How Hard is the Life and Health Insurance Exam?

By: Kaplan Financial Education
July 31, 2020
Woman preparing for the life and health insurance exam

If you've learned what a life insurance agent does and are now considering a career in the life and health insurance field, you are probably wondering, “Is the life and health insurance exam hard?” Each state has their own insurance exams, so the tests and requirements vary, making this question more complicated to answer. However, the overarching topics covered on the exam, as well as the passing scores, are similar for all states. If you have a good understanding of the topics and how the exam works, you are well on your way to passing the life and health insurance exam.

For life and health insurance exams, you will be tested on the following general topics:

  • Life insurance general knowledge
  • Life insurance policies
  • Policy riders and options in life insurance coverage
  • Life insurance tax issues
  • Annuities
  • Annuity policy tax issues
  • Health insurance general knowledge
  • Dental, individual, and group policies
  • Medical plans
  • Disability income
  • Special needs individual insurance
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  • Health insurance tax issues

You will want to print out the State Exam Outline so you understand what material will be covered under each of these topics and how it will be weighted on the exam. The State Exam Outline tells you how many questions are included in each section of the test. We advise you to focus more of your study time on sections that have more exam questions.

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Pass Rates and Recommended Study Time

From what we know, insurance exam pass rates fluctuate considerably by state. Some states publish their pass rates while others do not, making it impossible to offer an accurate national pass rate for any exam. Nevertheless, the passing score for all exams is 70%, and utilizing exam study tools can help you gauge whether or not you are on target to pass on the first try.

The average exam-taker should expect to spend about 35 to 40 hours studying to pass the life and health insurance exam. It is recommended that you do your studying over the course of a few weeks (an insurance certification study package can help with this), rather than trying to cram the week of or night before the exam. We recommend spending 2 to 3 days studying after your licensing course to keep the information fresh in your mind.

Study Tips

When studying, try to remove distractions around you. It can be easy to get distracted by your phone, TV, or the Internet. For your brain to absorb new information, it is important that you do your best to avoid multitasking and stay focused on what you’re studying. You may find that setting a study schedule over a period of a few weeks will help you carve out time where you can solely focus on preparing for the exam.

Once you have a good handle on the material, be sure to utilize practice exams. These will help you gauge how well you have absorbed the information in your studies and what areas you still need to work on. It is a good idea to take at least one practice exam while mimicking testing conditions. This will help you determine whether your pacing is right to get through the exam in the allotted time.

The life and health insurance exam can be challenging; however, you can pass with flying colors on your first try by following our recommendations. Now that you have a better understanding of the life and health insurance exam and how you can successfully prepare for it, check out this video from Kaplan’s Julie Ramsey and Mary Orn with more insurance exam study tips.


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