Real Estate Exam Prep – Do you need it?

women studying for licensing exam

Before taking your real estate test, you will have to take a variety of courses. After completing these courses, you may feel like you are ready to take your real estate test. You may be prepared to just review the course material and feel that’s all you will need to do to ace your test.

However, there are some things on the test your courses may not have prepared you for. There may be tricky questions that you are not sure how to answer. You may become lost and stressed out which will set the tone for the entire test taking session.

Therefore, it is best to take a test prep course. That way, you can feel confident that you will nail your test the first time around so you can start making some money.

Not sure if real estate test prep is necessary? Here are some reasons why it could be the best move you ever make.

The Real Estate Test is Hardwoman in front of computer

No matter how much of a walk in the park it was for you to pass your courses, the exam is sure to have some surprises. It has a lot of tricky questions and if you think you’re being asked the same questions twice… think again.

It’s a problem students have seen time and time again no matter which school they bought their courses from. While many online real estate schools like AceableAgent, RealEstateU, and Colibri Real Estate offer test prep, many students opt to purchase from a third-party site. PrepAgent purchased through AgentAdvice gives you instant access to live online group webinars, e-books, online training tools, and thousands of state-specific practice questions.

Additionally, there will be a lot of difficult math problems that you will need to figure out on the spot. If you’re not the best math student, you can easily get mixed up.

A test prep course will let you know exactly what to expect when it comes to tricky questions. It will teach you what kinds of questions will be on the test so you are prepared for wording that might not be as straightforward as it seems. It will provide you with state-specific material which will be key when it comes to passing your test.

It will Increase Your Chances of Passing on the First Try

Picture it. You just finished your real estate courses, and you are ready to take your test and embark on your new career.

Then you find out that you didn’t pass the exam. This means you have to hold off on getting started. It also means you will have to pay an additional fee to take the test again.

A test prep course will increase your chances of passing on the first shot. It will make you feel confident and secure and it will save you from dealing with the hassles of rescheduling your tests and putting off your first day at work.

woman thinkingYou Want to Feel Prepared

Many people say that the real estate exam is the hardest exam you will ever take. With that in mind, you will want to go into it with as much confidence as possible.

A test prep course will get you more familiar with the material on the test and it will give you the confidence you need not to second guess yourself. This can make all the difference when it comes to getting a passing grade.

You Can Get Started on Your Career Sooner

A real estate career gives people the opportunity to increase their earnings. Many individuals are looking forward to getting started so they can afford things they couldn’t afford in the past, pay off debts and live more comfortably.

A test prep course increases your chances of passing the test the first time around, so you don’t have to put off a better lifestyle. You can immediately start looking for brokerages and build a marketing campaign so you can start buying and selling and bringing in the big bucks.

Starting on your career sooner also means building experience sooner and the more experience you gain, the closer you will be in taking your career to the next level so you can start climbing that corporate ladder.

You Want Access to Updated Information

Test prep courses are constantly updating to provide material that will be on the latest real estate exam. That way, if you took some time between completing the course and taking your exam, or if you took a few months off between exams, you know you will be prepared with the information you need.

Money-Back Guaranteemoney

Not every test prep course will offer a guarantee that you will pass the test or get your money back, but there are some that do. If you can find a program that puts its money where its mouth is, you won’t end up paying for a service that isn’t effective.

Other Study Tips

Even if you find a great test prep course, it won’t mean anything if you don’t apply yourself and study. Here are some study tips that will help you ace the test.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute: Some people wait to the last minute to study before taking their real estate test. While it’s a good idea to make sure the material is fresh in your mind, if you put off studying, you may be overwhelmed when you find out how much you need to brush up. It’s a good idea to start looking over materials a few weeks out.

Set Study Goals: It’s advisable to set study goals at the beginning of each study session. That way, you will be able to get a good amount of studying accomplished without burning yourself out with information. It will also set you on course, so your studying is completed by the time you take your test.

