Before Exam Day
Once you have a target exam day (approximately three weeks out), follow the details found in our handy guide All About Registering For and Taking The Pennsylvania Insurance Exam.
What Happens on Exam Day?
PSI requests that you be at the test center 30 minute prior to your scheduled exam. (Pennsylvania 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. Be sure to bring a valid form of identification.
- In the event of bad weather or national emergencies, the exam may be postponed. For information regarding suspected test center closings, you may contact PSI here.
- 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 a valid form of identification. That identification document must: (1) be government-issued (like a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or military identification card. (2) contain both a current photo and signature and (3) Have a name that exactly matches the name on the registration for the examination, including Jr., III, etc. PSI requests that you bring your exam confirmation number (s). You will need the confirmation number to schedule, reschedule, cancel and confirm your appointments. Also bring a notarized prelicensing course completion certificate.
When You Check In:
The proctors usually ask you sign in on a clipboard after you present your ID and course completion certificate.
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.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask the PSI Test Company proctors who are normally very helpful.
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 4 options.
Three formats are used: Direct question, Incomplete Sentence and All of the Following Except.
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 Pennsylvania exams; some may be much shorter than your exam.
When you are done, your score will appear on the screen. Congratulations – You passed!
You will receive a printed score report. This report indicates your overall score and grade. It includes the percentage of questions answered correctly and whether you passed or failed.
Give the copy of your passing score to the licensing person at your place of employment. They will usually take care of the necessary paperwork to have your license or follow their instructions for applying for your license online.
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 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. 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.
We wish you the very best with your new career. 180 Licensing thanks you for entrusting your exam preparation to us!
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 Pennsylvania 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.