Preparing for a FINRA Series Exam causes some level of stress for most candidates, especially those who haven’t had a recent exam prep experience.  At Knopman Marks we are fortunate to have a certified life coach on our team, Randi Cole.  Last month I had the opportunity to sit down with Randi to discuss ways to relieve stress when taking a test.  Randi provided three valuable insights that will help you breathe easier as you prepare for your exam.

Question 1:  What is my Goal?

Goal setting is an important part of the process.  Know where you are going – picture your passing result at the end of your test.  Visualization really works!  It will help you build confidence.

Confidence is based in knowledge. Know your stuff. You will gain confidence from the work you do.  Follow the plan – do the work, and prepare in advance.  The more diligent and honest you are about your preparation, the better you will feel while taking your exam and will be confident that you will see PASS on the screen.

Question 2:  Why am I Feeling Fear about this Exam?

We sometimes set ourselves up for failure based on history.  Change the story.

This often takes some introspection and self-honesty. Some common fears go deep to our core.  The thoughts we push down are usually related to failure or disappointment within ourselves — insecurity and feeling inadequate.  In test terms, people fear the loss of the job opportunity that requires the test credential.

Change the thought … I have the job, this exam is just asking me to review what is needed to continue to learn and grow in this industry. This is simply the foundation of what I need to build more knowledge. “I do not know it all today. I am not expected to know everything today, just enough to pass. If I fail, I worked hard to prepare or maybe I could have worked harder”.

Be honest with yourself.  You will likely get another chance. If you made a good attempt, think that someone thought enough of you to give you this opportunity.

The best way around your fear is to change your thoughts and turn the fear into affirmation.  Our thoughts are very powerful — negative thoughts tend to block our best selves from success.

Questions 3:  How do I change Negative Thoughts about the Exam Experience?

Each time a negative thought appears change the thought. Remember a negative thought can be changed to achieve a positive result.  For example, negative thought: “I always do poorly on tests”; positive thought: “I have worked harder than ever —  I am well prepared.”

A good thought to keep in mind is asking yourself this question. Why am I here and why is this important to me? Know this answer well. It will make things very clear to you. Remind yourself that others believe in you – they want you to succeed in this opportunity.

Check back soon for more coaching tips that will help you while at the testing center. As your FINRA test prep partner, Knopman Marks is here to help you prepare for success.  Questions? Email us at [email protected] for help at any time.

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Written by Marcia Larson
Marcia Larson is Vice President, Faculty, at Knopman Marks Financial Training, New York, NY. She has extensive experience in financial licensing and regulatory training, having authored, developed and presented courseware for numerous securities and insurance exam preparation and continuing education and compliance programs. Before joining Knopman Marks, Marcia was Director of Annuity Products and Business Development at CUNA Mutual Group, where she developed and marketed industry-leading annuity products and retirement solutions and implemented distribution relationships. She was previously VP, Securities Products for Kaplan Financial, managing securities training products and subsequently, international training and businesses development. Marcia has trained thousands of financial industry exam candidates throughout their careers, and also college students as an adjunct professor. Marcia was a summa cum laude graduate of Wartburg College with degrees in Business Administration and Piano Performance. Marcia also holds the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS), and Fellow Life Management Institute™ (FLMI®). She currently teaches the SIE, Series 6, 7, 24, 50, 52, 63, 65, and 66 exams.