The 4 day, 32 hour class was almost over. 

It is Friday morning, and everyone is anxious to conclude the mortgage underwriting training and being the assessment. A grade of 80% or above is required on the assessment and each participant is anxious.  After all, on day 1, Monday afternoon, the director of the department emphasized the importance of everyone successfully passing the assessment.  In fact, it is a requirement to move forward to advanced level class in the certification process.


It was time for a quick review of the contents covered during the last several days.  One of my favorite tools for a review is Microsoft PowerPoint or Slide Share.   Since I had an advance copy of the 200+ questions on the assessment, I created a gaming exercise within PowerPoint.  It was modeled after the television show “Jeopardy”, and allowed attendees to review the voluminous material quickly and in a fun atmosphere.  Additionally, this allowed another opportunity to reinforce knowledge and an opportunity to ask last-minute questions before the assessment.  Typically, I allowed 40 to 45 minutes for review.


I was also aware of the L&D policy stating that the instructor must remain onsite at the branch location until each participant had completed and successfully passes the 2-hour online assessment. 

It is composed of 30 questions, in multiple formats including case studies.  The system selected the 30 questions out of the pool of 200 total questions and alternated with every testing session. 

Each participant is allowed 3 attempts to take the assessment within a single day.  After 3 unsuccessful attempts, the system shut down access for the user, until the next calendar day.  When this happened, the class instructor was required to remain in town another day, review the missed content with the participant, and proctor the test retake.

After the review, I encouraged everyone to take a break, obtain their favorite beverage and snacks.

Next, we reviewed the logistics of completing the assessment.  Each participant successfully accessed the online assessment.  I quickly outlined the resources available during the “open book” assessment, including the participant guide, individual notes, classroom posters, etc.  I reiterated the requirement that the assessment was based on individual achievement, not group collaboration.    


System grading would be provided immediately upon completion.  If the score received was  80% or above,  the attendee was free to depart the classroom.  If less than 80%, a 15 minute break and same day retake were encouraged.

I started the 2-hour visual “minute timer” PowerPoint, along with motivational quotations that changed every 5 minutes.


Two attendees completed the assessment within 75 minutes successfully.  The majority finished within 90 – 100 minutes.  3 attendees remained out of the 22 total.  Watching the visual timer count down, I watched the remaining participants.  I verbally alerted and encouraged them to read carefully and select the best answer within the remaining time frame.

Now only 1 participant is left.  5 minutes left and counting.  With a frown, the remaining attendee appeared to read over the answers he had selected once more.  He seemed hesitant to click the “submit” button. I waited with an encouraging smile on my face and holding my breath. 

You can always tell immediately if they pass the assessment by the smile or frown immediately after they submit their responses.  The system provides instant feedback scores.    

He clicked the Submit button. I watched as he pumped his fist up and down with enthusiasm.  I walked over and asked if he had a question.  “81% and a green checkmark”, he stated excitedly.  “I passed didn’t I?” he asked.  As I nodded excitedly, he slumped in the chair for a moment with closed eyes. Then he seemed to gather himself, opened his eyes, smiled and got up.  We both nodded, and he left the training room. 

 I checked the time. 

I realized we completed both the course and assessment within the expected time frame.  Humming happily as I began clearing the classroom, I realized that I would make my scheduled flight back home in time for “family game night”.

And all was right in the world.

updated 3/18/2020