February 27, 2019

Last Updated on August 29, 2022 by MaychelleN

A fountain pen resting on an open notebook with some cursive writing on it.
Do you have to write an essay to get marks on the CAIB exams?

One of the most important skills (I think it might be THE most important) to develop when preparing for your insurance licensing exam is how to read & answer the questions. A question I get over and over again from students is “how do I deal with short answer questions on CAIB exams?”

The short answer section is one of the hardest on the CAIB exams. It’s worth the most marks and unlike multiple choice questions, there’s no guessing and nothing to jog your memory. But don’t be afraid, armed with these tips, you’ll do fine.

CAIB Short Answer Question Tip #1 – Read the question carefully

Now, this might seem like a no-brainer but its important so it warrants repeating. READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY. They like to use double negatives, throw in details that don’t matter, and bury the real question deep within a bunch of largely irrelevant details.

Read the question carefully and try to pick out what they’re really asking. If you’re enrolled in one of our online insurance licensing courses, watch out for those short answer questions and give them a try.

Tip #2 – Include the keyword

When the marker is looking at your answer for the short answer questions on the CAIB exams, they’re searching to see if you included the keyword(s) related to the concept they’re trying to test.

For example, if they’re asking you to state whether or not Bob’s Bakery can enter into contracts & explain your reasoning, be sure to include the keywords “legal capacity” and “trade name”.

Even if you have the general idea correct, your chances of receiving full marks for that question are lower than if you had included those key words.

To help with this, we’ve included a Glossary of Key Terms in our insurance licensing courses.

Tip #3 – Don’t write too much or too little

My usual advice is to write just enough to answer the question without writing too much that you dig yourself into a hole or ramble on in the wrong direction. It’s best to keep things short and sweet and rely on the keywords (see above) to demonstrate to the marker that you know the concept they’re trying to test.

This advice doesn’t apply to the CAIB 4 exam because it’s an essay format.

Need more help?

I hope this was able to help some of you deal with short answer questions on the CAIB exams. If you still have questions about this, feel free to get in touch – even if you’re not a student – I’ll be happy to help you however I can.

Jacques Wong is the CEO and Director of Education at PNC Learning. An award-winning licensed insurance broker with over 15 years of experience in both education and the insurance industry, Jacques is recognized for his expertise and effective communication strategies. He achieved the highest provincial scores on his CAIB* 3 and CAIB* 4 exams and contributes to leading insurance publications. Jacques is dedicated to making insurance knowledge accessible for everyone through his unique approach and online content.

Jacques Wong

 Jacques wong


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