Test-Taking Tips

It's normal for prospective agents to be nervous about the exam that is required to obtain a real estate salesperson or broker license. After all, most of them are adults who have been in another career for a while and they haven't taken a test for a long time. Yes, the tests are usually difficult, but You'll ease the exam stress by being prepared.


What happens if I fail my exam?

Most states let you retake the real estate exam if you fail it the first time. Check your state laws to find out how many times you are allowed to take the exam before you must re-enroll in prelicensing school.

The number one aspect of the test that most potential real estate agents or brokers are afraid of is the real estate math portion. You can feel better about tackling this part of the exam if you pay close attention during classes so that you understand the mathematical formulas that are used most often by real estate agents. The majority of them are simple and focus on calculations You'll eventually make for your clients, such as how much a house must sell for in order for the seller to have X amount of money left over at closing. Most states allow you to bring a calculator to the exam. You still need to know the formula, but you can plug it in to the calculator to get your answer.

Some math problems will involve the HUD-1, which is the standard real estate closing statement that identifies all funds associated with a transaction. Broker tests usually include more closing-statement questions than salesperson exams, but everyone should be prepared for them.

If you don't feel comfortable with the math, purchase a real estate math handbook and work the problems as many times as it takes for you to grasp them. Prelicensing schools usually sell their favorite math books.

Find Sample Tests

Your school probably sells workbooks or computer software filled with sample tests that are similar to the real estate exams given in your state. You'll also find sample tests online, but make sure they are designed specifically for the state where you will take your test. None of the samples will be an exact match to a state exam, but using them for practice tests will reveal your strengths and weaknesses. don't wait too long to start practicing. You'll need time to strengthen your skills if you score low on some topics.


You must pass a test administered by your school before you are allowed to take the state exam. The test might be very similar to a state test, or it might not. If you breeze through your school's test, don't assume the state exam will be easy. Keep studying and practicing until you are comfortable with all of the subjects.

The Night Before

Read over your notes but don't stay up all hours cramming facts into your head. If you don't know the information the day before the test, one more night won't be much help. Lay out everything you need for test day — from the clothes you plan to wear to the identification testers will require. Get a good night's sleep and make sure to set your alarm. You might be too nervous to eat a large meal right before the test, but try to eat something that morning so that your blood sugar remains stable. Avoid caffeinated beverages if they tend to make you jittery; you want the calmest nerves possible during your test! don't forget to leave early, in case you run into a traffic snarl.

During the Test

The staff at your prelicensing school probably explained the grading procedures. If all of the questions are worth the same amount of points, don't spend time obsessing over any one of them. If you don't know an answer, move on. You can come back to the question later and perhaps one of the questions ahead will trigger your memory.

Read each question carefully. It's not unusual for the questions to contain a phrase or word that sounds like a fact you've heard over and over, but has a very different meaning in the context of the question. Pace yourself and move carefully from question to question. During the exam, try to remain calm and remember: It's only a test. If your first attempt isn't successful, You'll know what to expect the second time.

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