Free California Real Estate Practice Exam Questions 2024

The real estate market has seen its shares of ups and downs. But there will always be a demand for California real estate. The warm temperatures, luxury estates, and diversity ensure the state has something for every type of homebuyer.

You can get in on the California real estate market by becoming a realtor. Realtors earn a commission which equals a percentage of every home they sell. With California homes being some of the most expensive in the nation, agents can generate a considerable profit.

However, agents will need a license before they can get started in the business. To earn a license, they must pass the real estate exam.

California practice exam

The real estate exam is a difficult test. But with the proper preparation, you can pass it and earn your license.

This article will give you an idea of what’s on the California real estate exam so you can get headed in the right direction.

California real estate laws and regulations

California real estate is guided by laws and regulations set by the California Department of Real Estate. They are in the exam. They will also be integral in guiding you throughout your career. 

There are several laws and regulations to be aware of. Here are some of the most important ones. 

  • Escrow Agents: An escrow agent is integral to the home-selling process. The escrow agent holds the buyer’s deposit and seller’s deed and transfers the items after the transaction is complete. 
  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation: Buyers may sue sellers for fraudulent misrepresentation if they knowingly conceal a home’s defects. The legal system will determine if the seller knowingly concealed the flaws. 
  • Preliminary Title Report: When a home is sold, a title company conducts a title search to write a Preliminary Title Report (PTR). The report serves as the basis for the insurance. 
  • Transfer Tax: The state of California, and some California cities, impose a transfer tax when a property is transferred from the buyer to the seller. Sometimes the buyer will pay this tax. Sometimes, the seller is responsible. The responsible party varies by location. 
  • Lead Paint: Potential buyers must be told whether a property has lead paint and be made aware of lead paint risks. Real estate agents must provide documentation on the property’s paint history. A state-accredited inspection must also be conducted. 
  • Smoke Detectors: Every property must have at least one smoke detector per sleeping area. The seller or agent must provide written evidence of the smoke detectors in the property. 
  • Disclosure Laws: California real estate disclosure laws require sellers to disclose certain information to buyers such as property tax details, known nearby military artilleries, sale price information, working conditions of appliances and property features, nearby sex offenders, and the home’s paint history. They must also tell buyers if a death has occurred on the property in the last three years. 
  • Real Estate Roles: A new 2020 California real estate law prohibits home inspectors from giving an opinion on a property’s valuation. It also prevents inspectors from engaging in home inspector’s duties. 
  • Homeless Tenants: Another 2020 law allowed tenants to take in homeless people with the landlord’s written permission, regardless of the terms of the lease or rental agreement. The law also includes protections and provisions for the landlord and tenant. 
  • Religious Items: Homeowners and tenants may display religious items on their doorways without restriction unless they pose a safety threat, contain graphics, violate a relevant law, or prohibit entry and exit. 

What’s on the California real estate exam?

Applicants must be aware of the topics covered in the real estate exam. This information will help them determine what areas they should concentrate on. The topic list is as follows:

  • Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures (37-38 questions, 25% of the exam): Disclosures were briefly covered in the laws and regulations section above. In addition to sellers revealing details about the safety and functionality of the property, lenders are also required to abide by disclosure laws. They must give buyers information about advance fees, notice of transfer, the borrower’s right to a copy of an appraisal report, credit terms, and whether an agent receives compensation from them. If the seller or lender does not abide by disclosure laws, they will be responsible for the buyer’s damages. Applicants must understand disclosure laws and general real estate practices to earn a favorable mark on this section. Many applicants say this is the hardest part of the test. 
  • Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duty (25-26 questions, 17% of the exam): Laws of agency refer to the legally binding relationship between the agent and their client. They cause agents to act in their client’s best interest. Fiduciary duty requires an agent to safeguard money or documents entrusted to them by the client. They must not disclose any confidential information unless they are required to. 
  • Property Ownership and Land Use Controls and Regulations (22-23 questions, 15% of the exam): Land use controls refer to the tension between what a homeowner can do and what the government allows them to do on their property. Property ownership also refers to different types of ownership and deed recording. 
  • Property Valuation and Financial Analysis (21 questions, 14% of the exam): A property valuation considers various factors. It is based on demand, utility, scarcity, and transferability. It is determined by the appraisal, a comparative market analysis, a broker’s price opinion, how much the buyer paid for the property, and how much it would cost to construct a new building or recreate the property if it was destroyed. 
  • Contracts: There are various contracts involved in the real estate process. Contracts for deeds, purchase agreements, contingencies, and inspections are just a few that agents must be aware of. They should know when these contracts are required and how to understand them. 
  • Financing: Real estate financing involves how people purchase real estate. It involves the analysis, planning, and management of financial resources related to real estate. 
  • Transfer of Property: Transfer of property occurs when a buyer purchases a property from a seller. It can be voluntary or involuntary. It can be through sale, foreclosure, wills, and other types of transactions. 

