3 Tips for Beating Test Anxiety

Many people experience some fear or nervousness when sitting down to take a test. This is a natural response to knowing your work is being evaluated. It can even help you do your best by giving you extra energy and heightening your attention. Test anxiety becomes a problem, though, when it interferes with your performance. Your mind going blank or an inability to concentrate will only hurt your score.

The best way to meet test anxiety head-on is of course to be prepared. Knowing how many hours you’ve spent mastering the material and being able to tell yourself that you’ve learned it inside and out will help you counter your fears with true confidence in your knowledge and abilities. But for some this isn’t enough to make that nervous edge go away, and so here are a few simple things you can add to your test prep routine.

1. Eat Healthy Before the Test

Choose fresh fruit or a salad on the day of the test. Vitamin C will help reduce stress hormones, so citrus, strawberries, and dark greens make good choices. Protein like turkey or chicken can also help you feel calm and ready. A cup of chamomile tea before you go to bed the night before the test may help you sleep better.

Many of the things you know you shouldn’t be eating anyway will make your anxiety worse, including processed and snack foods, foods made with white flour, red meat, anything fried, chocolate, and soda. Don’t have that extra cup of coffee in an attempt to wake up: drinking more caffeine than you’re used to can add to your stress. Sugar will boost your mood briefly, but then cause you to crash and interfere with your concentration.

2. Breathe

It sounds too simple to work, but you may be surprised at how breathing deeply and intentionally can help you re-center. Sit up straight and slowly breathe in, paying attention to how the air is filling your lungs and abdomen. Hold for a few seconds, and then exhale, again slowly. Repeat until you calm down. You may also want to try breathing into your hands as they’re cupped over your mouth, or deeply breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t force your breath but just observe it instead.

If this works for you, you may want to research other breathing exercises or meditation/mindfulness techniques to add to your stress-busting toolbox. More and more studies are showing the benefits of these practices.

3. Chew Gum During the Test

This sounds like a weird tip, but there’s real science behind it. Researchers in Australia found that chewing gum can alleviate stress, going beyond just distracting you to actually lowering stress hormones. Other studies in the UK and Germany have showed that chewing gum helps with memory retrieval. The US military has even distributed gum to troops to help them relieve tension and stay focused.

Why does this work? It may be that the chewing action and increased saliva help to improve blood flow and get more oxygen to the brain.

None of these tips will replace having actually done the work of learning the material, but they are extra tools that can help you calm your jitters and do your best.

California Insurance CE Courses Approved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
California Insurance CE Distribution Rights Awarded

InternetCE Now Offering California Insurance CE.

Internet CE are proud to announce they are now premiere providers of California Insurance CE Training courses. This news comes in keeping with Internet CE’s pledge to provide the highest possible quality of resource tools.

About Internet CE

Founded in 1991, North Carolina based company Internet CE have always been proud providers of valuable resources. The new opportunities presented by the California Insurance CE courses are a welcome edition to over 20 years of customer service.

Internet CE’s outstanding reputation for achieving results extend throughout the United States. The introduction of the approval to award California Insurance Training programs signals confidant growth as part of their recent expansion in early 2012.

The approval to award California Insurance Continuing Education courses is just the answer they have been looking for – once again displaying Internet CE’s commitment to quality and providing viable tools within their community. By implementing Insurance specific training, Internet CE hope to help you help yourself.

Why Choose To Undertake Continued Education?

The California Insurance Continuing Education programs are available to anyone who wishes to further their own, or their employees, current education.

All courses are approved by the California Department of Insurance.

The California Insurance Training courses cater specifically to those who work in the Insurance industry who are interested in California Insurance laws and becoming accredited within their field. Continuing education is an excellent option for professionals to excel in their specific field. They are also an excellent choice when deciding to further your own personal career or educational merits.

What’s Next For Insurance Companies?

Internet CE note the benefits of taking the California Insurance Training program as being vital to those working in the Insurance industry. Those who are seeking new and innovative ways to gain accreditation should take comfort in turning to Internet CE when looking to train themselves or their staff (or even simply to incorporate up to date training tools) and should consider the California Insurance Training programs as a viable option, with guaranteed results.

# # #

If you require further information on accredited California Insurance CE courses, or would like to schedule an interview with CEO and Founder Cliff Davis, please contact Mr. Davis’s office on 1-800-835-5314 or if you’re local, 919-662-2169. You can email Internet CE at: info@internetce.com or write to: 1403 Buckingham Rd, Garner, NC 27529 – for the attention of Mr. Davis.

Will E-Learning Become Even More Better Than Classroom Study?

online vs classroomI wrote an article a few weeks ago for a colleague on the pros and cons or online vs classroom study.  I also have just found a compelling NY Times article on a statistical study of online vs classroom learning environments, whereas the results state that the web wins.   Both systems of learning have merit, but where do they merge and how will technology and its catching up to the way people actually live and communicate aid in this convergence?

