Top 10 Things You Learn Pursuing a CPCU
Part of the CPCU Society blog topic

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Jennifer McDonald, CPCU
Rarely achieved overnight, success is the result of hard work and perseverance. Annually, individuals earning the CPCU designation are invited to the CPCU Conferment Ceremony. At last year's ceremony, two individuals, Jennifer McDonald and Russell Luttrell, shared the stories of their CPCU journeys with attendees. We share Jennifer's story today and will share Russell's in the coming weeks. Are you pursuing your CPCU? Does anything Jennifer shares resonate with you? Share your own insights below!

By Jennifer McDonald, CPCU

I would imagine many of you enjoy a good Top 10 list on the late night talk shows. So it is my honor to share with you the Top 10 Things I Learned Through the CPCU Testing Process:

10. Surprise! You do have to study to pass. After passing my first test, I was a bit, shall I say… overconfident and feel that I helped give new meaning to the phrase “bombing a test” on the ethics exam. I didn’t really think I would have to memorize all of those Cannons…

9. Like fine wine, passing the tests takes time. I started in 2007 and after swearing I’d never take another test after the previously mentioned bombing of the test, I tried again in 2009 and kept the momentum going until I had passed them all!

8. Textbook-shaped voodoo dolls do not actually increase your chances of passing. As I said before, it takes hard work to pass these exams. You’ve all worked hard to earn this designation.

7. Life changes, but tests will always be there. When I started, I was single with no children. I am now married with a wonderful husband and daughter who are very happy they no longer have to deal with a crazy person the night before the test.

6. Temper tantrums from my adorable two-year-old daughter in the middle of a crowded store are more fun than the finance test. It took me two attempts on this one, but by reviewing plenty of practice questions, getting help from other CPCUs, mastering exactly how to use a financial calculator, and taking a few lucky guesses on my test, I found it is actually possible to pass this one.

5. Studying is fun. OK, not really...I was just seeing if you all were paying attention.

4. I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, those initials look great behind my name. Hopefully, you’re familiar with the Saturday Night Live Stuart Smalley quote, slightly altered, of course.

3. No amount of sedatives could help with the increased panic I felt before pushing the yes-I-do-really-want-to-submit-this-for-grading question.

2. CPCU does not actually stand for Can People Clearly Understand this? Again, let’s go back to number ten with the new definition of bombing a test.

1. It takes a lot of work, a lot of commitment to the industry, and a lot of perseverance to obtain your CPCU.

I’d like to pass along my congratulations to all of you who are new CPCUs and a special thank you to all of those who provided support to us along the way! Thank you!

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