Let’s Chat… Professional Exams!

Welcome back, everyone! Yet ANOTHER speedy summer week has almost flown by and I spent this one primarily studying for the Illinois Insurance exam requirements. Have YOU ever considered joining a professional requiring examinations for licensing requirements? Are YOU in the process of studying? Keep reading here to learn about the top tips and tricks I picked up over the last few weeks as I geared up to prepare for the General and State, Property, and Casualty, exams!

Professional Certifications or Examinations…

Quick Example:

If you have no idea what I’m talking about then I’ll quickly queue you in don’t the exams I was required to take to obtain my Illinois Insurance Producer license. Not only will you be required to take four total exams: 2 General/State for Property, and 2 General/State for Casualty, but also complete 20 hours of pre-examination education for each line you enroll in. While I only pursued casualty and property, I could’ve tagged on life and health too! If you are considering or in the process of obtaining licensing for a career change, follow along to tap into my best practices:

  • Flashcards: Arguably one of the oldest strategies in the books, if you’re opting to memorize a group of concepts or words for an upcoming test, creating flashcards and continuously testing yourself on each concept is a great way to get familiar with a large group of concepts in an effective way. Even transcribing your previously written notes onto a new format (flashcards) will help you commit the ideas to memory before entering that self-test phase of preparation. If this seems like the right route for you, make sure to start ahead of time to ensure ample time dedicated solely to hammering in concepts through self-testing.
    • Quizlets: Quizlet is a phenomenal online platform for creating study guides, transforming study sets into online flashcards, and otherwise storing critical concepts in one organized place to refer back to as you continue to study. If you’re drawn to an online study format, this might be the best place for you!
  • Note Compilation: My favorite strategy, deemed “note compilation” will enable you to piece through a significant quantity of notes by slowly deriving the most important concepts, and compiling them all into a new, separate document. Whether you’re doing this by hand or typing into a new document, I find that doing so helps me to refresh my brain on past concepts, reignite an understanding of key points, and ultimately create a guide to read over several times that contains what will likely be on the exam! Doing so also helps me to recognize concepts or terms that have been heavily repeated throughout the course, and therefore hold notable value.
    • Extra Tip: Take the insurance prep courses for example… we were specifically told to highlight and circle certain terms that were ‘guaranteed’ to pop up at least once on the exam. Compiling those key terms and differentiating them from the larger scope of information to intentionally nail them into memory is a smart and intentional way to spend studying time, prioritize key concepts, and get started ASAP.
  • Written Memorization: As it relates to compiling your notes, writing down the most important key terms over and over to instill a repetition-focused memory is another strategy for memorizing key terms from concepts loaded with extensive vocabulary, types of policies, or ones that are linked but differentiated based on super specific/minor details. Again, start ahead!
  • Conversation: Once you’re in the final stages of studying, and often a night or two before the exam, I encourage you to sit down with a study mate, or even a friend or parent and talk through the concepts you’ve been working on mastering. Gaining a new perspective from a classmate, or even showcasing your understanding of a concept to someone unfamiliar with the subject is a great method to test your true understanding of the material.

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