Get a Distraction Blocker for Your Computer: When you’re studying on your computer, it’s easy to get distracted. You may end up wandering off to other sites or getting notifications that send your attention elsewhere. To keep this from happening, use a distraction blocker to temporarily block websites while you are working. Be sure to turn your phone off too!

The real estate exam is not easy. A test prep course can make all the difference in getting a passing grade. Consider taking one so you can nail that exam on your first try and get out there and start making some money.

This can all seem a bit daunting, we know. That’s why we’ve teamed up with some of the top real estate agents from around the country to give you the best tips to help you prepare.

They’ve all been there, and came out on the side. So we asked them to think back to the tricks they used to help study leading up to the exam.

Perspective from top realtors who have passed the real estate exam: 

Sera ChernSera Chern
Realtor in Kirkland, Washington
Practicing real estate for less than a year

“Getting a real estate license is a product of focus, perseverance, and hard work. Before I took my real estate exam, I was attending a lot of real estate conferences and was very close with other real estate brokers. This inspired me to get a license and become an official real estate agent.

Before taking the exam, you have to enroll yourself in a real estate school. They will provide you with books to study and online courses to finish. I spent 90 hours finishing all the courses. After finishing it, you will be given mock tests and review guides for the exam so you can practice applying what you learned. 

The second tip is to write down all the real estate words you are not familiar with during your review. This is where the exam focuses more on. You have to memorize all of them. Ask for help from other people. In my case, my husband, co-workers, and my virtual assistants helped me in studying and memorizing these terms. I printed out flashcards as well where they select real estate words randomly and ask me what the terms mean which is super helpful.

The last tip is if you did not pass the first take, do not be discouraged. Schedule for another to take the exam again after two weeks. Review your books, recall the questions where you are unsure of your answers, and do your research. Always have a positive mindset and be confident that you will pass the exam.



terrell headshotL Michelle Terrell
Realtor in Cedar Hill, Texas
Has had her Texas real estate license for 23 years

“I took the necessary coursework in class and then studied afterwards with other students. The teacher provided real world examples because she had been an agent as well. The case studies were useful aids for students to use situational analysis. 

I recommend obtaining a business degree first to reduce the number of required courses that you will take. 

Initially, an agent should work with a larger company that may provide leads for them. Training at the local associations is very helpful as well. Approach this as a business so start with a business plan.”



martinez headshotMatthew Martinez
Realtor in Sonoma, California
Has had his California real estate license for 11 years

“Start by only answering questions that are extremely easy. Go through the entire exam and only answer the questions that are extremely easy and you are fairly confident in your answer. 

Look at the answers first. While going through the exam, look at the answers first. You are looking for keywords and vocabulary terms that stand out.

Work backwards to the correct answer. Eliminate obviously wrong answers and work backwards to the correct answer. You may be able to eliminate only one or two of the options. Even so, you’ve raised your odds of getting the correct answer from 25% to 50-75%. That’s a big improvement!

Skip questions you don’t know the answer to. Don’t waste time on a question you can’t answer. Skip questions you don’t know the answer to and go back to them later.

And finally, once you’ve answered a test question, don’t change your answers.”



Martin headshotMartin Orefice
Realtor in Orlando, Florida
Has had Florida real estate license for 12 years

“Having a real estate agent as a friend was a great help. This was a big bonus for me because my friend gave me valuable insight into the basics of the exam and I was able to focus on what’s important. Plus, it helped me give direction to my preparation and concentrate on vital aspects of the examination. 

I opted for an online course. The best thing about enrolling for a course was that I was to get valuable insight into the subjects through concise and easy video lessons, which helped me gauge my progress and I was able to make the best use of mock tests to prepare better.”

What tips do you have for future agents?

“Get the Candidate Information Handbook. This is a valuable asset because it contains vital information about the exam rules, content guidelines, study material, scoring information, test-taking advice, and registration information. Learn as much as you can about the exam and prepare with better insight. 

