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Posted by Kara Franklin ● April 6, 2022

I Failed My Insurance State Licensing Exam. Now What?



What if I failed my state licensing exam?

What do I do if I fail my state insurance licensing exam?

We are sorry to hear that your first experience with the licensing exam did not go as planned. Not everyone passes the exam on their first attempt. Do not feel discouraged. We are here to help.

The good news: The first-time jitters are over. You have now experienced what it is like to take the exam. As you prepare for your next exam attempt, you are equipped with a score report from your first attempt, as well as the insight you received regarding the exam format and the questions themselves. With these tools, you will be able to turn around and ace your next attempt.

While some states do not have insurance prelicensing training requirements, we strongly recommend taking an insurance prelicensing training course if you have not already. See if the prelicensing course is designed directly from the state’s exam outline, so you are studying the most accurate information available. The best courses will use proven methods to improve learner comprehension, such as short lessons, engaging activities, and practice exams.

When can I retake my state insurance licensing exam?

First, check your state’s insurance licensing requirements to know when you will be able to retake the test. Some states require you to wait a certain amount of time before you can retake the exam, while others do not have any wait time. You will want to retake the exam as soon as possible.

That being said, you should give yourself enough time to study the material carefully. You will want to take the exam with the information fresh on your mind.

Will the questions on the next exam attempt be the same?

Because no two exams are the same, it is likely that most of the questions will be different. While it is important to identify the areas you struggled with on your first attempt, there may be more emphasis on a different topic that was not covered as much in the previous exam. The best plan of action for anyone taking the exam is to review the study material provided in the prelicensing course.

Why were the questions on the state exam different from the prelicensing course?

Prelicensing providers do not have access to the question pool used in any state exam. Therefore, the questions you see in your prelicensing course will not be the same as those on the state exam.

Do not try to memorize practice test questions and answers. This will not work. If you have memorized specific questions and answers, you may be confused when you see a question on the exam with different wording.

What are pretest questions?

You may have noticed that there were more questions on your exam than the number of questions that were scored. That’s because almost all state insurance exams include “pretest” questions. Pretest questions are newly written questions that have recently been added to the question pool. They may be based on brand new topics added to the outline or topics that have been on the outline for years.

These questions do not count for or against your score. Once these questions have sufficient statistics to be considered valid questions, they will be added to the testing provider’s pool of scored questions.

As a test taker, you will never know which questions are pretest and must answer all questions to complete the exam, so you should treat every question as if it counts.

What can I do to ensure I pass my licensing exam on the next attempt?

These are a few resources that you can use to help you study for the next exam attempt.

Review your post-exam score report

After finishing your exam, many students receive an evaluation, called a score report, of the final score. The information provided will depend on your state and your testing provider. This evaluation will break the exam down into sections and provide a score that is unique to each section. Use this as your study guide. While we recommend reviewing all material, any area where you scored lower than the state’s passing requirement is an area you should focus on a little more.

If your state does not provide a score report, you will have to go off of memory to determine which questions seemed difficult, and use that to guide additional studies.

If you need additional help with this evaluation, we have a curriculum team that is ready to help clarify any area of confusion, point you toward topics to focus on, provide study tips, and help answer any content-related questions.

Take practice tests to find areas for improvement

Your prelicensing course should allow you to review your practice test questions. We like to recommend that students review their missed questions, but we also encourage our students to review all the questions. Not only does this reinforce the information you knew, it also helps you catch the questions you may have guessed correctly.

Review the relevant course material for each question you missed or guessed on a practice exam. We recommend you spend more time studying the material rather than retaking the practice tests. This will ensure a solid understanding of the key concepts.

Review the provider’s exam outline

Review the exam content outline for your exam, available on the testing provider’s website. The exam outline will detail the testable topics as well as the number of questions in the exam covering each topic. This can be used as a guide.


Not everyone passes the insurance exam on their first attempt. By maintaining a positive mindset, understanding the state requirements, utilizing the right resources, and reaching out for help, you can get yourself back on track to pass the exam on your next attempt.

Topics: Prelicensing, Property & Casualty, Study Tips, Health Insurance, Insurance, Life Insurance, Life & Health

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