Preparing for Your State Insurance Licensing Exam

Here are some proven tactics that have helped many students boost test scores and pass the insurance exam.

First, No Cramming!

The romantic idea of “cramming” for a test has stood the test of time. Recent research, however, shows that this is an ineffective strategy. The largest issue with cramming, according to UCLA researchers reporting in the journal Child Development, is that cramming makes students sacrifice much-needed sleep in exchange for more study time. While we can agree that it's not possible to do well on a test without knowledge of the course material, sleep is a critical component of test success. Sacrificing deep sleep for an extra 4 or 5 hours of study time is detrimental.

Plan Study Time Wisely

One of the most central test prep tips I can give you is to give yourself plenty of study time. While it’s easy to put off this important preparation time, do not waste it!  It's best to begin preparations long before the day of an exam. Make it routine to finish reading and other class assignments on time and to regularly review class notes. You'll want to organize your schedule so that you can dedicate enough time to adequately prepare for your insurance exam.

It’s worth reinforcing that carving out regular time to study for the insurance test is critical for achieving a passing grade on your state insurance exam. It’s highly recommended that you schedule daily study sessions into your calendar. Once it’s in your calendar it becomes a real appointment. It's too easy for other activities to quickly take over your schedule, and before you know it you’ve run out of time. As you progress through the pre-licensing class, be sure to plan study sessions in advance – and stick with them.

Test Review Sessions

Discuss with your teacher what possible test questions might be included on the exam. It’s also recommended to make use of test review sessions if provided, and to ask your teacher questions about unclear terms or concepts in advance of the test. Do not be afraid to ask questions. This could be the difference between passing the insurance exam and failing.

Ask Your Teacher for Guidance

Having seen many students go through the insurance education process, your teacher will invariably have some tips to share about taking the state test. Most teachers should be open to sharing suggestions with students for how to best get ready for exams. Again, don't be afraid to ask the teacher what topics to expect on exam day.

Study With a Group

Start your review several days before the test by gathering all class notes, reading materials, and other class work. You can do this review by yourself, of course, but consider studying with a group of your classmates if possible. Studying as part of a group is a great way to review class materials to prep for an exam. It may allow you to improve your existing notes, reinforce your understanding of class texts and gain additional knowledge about what might be on the test. Lastly, it can provide you with a crucial support system. Knowing that you’re all going through this together can work to lessen anxiety leading up to the test.

Create an Outline

Make a basic outline of the main coverages and insurance concepts that will be covered during your exam, then use this outline to study for the insurance test. You can also use notecards for this purpose and repeatedly review the cards in varying sequences to solidify knowledge. This will assist you in remembering important facts and other information you may be tested on.

Visual Aids

Visual cues, including colorful diagrams and pictures, are effective study aids – particularly if you learn best visually. Organizing the often overly dry legalese of insurance language into charts and diagrams helps to simply information and will help with recall when test day arrives.

Stay Healthy

This should go without saying, but getting plenty of exercise and rest will noticeably improve your ability to perform well on an exam—and in life in general. Eat healthy whole foods prior to taking a test, ones that you’ve eaten before and you know will not cause digestive issues. Stay clear of any “junk” food. Eating sugary food will cause a blood sugar spike followed by a crash, followed by more hunger. These are things you want to avoid during a test, obviously.

Get Plenty of Sleep

It’s not smart to stay up all night studying before a test. Sleep needs vary from person to person, but be sure to get plenty of it before test day. Although staying up late spending extra effort preparing can seem like a good idea, you do not want to show up to your test tired. As noted earlier, the UCLA research has shown that students who spend the least time cramming generally perform better on their tests.

Get There Early on Exam Day

Nothing can be more stressful than showing up late to a test. Be sure to allow plenty of time for traffic problems and other unexpected issues so that you can get to the exam location with plenty of extra time to spare. This will help you to become comfortable with the test location surroundings and reduce any anxiety before you get started on the test. And you definitely do not want to end up being late and not being able to take the test at all.

Additionally, by showing up early on test day the proctor may volunteer additional insight or tips on taking the test. Showing up early is a good thing.

Bathroom Beforehand…But Stay Hydrated!

This might sound silly, but remember to use the bathroom before the exam starts. If you have to use the restroom during the test, it can be a real time waster and take you out your test-taking rhythm. In many situations, students aren’t even allowed to leave the room once the exam begins. Aside from that, it can also negatively impact your concentration and be very uncomfortable to boot. But, it's also important that you stay hydrated to maintain focus. Start by sipping water the day before the exam. Bring a bottle of water with you to the test to avoid getting thirsty. Sip it, don’t chug!

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