Tag Archives: e-learning

12 Tips for Licensing Exam Preparation

Being prepared and feeling fully confident is a major key to successfully passing your licensing, or other, examination.  Feeling uneasy or that there was more you could have (or should have) done to prepare can distract from your concentration, and potentially lead to failing.

Use these tips to help set up a study plan in preparing for your examination.

One:  Be Prepared

Know the specifics, such as:  the location of the exam center, the number of questions and how much time you’ll get to complete the exam, and what materials you are allowed to bring.  Knowing the logistics will reduce the chance that a simple, but significant, mistake is made.

Two:  Set Aside Time

Determine how you will fit in your study time and make sure it is a priority.  You schedule meetings, lunches and classes, right?  Scheduling your study time is just as important.  It is even more important to set these schedules and expectations with your friends and family.  Be sure to keep others in the loop on your progress and success, and they should be able to understand your need for uninterrupted study time.  A series of shorter study sessions disrupted over several days is preferable to longer, but fewer study sessions.

Three:  Don’t Try to Cram it in

Select a reasonable chunk of material to study.  Make a list of topics that are likely to be on the exam and prioritize these subjects based on how important they are and how much more you need to learn about them.  Spend the majority of your time familiarizing yourself with the subjects you are less confident about, and do it at the beginning of your study session, when you have more energy and are ready to dive in.

Four:  Dress Uncomfortably and Sit at a Desk

If you dress comfortably and set up your study session on the couch, you are apt to lose focus, be interrupted and be less productive.  Sit upright at a desk and avoid dressing casually so that you can remain awake and attentive.

Five:  Study Buddies

When possible, it is a good idea to work with someone with whom you can review material, discuss potential questions and clarify concepts.  Utilizing a study buddy can help to keep you focused and grasp information in a different perspective.

Six:  Seek Support

Check with other students to get their perspectives on what information will be on the exam.  Utilize a group setting where you can share study ideas and strategies.  Verbalizing and writing the information is key to storing the material in your long-term memory.

Seven:  Put it in Your Own Words

Don’t just memorize the information and move on.  You should be able to explain the main idea in your own words.  By putting it in a context that you understand, you will have an easier time recalling it than if you simply repeated a concept over and over without really connecting to it.  Study buddies can be utilized here, explain in your words the concept and see if the concept is understood by other individuals.  If you find people are able to receive your explanation well, then you are likely obtaining an understanding of a particular concept.

Eight:  Test for the Test

Spend a lot of time with practice exams, if available.  As a basic rule of thumb, test until you consistently obtain scores of 90% or better on every practice exam.  For an added challenge, you can come up with study questions while you’re reviewing material you are not as comfortable with.  This will force you to do some mental searching while you study.  Studying this way helps to replicate the act that you’re preparing for in the first place, so it’s  good idea to incorporate it into your study regimen.

Nine:  No All-Nighters

Reviewing familiar material is a good way to prepare, but trying to learn something for the first time right before an exam is just going to stress you out and make it harder for you to focus on what you do know.  When scheduling your exam, make sure you give yourself an adequate amount of time to study and feel prepared.

Ten:  Be Physically Prepared

This may seem obvious, but it’s something we see some students struggle with.  Make sure that you’ll have time to review your notes and get an adequate amount of sleep the night before your exam.  Have a balanced breakfast, and avoid drinking too much coffee.  Taking care of yourself physically will help ensure that your can focus on the matter at hand when you’ve got the exam in front of you.

Eleven:  Try Chewing Gum

An informal study by a Cornell University marketing professor has shown that chewing gum offers improved memory and concentration which may improve your test-taking abilities.

Twelve:  Don’t Be Over-Confident

While confidence is important, studies have shown that feeling too confident can lead to complacency.  A little bit of anxiety can actually be helpful for test takers in keeping you focused.  Instead of trying to completely shun anxiety, see it as a tool that can help you stay aware of what you’re doing and on the lookout for potential mistakes.


 

Do you have any other tips, not listed here, that have helped you in the past?  Comment and share them.


 

Visit our past blogs for more testing tips and strategies.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:  MTI Services Corp.  |  @mtitraining

For more information visit our website:  MTIProEd.com

Testing Tips & Study Strategies

It is completely understandable why the vast majority of our students are so focused, and somewhat fearful, of their NMLS licensing examination. This exam will determine their fate as a licensed mortgage loan originator, should he or she fail (even by the slightest of margins) they must wait, at minimum, another 30 days before testing again.

