We often are asked about the best approach to taking practice exams. Your approach is crucial to preparing properly for passing an exam. Regardless of which exam you’re studying for, there are methods that will work for you and those that won’t.
The most important point is to make sure that you’re not consciously or unconsciously memorizing test questions. If you spend time doing this, you’re going to be in for a big surprise when you turn on your computer at the test center. FINRA and NASAA are clear about the fact that their exams are confidential and cannot be copied. So while every publisher of preparation materials attempts to simulate the regulatory exam, they cannot be identical because the regulators do not allow it.
Memorizing typically happens when you take the same exam over and over, hoping to improve your score, thinking a higher score means better comprehension. Higher scores come with understanding the material, not memorizing practice questions.
Imagine that I am going to give you a multiple-choice, 100-question physics test tomorrow. You study for it by skimming through a physics book, taking the test and, naturally, failing it. I supply the correct answers along with explanations for each question. The following day, if you take the same physics test, you will do a bit better because you know the answers to the questions. Several days later, I give you the same test again. Now, I suspect you will score in the 80s or 90s because it is the third time you have seen this exam. Based on this, can you call yourself qualified as a physicist? Of course not.
What if I gave you a brand new physics test next week? Do you think you’ll pass that exam because you finally scored high on the third attempt of the last test? Doubtful isn’t it? If we repeat this three-attempts process with 10 physics exams over the course of a few weeks, you would eventually have aced all the physics exams. Are you a physicist now?
The same logic applies in studying for the Series 7 or Series 24 exam. It is comprehending the material, not memorizing the questions that results in a passing score.
The best approach to taking tests is to continuously challenge yourself with questions you have never seen before, just like the new questions you will see on your regulatory exam. We’ll talk about this more in our next blog.
Thanks for spending time with us. We hope you found it worthwhile.
-Securities Training Corporation