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Posted by Barb Gavitt, CDEI, ITP, SILA-F ● June 8, 2016

4 Essential Activities for Studying with a Purpose


Updated March 23, 2022 12:00 pm CDT

Once you have reviewed your state's requirementscommitted to a study program, and your licensing exam is scheduled, it’s time to get started with your prelicensing course.

Regardless of whether you are taking an online course, participating in a webinar review, or attending a live class, you can follow these strategies for success on how to study with a purpose so you can pass your exam on the first attempt.

The 4 essential activities you need to study with a purpose include:

  • Reading
  • Taking notes
  • Memorizing
  • Summarizing

Remember to implement these study activities based on your preferred learning style. Let's dig into each of these strategies and see how you can implement them in your studies.

1. Read

I highly recommended that you thoroughly read the material for your course. To make the most out of your time, you should read with a purpose. Your course should include an introduction and learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter. This will provide you with a basic understanding of the concepts you will need to know. For your first pass through, skim first and look for the bold terms and definitions. This will lay the ground work for your second pass through the chapter in which you will read for comprehension.

If you are a visual learner, think in pictures while you are learning. If you are an auditory learner, read out loud or record yourself and listen to the playback. If you are a kinesthetic learner, be sure to highlight using multiple colors and take notes.

Stay within your attention span and work to increase that span. If you plan to spend an hour studying, break that up into four 15-minute segments.

2. Take Notes

Depending on your preferred learning style, taking notes is a critical step in the learning process. Taking notes helps you organize your thoughts – so it’s important to think about what you want to get out of your notes before you start. You can actively take notes by:

  • Looking for answers to questions you have about a topic
  • Looking for connections between the topic you are studying and other topics in the course
  • Rewriting concepts in your own words

3. Memorize

While it is important to understand broad concepts to pass your licensing exam, there is no shortage or terms and definitions that you will need to recall. Rewriting terms and definitions is an effective method of memorization. You can create your own flashcards, or buy some from your prelicensing course provider.

Mnemonic devices are also very helpful in learning and committing something to memory. You can create phrases, rhymes, songs (sing your ABC’s), or diagrams to recall lists, facts, or figures. Probably the most common mnemonic device is to use is an acronym or word association.

An acronym uses the initials from the words of a list to form its own word, such as CLOC to remember the parts of a legal contract (Competent parties, Legal purpose, Offer and acceptance, Consideration). Word associations are phrases that connect the first letter of words. My favorite acronym is the one I use to remember the order of the planets: MVery Educated Mother Just Served UNachos (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune).

4. Summarize

Summarizing, or paraphrasing, is an important study tool when learning new or difficult concepts. This requires you to carefully read or actively listen to a passage, identify the important phrases and terms, and remove irrelevant information. Then, restate or rewrite the concept using your own words. Make sure to check the passage with the original content to make sure it is complete and accurate.

Implement these 4 activities in your studies and you will be on track to passing your exam on the first attempt!

Topics: Prelicensing, Study Tips, Insurance

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