Training Like the Pros

Simon Liang, Education Program Specialist, IBAO

During my first year with IBAO in the education department, I witnessed hundreds of students go through our classes, take their licensing exam, and begin their career as an insurance broker. In my current role, I often get questions like: What’s it like being an insurance broker? I am totally new to insurance, will I be okay? How long does it take to finish the online self-study course? And the most common one: Is the exam hard? Although I picked up bits and pieces of information as I was working, I felt I was missing the whole picture and wanted to change that.

The Rookie

I figured, why not experience what our students go through by walking a mile in their shoes and take our new online e-learning course—Broker Launchpad On Demand write the exam in April and have a better frame of reference when answering questions. 

Spring Training

In the beginning of April, I enrolled myself, got a copy of our Becoming an Insurance Broker textbook, and set a goal of writing the RIBO Level I exam by the end of the month. I know that only about 60% of people pass on the first attempt, so there was a chance that if I wasn’t prepared enough, I could fail. 

The Game Plan

After covering the first few chapters of the book, the content seemed manageable and I assumed that I would be able to finish the course by my end of month goal. However, as I got deeper into the content, I realized how much time I would need to dedicate to finish the course without rushing. Going through the three main topics—property, liability and automobile—it was easy to feel overwhelmed by the quantity of information and the amount of “if, then, but” rules.  Luckily in advance of starting the course, I prepped a study plan (something that I highly recommend!), so I had time to re-evaluate and re-allocate my efforts where necessary. Committing two hours per day, I completed the course three days before my exam, I then spent time on practice questions.  

The Final Score

So you may be wondering how I did. Lets just say, had I failed, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article. Having not written an exam since graduating University, it felt a little nerve-racking to jump into one that takes three hours. But that aside, I felt very prepared after working through the course and having done numerous practice tests. 

Having done it, there are three pieces of advice I would give to all students:

Create a plan, commit and stick to it 

  • Ask yourself, when am I going to study? How can I guard my time? How am I going to measure my understanding?

Be pragmatic with the time you have and be mindful of what you’re struggling with so you can allocate more time for those specific areas

  • Set aside a few more days to go through topics like Home and Auto versus Travel and Commercial which play a smaller role in the exam

Take a deep breath, take it one step at a time 

  • There is certainly a lot of information, and it may feel overwhelming to go through it all, but if you plan properly and do a bit of studying each day, you will not only feel more relaxed heading into the exam, you will actually perform better.

Season Wrap-Up

Looking back on this challenge, I’d say the two most important things I benefited from was, gaining deeper insight on the type of support and resources our students can benefit from and getting a small taste of what it would be like to work as an insurance broker. This experience will inform future our efforts. To better supporting our students and helping me answer the questions with more information.

I couldn’t have attempted this had it not been for the flexibility of the Broker Launchpad On Demand Course. Some days I had more time than others, having the ability to dictate how long I wanted to study everyday leading up to the exam allowed me to balance my responsibilities and make good progress. Understanding not everyone can take time off to join one of our live classes, the On Demand Course provides guidance by highlighting areas to pay close attention to and aims to clarify insurance principles through example videos, quizzes, and interactive tooltips. But, the resources are only half of the equation—I cannot stress enough how important it is for students to create a plan that enables them to be successful at their own pace.  

Lastly, if you’re wondering if I am going to attempt the RIBO Level II course and try my luck with the exam, ask me again in two years!

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