Before officially becoming a licensed real estate professional, you must complete your required courses and of course, take and pass your state’s real estate salesperson license exam. Once that is complete, you’ll continue learning from your mentor or broker in the real world. But for now, the focus is on preparing for your state exam.
Sadly, it’s too common for people pursuing their licenses to fail the state exam the first time. This is usually a result from lack of effective preparation. But that doesn’t have to be you! Here’s 10 studying tips to help you better retain what you’ve learned and ultimately, pass your state’s real estate exam the first and only time. Let’s get started!
1. Complete Course Work
This is a no-brainer. You can complete your necessary course work at a DRE-approved real estate school. As soon as your real estate courses or program begins, start studying the material. Purchase current books and study them from cover to cover. Take notes on everything. When you begin studying for the state exam, you’ll want to review all your notes to prepare for the exam.
If you are taking in-class courses, do all homework or assignments listed in the book on your own. Instructors may not cover all book exercises. In addition to self-study, join a study group with fellow classmates to help reinforce classroom material. Taking a test preparatory course is also highly encouraged.
2. Use the Right Resources
Focusing on the resources designed to pass the real estate exam will establish a solid study foundation. There are multitudes of practice tests available online. Because questions and tests change due to business practices and legal revisions; it’s important to ensure you are working with the most up-to-date training books, study guides and resources.
The practice tests Agent Real Estate Schools use contain sample questions that are similar to questions you will see on your state exam. However, the Department of Real Estate maintains a large pool of exam questions that they draw from on a frequent and indeterminable basis. The exam will be different from one day to the next.
3. Just Memorizing Questions Doesn’t Help
Because questions change daily on the exams, it is important that you concentrate on learning the subject matter of each question instead of memorizing the questions and answers. By learning the subject matter, you are preparing yourself to answer questions that may be reworded or have different choices. You may not answer a question correctly if you do not understand a certain term, so we advise you to study the glossary and test your knowledge on terms and their definitions.
Remember to learn the concepts around the questions as you answer them. By reading the question and the correct answer, aloud, three times, the redundancy helps you to retain what you are learning, so when you see the question on the exam, the answer will stand out to you. Continue taking the practice and final briefing exams until you have achieved at least 90%. For many students this is the key to passing the exam.
4. Create a Study Schedule – And Stick To It
Rather than looking at all you have to study, try to split it into sections. Doing this can help you organize your notes and achieve more in a shorter amount of time. It also helps to split sections into information you’ve already mastered, need more review on, and things you might have missed. This allows you to see a bigger picture of what topics you know and topics you don’t. With this, you’ll be able to keep track of what you’ve accomplished, feel more confident, and want to tackle more.
5. Budget Your Time
Select a quiet and undisturbed environment for practice testing. Make sure you have a score sheet, calculator, a pencil with an eraser, and a piece of scratch paper. Do not start until you have set aside enough uninterrupted time to complete an entire practice test. You are allotted 3 hours, 15 minutes to complete the 150-question salesperson examination. This time allotment breaks down to approximately one and a half-minute per question, so you cannot spend a disproportionate amount of time on any one question.
If you are struggling with a question, pass it up, mark the question number in column fashion on your scratch paper and continue. Sometimes, another question will give you some help on the questions you passed up. Attempt to complete each test in less time than you will be allowed for the actual state examination.
6. Study for the Style of Exam
Real estate licensing exams have two parts: national and state. Although you’ll want to learn some basic concepts about state-specific ownership rights and laws for the long term, don’t let this get you off track in the beginning. This test measures your ability to take a test and to make a minimum grade. Therefore, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of definitions and concepts.
7. Quiz Yourself
If you think about and create your own exam questions, you will likely become more familiar with what you need to study and, in the meantime, familiarize yourself with the type of language that will be on the exam. Draft potential exam questions and quiz yourself so that you can set expectations of what you need to focus on.
8. Reorganize Your Notes
Evaluate and reorganize your notes into level of importance, outlining important concepts, formulas, dates and definitions so they’re easy to understand. It also helps to create a system that allows you to color code material that’s going to be on the exam by what’s most important, less important, etc. This allows you to focus on the most pertinent information and prioritize the material.
9. Visualize Concepts
Research shows that visual learning helps store information longer, aid better comprehension, and even drive motivation! Therefore, it helps to create mind maps or diagrams to visualize how the concepts you’re learning relate to one another. This is especially beneficial when learning concepts that build upon the understanding of one another.
10. Make It Fun!
It’s easier to focus on something when you enjoy it. How about making a game out of your study sessions? Quiz yourself, create acronyms or reward yourself for a job well done. Create a game plan – literally – that allows you to accomplish tasks and be rewarded for each.
For example, why not reward yourself with a small treat after you’ve completed a new chapter or give yourself a five-minute break for every chunk of material you digest? Whatever you decide, make it something you enjoy!
And that’s it! There may be additional techniques beyond these 10 in studying for the real estate exam, but we made sure to share the ones that have the most effective results. Overall, it’s best to create study techniques that best fit for you, but these are simply to guide you in the right direction. We hope you take these into careful consideration and get the most out of what you’ve learned so far. Good luck and happy studying!