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What a morbid comparison! Yet these unfortunate events often share two components:  Fatigue and excessive speed.

In the 1960s, a highway safety campaign developed the slogan, “Speed kills.” This slogan is just as appropriate when addressing your test-taking strategy.  Going too fast usually wrecks your performance.  How many times have you heard, “I knew that -- I just missed the question!”?  This typically happens when we move too quickly, which leads to mistakes in reading comprehension.

Securities licensing exams demand a high level of careful reading and interpretation. Often the addition or substitution of one word changes the answer. Consequently, it is critical to “drive at a safe speed” so you don’t miss any warning signs.

Equally important is sitting for the exam on a full night’s sleep with a quality meal in your system, and this also applies to studying during your exam prep program. It’s unrealistic to consistently work a long day, then manage household responsibilities, and finally sit down to study at 9 p.m. when you’re exhausted.  Consider studying early in the morning.  Passing a securities exam is a big challenge that requires your best effort.  Don’t cheat yourself by investing your “leftovers” late at night.

As you prepare for your exam, you’ll discover that you make far more mistakes when you are tired. Sometimes it’s best to “pull over at a rest stop” for a few minutes, break for lunch, or “find that motor lodge” for the evening.  And it’s a firm reminder to arrive for your live exam unhurried and in top form.

Minimizing excessive speed and fatigue require the discipline to follow an effective schedule and the vigilance to constantly monitor your speed. Doing so will enhance your odds of passing the exam. For suggestions about managing your emotions during the exam, please see our April 7 blog, Staying Calm.