California real estate exam FAQs?

Golden,Gate,,San,Francisco,,California,,Usa.Now you have a good idea of what is on the real estate exam. But I’m sure you still have many questions. This section should answer most questions so you can feel confident about taking the exam. 

1. How long is the California real estate exam? 

The California real estate exam has 150 multiple-choice questions. Applicants have three hours to complete the test. 

2. How do I apply for the real estate exam?

You can schedule the real estate exam on the Department of Real Estate website. You must create an eLicensing account and apply. You must submit a valid photo ID, a completed live scan form, and three course certificates proving you completed the required coursework. You will also be required to pay an application and licensing fee. Additional fees may apply. 

3. What should I bring with me to the exam?

You will need to bring a valid form of identification. A government ID, driver’s license, passport, or military ID will work. You should also bring a notice with the exam date and location that you received in the mail. 

If you bring a cell phone to the exam, you must turn it off and place it out of sight. If it rings during the exam, you may be disqualified. 

4. Should I take a calculator to the exam?

No, California test moderators will not permit you to bring a calculator into the exam room. Rather, they will provide you with a basic calculator you can use. 

5. Is there math on the California real estate exam?

California’s real estate exam is not as math-heavy as other state exams. Questions get swapped out often, and some applicants will find math on their test while others will not. Most applicants will get 5-7 math problems on their exam. 

6. How many hours of coursework do I need before I can take the exam?

You need 135 hours of pre-licensing coursework which consists of 45 hours of real estate principles, 45 hours of real estate practice, and 45 hours of real estate finance. 

7. How much does it cost to take the exam?

As of 2023, applicants must pay a $60 fee to take the exam. 

8. What happens if I fail the exam?

You may retake the exam only after you are notified of the failure of the prior test. If you apply before you get your results, your exam will be flagged and the results will be withheld and possibly canceled. 

After you get the results, you may apply to retake the exam using the eLicensing online system or your examination result notice. If you cannot find the notice, you can use a Salesperson Examination Change Application to reapply. 

You may retake the test unlimited times within two years following the date you filed the original application. However, each retake will cost you $60.  If you don’t pass within two years, you must submit a new application, requalify, retake the prelicensing course, meet all state standards, and pay the testing fee. 

9. When will I get my test results?

Applicants will have their test results mailed to them within five business days. They can also look up their exam results on the Bureau of Real Estate website,, within three business days. 

If you pass the exam, you will not receive your grade. You will only receive a notice that tells you you’ve passed. 

If you fail the exam, you will receive your score and a breakdown of the areas you performed well and poorly on. This information will help you focus on your weaknesses and do better the next time. 

10. How many people pass the CA real estate exam?

In 2020, 53% of applicants passed the CA real estate exam on their first attempt. 

11. Where can I take the exam?

There are five exam locations in California as follows:

  • Los Angeles
  • Sacramento 
  • San Diego
  • Fresno
  • Oakland

12. What is the format of the real estate exam?

The real estate exam is a four-option multiple-choice test. Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento provide the test in a pencil and paper format. Fresno and Oakland offer electronic exams. 

13. What is the passing grade?

The passing grade for the exam is 70%. 

14. I passed my exam. Now what?

After you pass the exam, the DRE will send you paperwork so you can complete your license application. You will have one year to submit the application and other required documents and pay the fee. If you don’t complete the process within a year, you must retake the exam. 

You can receive your license without being affiliated with a broker. However, you cannot engage in real estate activities until you receive a broker affiliation. 

15. When should I show up for the exam? 

You should show up 30 minutes early for the exam. 

16. What if I need to change my exam date?

If you need to change your exam date, you may do so online at or by completing and returning the reschedule request form that was sent to you with the notice of your examination date. You will be required to pay a rescheduling fee. 

The same process applies if you have an emergency and cannot show up for the exam. 

17. Can I request my exam date?

The real estate bureau has a schedule of open exam dates. You may request a specific date. However, slots are filled on a rolling basis, so there is no guarantee you will get the slot you request. 

California is a great state to launch a real estate career. But you must pass the real estate exam before you can get your license. 

This article will give you an idea of what you can expect on the exam and prepare you for what’s ahead. Good luck getting a passing grade. 

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About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 6/11/2024