To get a real estate license to buy and sell property, you have to get a real estate license in the state where you want to operate. Check out the web site for your state’s department of licensing or real estate commission for specific details. Requirements for licensure vary by state, but most require 60 to 90 hours of prelicense education, passing a licensing exam, and submitting an application.
You will schedule to take the licensing exam with a designated provider like AMP. You will be asked to show up to the testing site with the necessary identification paperwork prepared to take the test. You may be allowed to bring a standard calculator but nothing else. Many exams will have 80 to 100 questions on general real estate topics and 60 to 80 questions covering state laws and rules.
Candidate handbooks for your state may be available online. A great resource for exam prep, they may include sample questions, number and breakdown of the questions, format, and information on test taking rules.
You know what’s going to be on the test: the stuff that was covered in your prelicensing course. So the best way to do well on the exam is to focus, put in the effort, and ace the real estate course.
Develop good study habits long before the test. As you go through the course, take notes. Review lessons that give you trouble. Do all the activities and worksheets and whatever else is provided. The more you engage with the material, the better you’ll remember it in the exam room.
Take the practice exams. Many online prelicense courses include lots of practice exams, so take advantage of them. Practice makes perfect, right? Plus, it will help you feel more confident and defeat test stress during the exam.
Learn as much as you can about the exam and the exam site (question type, time limit, required pass score, rules). Check out the exam provider’s web site, download study guides and candidate handbooks, and read through sample test questions, much of which you can find online.
Basic Test Taking Tips
Most state licensing exams contain multiple choice questions with four answer choices: the correct answer and three distractors.
Read the question carefully, multiple times if necessary, to ensure you know exactly what it is asking. Questions may be phrased in odd ways like: “The licensee shall disclose all of the following EXCEPT: ”
First, think of the correct answer to the question before looking at the answer choices. Then read each answer choice. Some tips on choosing the right answer include:
- Eliminate choices that are obviously incorrect so you can quickly narrow the choice down and improve your odds.
- It is more likely that a positive answer is correct rather than a negative choice.
- Don’t avoid “none of the above” and “all of the above.” One study found that they were correct 52% of the time.
- The same study also found that the longer answer, within reason, is often correct.
- Common prefixes, suffixes, and word roots can help you figure out the terms you don’t know.
- Keep an eye out for grammatical clues: subject/verb agreement and “a” vs. “an” may hint at the correct answer.
If it is possible, answer the questions you’re confident about first and then go back to the ones you skipped and see if you can pick out the correct answer.
Memorize the Basics
There are certain basic real estate facts that will be on the test. Most real estate licensing exams have a national portion and a state portion. If you can, go back and review the state-specific part of your prelicense course.
Also make sure you know the big real estate facts by heart, such as:
- Types of listings and agent agreements
- Types of licensees and agents
- Fiduciary duties
- Contract types and elements
- Forms of ownership
- Deeds and titles
- Fair housing rules
- Types of property conveyance
Coping with Stress
Prepare emotionally to take the exam. Test taking is inherently stressful, but when the outcome determines whether you can become a real estate agent, it gets to anxiety-level stress.
Recognize the signs of anxiety such as sweating, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling hands, shaking legs, and nausea. This can sabotage you, leading to poor concentration, confusion, and negative attitudes.
Practice breathing and muscle relaxation techniques before the test so you’re ready. Breathe deeply and slowly and allow every muscle in your body to relax while you concentrate on your breathing. Progressively tense and then relax a muscle system.
Break the self-defeating habit of negative self-talk as it can distract you from the test. Visualize yourself in a room full of people with a proctor watching. Knowledge about the situation can help you relax.
So if you’ve researched the exam, studied the topics, and prepared yourself emotionally, you are ready to take the exam. Believe that you will pass the test; that and a lot of preparation will dramatically increase your odds of passing your real estate licensing exam.