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A record number of candidates wrote the CFP exam in November, says the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC).

Across the country, 563 candidates wrote the CFP exam in November—the highest number since the council implemented in 2010 enhanced requirements for CFP certification, says the FPSC in a release.

Exam writers included 388 first-timers and 175 repeat candidates. For first-timers, the pass rate was 63%; for repeat writers, 39%. The overall pass rate was 55%.

Read: Does it matter how many times you take FPSC exams?

To qualify to write the six-hour exam, which consists of a combination of constructed-response and multiple-choice questions, candidates must have obtained FPSC Level 1 certification and have successfully completed an FPSC-approved Capstone Course.

After completing three years of qualifying financial planning work experience, successful CFP exam candidates are eligible to apply for CFP certification, the only globally recognized mark of professional financial planning.

Canadian CFPs represent less than 10% of CFPs worldwide: there are about 16,500 CFPs in Canada, and more than 175,000 worldwide, the release says.

The FPSC Level 1 exam, the first exam on the path to CFP certification and a requirement for FPSC Level 1 Certification in Financial Planning, was written by 564 candidates. Of those, 464 took the exam for the first time, and 100 were repeat writers.

Among the first-timers, 74% passed; among repeat writers, the pass rate was 45%. The overall pass rate was 69%.

To qualify to write the four-hour multiple-choice exam, candidates must have successfully completed an FPSC-Approved Core Curriculum program.

Candidates who successfully complete the FPSC Level 1 exam are eligible for FPSC Level 1 certification, which demonstrates a level of technical competence and commitment to professional standards. Some individuals choose to remain FPSC Level 1 certificants and others choose to pursue CFP certification, says the FPSC release.

FPSC exams are offered twice per year, with the next sitting of the FPSC Level 1 examination on June 6, and the CFP exam on June 7.