10 Tips to Help You Succeed on the Real Estate License Exam
Here are a few general strategies you can use while you’re taking the Real Estate Licensing Exam. Don’t think of these ten topics as guarantees for success; just know that if you follow the advice, you can maximize your chances of passing the state license exam the first time you take it.
1. Take the exam as soon as you can
You never will know the material better than you do right when you finish the course. And you’re likely to forget the specifics that you need from the material soon after your coursework is completed, especially if you must take an exam to complete the course. If you need to make an appointment to take the exam, do it before you finish your course so there is little delay.
2. Know the exam rules
Here are a few rules that you may want to check out.
- Calculators: What kind can you bring and what kind are forbidden?
- Entry permit: If your state requires an entry permit, don’t forget to bring it. States that require them
typically have some sort of application procedure for you to go through just to take the exam.
- Exam fee: If you must pay the fee at the time you take the exam, make sure you have it and can pay it the way the test makers want it.
- Food: You may be prohibited from bringing food to the test. If you have a medical condition that requires you to eat at certain times, get permission ahead of time by contacting the state licensing agency or the people administering the test since some states use contracted services.
- Disability accessibility: Find out ahead of time about accommodations for any disabilities.
- Identification: Find out the specific types of identification you need.
- Location: Pick the one most convenient and least stressful for you.
- Time: Be there at least 15 minutes early; sometimes even earlier depending on the testing center’s requirements.
- Writing implements: Check the test requirements for recommended writing utensils.
• What you can and cannot bring in: Follow these rules carefully!
3. Study your state license law
Make sure that you read your state’s real estate license laws before you take your state exam. Even if you’ve covered some of the material in your real estate course, you’re expected to be familiar with the law itself.
You may be given a copy of the law when you take a pre-licensing course. If not, you usually can obtain a copy directly from your state licensing agency, and often can do so online.
4. Remember important vocabulary
You can pass most state real estate license exams for real estate agents by simply mastering the vocabulary. At the initial stage of licensing, state officials want to make sure that you at least understand the basics. As for the more complicated concepts, memorizing the major differences between two similar terms probably will get you through. Flash cards can be invaluable in helping memorize terms and definitions.
5. Focus on key concepts
The idea of fiduciary responsibility is a key concept. Math formulas are key concepts. Most key concepts can be reduced to a few sentences. Key concepts are typically highlighted or stick out in some other way. Make sure you learn, understand, and remember them for the exam.
6. Eat something
There’s definitely something to be said for the food, energy, blood sugar, and alertness relationship. Eat your normal meals for the day. If eating and the exam schedule are a problem, make other arrangements. If you’re allowed to bring food into the exam, don’t go overboard.
7. Stay cool, relax
Get just anxious enough to motivate you to study, do the practice exams, and review the material you didn’t do well on in class and practice questions. At some point, you’ll begin to feel comfortable enough with the information that you’ll begin to relax. Keep in mind that you can always take the test over if you don’t pass.
Activities like relaxation exercises, meditation, and deep breathing can also help. While taking the exam, look away from the screen, clear your mind, and breathe if you find yourself getting anxious.
8. Pay attention
Don’t be afraid to select the obviously correct answer. Examiners don’t write questions that are intentionally designed to trick you. They do write questions that sometimes require knowledge of the fine differences between two points. Pay attention to unnecessary material that is designed to throw you off.
Here’s an example:
Question: Tenancy in common is a common form of ownership for
Answers: married couples, cooperative apartment owners, timeshare owners, and condominium owners.
The answer is condominium owners. You may want to pick cooperative apartments because that’s a form of group ownership, and married couples can own property as tenants in common, but it isn’t typical. Timeshare ownership generally is individual ownership. So if you overthink this question, you may find justification for at least one if not two of the incorrect answers.
9. Go with your initial “gut” instinct
Go with your first answer on a multiple-choice question. On recognition-type exams, or exams where the answers are right in front of you, the first answer that comes to mind usually is the best one.
The two exceptions to this rule are:
- If a later question gives you information that makes a better choice likely in an earlier question.
- When checking your answers to the math questions. Do the math questions at least twice or until you get the same answer twice.
10. Finish the job
Above all, don’t leave any answers blank. Go through the test quickly the first time to answer as many of the easy questions that you know the answers to right away. Then go back and take your time with the harder ones. Guess if you have to. It would be a shame to miss answers because you spent too much time on a few questions earlier in the exam.
In addition, most testing programs allow the test taker to “flag” a question. For questions that are a struggle, flag them and come back to them later. Do not dwell on the harder questions as they will eat up your available test time and may not allow you enough to finish the exam.
The last thing you need to do is actually count the number of marks on the answer sheet to make sure the number corresponds with the number of questions on the exam.