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Professional Development

How to Study for Professional Exams While Balancing Work and Life


Angela  Pilotti, CPCU, ARe

VP of Content Development and Assessments, The Institutes Knowledge Group

Earning one of The Institutes Designations is a great way to enhance your professional skills and your career. It’s a signal to your employer, peers, and clients that you’re committed to gaining and maintaining expertise in the fields of risk management and insurance.  

When you start your journey towards a designation, it’s important that you’re aware of all the study resources available to you so you can take advantage of them. In fact, our research shows that students who complete their course content and use the exam prep resources score, on average, two to five points higher on exams.  

Here are three tips to help you prepare for your exam while balancing your professional and personal commitments. 

An infographic about how to study for professional exams and listing the top 3 tips

Tip #1: Leverage Available Study Tools 

Course materials from The Institutes Knowledge Group are designed for the busy adult learner and are accessible whenever and wherever you need them. Whether you’re fitting studying in over lunch, in the evenings, or even between rounds of pickleball on the weekend, you can learn at your own pace.  

When you’re preparing for your exam, remember to make the most of the digital resources available to you, including assignments, study outlines, flashcards, quizzes, and a simulated exam—all designed to help you build new skills. 

  • Assignments: Assignments are self-paced and interactive, featuring a variety of learning formats such as real-life examples, videos from subject matter experts, graphics to illustrate key concepts, and knowledge checks to help you apply and retain what you’ve learned.  
  • Study Outlines: Comprehensive course outlines condense the material into manageable sections, so you can plan and streamline your study process. 
  • Flashcards: Flashcards on key terms will help you test your knowledge of course material and strengthen your learning and retention. 
  • Quizzes & Simulated Exam: Confidently prepare for your course level exam with assignment and course level quizzes, plus a simulated exam that mimics the structure and level of questions you’ll find on the actual exam.  

Remember: Use these resources as a part of your overall study plan to boost your chances of success! 

Quote from Alex Portwood that reads “Online course materials were super helpful, you could pull up your laptop at any time of day. It made studying super flexible.”

Tip #2: Incorporate a Study Routine into Your Daily Schedule 

Creating a daily study routine is a great way to stay focused and maintain progress when preparing for professional exams. It's not just about putting in the hours; it's about making a plan, setting goals, and using your time effectively.  

According to PWC research, people who set at least four daily goals per week were 34% more likely to hit their targets than those who didn’t. Try setting goals around your exam prep and integrating study sessions into your daily routine to help you stay on track.  

To get started you can use this personalized study plan. There are even two formats depending on your preferred study style!  

Keep in mind that effective time management is essential in this process. Start by identifying your peak productivity hours and schedule focused study sessions accordingly. Whether it's early morning or late evening, choose a time when you're most alert and ready to absorb information. Set specific goals for each session, such as completing a certain number of assignments, to keep your progress steady and measurable. 

Tip #3: Cultivate Motivation and Accountability  

Lastly, it’s important to maintain motivation and accountability throughout your exam preparation process. One effective strategy is to partner up with a study buddy—ideally someone who’s also working through similar course material. You might find a study buddy by connecting with other colleagues or connections who are working towards the same designation.   

A great place to find support is The Institutes Chat Facebook group. This group offers a space of encouragement, study tips, and success stories.   

Additionally, remember to communicate your commitment to your study goals with colleagues, friends, and family to help you stay accountable. And when you’ve achieved a goal you’ve set for yourself, be sure to celebrate the milestone: share it with your colleagues and manager, post about it on social media, and find a way to treat yourself and reflect on the progress you’ve made.    

Gain the Skills to Prepare for Your Exam and Grow Your Career  

Balancing work, life, and prepping for professional exams might feel like a juggling act, but don’t worry—you’ve got this! With these study tips you’ll be ready to tackle that next exam with confidence.  

Make the most of The Institutes Knowledge Group's study resources, and don’t forget to celebrate and share your success when you pass your exam. Your dedication to continuous learning and professional growth is setting you up for success as you navigate your career in risk management and insurance.