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Randall M. Costello, CMA, CPA

Iowa Insurance Seminar
PO Box 922
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

319.266.5860

Common Sense Testing Tips


Now let’s talk about some tips for the exam itself.

First of all, review your fact sheet of difficult points to remember just before you go into the exam. Then write out a listing of these hard to remember testing points when you sit down at the computer and before you begin the exam.

Since the clock doesn’t start until you actually click the exam start button, the time spent writing out your crib sheet will not count against you. The testing center will provide a sheet of blank scratch paper to write down your key “things-to-remember”.

When taking the exam, you can allocate your time for each question any way you want to. You can spend 10 seconds or 10 minutes on a question. It doesn’t matter.

However, it is best to answer a question and mark it for review if you are uncertain. Do not agonize and fret over it. Take your best guess and move on. Come back later if you have time.

A good rule of thumb is “Do not change your answer” unless you clearly recognize a need for the change. Studies show that in the majority of cases students talk themselves out of the correct answer!

In any event, the last answer you mark will be your answer when time runs out or when you terminate the exam.

Another helpful hint is to read the stem of the question at least twice before looking at the possible answers. This helps to clearly understand the question.

If you just skim the question and then jump immediately to the answers, the answers begin to color your understanding of the actual question. Your mind reads things into the question that are not there and misses important words that are there.

And finally, watch out for key words such as: all, always, only, never, not, and of course the most despised multiple choice word “EXCEPT”.

Ideally, you should be well rested and prepared the day of the exam. It is most beneficial to have a good meal the night before and get a good night’s sleep. Follow your normal routine if possible.

Naturally in preparing for an exam, procrastination tends to take its’ toll. A late night cram session or pulling an all-nighter does little to help . . . unless you have done no advance study whatsoever!

I believe the best piece of advice is to continue to study right up to the minute you take the exam. You never know when you may learn that one last testing point that puts you in the pass column and into successful career.


Randall M. Costello, CMA, CPA has been teaching thousands of students to pass their insurance exams since 1986.