What to do if You Fail the Insurance License Exam

Concerned that you failed your state insurance exam? Understand that you are not alone. Luckily, failing the insurance license exam does not necessarily mean you are going to ruin your chances at a successful insurance career. In fact, you’ll get to take the exam again. However, to do better on the exam the next time, you’ll need to make an honest assessment of the situation, determine how you could have done better, and then follow up with your instructor and classmates for some additional perspective.

Understand What Didn’t Go Well

With the insurance exam being given electronically, you’ll know immediately following the test how you did. If you failed, you’ll know right then and there.

Don’t panic. Sit down and think about the testing experience. As a first step, figure out if you really understood the multiple-choice questions asked. If you were comfortable with the questions, then was there an issue with the test-taking environment? An uncomfortable temperature, while it may seem trivial, might be enough in some cases to throw off your test-taking game. Likewise, life distractions outside of the test, not eating the right foods, or sleeping enough the night before can negatively impact your ability to do well. Also, understand that multiple choice questions may not be your strong suit—in which case you’ll need to improve in that area.

Alternatively, if you were unprepared for the test material itself, find out how you can do better studying. Maybe you emphasized or spent too much time studying the wrong insurance licensing study material. Speak to your instructor about what things you should focus on to have the best chance at success next time. And be realistic about what you need to know.

Wherever your challenges lie, be honest with yourself. Spend time reviewing class notes, handouts, and course materials, and consider reviewing them with the instructor or trusted classmates if it makes sense. If you simply made mental errors or just weren’t prepared for the insurance exam, make it a learning experience and use the situation to help you prepare for the next time you take the exam.

Schedule The Next Exam as Soon as Possible

You don’t want to wait on this. The more time that elapses between exams the more information you may forget. You want to give yourself enough time to study, of course, but schedule the next exam sooner rather than later.

Talk to Your Instructor

Maybe you feel like you didn’t have a good grasp on the material, or perhaps you felt you didn’t do well as a result of the testing format. In either case, it may be a good idea to connect with your course instructor for tips and ideas for how to do better next time. With likely lots of experience, your course instructor will have insights into the exam that you may not have considered—and probably even hints about what to study for next time

One of the worst things you can do is to start doubting your ability to take tests. Despite how you feel after failing the test, keep your chin up and decide that you’ll do better next time. Though it’s not easy, try not to focus on being nervous on test day. Test anxiety can be a harmful emotion, and one that can be ruinous on exam day—even if you’re otherwise prepared.

To summarize, you can pass your insurance license exam if you put in the time and effort. Make sure that you spend enough time studying—but not cramming at the last minute. Create a study group with other classmates. Study groups can give you another perspective on material that you may be having difficulty with. When you do study—whether in a group or by yourself—focus on the material and shut out all other distractions such as TV, loud music and all forms of social media. All these distractions can negatively impact your ability to retain the information you’re studying.

Try to get a good night's sleep before the exam for reasons that should be obvious. Not getting enough restful sleep can lead to poor focus and cognitive ability on test day. This alone can be the difference between passing and failing. And do not stay up late cramming.

The Bottom Line

Test failures happen. But when they do, you shouldn’t dwell on the poor performance and make it a point to be ready next time. Schedule the next exam soon, be prepared by studying well in advance of the test, ask for tips from your instructor, and get enough rest prior to test day. Learn from the experience, pass the next test, get your insurance license, then move forward with a successful and rewarding career as an insurance producer!

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