< Blogs | 11.04.2016

The power of the cuppa

The power of the cuppa

In her first blog for The Journal, Florence Dennis looks back on her CII study journey to date and espouses the restorative benefits of a simple break and a cup of tea…

Hello Journal readers. I am Florence Dennis – I work for Arthur J Gallagher and I’m really excited to share my study experiences with you in my first blog for this esteemed magazine.

After reading page one of my first Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Cert study text three times over – and still not taking any of it in – I thought: what have I got myself into? The initial excitement of having been called to reception for a courier delivery ended in disappointment – much to my dismay, the mystery package was my IF1 study book and I could not believe the size of it. To add to my panic, this was also the first time I ever had to self-study. I hadn’t a clue how I was supposed to motivate myself to read this and take it all in.

After a couple of attempts, I realised you just have to be focused and once you get into a routine it really isn’t that bad. My study time was initially spent mostly in my lunch breaks and spare time. Quite quickly, however, I found that studying before the working day began, with your pre-work brain in gear, was most effective.

Starting my studies so early in my insurance career was such a good idea as it meant I could begin to apply my studies to my everyday job and gradually things finally started to make a bit of sense.

Occasionally, I would still find myself reading a paragraph and not actually taking it in but that was usually a sign that I needed to take a break. You will need to study often but ensure you stick to short sittings; little and often was definitely the best method for me. Reading too much just blurs all information into one confusing bundle and often makes the last hour you spent with your head in the book pointless.

Onwards and upwards

Nearly three years later, I am engrossed in obtaining my Dip CII. I am currently studying towards the MO5 Insurance Law exam and I am still applying my CII learning to my day job. Genuinely, I don’t know how people can work effectively without having done their exams; it really does expand your knowledge.

Though I currently work in a specialist financial lines team, I will soon begin working within a general insurance team. This is a massive move and I am nervous. However, studying alongside my everyday job has given me a good grounding in general insurance and an understanding of the regulatory side to it all.

My three key pieces of advice for anyone thinking of starting their studies are:

1) Don’t overcomplicate it – you need to do it all in your own time and not feel rushed, otherwise you won’t take anything in;

2) Put the time in – I was allowed study leave but this is not enough, you need to study in your own time to give yourself a fair chance; and last but not least…

3) Do not give up – you will have panic days and moments when you really don’t have the motivation to sit and study but just take a deep breath, have a cuppa and come back to it on a fresh mind.

You will be challenged as it is hard work – if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be such an achievement. But if I can do it, you definitely can too.

Florence Dennis is account manager, financial lines at Arthur J Gallagher


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