What to Do When You Don't Pass Your CEBS Exam

Attempting something challenging and worthwhile takes a lot of courage. From the onset, you’re taking a risk. There’s a chance you might fail, but even if that happens, you know that you’ll grow on your journey. You’re dedicated and determined. You set out to achieve a goal, carefully plan a process to reach it, and diligently practice and monitor your progress. 

What to Do When You Didn't Pass CEBS Exam

Sometimes, despite making a great effort, you don’t succeed on your first attempt. If you didn’t pass your CEBS (Certified Employee Benefit Specialist) exam, this can be upsetting and disheartening, but it doesn’t mean your goal is out of reach. Here are some tips to help you get prepared for a CEBS exam retake:

1. Don’t miss a page!

If it’s Assigned Reading, it could be on your CEBS exam! Revisit each module, and make sure you’ve read any required reading in both your Study Guide and textbook as it’s all testable content. Skipping pages creates gaps in your knowledge and makes you less likely to pass. Bonus Tip: Take in-depth notes as you read. Pay attention to fine details as well as the big picture.

2. Let the Key Terms and Outline of Knowledge in each module guide your studies.

Be sure you can clearly define Key Terms in your own words and give examples. Review the Outline of Knowledge to ensure that you have mastered fine details related to important concepts and understand them in the context of the big picture.

[Related Reading: 7 Fail-Proof Studying Tips for a CEBS Exam*]

3. Triple up on your review efforts.

Do three separate in-depth reviews of the modules, spaced out over time. Insight from neuroscience shows that retrieving new knowledge multiple times over a period of days or weeks leads to better learning and retention. 

Also, make sure you access the 100-question online Practice Exam. Read each question slowly and carefully, and retake the Practice Exam as many times as you would like! Practice makes permanent!

4. Seek out a community of learners for support.

Discussing new content and ideas with others and asking questions helps you effectively apply what you’re learning. Consider forming a study group with colleagues who are also pursuing their CEBS designation, or take a CEBS online study group. We’re better together!

[Related Reading: Rule CEBS Exam Day]

You have already learned a lot, and with a little more practice, you’ll master the content. We’re here to help, and we hope you keep trying. Take a deep breath and remember why you decided to pursue your CEBS designation in the first place. Good luck on your exam retake! We look forward to welcoming you as a new CEBS graduate in the near future! 

Christine Vazquez, CEBS, ISCEBS Fellow
Manager, Professional Development, at the International Foundation


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Christine Vazquez, CEBS


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