One of the keys to success in any venture is listening to those who’ve gone on before you. With that in mind, every year, we interview ITL clients coming off their respective rookie years in the business. We ask them several questions, but one is always the same: ‘What was your take on the NFLPA exam?’

Since we’re about 24 hours from the next agent class touching down in Washington, D.C., and about 72 from the exam, I thought I’d provide an overview of what this year’s rookie class said about the test. I should note that every agent we interviewed is not only a member of ITL, but also has at least one player on an NFL roster in their first year. Only about one in four rookie agents do that every year, so they’re in impressive company.

Respect the test: I would say this is the main reason some pass and some don’t. Most people hear “open book,” “multiple choice” and “graded on a curve” and laugh it off. Maybe that was good enough before 2016, but especially since the test was made harder, it’s not true anymore. Mobile, Ala.-based Alexa Stabler said she saw people who came to D.C. underestimating the test. “I don’t think that’s wise,” she said.

Pay attention: A number of our clients said it’s important to keep up and take notes during the pre-test seminar at the Ritz. New Jersey-based Matt Stankiewicz said “they will often tell you exactly what you need to know.

At your fingertips: It’s one thing to take materials into an open-book exam. It’s something else entirely to have those materials digested and annotated so that you know where to go when you need info. Houston-based Artigua White said that was the key to passing the exam.

Manage your time wisely: The NFLPA exam includes ‘fact pattern’ questions that require you to read every detail, then sort out exactly what’s relevant and what’s not. That takes time. “It wasn’t a problem, but managing the time and the math . . . they kinda crunch your time based on the math equations,” said Southern California-based Chris Chapman.

In all, we interviewed 15 first-year agents for our newsletter series this year. You can access them all here. Not all, but most of them, used our study guide and/or our practice exam to make the CBA a little more manageable and give them a chance to see questions very similar to what would be on the test. All our exam prep materials — study guide and both exams — are laid out and explained here, with links to all of them.

There’s still time to pick up our resources! Our practice exams are both online, and our study guide is in PDF form and will be emailed as soon as payment is approved. What’s more, we’re on 24-hour call for our clients though Friday at noon. Bottom line, we’re here and we want to help. If you’re getting ready for the exam, please give us a chance. We can help!