24 Tips to Study Smarter—From Your CEBS Peers

Whether you’re beginning or continuing your Certified Employee Benefit Specialist® (CEBS®) journey, you’ll acquire strategic knowledge and skills that set you apart in the employee benefits industry. Small, repeatable, good study habits will help you absorb and retain new content and connect it to the big picture of the employee benefits landscape. As you apply what you’re learning to your work, you’ll embark on a learning journey that’s uniquely your own, transforming your career trajectory.

We recently surveyed holders of the CEBS designation. Below is a little advice from these benefits industry professionals on earning the CEBS designation and maximizing your professional development.

“Schedule time to study a bit at a time and honor it.”

Paul Ashley, CEBS
SVP and Advisor, NFP

“Take the time to really apply yourself! Set aside the time to study and fully immerse yourself in the subject matter. Not only will it help you prepare for the exams, but it will allow you to apply your knowledge to your role as you’re learning.”

Laura Lucyk, CEBS
Client Relationship Manager / Communication & Education Manager, Canada Life

“Think about this process as lifelong learning rather than cramming for a test.”

Trudy Fidyk, CEBS
Senior Group Underwriter, People Corporation

“Don’t just think about what you need for your current job when you study; think about your next job in your career!”

Joanna Gomes, CEBS
Director, Total Rewards and Corporate Programs, Bimbo Canada

“Be engaged! You will get way more out of earning your CEBS designation if you participate in a local chapter of ISCEBS.”

Michael Kohl, CEBS
VP of Sales – Strategic Accounts, Vida Health

“Too many new CEBS students underestimate themselves. I would tell them not to do that and encourage them to keep pursuing the designation.”

Heather Shaw, CEBS
Payroll & Benefits Lead, Elk Island Catholic School Board

“Make sure to allocate enough study time to be successful.”

Eric Powell, CEBS
Senior Pension Benefit Analyst, Willis Towers Watson

“Even if you must go slowly or take time off, it is a worthwhile process. Keep going! It’s worth the effort to be well-rounded in the employee benefits field.”

Paula Stop, CEBS
Director of Total Rewards, The Fresh Market

“The CEBS designation is an excellent professional development path to take if you’re interested in becoming an expert in employee benefits. Start early in your career!”

Cheryl Andrews, CEBS
Vice President, Alec G. Henley Group

“Learn the key employee benefits laws and principles. They matter the most in the workplace.”

Katrina Amoroso, CEBS
Benefits Manager, MRI Software

“Establish successful study habits from the start. Don’t expect that just skimming the materials is enough to pass the courses. Establish relationships with other CEBS students and benefits professionals who can serve as mentors and cheerleaders throughout the process.”

Melissa Zaino, CEBS
Director, Global Benefits, Zayo Group

“Don’t rush through it. Take your time and study for retention. Be patient and diligent.”

Jane Daniels, CEBS
Director, Benefits & Leave Management, O’Reilly Automotive, Inc.

“Focus on the current course and absorb the material, not just for passing your CEBS exam, but for the knowledge you’ll gain.”

Michael Picard, CEBS
Chief Financial Officer, SWBR Architecture, Engineering and Landscape Architecture, D.P.C.

“Learn the material by reading it carefully. Then, make sure you understand the key terms and learning outcomes. Don’t procrastinate.”

Kerry Lawson, CEBS
Director, Consulting Expert, CGI

“It’s an investment in yourself and your future. The CEBS designation will open doors and pathways. It’s a steppingstone.”

Lisa Hansen, CEBS
Manager, Group Benefit Travel—Affinity Strategy, Johnson Insurance

“First, determine how you learn best and use that to build your study skills.”

Tara Tam, CEBS
Specialist, Group Benefits, OSCO Group Services Limited

“Take the practice exams over and over again!”

Jason Blair, CEBS
DC Domain Leader, Hewitt Associates

“Start with your expertise. For example, if you are working in pensions, start there. If you are working in group benefits, start there with your first course.”

Debbie Liska, CEBS
Account Manager, HUB International

“Try to connect with someone in the industry and be mentored, or at the very least, have pointed conversations with.”

Francoise Cassidy, CEBS
Director Payroll Pensions & Benefits, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co.

“Keep pushing yourself. You’ll find that you have an amazing capacity to learn. You’ll become even more curious about employee benefits and being the bridge to employees who need your help!”

Shannon Tupper, CEBS
Benefits Specialist, State of Minnesota

“Keep on going, even if you fail an exam.”

Elaine Hsu, CEBS
Account Manager, The Dupuis Langen Group

“Take in the content in small chunks. There is a lot of information. It can be overwhelming to be staring at a massive Study Guide, but break it down. Coffee is your friend!”

Sarah Corrigan, CEBS
Account Manager, Diverse Benefits and Financial Planning Inc.

“Study, study, study.”

Jessica Ropelato, CEBS
Client Service Manager, Gallagher

“Continue and persevere. Keep your eye on the prize!”

Robert Fredericks, CEBS
President, Fredericks Benefits

Are you ready to elevate your career? Visit our website to learn more about attaining professional excellence with the industry’s most respected credential—the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation.