Hi all! Erin guest-blogging for Rebecca again today about being an aspiring/new agent. There was a clue in there about how my broker's exam went...Did you spot it? Yep, I said "new agent," which means I passed my broker's exam! It is such a huge weight off of my shoulders and I cannot tell you how happy I am not to be spending all of those hours studying anymore. It was interesting material, but man oh man, knowing you're going to be tested on something takes almost all of the fun out of it :-)
Today I thought I'd share a bit about my test experience and the things I did study-wise that I think helped me the most.
After I finished my clock hours, worked through all of the course material and taken all of the final quizzes, here's what I did next.
Took a Baseline Sample Exam. Rockwell has 12 sample exams and I took one to get a baseline of how close I was to being ready to take the test and where my areas of weakness were. I can't remember my exact score on that, but I think it was something like 86%...
Anyway, the sample exam will show you the questions you got wrong (very helpful), but also will break down the test by topic area (very, very helpful). So, it would tell me which chapters and sections I scored a below passing grade on. I wrote those down after the first sample exam, and those were my points of extra study attention for that first day.
Scheduled my Exam. I spoke to Rebecca shortly after I took that first sample exam and told her my score. I took the sample exam on a Thursday and then my first opportunity to take the exam was the following Monday afternoon. There were a couple of other days/times, but the only other one that would have worked for me was about 10 days away. Rebecca said, and I believe this is a direct quote, "You're ready. Take it on Monday." So I did.
You would think that having the exam on the calendar would up the stress factor, but weirdly it decreased it. I think knowing that it was going to be over by Monday afternoon and having a set date to work back from in terms of arranging my study time, really helped.
Reviewed Areas of Weakness. As I said, I took the sample exam on a Thursday and wrote down the 8 or so places where I failed the practice exam. That sounds worse than it is, really, because there were like one or two questions per topic area. So "failing" it often meant missing one question on that topic.
So, after each sample exam I would write down those areas of struggle and review them. I'd review them first in the textbook and then again in the Rockwell Broker's Cram lesson. What happened for me was that after each subsequent sample exam, the number of areas of weakness decreased. Makes sense, right? By the last sample exam, I was scoring in the high nineties, and once even 100%, so by the end there were very few areas left to review.
Took Every (and I Mean EVERY) Sample Exam and Quiz. There were 12 sample exams on Rockwell and I took every single one of them. I worked back from the date of my broker's exam and figured out how many I needed to take each day in order to take them all by noon on test day. This was probably the most helpful thing I did because it got me used to how questions on the exam would be structured and helped me identify places where wording baited me into picking the wrong answer. They were GREAT preparation. I also took every quiz in the Broker's Cram lesson along the way. By the time I finished the last sample exam I felt really confident.
Reviewed Every Sample Exam Result. When I finished an exam I would look at the questions I got wrong first and I would make sure I understood where I went wrong and why the correct answer was correct. Then I would review the whole exam, looking at the questions I got right too. Here's why: sometimes I was just guessing between two answers I was unsure of and happened to pick the right one. So, I made sure I knew why each correct answer was correct, regardless if whether I got it right or wrong on the test.
Accounted for Memorization. The sample exams often repeated questions, as did the quizzes. They tell you not to rely on memorization, but the reality is that I did remember some answers after I'd seen them a couple of times. So, what I tried to do was when I recognized a question and remembered what the answer was, I would go through each of the other answers and say why it was the wrong one. When those terms or concepts then appeared on the final exam in a different context/in a different question, I knew what they meant and could apply them in whatever context they appeared. So even if that exact sample exam question didn't appear on the real exam, it still helped me prepare for the real exam. Does that make sense?
Made a Few Flash Cards. There were a few areas where I continued to have a hard time, so I made some flash cards and would review those for 5 minutes or so throughout the day. Formulas were one and then I also did a few for laws that I was having a tough time differentiating from one another. In all, I probably had about a dozen or so.
Read the Tips for Multiple Choice Questions Rockwell Provided. These were great. I wish I'd known them when I was in college. Highly recommend you read these over if you can. They're located in the Broker's Cram lesson, I believe...
Okay, on to the day of the test. I took my last practice exam at about 10:30am and my test was at 1:30pm.
It took me about 10 minutes or so to settle down once the test began. My hand was shaking a bit on the mouse at first, but that stopped fairly quickly. I made sure to read each question carefully--that was key. I also tried to answer the question before I looked at the possible answers (this obviously works better on some questions than on others). I then read each answer carefully. There were a few I was uncertain about, so I marked them for review and then moved on.
Because I was so nervous for the first handful of questions, I decided to review all of my answers. This is something Rebecca told me not to do and I totally understand why. BUT I made some rules for my review. I only changed an answer if I realized that I had misread the question. If it was a question where I was just torn between one answer and another, I kept the answer I chose originally. I think I changed 2 answers and I think they were math-related. All were from the first quarter of the exam, as I recall.
Then I was done. I went out of the room and the proctor accessed my results and told me that I passed. So, huge relief there.
If you're studying right now, I wish you the very best of luck! And if you've already got your license, please share any of the study/exam preparation tips you found helpful below.