When in a classroom, I have an opportunity to ask real time questions and lean over to ask my fellow student what the teacher just said…perhaps an extra explanation.  I also have an opportunity to stay after class to meet in study groups and debate on what will be on the next test.  Now, get wired..How does twitter and facebook allow for the same?  Do white boards and chat rooms provide this dialog?  If these tools were fundamentally integrated into an e-learning platform, would it accelerate our ability to absorb and retain?  I have explained the importance of having and using a facebook/twitter/linkedin account if one is in sales, given the sheer number of people that use these tools, so if most folks are already dialed in, will having these resources a part of the mix continue to evolve e-learning?

I believe the answer is a resounding, yes!

Interview: 10 Points To Ponder In Getting A Series 7 Securities License

I was fortunate to get an interview with Thomas Weiss on his experience in getting his series 7.  Sure it was a few years ago, however I believe these are excellent points to ponder when preparing to take this sort of exam and enter this sector of business.

If you have additional thoughts on these questions, please do add them to the comments.

Why did you decide you needed to be licensed?

I had to get licensed when I started working at Morgan Stanley. They had a policy that if you didn’t pass the first time you took the test you were fired. That was the mid 90s I am not certain if they still do this but it definitely adds some stress and motivation.

How did you choose you school and what options were the most appealing to you?

I attended 2 weeks of class but I actually didn’t use a school. I found an instructor in the area who emphasized practice tests. He was recommended by several of the young brokers who had passed their 7 over the last few years.

What costs (money, time, materials, etc. ) were incurred in taking the course?

I honestly can’t recall the cost. I focused pretty much on nothing but the test for close to 2 months.

What was the easiest/hardest portion?

Easiest was the fact that during that time my job was to study. The hardest was dealing with the frustration when I took practice tests.

If you could do it all over again, what would you have changed?

I would have started by reading the answers to the practice tests than read the questions. After that I would have read the sections and only then go back through & take practice exams.

What recommendations would you give a prospective student?

It is essentially like any big test. Learn some strategies for taking tests. That alone helps. If you can eliminate some answers, even if you have to guess, you are improving your odds. Time is not your friend during the exam… don’t waste it worrying about any 1 question. You can always come back at the end.

To your knowledge, what has changed since you got licensed?

They always say it gets harder every year. I don’t see how that is possible, but it’s the rumor. I had a natural understanding of options that really helped me. I think the only part that could really change a lot over the years are the rules & regulations.

What frequency/ amount of continuing education do you need to keep your license?

I’m not real sure. The office always had us in CE lunches, so I never was worried about losing the license. I do know if you allow it to go inactive for 2 years the license will lapse.

Is there any other curriculum that you recommend to prospective students that would allow them to ultimately be better at their job?

Spend time understanding what area of the business you are passionate about. Without a real passion for what you are doing you can never succeed. It is the hardest job at the beginning. If you don’t truly love what you do you will never make it to the point where it becomes very enjoyable.

Being a wise old sage, what kernel of information would you offer to someone considering this profession today?

Talk to as many different Financial Advisers as possible. Model yourself after someone successful & if at all possible find a good mentor. The easiest way to succeed is to find a successful FA/ Broker etc that is growing their business and looking for a junior partner. If the relationship works often times the mentor will develop a succession plan to transfer their book by allowing the mentee to buy them out over time. It is always much easier to keep existing clients than to find new ones.

Onward and upward!

How I Got My Real Estate License – Pt. 3

This is a continuance from “How I Got My Real Estate License – Pt. 2

I had learned the curriculum and passed the certificate test.  Next up was the state exam.  If I could do it over again, I would have timed things a bit differently, such that I would not have had to wait 4 weeks to take my state exam after having finished the course online.  In a perfect world, I would have taken the exam that same week I did the online study so that it would have remained fresh on my brain.  Given that was not the case, I had to make sure that I stayed up to par on all of my vocabulary and pertinent facts, which I did via the flash cards and high lighted sections of my text books.  This was a huge help, as these tools were just reminders at this point.  I was really starting to know this material, as I recited the answers to self proposed questions sarcastically and exuding confidence gained through repetition.

In preparation for the exam I had to fill out a relatively lengthy application and get a back ground check via Live Scan.  Live Scan pulls its information and data from the FBI database, among others.  This background check is national in scope and very conclusive.  In order to obtain the back ground check I had to submit digital finger prints and pay a small fee (if my memory serves me it was around $27).  The results were mailed to me within a week or so and I would then include this file with my application and course completion certificate, and again, a small fee, for filing I suppose.

