August 14, 2019

Last Updated on May 13, 2022 by Jacques Wong, B.Sc.

Picture of a contemplating monkey looking into a mirror.  Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash
Picture of a contemplating monkey. Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

When people first sign up for the online insurance exam prep courses, they’re usually not sure about what to do next or how to prepare in the most efficient way. While everyone is different, hopefully this brief piece will teach you some best practices on how to prepare for your insurance exam using these online courses.

We have structured our courses to encourage a 2 phase exam preparation strategy. Through our research and experience working with almost 10,000 users, we have found this to work the best for most people:

Phase #1 – Understand

In this phase, you want to focus on understanding every concept we discuss inside the course. To help you with this, we have the lectures which add additional color and detail to the printed materials and assign you an instructor who can answer all of your questions while studying.

During this stage, you might be tempted to bury your head in the books and just put in the hours. While that work ethic is admirable, it can often be counterproductive. Humans think using 2 modes of thinking:

  • Focused thinking
  • 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”.

Check the full article below:

Phase #2 – Review

Now that you understand the material in-depth, you will want to focus on review leading up to your exam date. Our notes are structured to be straightforward and to the point to help you with the review phase of your exam. Our practice questions and exams are also a great tool to use at this stage to help you figure out what you don’t know yet and get you used to the style of questioning on the real insurance licensing exam.

Now that you know the 2 general phases of exam prep, here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Print out the Notes

The notes should form the core of your exam preparation strategy so the first thing you should do is print them out along with the glossary of key terms and the paper practice exam. The numbers and other minor details can change from time to time so the notes are always going to be the most up to date and should be your primary resource.

If you don’t have access to a printer, let me know and we can mail you a physical copy for a small fee depending on the course (we offer this as a courtesy to students and do not charge for labour).

Step 2: View the Lectures

With the notes in front of you, watch the lecture videos. The videos will give you more examples and take you through the key concepts in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

But don’t just watch the videos passively – learn actively. As you’re listening, try to digest the information and make little notes or annotations on top of the note package you printed out in Step 1. By listening actively and putting the concepts/ideas into your own words, you’re making sure that you’re paying attention and really absorbing the material.

It can also be helpful to keep the Glossary of Key Terms handy while you’re studying so you can look up words you don’t quite understand. Here’s a helpful example:

“A deductible applies to each occurrence”

If you’re not sure what an occurrence is, you might not understand how deductibles apply to a loss and end up calculating the wrong payout value. If you keep the Glossary handy, you can look up what occurrence means – which is defined as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to the substantially the same general harmful conditions”.

Now that you know what it means, you’ll understand that if a windstorm caused building damage and damage to contents, that would be considered 1 “occurrence” resulting in only 1 deductible having to be paid by the insured.

Step 3: Chapter Quiz

At the end of each chapter, take the quiz before moving on. This is just to make sure you’ve paid attention and have picked up the key points. If you performed poorly on the chapter quiz, go back and review the lectures/notes again before proceeding. The material is cumulative so you want to make sure you don’t have any holes in your understanding moving forward.

Step 4: Midterm Review

For most courses, you’ll reach the midterm review section roughly halfway through.

Here, you’ll find a larger midterm exam – unlike the chapter quizzes, the exam will be more extensive and will test to see if you’ve picked up on the little nuances and tricks from the previous chapters.

If there’s anything you don’t understand, there’s a place there as well for you to reach out and ask questions – just fill in the form and someone will respond via email (the live chat is also a great way to ask questions at any stage).

Step 5: Make Tables

This tip comes courtesy of one of our students who also happens to be a PhD Candidate in Neuroscience.

In the course, you’ll find a lot of things that can work well in tables. For example, you can use tables to compare and contrast different policies and their coverage/exclusions (ie. comparing the Fire Policy to Homeowner Basic, to Homeowner Broad, to Comprehensive).

This simple trick of making comparison tables helps you differentiate and memorize things easier while also promoting active learning.

Step 6: Final Review

After the midterm, there will be a few more modules for you to study (repeat Steps 2 & 3).

At the end of the course, you’ll find a larger final exam will tests you on all the concepts you’ll need to understand for the actual licensing exam. Use this to assess your overall readiness. If you find chapters where your understanding is weak, go back and review the notes/lectures or ask for help.

You should avoid doing the same practice questions too many times because you’ll just start to memorize the answers. To further refine your understanding or to pinpoint certain chapters that need work, check out the Additional Practice Questions PDF in the “Downloads” section of the course.

Step 7: Register for the Exam & Apply for Your Insurance License

Every province has a different procedure for how to register for the exam and it can change from time to time. We’ve put together a guidebook for each province on how to register for insurance exam and apply for your license.

If you need more help with any of the above steps, send us a message.

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


The Best way to learn about our courses is to try them for yourself.




PNC Learning was started by insurance professionals for insurance professionals.

Our goal is to help you get a strong start in the industry and assist you as you seek to learn more and move up in the industry.