Before Exam Day
Once you have taken your required prelicensing education, applied for fingerprints, and have set a target exam day (approximately three weeks out), follow the details found in our handy guide – All About Registering For and Taking The California Insurance Exam.
What Happens on Exam Day?
PSI requests that you be at the test center 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam. (California has contracted with PSI to administer insurance licensing exams.) If it is convenient, we recommend that you visit the test center before the exam date so you can check out the parking, see where the test room is, locate the rest room, etc. Be sure to allow for traffic problems on exam day.
- In the event of bad weather or national emergencies, the exam may be postponed. For information regarding suspected test center closings, contact PSI directly.
- Be well-rested; take the night before the exam to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
- Do not cram for the exam the night before or the morning of the exam. Don’t panic when, at the test center, you see unprepared students cramming at the last moment.
- Be sure to eat something before the exam. You will use a lot of energy in a short period of time.
- PSI requires one form of identification, a government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license or passport; the other may be a credit card or some other document that identifies you and has your signature on it and a Certificate verifying prelicensing course (Certificates are valid for one year from date issued.)
When You Check In:
The proctors usually ask you sign in on a clipboard. When it is your turn, they will photograph you (the photo goes on your test results sheet but is not used for anything).
You will be seated at a computer. The proctor will enter code numbers into your assigned computer and your exam will appear. Prior to beginning, you will have the opportunity to take a short computer tutorial, which does a nice job of showing how the exam operates. If you do not use computers regularly, plan on taking the brief tutorial. This tutorial will show you how to click the answer boxes, move on to new questions, change answers, etc. The time spent on this tutorial will not reduce your allotted testing time whatsoever.
The nice thing about a computerized exam, other than instant test results, is that you can mark questions for later review. So, you can come back to earlier questions as long as you have not left that test and started another one. (For example, if you are taking the Life and Health test, once you agree to leave the Life test, you cannot go back later). Just pay attention to the directions and warnings on the screen and you will do fine.
When The Proctor Seats You At The Computer:
You will like the computerized testing system. It will allow you to skip questions, change answers, and mark questions for later review. All of the questions are multiple choice with four possible answers.
When you are done with an exam section, you will be asked whether you wish to continue. If you click on the YES box, that portion of the exam will be locked in and you won’t be able to revisit any of the questions. There will be a warning to that affect. So, just follow the instructions.
If you are taking more than one exam, you will have to ask the proctor to enter more code numbers so that the next exam will appear.
Are You A Nervous Test Taker?
If so, you may find it helpful to read through a number of questions before marking any – at least not until you have relaxed a bit. Studies show that deep breathing exercises also help nervous test takers.
- Be sure to take a mental break about every 30 questions. Simply pausing to get up and stretch or, if needed, to take a rest room break is a great way to relax. Remember that you generally have considerably more time than you need on these exams
- Read each question twice in order to fully comprehend what it is asking before you look at the answers. Read each answer carefully and pay attention to key words such as all, except, every, always, never, and so on. The most common mistake students make is misreading the question.
- Use the process of elimination: Decide if the question is looking for an answer that is true or false (such as “All of the following are TRUE except,” where the examiners want the false answer, or “All of the following are False except”, where the examiners are looking for the true answer). Eliminate choices that are definitely wrong, and then select the answer that is the best. There is absolutely no penalty for guessing, so NEVER LEAVE A QUESTION UNANSWERED!
- Do Not Get Frustrated: Relax! If you have prepared, the correct answer will come to you. If you cannot make a decision, leave the question unanswered, move on, and return to these questions after you have completed the rest of the test. Do not expect perfectly written questions. Mark the best answer even though you are convinced that the question is poorly written and the answers don’t really match the question.
- Pace Yourself: Do not spend too much time on each question. Work at a steady pace that will allow you to come back to the harder questions. Remember that you generally have considerably more time than you need on these exams. The computer will display a clock showing how much time is left on each exam.
- Should you change an answer or is it best to go with your first guess? Contrary to popular belief, studies show virtually no difference in scores – students who change an answer are no more or less likely to answer it correctly.
- Don’t be alarmed by absurdly false answers. Many of the false answers on exams are so convoluted that they simply make no sense whatsoever. Don’t assume that such answers are correct simply because you can’t understand them. Test writers refer to such answers as “convoluted distracters.”
- Do not be alarmed if others leave the testing center before you. People will be taking a wide variety of California exams; some may be much shorter than your exam.
When you are done, the proctor will give you a printed score report. Congratulations – You passed! (You will not be provided your actual test score when you pass; the actual score is only provided if you need to retake a section).
Give the copy of your passing score to the licensing person at your place of employment. They will take care of the necessary paperwork to have your license issued by the California Division of Insurance or provide you with instructions for applying for your license online through Sircon.
Do Any Of Our Students Ever Fail?
Of course they do. Even if you are fully prepared, you can still have a bad day. And the exams are not easy since they require a mastery of entry level insurance information and practices. But, the way 180 Licensing courses are structured, it is easy to review the specific sections where help is needed to prepare to retake the missed section as soon as desired. Use our national materials and supplement them with a state supplement provided by your prelicensing education provider to best prepare yourself for the exam.
If, you feel that we could do a better job by covering any issue in more depth or detail, please contact us with your suggestions (email). We always want to improve our courses and welcome any and all of your feedback. But, we want you to know that it is illegal and unethical for you to send questions to anyone, including us. Do not jeopardize your career by sending us exam questions.
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 California 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.