SeeWhy Learning s Top-10 LLQP Exam Writing Tips

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1 SeeWhy Learning s Top-10 LLQP Exam Writing Tips How is it that so many students pass the course provider's certification exam (which means they know their stuff) but still fail the actual licensing exam? Simply put, understanding the material alone is not sufficient to pass the LLQP licensing exam. To be successful, you need to use good exam writing techniques. Good exam writing techniques include: Managing your time effectively Reading the question first Using T s and F s Recording your answer on the answer sheet after each question If you skip a question, take a guess on the answer sheet. Pretending you haven t seen the scenario before Mastering the "art of guessing" Not second guessing yourself Don t assume you are being tricked Write a paper-based exam This package will help you master these skills. Read this carefully and give this to anybody else you know who may be taking the LLQP exam -- you could be the difference between them passing and failing their exam!

2 Tip #1: Manage your time effectively! The licensing exam is made up of 140 questions and to pass, you need to get 84 of them right. You simply cannot afford to run out of time and not finish the exam. In a stressful exam sitting, it is very easy to lose track of time. Countless students will hear the exam invigilator say, You have 30 minutes left only to realize they are only at question 70 (of 140). Do not let this happen to you. Create a road map! Consider the following example: Jake s LLQP exam started at 5:00 pm and ends at 9:00 pm. He knew he needed to answer 35 questions every hour so when his exam started he immediately "mapped out his exam". He has four hours so he broke his exam into quarters and wrote down what question he should be on when each hour passes. It looked like this: #35 6:00 #70 7:00 #105 8:00 #140 9:00 Then he broke it down even further into 1/2 hour segments: #18 5:30 #54 6:30 #88 7:30 #123 8:30 Jake started his exam. When he reached question 18 he saw "5:30". This reminded him to look at his watch to see if he was on track. He saw that he was behind because he was wasting too much time re-thinking a question after he already answered it. Jake knew early in his exam that he was behind and was able to get caught up.

3 Tip #2: Read the question first! (Our most important tip) The licensing exam questions are quite wordy and are often jam-packed with irrelevant information. If you read the scenario first, instead of the question, you will very likely run out of time on the exam. Consider the following sample LLQP question: Sam and Lisa have been married for ten years. Sam works as a self-employed architect earning $150,000 per year. Sam does not have any group insurance as he is self-employed. Lisa works as a teacher for the local school board. She earns $85,000 per year. Her group plan at work provides life insurance of 3X her annual salary. She also has a very competitive disability plan. Her group plan provides dental coverage with a $100 annual deductible and an 80% coinsurance factor on basic, major and orthodontic services subject to an annual maximum of $3,000 per covered individual. Sam and Lisa each have $85,000 in their RRSP plans. They plan to retire in 15 years and estimate that they will each need $1,000,000 in their RRSPs to do so comfortably. Sam and Lisa have two children. Frederick is their oldest and suffers from autism. His condition is quite severe and as a result, he lives in a facility that provides for his daily needs. The annual cost of the facility is $35,000. They are comfortable covering the costs of this facility from their current incomes but worry what would happen if they were to predecease Frederic. They estimate that Frederick will outlive them by 15 years. They are considering how much life insurance they would need to address this concern. After much discussion, they have agreed with you that a 5% investment return is a reasonable expectation. You have also discussed Sam s need for a disability policy. They ask you the difference between own occupation, regular occupation and any occupation as a definition of disability. How much insurance do they need to address their concerns about Frederick? a) $700, year term insurance b) $700,000 whole life insurance c) $525, year term insurance d) $525,000 whole life insurance

4 Strategy: Can you imagine if you started reading this scenario from the beginning? You may have made notes on things like their incomes, their RRSP balances, their group plans, etc. When you finally got to the question you would have thought, Hmmm, that s what they are asking? Let me go back and read the scenario again. This wastes time. Instead: Read the question first to see what they are actually looking for. Read the question again and be sure to take note of any key words like except least or "untrue". Look at the answers. Are they looking for you to recommend a product or are they requiring you to recommend the amount of insurance as well? Now that you know where you are going, read the scenario and make note of only the relevant information. Answer: This is a permanent need. Do they know when the need will go away? Do they know when they are going to die? Of course not, so this is a permanent need and a permanent policy is needed. 20-year term insurance is incorrect. If they die in 22 years, their insurance coverage would have expired. Whole life insurance is the answer. While the scenario says that they "estimate" their son will outlive them by 15 years, what if they are wrong? What if their son outlives them by more than 20 or 30 years? They need to replace the $35,000 income (to pay for the long term care facility) indefinitely. = Income required / investment return = $35,000 / 5% = $35,000 / 0.05 = $700,000 $700,000 invested at 5% will generate $35,000 each year, and it will never run out.

5 Tip #3: Use T s and F s The LLQP exam has many questions where they are actually looking for a false answer. Examples are: All of the following are true, except... Which of the following would you least recommend... Which of the following is untrue... Unfortunately, those key words are not bolded on the actual exam. Students that fail the LLQP exam often do so by just a few marks. Missing some of those key words can easily be the cause of the exam failure. Consider the following examples: N Note: These questions have been shortened to illustrate the learning point and are not representative of the length of the actual LLQP exam questions Sample question: A client is weighing up all the pros and cons of investing in segregated funds. Segregated funds have many unique advantages. Which of the following is not one of those advantages? a) Segregated funds offer certain guarantees at death or at maturity. b) Segregated funds are sold by several different mutual fund companies. c) Segregated funds offer creditor proofing. d) Segregated funds allow the opportunity to avoid probate fees at death. Answer: The answer is B. However, in a stressful, fast paced exam session, countless students will look at the first answer and say to themselves Cool, I got myself a mark because I know that A is a true statement, but they missed the word not in the question. How frustrating it must be to have lost a mark when they actually knew the concept.

