How To Study For Your Real Estate License? The life of a real estate agent is never dull. It isn't an average desk job. There is something new and exciting almost every day -- that's what makes the job so enjoyable. Furthermore, it's a lucrative career. Preparing for a unique challenge takes grit and dedication, but getting your license is exciting and an opportunity to expand your knowledge base. The exam has challenging questions, so you'll need to be prepared. That is why this article aims to provide some directions on how to become a real estate agent.
On average, the pass rate for the real estate exam is 50%. This means half of those who take the exam need to retake the exam at least once. So many students can't make it the first time because of the lack of proper planning or underestimating the exam. Your approach to the exam and through the entire course has to be well-calculated. Maintaining a study schedule and adequate guidance on the course can be the difference-maker. The real estate license course is uncharted territory for first-timers. The lack of a well-coordinated study plan can make this already challenging course even more gruelling. We don't want that! Also, some common mistakes are frequently repeated. We don't want that either! If you want to seize the jackpot on your first go, keep reading this post on things to look out for when studying for a real estate license exam. How long to get a real estate license? This depends on the amount of time you can dedicate to the exam. In most states, exams will take you approximately 1-3 months to complete the course work. If you are studying full time, you can complete most courses in 3 weeks to 2 months , and if you're studying part-time, give yourself 2-4 months.
Is the real estate exam hard? The real estate exam is not overly difficult. However, there are two main factors when determining if the real estate exam is hard: prior knowledge, experience writing exams. With prior knowledge of real estate transactions, the concepts are more relatable, making it easier to commit the learnings to memory. Also, if you've taken exams in the past, you're likely to have an understanding of crafting questions. This helps you predict the style of questions that you may encounter. Note, you can also accomplish this through studying practice exam questions. How To Study For Your Real Estate License Exam? Passing the real estate exam mostly depends on your approach. The key? Structure, consistency, and understanding the nature of the questions you will face on the test. So here are some study tips to prepare for your real estate license exam. These tips should ease your concern about how to study effectively to achieve your passion. Let's go: Complete The Course The syllabus for the real estate licensing exam varies across states, provinces, and areas. Essential topics like real estate principles and ethical issues regarding real estate practice are similar among various jurisdictions, but each region has different questions. As soon as you enroll in your course, get a hold of the entire syllabus. Prepare proper notes and always make sure all the books are the latest edition containing current information. You will likely encounter concepts such as
Real estate law
Representative relationships and fiduciary duties
Real estate finance
Contract law and process
Properties types and structures
Appropriate negotiation and communication practice in the industry
Most states will indicate their exact categories directly on their website. For example, the California real estate exam has the following course requirements
Real Estate Appraisal
Real Estate Finance
Real Estate Economics
Legal Aspects of Real Estate
Real Estate Office Administration
Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
Computer Applications in Real Estate
Common Interest Developments
In comparison, the following topics are on the New Jersey exam. You'll notice there are a lot of similarities between states
Real Estate Principles I
Real Estate Principles II
Law of Agency
Law of Contracts
Promulgated Contract Forms
Real Estate Finance
Real property characteristics
Forms of ownership
Property values and appraisals
Commission duties and powers
Real estate licensing in Texas
Ethics and Conduct
These are intense topics! Some will come easier for you while others may take some additional studying - that's ok. Internalizing these concepts will ensure that no part of your course gets left behind. Get a Feel For the Material Start by skimming all the material. This doesn't mean you're reading all of the lessons; instead, you're reading the headings and topics in each section. Most students dive right into the material, but this practice will set you up for success throughout your study sessions. The act of skimming the material helps you form bonds between concepts as you're learning them. For example, suppose you know that you'll be learning about the difference between a condominium and non-condominium ownership. In that case, you'll create connections around these differences when you are learning about finance on different property types. To extend beyond this, you can use a technique popularized by Farnam Street, where they explain how to remember what you read. This technique has you writing down everything you know about a concept before you start. Then you add to this document and form connections as you progress. Their example is remembering what you read. However, this extends to prepping for exams as well.
