About Banking Exams

Updated February 21, 2017

The banking industry is particularly vigilant about making certain members of its industry--from loan officers to tellers and vice presidents--stay abreast of changing laws, trends, protocols and regulations. Exams are a way to evaluate banking professionals using a uniform standard. As a member of the industry--or for those who hope to become a member--your job is to prepare for any exam challenge. Check out the following tips to help you pass your next banking exam with flying colours.

Start the application process early

Every banking industry exam has pretest requirements to handle registration and class sizes. Test slots may fill quickly, so mail in your application before the deadline. Include the exam fees with your application. Some fees are refundable.

General study and other preparation tips

Get copies of past tests or sample exams so you know what to look for when yours lands on your desk. Take preparatory classes offered by the banking industry to give yourself an extra boost. You will perform at a higher level if you join or form a study group of peers who plan to take the same exam. Keep accurate notes and tap the knowledge of savvy colleagues. Remember: Most everyone in the banking industry has had to face at least one exam.

Be a savvy test taker

Whether you are asked to darken bubbles with a No. 2 pencil or answer series of questions on a computer screen, the secret to success is staying calm and focused. Move methodically through the questions, answering those you know immediately. Skip the questions that stump you. Go back to them later--when your mind has been primed to retrieve the information. You'll build confidence with each step.

Information you will be expected to know

Banking exam questions are subject-specific, but universal topics are included. Expect to be asked about operations, sales and service principles, the role banking plays in the nation's economic system and federal banking laws, rules and regulations. You will probably be asked general business competency and compliance questions, and those concerning your communication style (how you deal with everyone from colleagues to supervisors and customers). Finally, expect to see questions about banking ethics. As a rule, these are covered in question-and-answer formats, unless your exam calls for essay-style responses.

Know the score

The American Banking Association uses a pass/fail scoring system and reports scores within eight weeks. If you're dissatisfied with your test grade and want your answers re-evaluated, you may be able to have this done for an extra charge. In most cases you can reapply to retake it at a later date--but you'll have to pay the fee again.

Where to turn for help

Internet sites like sell study guides and software packages designed and approved by the American Banking Institute and the American Banking Association.

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About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.