One of the first and most important steps to starting your career as an agent or broker is to pass the real estate license exam.
This will allow you to legally sell, broker or rent property to prospective buyers and sellers on behalf of a real estate brokerage.
Although passing real estate exams can be challenging, the right preparation will ensure that you know exactly what to expect and improve your chances of getting a passing score.
However, many first-time test takers are unsure of the best way to approach the exam. That’s why we’ve put together this article.
Below, we take a closer look at nine tried and tested tips that will help you pass the real estate licensing exam on your first try.
How Difficult Is the Real Estate Exam?
Before we share our helpful real estate exam tips, let’s first take a look at how difficult it really is.
Some of the topics you will need to cover in the real estate exam include:
- Law of Agency
- Fair Housing Laws
- Environmental Laws
- Contracts and Deeds
- Taxes and Assessments
- Review of Real Estate Math
While the pass rate for the real estate exam varies from state to state, research shows that many first-time test takers fail on their first attempt.
For example, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) reports an overall pass rate of 62%. In California, the pass rate sits at an average of 42%.
Not only does failing the real estate exam delay your entry into the industry, but it can also be expensive to retake the test multiple times.
Depending on the state you live in, the average total cost of the real estate exam can vary between $85 and $200.
This excludes the expense of getting your fingerprints documented and the mandatory background check.
How to Pass the Real Estate Exam
At Real Estate Prep Guide, we know that the thought of taking the exam can be daunting.
Luckily, the real estate exam tips we’ve provided in the next section will help you better prepare for the test and improve your chances of passing on your first attempt.
1. Enroll in a Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course
One of the best ways to prepare for the real estate salesperson exam is to enroll in a pre-licensing course.
Not only do these courses help you work through the material that you will need to know for the exam, but many of them also offer tips on how to be successful real estate professionals.
Taking a pre-licensing course will also give you peace of mind that you have covered all of the topics that will be tested in the real estate exam.
This also ensures that you don’t waste your time learning material that won’t be covered in the real estate exam.
2. Do As Many Real Estate Practice Exams as You Can.
When you’re looking for a pre-licensing course, make sure that you choose one that gives you access to practice exams.
This is a great way to become more familiar with the types of questions that you will face when you take the real estate exam.
Real estate practice exams also help you identify the areas that you need to work on when you are studying the material.
For example, a practice exam might reveal that you struggle the most with sections that test real estate law.
This will allow you to spend more time honing your understanding in that area to improve your chances of passing the exam.
3. Make Your Own Study Flashcards or Summaries.
Another great way to prepare for the real estate exam is to make flashcards or summaries based on the material in your pre-licensing course.
Although this may seem time consuming, it’s an effective way to actively engage with the learning material and keep it fresh in your mind.
Flashcards are particularly useful for memorizing the keywords and vocabulary terms that you will be tested on in the real estate exam.
The more you practice and familiarize yourself with these terms, the more prepared you will be for the exam.
The other benefit of using flashcards is that you will be able to take them anywhere.
This means that you can revise the material during your daily commute, or whenever you get time during the day or week.
4. Start by Answering the Questions You Definitely Know.
When you receive the real estate exam, start by answering the questions or sections that you feel most confident with.
Approaching the exam this way will boost your confidence and ensure that you don’t leave out any questions you definitely know the answers to.
Once all of the questions you’re confident in have been answered, you will also have more time to work through the ones that you are unsure of towards the end of the exam.
Make sure that you flag these questions so that you know which ones to return to at a later stage.
5. Read the Questions and Answers Very Carefully.
Although the content of the real estate exam will differ slightly depending on the state’s requirements, the format is usually very similar.
You can expect there to be between 100 and 150 multiple-choice questions in total, with approximately 60 to 80 state-specific questions.
There will also be about 80 to 100 questions that will test your knowledge of the real estate industry.
In multiple-choice exams, misinterpreting one word or phrase can make a big difference to your final grade.
This is why you should read through the questions very carefully to ensure that you don’t misunderstand what is being tested.
One way to do this is to read through the questions with a pencil in hand and circle important keywords or phrases.
This will help you to identify the main idea of the question and find the answer best suited to what is being asked.
6. Use the Process of Elimination.
Some multiple-choice exams will provide answers that seem almost identical to make it more challenging for the people taking the test.
This is why using the process of elimination can help you work out the most accurate answer.
One way to do this is to cross out all of the obviously wrong answers and then analyze the remaining options to try and work out the correct answer.
Not only is this an efficient way to work towards finding the right answer, but it will also help increase your odds of getting the question correct.
7. Skip and Return to the Questions You Don’t Know.
When you take the real estate exam, there is a good chance that you will come across questions that you won’t immediately know the answer to.
Instead of stressing yourself out by trying to find the correct answer, it’s better to make a note of the question and return to it at a later stage.
This will give you time to think about the question while you work through the entire exam, as well as work more efficiently.
Approaching the exam this way will also ensure that you return to the questions you don’t know with a clearer mind, and without worrying that you’re wasting time.
8. Organize a Study Group.
Although there are benefits to learning at your own pace, a study group can also be extremely beneficial for your real estate exam prep.
This is because your peers can hold you accountable to your studying schedule and keep you motivated on the days when you don’t feel like learning.
Forming a study group is also a great way to deepen your understanding of the material because you can discuss the coursework with others.
Similarly, if there’s a concept or section that you don’t understand you can also ask the people in your study group for help.
Not only will this better your understanding of the coursework, but there’s a good chance that it will also improve your chances of passing the exam on your first attempt.
One of the best ways to organize a study group is to get in touch with the people in your pre-licensing course or class and find out if they would be interested in learning with you.
9. Get Plenty of Sleep before the Real Estate Exam.
While this tip may seem obvious, we can’t underestimate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep before you take the real estate test.
Research has proven that there is a significant positive correlation between the hours of sleep a person gets and their final exam score.
This is because a good night’s sleep helps improve your stress levels, concentration and memory—which are all vital factors to passing the real estate exam successfully.
There are a few things you can do to ensure that you get enough rest before your exam.
For example, you should turn off your phone or laptop at least one hour before you go to bed to minimize any distractions, and avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening.
What Happens after I’ve Passed the Real Estate Exam?
Once you’ve received confirmation that you have passed the real estate exam, state law requires you to find a sponsoring broker.
This is a real estate broker who will employ you as an agent and oversee the work you do while you gain more experience in the industry.
A sponsoring broker will also provide you with mentorship while you try and kickstart your career in the real estate industry.
Not only will they help you find potential clients and listings, but they will also guide you on how to build your network and reputation as a real estate agent.
After you’ve worked for a real estate agent for a while, you will also be expected to complete continuing education courses to hone your skills and keep you up to date with industry trends.
Start Your Real Estate Exam Preparation Today
At Real Estate Prep Guide, our mission is to equip aspiring real estate agents with the right preparation to pass the real estate exam with flying colors.
Our study guides and practice exams have been created by industry experts and are constantly updated to each state’s requirements.
You will also have access to all of the exam preparation materials for 90 days, as well as expert instructor support and job placement assistance.
We’ve helped license over 50,000 students and have an exam pass rate of 97%.
The best part of all? If you don’t pass the real estate exam, you can simply send us your failure notice and we will refund you in full.
Ready to become a real estate agent or broker this year? Pick your state and get started.