10 Tips to Help You Study for and Pass the Level 1 & CAIB Exams

Jacques Wong | January 17th, 2021

I know how daunting studying for the insurance exams can be but that doesn't mean you have to handle them alone.  My job is to try to make things as easy as possible for you.

[PS. Not sure which course to take?  Take a look at this helpful diagram.]

Here are 6 study tips that will make studying for the exam a breeze:

  • Get started early - IBABC recommends that you give yourself 6 weeks of prep time and studying a total of 70 hours.  Our courses will help you cut down this time by 50% but it's a good place to start.
  • Have a plan - Set deadlines for when you will be completing each chapter and avoid studying very late at night.  Be efficient!
  • Make notes - As you go through the lectures, make sure you make notes directly on the study guide.
  • Test yourself - Each chapter ends with a short quiz, make sure you do them!
  • Save your practice exam - Use it to assess your readiness AFTER you have completed the entire course.  If you do well on the practice exam, you'll know you're ready to take on the real thing.
  • Confused about something?  Check out our blog - We write a lot of great content on our website covering exam information, important concepts, study tips from successful students, CE requirements for your province, CE Credit Deadline Reminders, and ~100+ other things (you can use the search bar to find the information you need).

  • [BONUS TIP] Understanding > Memorizing - Of course, you'll need to memorize certain things like limits of insurance or exclusions, it's more important that you understand the concepts because on the exam, you will be asked to apply them.

  • [BONUS TIP #2] Take Breaks! - Wow, I bet you never thought you'd hear that one!  Here's the logic: humans think in 2 modes: focused and diffuse thinking.  The focus stage is where you master the details and during diffuse thinking, you begin to comprehend how everything fits together.  So yes, you should schedule structured time to focus and study; but you also want to spend time to just rest and let your mind wander.  During this time, your brain will continue to work on the concepts and make connections you might have missed if you were too busy focusing on studying and "putting in the effort".  It sounds "lazy" but it's really just efficient. 

Now that you've finished studying and are ready to take the exam, what should you be aware of on the exam date? 

Here are 4 tips that will give you the edge on exam day:

  • Eat - Eat a light meal and drink some water before the exam.  Be careful though, you don't want to be wasting time in the washroom!
  • Leave early - Give yourself enough time for travel and try to arrive 15 minutes early so you can relax before the exam starts.  If you have exam anxiety, a student shared a great trick with me called 4x4 breathing.  This involves breathing in deeply for 4 seconds, then breathing out for 4 seconds.  I tried it recently before a particularly stressful meeting and it really does help to calm the nerves and help you think  more clearly.
  • Go for the easy marks first - Answer the questions you are sure about first.  This will give you a boost of confidence and you'll have more time to spend on the harder stuff.
  • Read the question carefully - This is the most important tip I can give.  Look for key words like 'list', 'explain', 'contrast', or 'compare'; and be careful of double negatives and other word tricks.  There is a glossary of actions words in the free trial portion of the course outlining the key words to look out for in a question and how to answer them.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you know how to read exam questions.

Hopefully these were able to help you out.  If you have any other good ones that have worked for you, feel free to share them with me at [email protected] - I'd love to post them on here and share them with the community.

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