Preparation is the surest road to success. When you know what to expect, you can be confident about the task at hand. Even if you’re comfortable with the material on which you’re being tested, you may encounter unforeseen challenges if you’re unprepared for the actual testing process. Make sure you’re familiar with the procedures for enrolling and scheduling your examination.
What follows is some advice for studying as well as some techniques for successful test-taking.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 1
Since it’s probably been a while since you’ve taken a test, let’s review some basic test-taking techniques. Mastering the following techniques can easily add 10 to 15 points to your score.
Don’t tell anyone when you are taking the test.
Telling your family, friends, and colleagues you are taking the test creates pressure on you by setting expectations. Constantly worrying about everyone’s expectations for success may have the opposite effect on your ability to comfortably and successfully complete the test. So, go back and tell everyone you have decided to wait a month before taking the test. Their expectations will disappear, and the sense of pressure will be gone. Try it; it works!
Know the rules and play by them.
Test moderators enforce the regulations closely. When you schedule your test, you will be given specific requirements about what you can bring into the testing room and what you cannot bring. Pay attention to the guidelines and follow them closely. Don’t fail your test because of a simple technicality.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 2
Take your time and read the question completely.
Read the question. Read the question. Read the question. Read the question at least three times before you look at the answers, and then read the answers at least two times before selecting the best one.
Don’t be tempted to read the questions quickly. If you read them too fast, you could easily fall into the “sounds alike” trap and confuse words, (e.g., mortgagor versus mortgagee, gross income versus net income).
When reading a question, do not jump to a quick conclusion. Before you choose an answer, be sure you have read the entire question and all answer choices. It’s very easy to miss a critical word if you read too quickly.
Answer questions that you know first then go back to the other questions.
Do not spend a lot of time on one question. Go through the test answering only those questions you know are correct. If you’re in doubt, skip the question and go to the next one. It’s best to move through the questions you can answer as quickly as possible and return to the others later, if you have time. If you are in doubt about a question, “mark” it, skip it, and move on. At the end of the test, after answering the questions you know, go back and review all marked questions. Sometimes, other questions in the test will help you answer a question you are unsure of.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 3
Relax and keep calm.
Maintain your concentration. You may lose your train of thought because a question appears to be poorly written, makes no sense, or has more than one correct answer. Getting caught on one of these can throw you off for a series of questions to follow. When this happens, relax your mind and your muscles—and skip the question. There may be three or four of these questions on the test. If, by chance, you miss them because you had to guess, you will not fail. What causes you to fail the test is becoming so frustrated that you miss the second, third, or fourth question after that.
Keep your composure. Remember, even if you miss these and no others, you will still pass.
Look for the best answer.
If a question on the test appears to have more than one correct answer, look for the best answer based on the supplied information—not your assumptions. Take your time and reason through the question. If you jump to assumptions that aren’t there, you will miss the question. There will always be one choice that is the best answer.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 4
Answer all the questions, even if you have to guess.
This tip is similar to the last tip. Two of the four answers are often not even worth considering. Narrow your choices by process of elimination, weeding out the obviously incorrect answers, or answers you know are wrong. Having to guess between only two choices is much easier than four choices. Knowing your glossary terms will definitely help you here. After eliminating options, pick your best guess from the remaining answers. Your odds of getting the question correct are better if you guess than if you don’t answer the question at all.
Don’t change your answers.
This is probably one of the hardest tips to be disciplined about. Your first answer is usually the right one, especially if you read the question carefully. This often will be hard to accept but trust this tip. Don’t change it unless you’re sure. It would be horrible if you change an answer and you fail the test because of it. Trust your instincts.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 5
Eliminate answers with absolutes.
Answers with absolutes such as must, always, greatest, never, and has to be are generally not the correct ones. Train your eyes to look for these and eliminate them from the options. This will help you have fewer choices to choose from, especially if you have to guess.
Be careful of “except” questions.
People tend to read these questions too fast and even though they know the correct answer, they will choose the opposite. For example, look at this question.
RESPA’s Section 8 prohibits all fees EXCEPT
A. earned fees.The best way to answer these questions is to cover the word except or not when reading the question, then decide which choice does not belong.
B. giving a referral fee.
C. receiving a referral fee.
D. unearned fees.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 6
Watch your time and use it wisely.
Watch your time to ensure you budget it wisely, but remember time is not your enemy. You’ll have plenty of time to complete the test if you work consistently. Do not spend 15 minutes on one question to get one point, when you could have answered 10 questions for 10 points. If you try to answer every question the first time through, you may end up wasting valuable time on the questions you are not sure of. This will only increase your anxiety level. If you see this happening, make a concerted effort to answer only the questions you know and can complete quickly. After you’ve regained your sense of balance, go back and answer the difficult questions. If you have studied, you will be prepared for the test.
Double-check your math and don’t be thrown off if your calculation is slightly off.
Double-check your math answers by reversing the process, if time permits. Remember that there’s an answer that’s correct on the math question on your test, but unlike high school algebra, it does not matter how you arrive at that answer.
Also, it’s possible that different calculators round answers differently. Since this is the case, don’t let small differences in math worry you. Close counts! Pick the closest answer and move on. Do not waste 10 minutes looking for 10 cents in your answer.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 7
When coming back to skipped questions, read them carefully and completely.
If you have the time to review the questions you skipped, take time to read them again completely. Then, dissect the question into parts (clauses and prepositional phrases). This will help you understand what is really being asked. This even applies for math questions. When you cannot determine the answer, and before you guess, ask yourself, “What concept is this question trying to make sure I know?” Ask yourself which answer best illustrates that concept. Keep in mind that the purpose of the test is to make sure you have the minimum amount of knowledge needed to function in the mortgage lending industry.
Above all, don’t panic!
If you lose your train of thought, stop and take a moment to relax. Take a deep breath, let your shoulders drop; relax your muscles and your mind before proceeding. Recall what you have studied. You’ve spent a lot of time studying; don’t let anxiety get the best of you. You know more than you think you do—just relax enough to let it become clear.
Test-Taking Strategies Part 8
Be positive and have confidence.
You can do this. Starting today, say to anyone who will listen, “I’m going to pass the test,” and mean it!
And finally, remember: There’s only one sure-fire way to pass the test—study. Keep studying until you feel ready to take the test. Most importantly, though, you need to be relaxed. If you study and prepare, you’ll do fine on the test. Whether you have been working as a Real estate Salesperson for years or you’re new to the industry, your chance of successfully passing the Real Estate exam is greatly improved by the choice you have made to be prepared.
You are now ready to take your first practice exam.