Word has spread throughout the industry as to the difficulty of this exam, only helping to enhance pre-exam jitters and anxiety.  On a daily basis we receive inquiries about preparing for the NMLS exam, everything from how many prep tests are enough to any techniques we can provide that will help with answering exam questions.

It is MTI’s goal to have every student succeed and pass their licensing exam.  We have compiled some of the best techniques and strategies to help students get fully prepared for their exam and enter their exam location with the full confidence and belief they will pass and leave a licensed mortgage loan originator!

Utilizing some of these techniques can assist you in understanding, retaining, and retrieving the information learned and provided during the licensing course.

  • Spacing Your Study Times.  In most cases students will have several weeks to prepare for their exam, it is quite rare that a student will take their exam just days after completing their coursework.  Even though they may have weeks, some students try and cram for their exam just days before they take it.  They would do better if they spent a little time studying every few days following the course.  Spacing self-tests and study time every few days allows the brain to partially forget, and then re-learn the information, with powerful effects on memory.
  • Changing Things Up With MTI’s Preparation Tests.  Shuffling different types of practice questions into an unpredictable order is a technique known as Interleaving.  This is accomplished through the use of MTI’s practice tests, provided to each student.  Students often study in an orderly fashion that builds on the last item studied.  Interleaving questions builds on a crucial testing skill:  figuring out what kind of problem the question is asking.
  • Try an Exam Wrapper.  As you use MTI’s practice tests, you will find they are immediately scored after completion and you have the ability to review.  After completing a practice exam try also completing an exam wrapper.  An exam wrapper is a set of brief instructions, printed on a piece of paper.  The instructions will lead you through the process of reflecting on how well you prepared for the practice exam, how well you performed, and what you can do differently on the next test.  If you find yourself struggling with obtaining acceptable scores, this method may help you to determine how to better prepare.  CLICK HERE for an exam wrapper you can use with your preparation, or, as an example to build your own.
  • Calming Your Testing Fears.   Before a high-stakes exam, many people often experience a quickened heartbeat, sweaty palms, and/or butterflies in their stomach.  These feelings may be interpreted as meaning, “I’m so nervous,” which in-turn causes them to become more anxious.  Many studies have shown that spending 10 minutes prior to an exam writing down, on any piece of paper, whatever comes to mind significantly helps to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety and allows for better performance on the exam.  Some students will begin to feel their level of anxiety increase when taking the practice tests as well.  If you have a high level of anxiety when test-taking, try this technique prior to the next practice test and compare your results against previous tests.

To some the thought of the NMLS licensing exam can be overwhelming and scary.  Take full advantage of your preparation time and integrate some of these techniques, or the additional tips and strategies we have posted.  Allowing yourself adequate time to prepare and utilizing the preparation tools provided by MTI will provide you with an arsenal for triggering successful passing of your exam!

Follow MTI on Facebook or Twitter:  MTI Services Corp.  |  @mtitraining

Visit our website for more information:  www.MTIProEd.com 

CFPB report finds less than 50% of borrowers shop around for mortgages

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a breakdown of an important consumer behavior report. The National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers was completed by over 1900 homebuyers last year. These surveys asked approximately 100 questions covering the entire mortgage process, from when the consumer first started shopping for a mortgage, all the way through closing. Findings of the survey say that the overwhelming majority (77%) of first-lien mortgage purchasers only ever fill out one application.

Survey Key Findings:

  • Almost half of consumers who take out a mortgage for home purchase only seriously consider a single lender or mortgage broker before choosing where to apply. Shopping is somewhat higher among first-time homebuyers, but not by much.
  • Borrowers rely primarily on their lenders, brokers and real estate agents for information on the mortgage lending process. Far fewer consumers obtain information from outside sources, including friends, family, co-workers, housing counselors and even the web.
  • Most consumers report being “very familiar” with types of mortgages, available interest rates, and the process of taking out a mortgage. Those who are “unfamiliar” with the mortgage process are less likely to shop are more likely to rely on real estate agents and personal acquaintances.
  • A large number of borrowers report that factors NOT directly related to mortgage cost – including a previous relationship with a particular lender or broker, the lender or broker’s reputation, or even geographic proximity – are “very important” in their decision-making. Borrowers who express these preferences are “much less likely” to shop.