6 The following strategy will ensure that you don t make even one of these errors, which can make the difference between a pass and a fail. Put a T for true or F for false beside every single answer. Only after doing this will you select your answer. For example: Let s try it again. A client is weighing up all the pros and cons of investing in segregated funds. Segregated funds have many unique advantages. Which of the following is not one of those advantages? a) Segregated funds offer certain guarantees at death or at maturity. T b) Segregated funds are sold by several different mutual fund companies. F c) Segregated funds offer creditor proofing. T d) Segregated funds allow the opportunity to avoid probate fees at death. T Explanation: You can now see that three answers are true and one is false. This will prompt you to think, Hmmm, how can there be three correct answers? Maybe they are looking for the incorrect answer. Now go back to the question, and you will notice the word not. Segregated funds are insurance products and as such are sold by insurance companies. They are not sold by mutual fund companies.

7 Sample question: In the 2007 budget, the government made some enhancements to the RESP program. All but which of the following is one of those enhancements? a) The maximum grant was increased from $400 to $500. T b) The lifetime contribution limit per child was increased to $50,000. T c) RESP contributions are now deductible for tax purposes. F d) There is now no annual contribution limit. T Explanation: By using your T s and F s you will notice that there are three true answers and one false answer, another question where they are looking for the incorrect answer!!! Sample question: Steven has $100,000 to invest for 3 months as he is buying a home near the end of the year. Mutual funds: a) are not suitable as short term investments T b) are excellent short term investments F c) are sold by insurance companies F d) are not suitable as short term investments with the exception of money market funds T Explanation: We have introduced a new type of question here. In this question, they are looking for the best answer. They are trying to trick you. How many students will look at answer A, say "That s true", select it, and then move on to the next question without looking at the other options? A may be true but D is more true. By using your T s and "F s you will see that there are two potentially correct answers. You can now go back to the question and consider which is the best answer.

8 Tip #4: Record your answer after each question Tips for Writing the LLQP Exam You will be given a question booklet and an answer sheet (a bubble sheet). After each question, record your answer on the bubble sheet. Consider the following scenario: Karim was really nervous about time on the licensing exam. He decided he was going to complete the exam first and then, as a final step, record all of his answers on the bubble sheet. Karim lost track of time and was surprised when he heard the exam invigilator advise the class that they had "2 minutes remaining". Karim frantically started recording his answers. By the invigilator took his exam paper from him, he had only recorded 35 answers. Needless to say, Karim failed the exam. Don t let this happen to you. Record each answer after you have completed the question! Tip #5: If you skip a question, take a guess on the answer sheet. Answer each question in chronological order. If you don t know an answer, guess and move on, but be sure to fill in an answer on the bubble sheet and make a mark on your exam booklet to remind you to go back and try it again should you have time remaining. Consider the following scenario: Sandra was very prepared for her LLQP exam but she hit question #30 and was stumped. She decided to skip it and move on to question #31 without taking a guess on the bubble sheet. She then accidentally recorded the answer to question #31 on the bubble sheet in the spot where #30 should be answered, then #32 in the #31's spot, etc. When she finally got to question #140, she realized her mistake. She didn't have time to go back and figure out where her answers go misaligned. Even though she knew her stuff, she failed her exam. Don t let this happen to you. By skipping questions, you run the risk of misaligning your answers.

9 Tip #6: Pretend you have not seen the scenario before On the licensing exam they will re-use scenarios. Sometimes, the scenario is exactly the same. Sometimes it's a tiny bit different. How will you know? Perhaps they made one small change such as par policy becoming a non par policy. Do not try to find the subtle differences that may or may not be there. Instead, pretend you have not seen the scenario before and use the tips discussed above -- read the question first and look at the possible answers. Now read the scenario (pretending you have not seen it before) and make note of relevant information. Tip #7: The art of Guessing There is an art to guessing. Even if you have no idea what the answer is, do not write the question off as it may be the difference between passing and failing. Logically try to eliminate a couple wrong answers to at least give yourself a 50/50 chance. If you have no idea at all, D is statistically correct more often than A, B, or C. This is because they will often use the first choices to try to trick you. If you have no idea, be wary of really "long-winded" answers. It's true what your mother told you: It takes more words to tell a lie than to tell the truth. Tip #8: Don t second guess yourself! Only change an answer if you are sure as your first impulse is usually right. You probably heard the saying your gut never lies. Only change an answer if you are absolutely sure you made a mistake. More often than not, when a student changes an answer they end up changing it from the right one to the wrong one. If you notice that you have a bunch of C s or D s in a row, don t second guess yourself. This is typical of the licensing exam.

10 Tip #9: Don t always assume you are being tricked! Tips for Writing the LLQP Exam This is easier said than done, but it is very important. While you have to read the questions, the answers and the scenarios very carefully, don t always assume you are being tricked. Sometimes you will be given a gift question, and you know the old saying Don t look a gift horse in the mouth. In other words, take the mark and run! For example, you may be given a long scenario followed by a question like, What is the RRSP contribution limit for Canadians in 2008? Don t over-think this! The answer is $20,000, no matter how much irrelevant information they put in the scenario! Don t stare at the question thinking, It can t be this easy there has to be a trick here! If you can t find a trick, answer the question to the best of your ability and move on to the next one. Tip #10: Write a Paper-Based Exam According the Regulator s own website, the pass rate on paper-based exams is often higher than computer-based exams. This makes sense because on a paper-based exam, you can use many of the strategies we discussed above, like mapping out your exam, using your Ts & Fs, etc. If you have the choice, we strongly suggest you write a paper-based exam. Thank you for allowing SeeWhy Learning to be a part of your LLQP success! Good Luck on your exam!

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