Revise Previous Year Questions Like any critical public examination, real estate exams maintain a vast pool of questions originating from the core topics. These questions are gold! Every year, these questions are switched up to make brand new questions. However, the themes tend to be usually similar. Pay close attention to the practice questions since they will likely be similar (but not the same) as the questions you'll face on the real estate exam. Most find this studying challenging. They'd rather read and highlight material than being pushed to answer questions before they're ready. Although it takes additional mental fortitude to start reviewing (and trying to answer) practice questions early, this will help you understand the nature of the questions on the exam. Plus, you'll double down on concepts that are important to pass the exam. So, it's a good idea to go through those questions at least a few times as you are and while you're studying. Memorizing without understanding the basics may lead to a poor result as the questions can be phrased differently, but the themes will likely be similar. Focus On The Content Memorizing without grasping the core of the matter is risky. You can memorize the answers to questions from A to Z, but we also need to focus on how this extends to real estate life. On top of that, the questions will be slightly different on the exam. How do we handle this? Below you will learn about diffuse learning. This concept shows that memorization is important, but we need to allow time for that concept to fit together and form bonds. This is critical thinking that will serve you in the exam and your real estate career. If you study the basic concepts and understand how it works, you can answer almost any question about it, no matter how complicated the questions are. Pro tip: Ask yourself, "how could a question come from a given topic?" This simple act allows for your mind to think in terms of questions - answers. This is distinct from passive reading. For example, you'll learn about representative relationships. Memorizing these is the first step, but how could a question be phrased around this topic? To learn to read the concepts, think critically about them, and then judge how a question may be phrased about the given topic. Maintain A Study Schedule No matter what you do in life, proper planning and maintenance of your schedule will yield the most desired result. When studying, this becomes even more important. If you study without any schedule, you will miss track of what you have completed and what you have not. Also, you will have a hard time completing the course. Studying haphazardly won't work. When preparing for a test exam, being methodical and meticulous is the key. The easiest way to pull that off is by dividing your study time into a few effective blocks. Pro Tip: If you're working while studying, break your studying into chunks. Before you start your day, review the concepts from the prior study session. During a break, reread the concepts you will be exploring later in the day. Dive into the new material in the afternoon/evening. This schedule helps one commit the ideas to memory and gives you the appropriate time to think through the material throughout the day. Don't Overdo It Studying day and night, skipping every other part of your life isn't a healthy study plan. You will be burned and exhausted. Also, you're this doesn't allow your memory to leverage diffuse thinking. Diffuse thinking is a relaxed period where concepts begin to take shape. This concept is also referred to as System 2 thinking, popularized by economist Daniel Kahneman in Thinking Fast and Slow. This is the debate between intensity and consistency. To study without a break is intense but rarely results in internalizing the concepts. Instead, use a schedule that pairs active learning with passive diffuse thinking. Take Care Of Yourself Before big exams, stress levels can rise. Low-level stress has actually been shown to improve performance, but chronic stress will impede our memories. Build-in breaks. Take time to enjoy your life outside of studying for your real estate exam.
