Last Friday was the deadline for registration for the 2017 NFLPA contract advisor exam, which is administered each July (here are all the details for registration, in case you were wondering). For the hundreds of people hoping to be the next Jerry Maguire, it’s an important day to know. For more than half of those who registered for the 2016 exam, the day’s passage is probably not so exciting. It might even be a little painful.

It’s pretty commonly known among young agents that two years ago, the NFLPA made the exam a lot harder. The passage rate went from around 75 percent to less than 50 percent. People who use our practice exam still pass at about a 70 percent rate, but those who don’t wind up returning for a second bite of the apple. But they only get one more try, and if not, they are barred from another attempt for five long years. About half to two-thirds of the people who took the test last summer were there a second time, and I anticipate about the same rate this summer.

I know a lot of aspiring contract advisors read this blog, so today I want to pass along a cautionary tale. It starts with an email I got about a month ago from a person I’ve corresponded with over the years, an aspiring agent himself. “I would like to start using your services,” he wrote, “being that I took the test twice and came up short both times.”

He went on to explain that he was super-close to passing both times, missing by two and four points, respectively, in successive years. Neither time that he took the test did he use our practice exam or study guide. For that reason, and given that he knew fully well what we do at Inside the League and how we help people like him, I had to gently admonish him. “Why in the world would you not have subscribed to ITL the first time, not to mention the second time?,” I asked. “We had a practice exam and all kinds of stuff you could have used. That’s really puzzling.”

To his credit, my friend didn’t try to defend himself. He said he tried to subscribe the first time but never followed up, then forgot about us the second time around. At any rate, he said test-taking isn’t his strength. “Honestly, when I sit there taking the exam, I feel confident in the information I’ve obtained, but something goes wrong. . . It’s frustrating because I know all the information but I guess you can say I’m a horrible test-taker.”

I have no doubt he’s right, and he knows the material, but still, here he is. The worst part is that the NFLPA takes such a hard line on those who fail twice.

“I’ve put myself in a horrible position,” he admitted. “I still have a job in this industry and with an agency, but not having my certification has crippled me.”

If you’re one of those people that is set to take the exam this summer, please don’t take any risks. Our practice exam is $150, and we have a study guide, too for a reasonable price. Our subscribers also receive a daily email that gives them tips on exam passage as well as tales from previous test-takers. There are other services out there that are credible (though a lot more expensive), but none have been around as long as ours, and none has as many success stories. But bottom line, if you’re going to go for this, really go for it. Don’t try to save a few pennies here and there and risk not achieving a life goal that is really cool. Be smart. And if you have any questions, drop me a line.