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.
For more information visit our website: MTIProEd.com
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!
Visit our website for more information: www.MTIProEd.com
Think back for a moment. Back to a time when you had a very important test to take, one that you placed great importance on. Prior to this test did you feel tense, have trouble focusing, feel sweaty, or possibly get headaches? If one, or more, of these symptoms sound familiar, it was quite possible you were experiencing a high level of test anxiety.
It is very common for individuals to feel a higher level of anxiety prior to taking an important test, such as a licensing test. Knowing the implications of the test, some people can even begin to feel these increased levels of anxiety while preparing and studying. Bottom line is test anxiety can happen to anyone.
According to Ryan Ferguson, an expert in test preparation,
“The way to fight test anxiety is to be prepared, be confident and do not over-study.”
Students can often fall into traps prior to a test that can lead to high anxiety. One of these traps is pre-test hysteria. Pre-test hysteria normally occurs during the minutes leading up to the test. This is the time when nervousness can take over causing students to begin going over all the notes right before the test. This will only increase anxiety and possibly cause students to make mistakes. Instead, students should take this time to relax and not overthink questions. Deep breathing exercises are a useful aid, as well as, simply grabbing a piece of paper and writing down whatever happens to come to mind. Both of these help to calm the body and keep the mind sharp.
Another common trap is cramming, although this one can be a little more difficult to avoid in certain situations. Cramming for a test can cause students not to recall information for longer periods of time, since it is contained within short-term memory. However, life happens, and there are times when a student may have no choice, but to cram for a test.
Should a student be left with no other choice but to cram for a test, there are a few steps he/she can follow to get the most out of the cramming. To begin, the student should start by determining which of the topic areas are most difficult, those where he/she feels deficient. Next, he/she should organize the preparation materials to the best of their ability. Finding unique ways to recite the information will go a long way in helping to recall the information during the test. Many experts suggest making up rhymes or comparative tricks to help remember the information during the test, plus this kind of memory enhancement is a form of studying. Students can also try different methods of reading through the material, such as out loud or with a ‘study buddy’. The different ways a student reads through the material the better the information will be retained. The final, and most important step to cram studying, is to relax and try not to stress yourself out. Try some of the tips mentioned previously in this article to aid with relaxation.
It is fairly obvious the major key to testing anxiety is relaxation. This can be very easy to say, but not so easy in practice. If you know you struggle with high anxiety during tests, or, if you find yourself suddenly anxious about an upcoming test, try some of these tips. They may sound rather mundane, but many time the simple things can have a great impact on us. Anxiety can play a huge role in the outcome of testing results and finding a way to curb the anxious feelings may be the difference between a pass and fail result. Lastly, trust your instincts. After all the preparation and studying, don’t second guess yourself, trust your instincts and trust your preparation.