Is the Real Estate Exam Multiple Choice? & More FAQ’s to Help You Pass Your Exam the First Time

School test

If you’re starting to prepare to take your real estate exam, and looking for simple answers to your questions… we got you!

There is an overwhelming amount of information to process when you’re starting a new career in real estate, and sometimes you just need a quick yes or no answer. 

In this article we aim to give you simple answers to help you manage your expectations, know how to prepare, and develop a strategy for best study practices. We’ve also listed a few places that offer free practice exams to help you get started right away.

Let’s get started with a list of requirements to be aware of before you start preparing for your exam.

Exam Requirements to Receive Your License

First things first, there are documents, forms, and class requirements you will need to provide in order to take your exam. I suggest making a list and checking them off as you complete them. The more organized you are in this process the better.

Here’s a few requirements you can expect, but they do vary by state.

  1. You will need to complete a pre-licensing course. Hours required vary by state. 
    1. Depending on your state, you will need to pass your course exam, which is different from the licensing exam.
  2. You will need to provide your license. 
  3. Some states require fingerprints. 
  4. They will require background checks. 
  5. You must be at least 18 years old.
  6. You will need to send in an application for your license with the timeline set by your state

Here is an example of what is required to obtain your real estate license in Virginia, to get a sense of more general requirements. If you want to get started with your state right away, you can find your state’s department of real estate. Here is what it looks like for California

And now for some quick answers to some of your questions!

12 Frequently Asked Questions

Diving right in with one of the top questions you may have… 

  • Is the Real Estate Exam Multiple Choice?
      • Yes, but always confirm with your state’s exam structure. Typically the exam consists of only multiple choice questions that vary in format. By that I mean, you can expect questions that provide scenarios, math, or some true/false. 
  • Will there be math problems on the exam?
      • Yes, depending on your state between 10-15% of the exam will involve math. If math isn’t a strong suit for you, check out this article I wrote to help calm nerves, understand why it’s important, and learn a few important terms.
  • Can I use my notes?
      • No. The test is not open book, bummer, I know. I’ve also listed out 9 study tips here to help you develop some study habits to help you feel confident in your knowledge when you’re ready to take the exam. 
  • How many questions are on the exam?
      • Between 100-200 typically. Sorry, this one is not as clear cut because it depends on your state. BUT, you can expect the test to be divided into two portions, national and state. Here’s a breakdown for Virginia:
      • “The salesperson exam consists of 80 national questions and 40 state-specific questions. To pass, you must correctly answer at least 56 questions from the national portion and 30 for the state portion.” (Source)
  • How much time do I have to take the test?
  • What topics are on the exam?
      • Great question, and because this is specific to each state I suggest you go to RealEstateU here, for the simple and straightforward list of topics for your state.
  • If I pass, can I start working right away?
      • The simple answer is no, but here’s why: You have to be hired by a broker and registered with the board. So your next step is finding the right brokerage for you! That research can be started as soon as you like.  
  • Will I be allowed a calculator?
      • Yes, a simple calculator is allowed. 
  • Can I reschedule my exam if something comes up?
      • Yes. “All of them offer the option to reschedule it although in some cases you will forfeit the exam fee.” (Source)
  • If I didn’t pass the first time, how long do I have to wait to take it again?
      • Only 24 hours, but confirm with your state. If you pass one portion there are time limits on how long you can wait before retaking the failed portion. 
      • “If you fail only one portion of the exam, you can retake only that portion, regardless of which one it is. You need to retake it within one year of the first examination; otherwise, the passed portion of the exam will stop being valid.” (Source)
  • Can I retake the test if I fail?
      • Yes, most states allow you to retake the test as many times as it takes to pass. However, some states have a limit on how many times. If you want to know what your state allows, visit The CE Shop here to check your state!
  • Are there FREE practice exams available?
    • Yes! I suggest taking as many as you can until you consistently pass your practice exams.

Free Practice Exams

Suggestions for Classes 

I’m sure you have many more questions, and that’s why I suggest getting into class right away. You can take class in person, or online. Many online schools also provide a teacher you can reach out to with any questions you have, which is helpful. 

Both options are great. Depending on your schedule and what helps you learn best you will certainly benefit in any case from having your questions answered quickly. 

There are also online forums where you can pose your questions and find helpful answers. Reddit is usually a good option. 

Also, if you don’t have a mentor in real estate yet… it’s time to start building your networks with agents who can help you along the way. You’re going to have to start building your connections, might as well start now. 

Here are a few places:

  1. The CE Shop – they are widely trusted and offer exam prep in all states. 
  2. Van Education Center – they offer national prep courses at a reasonable price
  3. RealEstateU – a great option for your state portion
  4. Real Estate License Wizard – this company offers a free practice exam and combined pricing for both national and state pricing. 


There is a lot of information out there about getting your real estate license, how to study, how to pass, what to study, and it can get overwhelming. But you’ve now got some simple answers to some pertinent questions that should be helpful.

As you come across any more facts for your exam, keep a running list of answers that help you feel confident about what to expect as you’re preparing to get your license. 

Your mindset truly does matter as you are studying and learning. So keep reaching out to your connections, studying, and laying the groundwork for passing your exam with ease.    

Good luck with your exam!

Chris Heller Headshot

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: 3/26/2024