What is the Washington Insurance Exam Like?

Washington has contracted with PSI, a testing service, to administer the Washington insurance exams. The Washington insurance licensing exams will test your knowledge and understanding of broad insurance concepts. The exam is also designed to challenge your reading comprehension, product knowledge, and test-taking skills. The following are key points about the exam format:

  • Multiple Choice Questions.  All examination questions are multiple-choice with 4 possible answers. The typical question is short – usually just one sentence followed by 4 answer choices. Although there are short “story” problems on the exam, even those are quite brief. Even though the trend among many test writers is for longer questions, you will be surprised by how short the questions are.
  • Two Parts.  Most exams are divided into two parts – the national exam questions (roughly the same questions in all states) and the state law exam questions (questions unique to Washington). You must pass both parts to become licensed. Washington allows you to receive credit on the part you pass in case you do not pass both parts at the same time. When you reschedule your exam, you will be required to retake that part that you failed. Most of you that are becoming licensed in life and disability will take the combination exam – Life and Disability. And most of you seeking a property and casualty license will take the combination exam – Property and Casualty. The important thing to remember is that if you fail part of the combination exam, that in order to receive credit for the part you passed, you must sign up for the combination exam again. For example, if you sign up for the Life and Disability combination exam, and fail the state law portion but pass the national portion, schedule the combination exam again. You will only have to pass that portion that you failed and you will receive credit for that portion that you already passed.
  • Very Few Math Problems.  There are very few math questions and the math problems on the exam are very straightforward. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills are all the math skills required. (Please review our Math Problems Super Sheet found in your online course materials to master the math problems.) The testing company provides you with scratch paper, but they do not allow you to use a calculator while taking the exam. 180 Licensing will provide you with sample math problems so there will be no surprises at exam time.
  • Read Key Words Carefully.  Test questions are not designed to mislead. However, just like any other exam questions, misreading the questions will impact your score. Words such as ALL, NONE, EXCEPT are often used and, if misread, can dramatically impact your score.
  • Question Types.  About 80 percent of exam questions cover conceptual knowledge, while the remaining 20 percent cover specific facts, such as number of days, dollar amounts, etc.

Washington Insurance Exam Details

You will take your exam on a computer, with your test results provided immediately afterwards. If you pass, you will not be given an actual score; if you fail, you will be given your actual score.

Minimum Passing Score.  Washington requires that you receive a 70 or higher score to pass the exam on each part of the exam (General Knowledge and State Rules and Regulations). In our experience, this score is difficult to interpret because the passing score is curved and questions have different weight values. So there is really no way to know exactly how many questions you have missed with any particular score. Our experience has shown that most students who do have trouble on the exam receive a score within 5 points of passing. The problem of course is that missing a passing score by 5 points does not tell you how many questions you actually missed. And, you don’t know which particular questions you missed either.

Passing the Exam Does Not Equal a License.  Passing the insurance exam does not automatically mean that you receive an insurance license. You must work with your employer in order to apply for and receive your insurance license from the Washington Office of Insurance Commissioner (OIC). (For more information about obtaining your license, see our article Steps to Getting Your Washington Insurance License.)

Where is the Washington Insurance Exam Given?

When you register with PSI, you will be asked to specify a test center location. Several ways to find a location include:

Online Test Locator.  To find a test center that is most convenient for you by using the online PSI Test Center locator, go here.

Reference to the Candidate Handbook.  You can also find the list of test locations by viewing PSI Washington Insurance Candidate Handbook, here.

Test Locations in Washington.  Although they may be changed from time to time, the usual testing locations are:

Keep in mind it may be possible to take the Washington insurance exams in other parts of the country. PSI’s Washington Candidate Handbook lists those alternative locations, here.

How Do I Register For the Washington Insurance Exam?

If you have any disabilities that require special attention, be sure to contact PSI well ahead of time to make special arrangements. When signing up for your specific exam date, keep in mind that examination time slots may fill up quickly.

  • Schedule Your Exam.  Use the links below to schedule and register for your exam. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to ensure the location and date you prefer are available. We recommend scheduling you exam at least one week in advance.
  • Exam Registration Phone Number:  855-205-5825
  • Exam Registration:  Website
  • Register for Fingerprinting.  Washington requires that you be fingerprinted and undergo a U.S. Department of Justice background check. You obtain your fingerprints through IdentoGO, the fingerprint service company contracted by Washington. Preregistration is required before visiting a IdentoGO location in Washington. Get fingerprinted after passing your exam and immediately before applying for your license. Register here. If you already have been fingerprinted in a past life, ask whether those prints will work. (Often they will not work, especially if they are the old ink and paper, instead of the new digital fingerprints.)
  • Change a Scheduled Exam Date.  Keep in mind that if you need to change your testing time or date, PSI will sometimes cancel your existing testing time before they can see if other time slots are available. Reschedule as soon as possible in order to avoid forfeiting your registration fee. Visit the online registration page to view/edit your appointment.

When Should I Schedule My Washington Insurance Exam?

We recommend that you plan to contact PSI at least three weeks prior to completing your required prelicensing education course. That will allow you to predict when you will complete the course and also give you the opportunity to pick an exam date that falls soon after finishing the course.  If you take the exam too long after completing the course, it becomes more difficult to remember the details.

Is the Washington Insurance Exam Available in Any Other Language?

In Washington, the exam is not given in languages other than English. But, candidates for whom English is a second language can request extra time by completing a Special Accommodations Request Form, found in the candidate handbook.

Which Washington Insurance Exam Will I Take?

The most common types of licenses and related exam names or numbers for Washington are listed below, along with the time allotted for each exam. Students report to us that they normally complete their exams with time left over. But, be sure to watch the clock on your test computer to keep track of the remaining time on each exam. And, if you have any doubt as to which exam you need, your employer is the best person to ask.

Exam Name Questions Duration
Disability Combo 150 195 Minutes
Life 100 150 Minutes
Disability 100 150 Minutes
Property & Casualty Combo 150 195 Minutes
Property 100 150 Minutes
Casualty 100 150 Minutes
Personal Lines 100 135 Minutes

This is not a complete list of all insurance licenses in Washington. For a complete list, go here.

What if I Fail the Test? Can I Retake It?

Yes. Each state has a different rule on this and the rules change from time to time. The best source to find the answer is from the testing service’s handbook (see below).

Where can I Find Additional FAQ’s about Washington’s Licensing Exam?

Find the current answers to many of your questions from the Washington Insurance Licensing Information Bulletin here.


Disclaimer:  180 Licensing Exam Prep, Inc. makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, information is subject to change. The final authority for the latest insurance licensing information is your state’s department of insurance.

Must Read:  Our National online, self-paced, exam prep courses offered in Washington do not meet your state’s prelicensing education requirement. They contain national insurance and general state law rules, but do not contain your exam’s specific state law content (about 15-20% of your exam). If you have taken an approved prelicensing education course, have a valid certificate, and still need a passing score, use our materials and supplement with the state law material from your prelicensing provider. Designed by award winning Professor Jerry Furniss, our interactive exam prep materials are excellent for getting you over the finish line the fastest and easiest way possible. Go here for more information.