Preparing for your state insurance exam might feel a bit overwhelming. For many of us, years have passed since our last exam in college or high school, and as a result, some essential study habits may have been forgotten. To help you prepare for your state insurance exam, let’s review some basic, yet important study tips.
Distractions are one of the biggest obstacles that disrupt the learning process. How many times have you found yourself reading something online, and before you know it, you are browsing items on amazon.com or flipped back to your Facebook or Twitter page without even remembering how you got there? This happens to all of us, even while writing this post, it just happens. For your brain to absorb new ideas, it’s crucial that you avoid multitasking and stay focused on only the task in front of you. Below are some common distractions that will slow your progress in preparing for your exam:
- TV – Even with it on in the background, the noise is still a disturbance
- Cell phone – Switch your phone to vibrate. Tell your family & friends your study times and ask that they do not disturb you unless it is absolutely necessary. This includes texting as well
- Multiple browser windows – Close all other browser windows except for the page in which you are studying. This will help prevent the temptation to browse other sites
- Instant Messenger – Mute or completely close out your Instant Messenger until after you have finished studying
- Children – Study after your kids leave for school or once they have gone to sleep
- Music – Listening to music while learning is still a form of multi-tasking
In addition to removing external distractions from your study area, you will also want to free yourself from internal distractions. In order to remain focused on the task at hand, you must prepare yourself mentally and maintain interest in what you are learning.
Mental preparation is essential to effectively learning something new. Without the motivation to learn and reach your goal, your efforts will be reduced, and likely be replaced by an external distraction. To prepare for the insurance exam, remember the following:
- Remain positive and remember your original reason for attaining your insurance license
- Push negative thoughts from your mind and stay focused on the material in front of you
- Remind yourself that your studies are for a short period of time and the more focused you are while studying, the quicker you will be prepared for the exam
- To aid in maintaining a positive attitude, try including foods that will enhance concentration and increase energy and mood, and avoid eating heavy meals before studying
- Try light exercise during study breaks to help keep things moving along
Now that distractions have been removed, let’s review some study techniques that will make the process of preparing for your insurance exam as quick and painless as possible.
- Set a schedule – Most of us do not have the luxury of putting our lives on hold for a few days to study for the insurance test; and that’s okay. In fact, studying a few hours a night over the course of a few weeks is more beneficial than trying to cram in just a few days. Determine the amount of time you can set aside per day and stick to that schedule.
- Memorization – Repetition is fundamental in committing information to memory. The more you see a concept, the quicker you will be able to recall its meaning and how it interrelates with other concepts. In addition, feel free to read and recite the material aloud like an actor preparing for a play. Go a step further and write what you are learning down on paper. Writing will give you an extra visual reinforcement through your handwriting, and allows extra time for you to absorb the information as a result of the time it takes to write it down.
- Study in short, frequent sessions – Study for no more than an hour at a time, then take a short break to clear your mind and allow the material to set. Get up, walk around, sprint around, grab some tea or coffee; anything that might serve to refresh your mind and energy.
- Reinforce through review – Before moving on to the next section, review everything you just read in the previous study session to reinforce your understanding and further commit the material to memory. Do this either before or immediately after a break.
- Be efficient – Knowing how to spend your time studying will help you prepare for your exam quicker. Review your state insurance exam outline to determine which concepts hold more weight on the state exam and focus your time accordingly.
- Reward yourself – Whether it’s at the end of the day or during a study break, reward yourself for staying focused and steadfast during your study session. Respond to that text message, check your social networks, grab a little snack. Small rewards are great motivators for a job well done and will help in making the entire learning process more enjoyable.
- Plan for possible setbacks – Daily responsibilities will find its way into your study schedule. This is to be expected. While you may have set your goal to be fully prepared for your insurance exam within a two-week period, do not become frustrated if some additional time is needed. It is always best to take a little extra time to be completely prepared rather than to rush into the exam. In addition, it is not the end of the world if you fail the state exam. Maybe you had an off day, maybe you’re not the test-taking type. Upon completing your state insurance exam you will be presented with a printout illustrating your results. Review the printout from the testing center to see which sections need additional attention, but do not neglect those sections for which you did well. Each exam will be different from the next, so it is important that you keep all concepts fresh in your mind for your next attempt.
For information and tips on what to expect on the state insurance exam, feel free to visit our Top Insurance License Exam Tips post.