If you’re a prospective real estate agent, then one of the first steps to launching your career as an agent or broker is to pass the real estate exam in your state. Whether you’re a good test-taker or a poor one, there’s no skipping this step.
As a result, you may be wondering, “Just how hard is the real estate exam?” The answer depends on how well you do your exam prep.
The real estate exam is a challenging test that takes the right preparation to do well on. Yet in order to get your real estate license, you must pass the state exam for a real estate broker or agent. The right preparation is key.
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How Hard Is the Real Estate Exam?
Before diving into the test prep tips, first, let’s look at how hard the real estate exam actually is.
Real estate exams are designed to be difficult to pass, so they can weed out people who are not going to be skilled agents. Though the pass rate varies based on the state exam, they hover around 50% across the country. This means only about half of the people who take a state licensing exam pass.
The reason for this can vary. Sometimes an applicant is just not a good test taker. Sometimes they fail to get an approved real estate education and don’t know the material. Regardless, because the test has a fee involved, it’s best not to fail.
These tips will help you overcome these challenges so you can pass the exam and move on to your license application with ease.
Here are 7 steps to help you pass the real estate license exam with ease.
1. Take a Pre Licensing Course
Taking a pre-licensing course before signing up for the real estate licensing exam is critical. In an exam prep course, you will learn the material on the exam as well as tips for being a successful real estate salesperson or broker in your state. You’ll walk away well-prepared for the agent or broker exam in your state.
I recommend looking for a real estate exam prep program that is specific to your state. The California real estate exam is different from the Michigan real estate exam, and understanding those differences is a key part of passing the test.
Online real estate school can be a good option as you prepare for the real estate test, as long as it is state-specific. Taking a real estate course online can give you some time flexibility if you need it.
2. Take a Practice Exam (Or Two or Three)
A practice test is a good idea to help you know if you are ready for the real estate salesperson exam. It will show you examples of what questions are on the exam. When choosing a pre-license course, make sure a school exam that lets you practice is part of it.
If you need to, take the practice test multiple times. The more practice you get, the more prepared you will be for the real state exam, and you won’t be wasting your money on the test.
As you practice, take note of the types of questions that trip you up, and focus your study on those areas. For example, if you need more practice with real estate math, you can focus your studies in that area and increase your chances of passing the final exam.
3. Learn Good Test-Taking Practices
Your state exam prep course should cover the content of the exam, but it should also give you advice about how to get a passing score through better test-taking practices. Some tips that you might want to consider include:
- Start with questions you know first.
- Work backward by eliminating wrong answers, then choosing the best possible right answer.
- Don’t second-guess and change your answers.
- Skip hard questions, then come back to them if you have time.
- Breathe while taking the test, because lack of oxygen will hinder your ability to remember what you’ve studied.
- Read every word to the question. Sometimes, small words like “many” or “all” change the meaning of the question, and its answer, significantly.
Remember, the goal is to get a passing score, not necessarily get everything right, so answer what you know first.
4. Take and Review Notes
As you prepare for the exam, make yourself several notes and note cards. Consider using a digital note card program to keep these close at hand. Take these note cards with you, and review for the exam every second you get.
Don’t let the note cards make you stressed, though. Use them as a tool to keep the information fresh in your mind.
Remember, repetition aids learning, and the more your practice, the more prepared you will be for the exam when the time comes. Make note cards for any difficult things you find as you study, and review, review, review.
5. Take Care of Yourself
In the days prior to taking the real estate exam, make sure you get plenty of sleep and eat healthily. Avoid the temptation to cram information the night before, staying up late into the night. No matter how good your prep course is, if you are exhausted, you will fail to do well on the test.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test. This will do more to help your pass rate than any amount of cramming.
6. Remember It’s Not a Race
While you won’t learn this in real estate school, I want to remind you that the real estate exam is not a race. Other applicants will complete faster than you, and some will take longer than you. Pace yourself to stay within the time limit, but don’t make it into a competition to be the first one done.
7. Stay Positive
At the end of the day, your attitude will have a big impact on your success. Don’t get bogged down in the pass rate for your state or the intricate details of your pre-license education. Do your best, and maintain a positive attitude throughout. Tackle the test with the right attitude, and your chances of success are much higher.
If the worst happens and you don’t pass, that’s ok too. You can take the real estate exam again if you need to. Learn from your mistakes, take another course at real estate school, and try again.
What to Do After Passing the Exam
When your hard work is over and you have passed the real estate exam, your real estate career is ready to start. However, getting a successful career off the ground is sometimes difficult.
This can be a good time to look for a sponsoring broker. A sponsoring broker is a managing broker who will oversee your work as an inexperienced agent. They bring brand recognition to your business and help you find listings and clients.
After working as a real estate salesperson for a while with a sponsoring broker, consider continuing education to help you fine-tune your real estate skills. Soon you will be ready to launch an independent real estate career, if you wish, and work as a REALTOR without the oversight of a sponsor.
The real estate exam is a necessary step in the process of getting your real estate license. Take the time to study well, use exam prep courses to help you, and you will have a good chance at success. If you struggle, remember that you can take the course and the exam again, solidifying what you’ve learned.
Real Estate Exam FAQs
Are real estate exams online?
While you can take your pre-licensing course online, the real estate exam itself will typically be held in person with a third party proctor. However, there are some states that allow you to take it online. Check with your state’s real estate commission to see what your options are.
Are real estate exams multiple choice?
The real estate exam is split in to two parts: a state specific section and general real estate section. Each one is multiple choice. The state section is around 60 to 80 multiple choice questions, and the general one is around 80 to 100.
How much does real estate exam cost?
The real estate exam fee varies depending on what state you are in, but it typically won’t be more than $50.
Where to take real estate exam?
There are three main testing centers that host the real estate exam: PSI Exams Online, AMP Testing Center, and Pearson Vue. These centers have hundreds of locations across the country that you can choose from. You can schedule your test at one of these locations once you qualify to take the exam. Your state’s real estate commission will have more information about where and when your exam will take place.
How long is the real estate exam?
Usually, you are given anywhere between 90 minutes and three and a half hours to complete both the state and national sections of the real estate exam, depending on what state you are in.
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