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Insurance agents are sales professionals who work to provide important financial protection to families and small businesses. The insurance industry is divided into a number of lines, including life, health, property and casualty, and marine insurance. Most states require a separate exam for each of them. Insurance is regulated at the state level, not the federal level. Therefore, each state has its own requirements for taking and passing the exam.
Enroll in a state-approved exam preparation course. Many states require this course work, anyway, as a precondition to taking the examination. You have the option of taking the course in person or taking it online. The best choice for you depends on your individual learning style. However, if you take a course in person, you may benefit from additional help from the instructor and ready access to study partners.
Read the textbook. Highlight passages you find difficult and go over them again. Take careful notes on study cards or notebooks. For many individuals, the act of writing down information helps cement it in their heads and helps them to recall it later.
Look up the test weightings by subject. This information is frequently located in the front part of the textbook. For example, if your life insurance exam study guide states that 30 percent of the exam will be on permanent insurance and 20 percent on annuities, but only 6 percent on marketing practices, make sure you spend most of your time on understanding permanent insurance and annuities and don't spend an inordinate amount of time on subjects that don't receive much weighting.
Take practice exams. If you take an online course, you will likely have access to one or more practice exams. You will also likely have a practice exam if you take a live class. Don't take the insurance exam if you have not taken and passed one or more practice exams.
Visit your state insurance commissioner's website to find frequently asked questions specifically relating to taking and passing the exam. For example, you may find out how many questions there are, how long you have to take the test, policies on the use of a calculator, and other valuable information.
Jason Van Steenwyk has been writing professionally since 1998. A former staff reporter for "Mutual Funds Magazine," he has been published in "Wealth and Retirement Planner," "Annuity Selling Guide," "Registered Rep." "Bankrate.com" and "Senior Market Advisor." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the University of Southern California.