I bundled this all up in a crisp brown folder and waited patiently for my exam date.  The night before I made sure to take care of myself.  I felt as though I had a game the next day.  I stayed off of my feet.  I ate plenty of carbs and fruit and vegetables.  I drank loads of water.  I watched a light hearted funny movie to laugh a bit and to take my mind off the pending test.  I set out my materials for the day ahead…Comfortable clothes. Fresh bottle of water. Pencils. Map to test site.  Crisp brown folder with all my goodies.  I set my alarm for the morning to wake a few hours before I needed to to ensure I had time to eat breakfast at my favorite spot and still make it to the testing center with time to spare.  I went to bed early.

Everything I had expected and planned went along to the note.  I arrived fed, early, and with enough time to make friends with the proctor.  I found a seat that wasn’t under an air vent and got down to business from the moment the clock started ticking.  I finished relatively early and thought it would be a good idea to read the exam again to insure each of my answers was in fact my best answer and I ended up changing only 2.  I turned in my completed exam, packet, and pencils and thanked the gentleman for his time.  Just before I left I quietly asked, “So when do you think we’ll be able to get results?” I was disgusted by his answer, although I had assumed such.  “Not real sure.  It can vary from a couple weeks to a couple months. You can call the department to track the process.”, he explained in monotone.  This is a multiple choice test, for heavens sake.  The internet has boomed, burst, and on the way up again.  One can send a fax with a cell phone.  I can have a Russian automatically translated into English within my email.  Frustrated, I asked myself in my mind, “Why can’t I know right now if I at least passed the test or not?”  I let it go and left.

The coming weeks were patiently passed by my morning ritual of checking the DRE website and then getting on with my day.

Finally, after 5 weeks, the status of my profile within the department website changed.  I had passed.  I was licensed in the State of California to sell real estate.

All in all, the process took about 3 months, cost around $300, and I learned a ton of useful information, no matter if I ever sold a single home or not.

Now I had to learn how to get clients and that is a story for another day..

Onward and upward!

How I Got My Real Estate License – Pt. 2

This is a continuance from “How I Got My Real Estate License Pt. 1

I needed to take the certificate exam and then needed to take the state exam, which had been touted as long, hard, and an examination that most people fail the first time.

In response to those that warned me, I confidently explained that I had actually learned the material and that I felt that I would be fine.  This ended up being the truth, however it did require me a large measure of focus and concentration to absorb the new curriculum.

Curiosity had me, as I started the text and studying.  I asked myself,   “What are real estate practices and principles and will real estate finance be as boring as I found the ins and outs of accounting in college?”

To my delight, it was very straight forward and easy to comprehend.

The topics listed below are those specifically presented to those learning to broker real estate in California, however I think mastery of these concepts are a good starting point for anyone starting a career real estate.

Real Estate Principles topics include:

  • Department of Real Estate – Role, jurisdiction, licensing, continuing education, violations
  • Real Property – Rights, types of estates, real property vs personal property, descriptions
  • Title – History, ownership, recording, encumbrances, title insurance
  • Contracts – Elements of a valid contract, breach of contract, statute of limitations, types of contracts
  • Agency – Agency relationships, duties of an agent, MLS (multiple listing service), cooperating brokers, disclosure and confirmation
  • Conveyance And Escrow – Escrow process, relationships of those involved in the escrow process, RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act)
  • Leasing – Landlord and tenant rights and duties, crafting a lease, rent payments
  • Finance – Lending, deeds, mortgage, short pay, foreclosure
  • Appraisal and Taxation – Valuation, reconciliation, types of taxes, tax collection
  • Brokerage – Code of ethics, regulations of the real estate commissioner, operation of a brokerage
  • Math – Investments, commissions, pro-ration

Real Estate Principles was a general outline of the industry at large.  It gave me pertinent vocabulary, how the different sectors worked with each other, and how it would all affect me and my job.  I was now ready to learn Practises.

Real Estate Practises topics include:

  • Profession – Industry, economy, what it takes, finding a broker, continuing education
  • Marketing – Referrals, prospecting, client management, budgeting
  • Buyers & Sellers – Who they are, what they want, how to be of the greatest service
  • Contracts – Listing agreement, purchase agreements, mandatory disclosure, ancillary documents
  • Finance and Taxes – Funding, interest rates, property tax, transfer tax, inheritance tax, foreign investment tax
  • Title Insurance & Escrow – Title research, escrow rules, relationships between escrow, title, and brokers
  • Property Management – Types of property, accounting records, leasing
  • Ethics – NAR (National Association of Realtors) Code of Ethics, professionalism, violations
  • Investment – Finance, investment analysis, valuation, syndication

At this point I understood what my job would be, how it worked, and how to talk about it.  Next up was to delve into understanding the fuel that drives it all.  MONEY!  I like money.  I like understanding money.  I like being versed on how it works in relation to real estate and the sources from which it comes.  Never mind the days of accounting 101 in college, amorphous acronyms like EDITBA and FIFO, and a very very stuffy professor.  I found this book very interesting.  Perhaps it was that it was applicable to what I just learned or maybe it was that  I could use real world examples to understand it better.  It’s one thing to learn what an interest rate is, but its another ball game to understand the drastic difference it will make to living my life to obtain a loan for 5% as opposed to 6%.

