Getting a license requires going through a lot of training, studying and passing the multiple-choice exam. It's not as hard as it seems. This guide is for people who want to get their insurance license.
Self-Study vs Classroom Learning
The first decision you may have to make is whether or not going through training at a school meets your learning style and design goals.
There are several pros and cons associated with self-study as well as classroom learning:
Classroom study gives students the opportunity to learn from other classmates' strengths and weaknesses as well as their own. In addition, it is often a lot less risky financially as the upfront costs are far lower than those for self-study. The downside to classroom learning is that students may not be able to precisely pinpoint which areas of the subject matter they struggle with and must rely on guessed/general answers rather than specific ones during the exam.
Self-study offers complete flexibility in scheduling one's time and allows each student to develop a personalized study plan based on his/her strengths and weaknesses. Self-study also enables students to divide up training into modules that can be spread over different time periods thereby reducing the overall risk associated with expensive purchases such as specialized training materials or specialized insurance textbooks*. In addition, self-study offers a high level of control over what students study and how they study. The downside to self-study is that the financial risk associated with not being able to pass the exam increases as one has more initial upfront costs with little or no refund for training materials if the student fails the exam.
Taking Practice Tests
Practice tests are an excellent way of identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Each time you take an insurance practice test, mark the questions that you got wrong or that were challenging for you. You should then review each question thoroughly to understand why it was incorrect/challenging before moving on to the next question (this is the learning part). After reviewing all of the questions, go back and attempt it again (the studying part). Remember, your goal is not simply to pass the test but rather to learn how to pass it by being able to answer each question correctly after reviewing it.
Finding an Insurance Mentor or Coach
An easy way to test your readiness is to find someone who already has their license and ask if you can shadow them for a day (or a week). Not only do you get to see how they studied for the exam, but you also get a chance to talk about your specific experiences and challenges. Plus, many people find that having someone on their side during this process is very helpful.
Asking friends or family if they know someone who has their license can be beneficial as well because then you will have an additional resource to turn to when you are struggling with something specific.
Start With The Basics
Just like a new driver can't learn to drive in heavy traffic, you will find it difficult to study the more advanced topics when you have not yet mastered the basics. Start by going through a basic insurance training course that provides an overview of all major types of insurance and their underlying principles/concepts. This course should also provide explanations about what insurance is used for along with examples so that you can better understand how it works. For example, instead of simply memorizing the definition of an annuity contract, you would first learn that life insurance companies create them for clients who want their money now but can't afford to pay all of it now.
Once you have mastered these basics, you can start tackling more advanced topics with greater ease. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to divide insurance training into digestible chunks that are spread over a long period of time rather than overwhelming yourself by trying to learn everything at once.
Start Studying In Advance
Waiting until the last minute to start studying will just increase your risk of failure. You should therefore aim to study at least 30-45 days before your exam date so that you have enough time to practice what you are learning by taking numerous exams and quizzes.
The best way to start this process is by creating a personalized study plan. This will make it easier for you to prioritize and budget your time and resources (e.g., money, books, etc.). Your study plan should also be adjustable because you don't know what your learning style is yet or if you will need more or less time than the average person to pass the exam; therefore, it is better to err on the side of caution. Make sure that self-discipline is part of your daily routine since this will help ensure that you study on a consistent basis without having to set specific times aside each day/week for studying.
Obtaining The License
After you have successfully completed your training and passed the exam, you can now apply for your license. This part is rather straightforward because most insurance companies will simply request that you submit the necessary documents via email or fax (i.e., proof of education, proof of residency, copy of your driver's license/passport along with a recent photo). Some companies may also ask for proof that you are insured under their policy.
When choosing an insurance company to work with, it is important to keep in mind that each organization has different standards when it comes to hiring new employees; therefore, one company might require applicants to have more experience than another company would. If this is the case, make sure you factor this requirement into your study plan so that you can meet their minimum requirements.
In addition, some companies have a probationary period during which new recruits are observed before being given more responsibility/duties. Although this situation might seem unfair at first, it is actually better to start off slow and learn the ropes since you can make mistakes without worrying about getting fired for them. Once you've passed the probationary period (or if your employer does not use one), you will be able to take on more responsibilities and put what you learned into practice right away.
Obtaining your license may not be easy; however, by developing a study plan that caters to your specific needs and learning style as well as setting short-term goals along with long-term ones, you will greatly increase your chances of passing the exam on your first try. In addition, having a reliable insurance company that provides a conducive work environment can also help encourage you to study even harder so that you can become a valuable asset to the organization.