out as long as you have two years of treasury experience by the time you sit for the exam you were good to go. Once I received acknowledgement that I was able to test, I ordered the AFP Treasury Learning System to work through at home.
Upon receipt of the massive box of books, I promptly made my first mistake. After ripping them open in anticipation, I then let them sit until mid-January next to my bookcase in my apartment. I had the best intentions of starting to study but events or life seemed to get in the way. What I did not do, and what everyone studying should do, is create a plan of attack. Eventually, I sat down and wrote out a plan of how I wanted to read one to two chapters a day (depending on which chapter due to size or density of information). This was key as I had other things that I needed to do, but I knew that I had to stick to my plan if I wanted a chance to succeed and earn the CTP.
Another thing that I believe pays dividends is telling your coworkers that you are taking the exam. When I told my boss, fellow managers, and the analysts I work with, they were able to help keep me on track by continually asking “How is studying going?” or “You feeling ready for the exam?”, as well as offering encouragement. This kept me focused. Explaining that I was studying for a certification exam did not excuse me from my daily work and our 10-hour workday schedule, but it kept everyone in the loop and allowed for communication regarding why I was going to miss some spontaneous group lunches or why I adjusted my workday to come in early so I could spend my evenings studying.
So what can you take away from what I’ve shared about my experience thus far?
- Commit to taking the exam and submit your application request for testing in a timely manner. This will ensure that you have enough time to study for your exam.
- Next, create a plan of attack on how you want to read the chapters of the AFP Treasury Learning System so they are easier to digest. Also, this helps ward off procrastination because you know what needs to happen to stay on track.
- Finally, share with your coworkers, friends and family. This helps others understand that you’re taking on a new challenge and helps create a support system for you to keep you motivated for studying in order to earn the CTP.
Now that you’ve come up with a plan of attack, it’s time to actually study. We’ll go into helpful studying techniques next time.
Greg Lattanzi, CTP, is a treasury manager.