Real Estate Finance topics include:

  • Introduction – Meaning of money, money flow, mortgage basics, instruments of finance
  • Institutional and Non-Institutional Lenders – Banks, insurance companies, regulatory agencies, mortgage companies, syndication, REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), private money (aunt sally and beyond)
  • Alternative Mortgage Instruments – ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages), convertible rates, RAMs (reverse annuity mortgages), construction loans, stock
  • Loans – What is a conventional loan, lender policy, fair lending regulation, best practises
  • Government Lending – FHA (Federal housing Administration), Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Secondary Mortgage Market – Points, discounts, regulations
  • Qualifying The Property – Appraisal, valuation, underwriting the loan, multi-unit developments and condominiums
  • Qualifying The Borrower – FICO (credit score from Fair Isaac Corporation), ability and capacity to pay, working with lenders
  • Processing And Closing A Loan – Approval process, settlement, responsibilities after the close
  • Foreclosure And Lending Problems – Collateral, default, foreclosure
  • Mathematics – Real estate finance equations, calculators, APR (annual percentage points)
  • Investment Financing – SFR (single family residence) to multi unit apartment building, debt coverage ratio, break even analysis

I read these books, used a yellow highlighter to note main points, took the practise quizzes, and finally the practise tests.  By the time I took the certificate exam it was a piece of cake.  Easily enough, I passed, printed my completion certificate, and went online to schedule my State exam.  To my dismay, I had to wait several weeks before I was able to sit for the exam, but I did sign up and was one step closer to getting my license.

Tune in tomorrow for the finale and the other pieces of information I had to gather to eventually get my license

Onward and upward!

Internetce.com and ExamFX.com form national partnership

July 22, 2009

RALEIGH, North Carolina — (Wire) — InternetCE.com, an insurance and financial services continuing education company, has created a strategic partnership with ExamFX, a national leader in insurance and financial pre-licensing education.

The alliance will allow both companies to offer a more robust product offering to their respective clients.

Visit www.InternetCE.com for more information and to sign up for classes offered by both companies.

About InternetCE.com – Internet CE is the premier provider of Insurance Continuing Education courses. Our insurance and continuing education experts have taught 1,000,000′s of continuing education hours, helping students complete their CE and license renewal requirements for over 18 years.
o Satisfy CE needs in live classes or online
o Your state automatically notified of course completion
o Online profile with course completion records you can print, email, and share
o Never a retake fee

Our goal is to provide agents with accredited, engaging, and convenient continuing education. If you are not 100% satisfied…we’ll make it right.

Internet CE provides dynamic coursework covering topics relevant to the modern Life Insurance Agent, Accident and Health Insurance Agent, Property and Casualty Insurance Agent, Property Adjuster, Bail Bondsman, and Funeral Home Director.

About ExamFX – ExamFX, an Able Incorporated Company, is a dynamic multimedia presentation of the ExamSimulator PASS Package. It combines the benefits of our streamlined, state-specific study guide with the flexibility and convenience of e-learning. A recruit who uses ExamFX is guaranteed to pass his or her exam on the first attempt.

Internetce.com is hiring authors and technical writers

Los Angeles, CA – Internetce.com is hiring authors and technical writers for immediate submission of original insurance continuing education curricula and to expound upon our diverse and growing library of course materials.

To be considered for engagement, please submit resume, experience, writing samples and/or previously authored content to info@internetce.com

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Continuing Education Courses For Insurance Professionals

Internet CE is the premier provider of Insurance Continuing Education courses. Our insurance and continuing education experts have taught 1,000,000′s of continuing education hours, helping students complete their CE and license renewal requirements for over 18 years.

o Satisfy CE needs in live classes or online
o Your state automatically notified of course completion
o Online profile with course completion records you can print, email, and share
o Never a retake fee

Our goal is to provide agents with accredited, engaging, and convenient continuing education. If you are not 100% satisfied…we’ll make it right.

Internet CE provides dynamic coursework covering topics relevant to the modern Life Insurance Agent, Accident and Health Insurance Agent, Property and Casualty Insurance Agent, Property Adjuster, Bail Bondsman, and Funeral Home Director.