How much do consumers shop?

Apparently, not much. 77% percent only applied to one lender. First-time homeowners are slightly more likely to apply to more than one. The survey found the most common reason for shopping was to find the best deal. 5% of consumers that applied to multiple lenders did so because they had been turned down elsewhere. CFPB concludes in the report that a large amount of consumers ARE NOT getting the best mortgage possible due to lack of shopping.

How familiar are consumers with the mortgage process?

51% of consumers say they are “very familiar” with the process, start to finish. 14% say they are not at all familiar. Most consumers were most familiar with their own credit score and history, while only 49% said they were “very familiar” with the amount of money they would need for closing. 14% said they were “completely unfamiliar” with closing amounts. 25% of first-time homebuyers said they were “completely unfamiliar” with the process. The report found that the less familiar the consumer is with the process, the less likely they are to shop. For example, consumers who had researched available interest rates were almost twice as likely to shop as those who were unfamiliar.

Where do consumers go for sources of information on getting a mortgage?

The study found that 70% of consumers used their lender or broker as their main source of information on taking out a loan. 33% said they used their real estate agent as the primary source. Only 20% of borrowers said they used the web as a source of information “a lot.” Even fewer used friends, personal contacts, or financial planners. Less informed consumers tend to rely on personal acquaintances and real estate agents far more often than consumers who called themselves “very familiar” with the process. CFPB speculates this might be because those types of sources can provide information in laymen’s terms.

What do consumers look for in a lender/broker?

The three most important characteristics for the borrower are:

  1. Having an established relationship with the lender/broker. (42% said this was very important.)
  2. “A local office nearby” is very important for 40% of borrowers.
  3. Reputation of the lender/broker is very important for 41% of borrowers.

Consumers who had a prior relationship with a bank or lender – or were located near one – were much less likely to shop around than those who did not.

CFPB caveat:

This analysis doesn’t attempt to evaluate the extent to which shopping improves outcomes – like fewer delinquencies and foreclosures, for instance. But they’re working on getting that data as well.

Conclusion:

So, why do so few people shop around for a mortgage (even though it might benefit them financially), preferring instead to borrow from a bank or institution they have an established relationship with, or one that is conveniently located?

A recent piece on National Public Radio suggested this pattern in consumer behavior may be explained by consumer math skills. Specifically, many consumers may not understand how compound interest accrues over the life of the loan.

Link to story: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/13/376836545/consumer-agency-launches-tool-to-help-you-find-a-cheaper-mortgage

The CFPB report suggests a simpler explanation – people simply prefer going to their neighborhood lender/broker, or going to the bank they’ve already established a relationship with.

What does this data mean for brokers, lenders, and banks?

Solidifying a presence in your community may be the best way to drum up business. Making yourself available to the consumer as an resource for information can be an invaluable tool – the report clearly suggests consumers prefer this method of deciding on a mortgage provider to any other.

What does this data mean for consumers?

Shopping around may be in your best interest, especially if you are new to the mortgage process, and finding someone who will take the time and effort to get you the best loan available may require more than one pit stop.

Link to report: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201501_cfpb_consumers-mortgage-shopping-experience.pdf

The Future of E-Learning

As we progress further and further into the 21st century we find ourselves engulfed in technology.  Technology not only advances our society, it has changed our perception of the world.

Think back as a young adult, around 16 to 18 years of age.  You just got word that “Bon Jovi” was gearing up for a new tour, you can’t wait!  But wait, their not coming to your town, bummer.  Your friends, after serious peer pressure, bait you into that long road trip, just to make sure you see them… one more time!

Those days are all but gone!

Now you just sit back, relax and log on.

The Internet has brought all of us closer, basically within a mouse click of each other.  The Internet not only serves our social lives, but also our professional/instructional development – e-learning.  Rapidly growing and adopted, e-learning is now advancing through just about all areas of instruction.  From Pre-K to corporate America, Internet-based training applications are surfacing everywhere.

Many major corporations save millions of dollars each year using e-learning to train employees more effectively and more efficiently than with conventional “in-class” methods.  Research on e-learning applications for Pre-K through grade 12, as well as in adult learning and training settings, strongly suggests that it is an effective means for delivering instruction.

Time will tell just how advanced e-learning applications may become and how much more effective they may become from your conventional face-to-face education, but one thing is for sure… it will be one very exciting time!