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June 5, 2019

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by

Thinking back to your high school or even university days, do you remember a time when the pressure got to you and you weren’t able to perform at your best on an exam? I know I have – and I know many students have as well. That’s why I wanted to write a piece on different science-based strategies to help you manage insurance exam stress and overcome a problem researchers call “state-dependent learning”

What is State-Dependent Learning?

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’ve studied all of the material, you’ve aced all the practice questions, but when you sit down to write the exam, you can’t seem to remember a thing and everything looks foreign to you. If you have, know that you’re not the only one. Researchers have identified this phenomenon as “state-dependent learning”.

Basically, what it means is that if you learn something while your brain is in one chemical state, you remember it best if you’re in that same chemical state. Most people study in a calm and quiet environment without the distractions, adrenaline and stress of exam day. The reason why you can’t seem to remember anything is because you’re not in the same chemical state anymore!

How to Overcome the Problem of State-Dependent Learning

One way to do it is to try to simulate the stresses of exam day in your practice. Try timing your own practice exams or studying/practicing in front of a critical audience. Anything you can do to add stress to your studying and mimic the circumstances of the real exam would help.

Another way to do it is to try to calm yourself on exam day. There are many different strategies to help you manage insurance exam stress like deep breathing or visualization. A quick Google search will turn up many strategies so try to experiment and find out what works best for you. For me, it’s deep breathing and hot tea.

Proper Preparation

One of the best ways to beat exam stress is to prepare properly with the right study materials so you’re confident going in. If you feel confident, you’re going to perform well.

I hope this helps some of you, if you have more tips to share or feedback on this article, contact me and I’ll be happy to share your knowledge with the rest of the community.

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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