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Posted by Barb Gavitt, CDEI, ITP, SILA-F ● June 28, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Studying for your Licensing Exam

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Updated March 23, 2022 12:00 pm CDT

To become a licensed insurance or securities professional, you will need to pass a licensing exam. That exam will require a fair amount of reading, comprehending, and retaining information. In this guide we will provide the essential tips for studying for your licensing exam.

Commit to a Study Program with an A.D. Banker Road Map

Before starting any new program of study, you need a plan that is easy to follow. This plan should keep you focused and allow you to stay on track. The A.D. Banker Road Maps are study plans designed to do just that by recommending daily assignments and are provided in a checklist format. The Road Maps are available in 5, 7, and 14-day programs of study that will help to avoid procrastination and motivate you to complete the program on time!

Check out the study plans we have put together to help you through your course:

Work Toward a Goal

When studying for a licensing exam, it is important to study toward a deadline – your test date! Schedule your exam before you start a study program to force yourself to work toward a goal and manage your time wisely. If you wait to schedule your exam until you feel you are ready, you end up procrastinating and losing sight of your goal. Success comes to those who steadily work toward a goal.

Identify Study Strategies that Work for You

There are a variety of study strategies individuals use when learning something new. The best strategies should be based on how an individual learns best, known as a learning style. Most people have never identified their own preferred learning style. Knowing HOW you learn best will help you make the most of the time you have to learn something new. There are different strategies available for every learning style. The 3 learning styles are Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic (Tactile):

  • Visual Learners learn best through seeing
  • Auditory Learners learn best through listening
  • Kinesthetic Learners learn best through doing

Once you identify your learning style, you can adapt your method of study for a more effective learning approach.

Study with a Purpose

Active studying involves reading, note taking, memorization, summarizing and paraphrasing. Each of these activities must be done with the purpose of meeting your ultimate goal – passing the test on the first try!

Put the Study Plan in Motion

Now that you have chosen a plan, there are a few steps to follow to put your plan into motion. In addition to studying the content, it’s important to check your knowledge by answering the retention questions throughout the course. A big part of preparing for any exam is to assess if you are understanding and retaining the information. Chapter exams will keep you on track as you move through the course. These exams will help determine your comprehension. Don't try to memorize these exams, but use them as a guide to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to go back into the course and learn more about the topic. For each chapter, follow this recipe for success:

  1. Study
  2. Check Your Knowledge
  3. Test
  4. Evaluate
  5. Repeat

Avoid Test Anxiety with these Killer Test-Taking Tips

Test anxiety can wreak havoc on those who are not good test takers. The good news is that you can learn how to be a good test taker by following these few simple test-taking tips:

  • Read each question twice and do not look at the answers until you understand the question
  • Read all answers choices before selecting an answer: C might be an OK answer, but D might be the BEST answer
  • Look for key words in the question, such as “MUST,” “ALL,” “NONE,” and “EXCEPT”
  • Don’t change an answer unless you are absolutely sure you know the right answer

Make sure you have a plan for how to make a best guess when you don’t know the answer to a specific question. Do not dwell on any one question when you do not know the answer – go with your first instinct and be confident going forward. If you are looking for the one answer that is correct or incorrect, look at each statement and determine if it is True or False. This will help rule out which answers are not correct. Process of elimination is your best tool and will help you narrow down the answer choices in case you have to guess.

Preparing for the BIG DAY

You have worked hard, followed the Road Map, studied the content, taken practice tests, and successfully completed all requirements. NOW it’s time for the BIG DAY – taking your state exam! You are ready to do this and you must have confidence. Manage the things you can control to reduce stress, as opposed to worrying about those you can’t. If you are taking a remote exam, make sure your technology meets the requirements. If you are taking your exam in person:

  • Make sure you have directions to the test center and prepare for traffic delays
  • Arrive at the test center early with the proper identification
  • Be familiar with the security measures that will be taken and leave all study materials and personal items locked in your car
  • The exam vendor will be taking your picture and most test centers have security cameras in the examination room
  • Be aware that there’s a time limit, but do not let that dictate your pace – you will have plenty of time if you manage the test wisely

Most importantly, you must have a positive attitude and believe in yourself – YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

Topics: Prelicensing, Study Tips, Insurance

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