Build a sustainable schedule
Ensure fitness and health is a priority
Spend time discussing what you've learned with family, friends, and colleagues
Start a basic meditation practice
These suggestions aren't just health drivers; they improve your ability to retain real estate concepts and improve your exam performance. Mistakes To Avoid When Preparing For Real Estate License Exam Completing the course for any exam, including the real estate license exam, is vital. But a planned approach is equally important. When studying for the real estate license exam, some frequent mistakes can be the difference makers. Here are some mistakes that you must avoid when preparing for real estate exam-taking: Procrastination Procrastination is human nature. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a study session. Just avoid missing two study sessions. This is a rule that extends to prospecting in real estate too. Skipping one session happens - life gets in the way; however, missing two sessions is forming a habit. Pro Tip: Never miss two consecutive study sessions. Often we start studying with zeal, but this fades with time. This is natural. It's the consistency that propels one to a successful real estate exam. Regardless of if you're a morning or evening person, focus on some degree of studying in the morning. Learning sessions in the morning are more challenging to skip compared to after a lengthy day. These can be short review sessions, but this instills the habit of consistent daily studying. Stretching The Course This occurs when we push our target exam date. Continuously pushing back our target date removes the pressure of needing to study regularly. This is easy to do with the real estate exam because there isn't a "set date" to take the test. Life happens - that's ok! But set a target date to take your exam and work backways through the syllabus to select dates you intend on finishing each section. Taking The Exam For Granted Assuming that the exam is a cakewalk is the last thing you want to do. Becoming a real estate agent isn't your average career, and concepts are diverse. Yes, there will be concepts that seem less applicable to your day-to-day, but you're about to help someone with their most significant investment. Top agents need to understand the general real estate concepts such as real estate law, finance, contracts, board and governing organizational rules. The questions are meant to push your thinking and stretch your understanding of real estate material. Remember, only 50% pass the first time. Be perseverant and don't underestimate the exam. Studying Unimportant Topics Now comes the "unimportant topics." Is there such a thing? Well, that's a loaded question. There are specific topics that will not help you pass the exam but will serve you well in your career. Most exams do not target questions around market dynamics and building your business as a Realtor. Now to be clear, these topics are essential! But are supplementary to your learning for the exam. Many state exams publicly disclose the percentage of questions that relate to each topic. Follow this closely. You'll be tempted to double down on concepts that are most familiar to you. This is human nature. We want to work on the topics where we excel. Real estate exam questions weighting example Instead, be strategic about your studying. Use the weighting distribution to inform your study efforts. If your state or province does not release the weighting, consider the areas you're least comfortable with. This can be more intellectually demanding but will improve your chances of success on the real estate exam. To succeed with the exam, study the materials in the course. That's not to say you shouldn't be exposing yourself to business building, market dynamics, personal branding and more, but double down on these areas once you're licensed. Real estate is a lifelong learning journey. Memorizing Everything Memorization plays a role in the exam, but to extend beyond the exam (and achieve the best result with the test), internalize the concepts. Many questions are based on calculations and the real estate laws of the respective state. So, rote memorization isn't the best approach. You'll be faced with a uniquely worded question on the exam, which can trip up the student. A practical approach is to memorize plus think about the concept in different ways. For example, let's say you're learning about contract law. Perhaps you understand the idea of a "condition" versus a "term." Take this one step further and ask if your client wanted the roof fixed before closing, would this be a condition or a term? Or, let's say your client needs to review condominium documents before they're willing to proceed with the sale. Would this be a condition or a term? You don't need to have all the answers, but asking questions such as this internalizes the knowledge and makes you a critical thinker - a skill that will serve you well in your career. The night before the exam Ok, you've made it to the big day! How can you ensure you achieve the best result on the exam? Although you've heard this advice before, ensure you're not cramming the night before. Retention rates are lower when cramming. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't spend time studying the night before. The best way to optimize for your real estate exam is to review the sections focusing on those areas you're least comfortable with. But don't simply read materials; this has the lowest retention rate. Instead, practice exam questions to improve performance. This will prepare your mindset for thinking in terms of asking questions. But can't I cram for the real estate exam? It's not that cramming can't work. You can pass the exam if you cram, but the likelihood will drop. If you are going to cram the night before, at least do it properly. Follow the steps above where you are practicing questions as a means of "cramming." Simply rereading the materials is not an effective use of your time. Conclusion Congrats on starting the process to get your real estate license. It's an exciting journey. Studying for a real estate license exam can be challenging, but it's a rewarding process. Remember to schedule your sessions, avoid missing two sessions in a row, and allow for diffuse thinking to improve our test outcome.