Passing your real estate exam is no easy task. Having prepared literally thousands of real estate agents for their exam over the years, I have learned a few things. In addition, I am the type of person that believes there is a method to everything. Anything can be “hacked,” you just need to figure it out. If you want a few easy hacks to help you pass your real estate exam the first time, this is your guide!
Real Estate Exam Hack #1: Understand the Purpose of the Test
I believe that an undeniable principle to excelling at anything that is new or unfamiliar to you is to view the task from 30,000 feet. Just like flying above the scene in an airplane, if you can step back and see the big picture it helps you understand why the test is there and therefore you can prepare with the right goal in mind.
The purpose of the real estate license exam is to protect the public. That’s right, the purpose of the test has nothing to do with you being a successful real estate agent. The real estate exam is not designed to test your sales skills, or your people skills, or even measure your ability to sell real estate! The real estate exam is designed as a minimum test of competency to make sure that folks who get a real estate license actually have a real estate background before interacting with the public.
So, keeping this in mind, what do you think is going to be important on the test if the purpose is to protect the public? Easy:
- Real estate laws and regulations
- Consumer protection laws
- Agency responsibilities (fiduciary duty)
- State specific real estate regulations
Since the reason the real estate exam is there is to maintain minimum competency and protect the public from real estate agents who don’t know what is right or wrong, the real estate exam is going to have a lot of focus on these issues. So if you want to hack the real estate exam and pass it the first time, know your laws, know your consumer’s rights, understand your fiduciary duties, and know the state specific regulations where you live!
Since I got my start in Louisiana, I will use that as a baseline to help you understand the test outline and how it can help you. In most states, there is generally one testing company or administrator who is charged with preparing and administering the real estate exam in your state. For instance, as long as I can remember Louisiana has contracted with PSI Exams in order to administer the test. In other states, for instance, this company might be Thomson-Prometric or Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) – it just depends on whom your state agency decides to contract with to administer the test.
Typically as a part of public policy and also their state contract, your testing service will issue a test outline to show exactly what is being asked on your license exam. Of course, this outline does not show you the exact questions but what it does is show you the topic areas and how much they will show up on your exam. See an example below from my home state of Louisiana:
As you can see, the outline shows you every single topic area that you need to be prepared for in order to pass the test. In fact, PSI even tells you exactly how many questions you will receive on your exam from each area. Therefore, your studies should keep the test content distribution in mind. Let’s look at an example from the PSI Exam Outline:
Financing – Salesperson (6 Items)
Real Estate Contracts – (11 Items)
What this means is that if I am a test-taker, I will get exactly 6 questions about real estate finance and 11 questions on contracts. So which one should I study harder? Contracts, of course! There are almost double the amount of questions on the exam concerning real estate contracts than there are about real estate finance.
I am not saying to ignore some areas of the test, what I am saying is to hack the exam and use your study time efficiently you should study the most what you will be asked the most about! So, if you are the type of test-taker that really doesn’t like real estate finance – or math – keep in mind how much those sections actually will impact your score compared to others on the test outline.
The test outline is distributed for your benefit – so use it and know what to study and how much to study it!
Real Estate Exam Hack #3: Don’t Overload Yourself with Information Sources
It is the year 2016 as I right this. I am a millennial. I grew up with the internet, search engines, and have lived through the rise of things like Facebook and Youtube. (shameless plug to find me on Facebook and YouTube). It is because of the amazing amount of free information available to people that I know some students are pulling real estate exam prep information from all over the internet – and some of it is wrong. Like, really wrong.
It is easy to become overwhelmed when you are in real estate school. For some people, they simply have not been in a school of any sort in quite some time and the amount of information alone can be exhausting. For others, they just may have no prior exposure to real estate and you will learn a lot of things in any real estate course (at least, you will in ours). However, if you turn to the internet and places like Amazon and buy every “real estate” prep book and aide you can find – it just might do more harm than good.
For instance, have you ever been told not to believe everything you read on the internet?? Well, don’t fall into that same trap when it comes to pulling information for your real estate exam! If you have chosen a school wisely like ours at Donaldson Educational Services, you should understand that everything has been prepared for you to give you the best chance to succeed. We have done everything we can to give you all the tools to pass your real estate exam the first time! Therefore, don’t overload yourself with information by buying a bunch of crappy real estate books from eBay or Amazon. Don’t go find some guy’s YouTube that you have no idea who he is or where he is from and try and learn from whatever he is selling. Stick to the plan, you chose a school like Donaldson for a reason. Remember, we are largely judged (fairly or unfairly) by the success rate of our graduates on the real estate exam so it is in our interest to give you the BEST materials ON THE PLANET to pass the exam.
Make sure you choose your exam prep program carefully, and try to trust in the materials you are provided and don’t overload yourself with too much. At the end of the day, the real estate exam is an organized animal and with the right preparation and guidance you can pass it the first time with no problem.
Use these three hacks as you prepare for your real estate exam, and I sincerely hope you pass the first time! Feel free to comment below with any questions or general comments – I will be around to connect with you for sure.