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Posted by Barb Gavitt, ITP, SILA-F ● December 12, 2019

How to Pass your Licensing Exam on the First Attempt

Man studying at laptop

This guide will help you understand how you need to study to put yourself in the best position to pass your licensing exam. This information applies to all of our exam prep courses. We are developing course-specific guides, which will be coming soon:

  • How to pass your Life and Health Exam on the First Attempt
  • How to pass your Property and Casualty Exam on the First Attempt
  • How to pass your Personal Lines Insurance Exam on the First Attempt
  • How to pass your SIE Exam on the First Attempt
  • How to pass your Series 6 Exam on the First Attempt
  • How to pass your Series 63 Exam on the First Attempt
  • How to pass your Series 65 Exam on the First Attempt

How do I know if I am on track to pass my exam?

Use the Performance score on your student dashboard to get a high-level understanding of how you are doing in your course. The Performance score is calculated using three metrics:

  • Average a score of 70% or higher on chapter exams
  • Average 5 or fewer chapter exam attempts
  • Spend more time studying (reading, watching videos, doing activities) than taking chapter exams

Based upon these metrics, you will be provided a Performance score:

  • A “Good” performance score means you have met 3 metrics. You are in a good position to successfully complete your program and pass your licensing exam.
  • An “Average” performance score means you have met 2 metrics. You are doing well, but there are things you can do to improve your performance. You may be on the fence between passing or failing your licensing exam.
  • A “Poor” performance score means you have not met any metrics, or have only met 1 metric. You need to make some major adjustments to your study habits and consider getting extra help.
  • A “Not Available” performance score means you do not have enough activity to calculate a score yet.

Note: if your manager is monitoring your progress during your studies, he or she will have access to your performance metrics as well.

Performance Score Disclaimers

  • The Performance score should be used as general guidance to understand your overall performance and does not guarantee you will pass or fail your licensing exam. You may still pass your licensing exam if you are in the “Poor” category or fail your licensing exam if you are in the “Good” category. Statistically, your probability of passing increases with a better Performance score.
  • You will be unable to achieve a “Good” Performance score once you pass 5 average chapter exam attempts.

How do I get a better Performance score?

Our research has shown that what matters most is your understanding of the concepts, rather than how well you can memorize questions. Students that follow this strategy tend to have fewer than 5 exam attempts per chapter, spend more time reading/studying than taking exams and score an average of 70% or higher on their chapter exam. Follow these steps to increase your Performance score, and get on the path to passing your licensing exam:

1. Study


Once you are logged into the A.D. Banker online course, download or print any documents under the Resources section.

These resources will serve as valuable study tools as you navigate the course.


A.D. Banker videos are short, summaries of what you learned in the content. These videos are typically 2-4 minutes and are meant to be reviews to help solidify key content that you will find on your exam.

Course Content

The content is broken down into smaller sections for easier retention. You have the capability of listening to the audio instead of reading the content. Once you turn on the audio feature, it will remain on until you turn it off. You can also adjust the size of the written text to make it larger.

Key Concepts

The key concepts are included in the course to clarify highly testable content. It’s important to make sure you understand these concepts before progressing in the course.

Key Facts

Once you have completed the chapter, you will be required to pass a chapter exam before moving onto the next chapter. It is advisable that you read and study the key facts that you downloaded from the resources section. These are bulleted points broken down by chapter and contain the most testable topics from each chapter. Review the key facts before attempting each chapter exam. NOTE: The key facts should not be the sole source of study; they should be used to supplement the course material, videos, and practice exams.


You can take notes within the course. The note-taking box allows you to type your own notes or copy and paste notes from the slide. This includes a feature to highlight, underline, bold or italicize the text. Your notes will automatically be saved, and you have the option of printing them at any time.

2. Check Your Knowledge

Retention questions

Multiple-choice retention questions are strategically placed throughout each chapter. These questions are designed to immediately check your knowledge on the preceding topics. Upon answering each question, you will receive immediate feedback on the correct answer with rationale. If the question is not answered correctly, you should review the missed content before proceeding in the course.


Numerous activities are integrated in the course to provide an interactive component. The activities are presented in sorting, matching, or sequencing formats. This is an active approach to learning that also promotes retention.

3. Take an Assessment

Chapter Exams

Before progressing through the course, you are required to pass a 15-question chapter exam with a minimum score of 80%. Upon answering each question, review the correct answer and provided rationale. After completing the chapter exam, you can review the entire exam and rationales by clicking on the appropriate “attempt #”.  Do not retake the exam immediately after failing an attempt. Go back and read or listen to the chapter content, watch videos, retake the retention questions, complete the activities and study the key concepts and key facts before your next attempt.

Comprehensive Exams

Once all chapter exams have been successfully completed, you can access the Comprehensive exam. Treat this exam as a closed-book final exam to be taken without the use of study aids. Unlike the chapter exam, you will not know if you got each question correct until you complete the exam and submit for scoring. Once graded, you can click on the exam to review each question and rationale. You can also review the Exam Results Summary to see which chapters require additional study. Do not retake the exam immediately after a failing attempt. Go back and review chapters or sections that need additional review.

4. Evaluate your Results

Relevant Content

After taking the chapter or comprehensive exams, each question will have a relevant content link. This link will take you back into the course where the content is explained. Refer to the relevant content section for all missed questions on both the chapter and comprehensive exams.

5. Repeat

Repeat this process, and you will end up taking fewer than 5 attempts per chapter, score higher on each attempt and have more time reading than taking exams. You will also be in a better position to pass your licensing exam.

What should I do if I continue to struggle after following these steps?

Use Content Support

If you need technical support or have content questions, you can submit a support ticket by clicking on the question mark at the top of the page or by emailing curriculum@adbanker.com

Sign Up for a Web Class

Once you complete your online course, you can attend a web class taught by an instructor in real time. During this class, difficult concepts will be explained, examples will be shared, and you can ask questions.

Schedule a Tutoring Session

If you need additional help, you can schedule a one-on-one tutoring session with an instructor.


Follow these steps and you will pass your exam on the first attempt! 

Topics: Study Tips