Ditch the stress. Although real estate license exams are extensive, stress can be a big barrier to your preparation. Look for signs of stress and anxiety such as shortness of breath, sweating, trembling hands, etc. If you’re experiencing the same, practice deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation techniques. With a relaxed mindset, you’ll be able to perform better and give a new direction to your preparation.”



Tyler-Forte HeadshotTyler Forte
Realtor in Nashville, Tennessee
Practicing real estate for 6 years

“Many people studying for the real estate exam are already holding down another job- or two. Combining work with taking care of the kids and prepping for the exam can leave you feeling exhausted. So, it’s essential to make sure you are eating right and getting plenty of rest during the days leading up to the exam. When you’re feeling healthy and rested, you’ll be able to retain more of what you study and, thus, have a greater chance of passing that real estate exam.”



tia sellers headshotTia Sellers
Realtor in Wilmington, North Carolina
Practicing real estate for 19 years

Organize your study space, studying in clutter and disarray is not conducive to a healthy learning environment.

Find a quiet place to study without distraction, study in short 2 hour spans in quiet.  Take breaks outside every hour.  The fresh air and sunshine will help!

Read the material, highlight the material, and then take notes.  This integrates the material in your knowing self.  

Make flashcards of any material that you are having difficulty in.

Teach each chapter subject to a friend or family member.  By speaking and explaining to someone else, it helps you remember and retain the material.

Do not stay up all night before the exam cramming.  A better study plan is gradual studying and resting well the night before. 

Know your state rules and regulations.  This is a breaking point for many agents.  They become so focused on the general info that they fail the laws.



don montgomeryDon Montgomery
Realtor in Orlando, Florida
Practicing real estate for 21 years

“I opted to take the 63-hour course live and in one week which was grueling, and I believed the best course of action. Doing the class live meant I wasn’t going to procrastinate and be forced to stay focused on the material. 
Also, I selected to purchase the additional State Prep Exam because according to the instructors they go over questions that have been known to be on the test. 
The biggest contributor that gave me the edge was I spent time utilizing flash cards with known exam questions and I was able to get an 85 with 70 passing.”



gluch headshotJohn Gluch
Realtor in Phoenix, Arizona
Practicing real estate for 18 years

“My tip for passing your state’s real estate exam: take it seriously and study. I felt confident and remember thinking I just needed to skim through the information. However, after failing twice, I decided to put real-time into studying and then passed easily.

While I hate the idea of recommending you fail, there’s nothing wrong with taking the test even if you are unprepared. It’s fine to fail and once you have seen the test you will have a better idea of how it actually works. Most people don’t pass the first time and I had a much better idea of what to study after having seen the test.

I always suggest utilizing the great study tools available. Some are local and some national. A couple of tools I recommend are: the Real estate for Dummies app (pay for the app), Prep Agent (pay for the material), and the Real Estate Wizard (free).

Lastly, take lots of online practice tests and put all of the questions you miss on flashcards to review and learn later. I studied my cards for hours and slowly removed the ones I was learning until I was down to no cards. And then I would take another practice test. Eventually, I was getting nearly 100% on every practice test so I knew I was ready.”



khari washington headshotKhari Washington
Realtor in Riverside, California
Practicing real estate for 15 years

“I made sure I took an online exam prep class and went through exam questions extensively. I would say that is the most important thing. It isn’t important to read books on the different test aspects. It is all about the questions. I took the brokers exam and was able to pass in less than half the time because I focused on the questions.”

What tips do you have for future agents?

“Understand that getting your license and selling real estate are two different skill sets. Getting your license teaches you about the ethics of real estate, but not the process and sales techniques of real estate. Be ready to learn after you get your license. You really are starting from square one.”



Janice Morris headshot (1)Janice Morris
Realtor in Bellevue, Washington
Practicing real estate for 5 years

“My advice to those taking the state real estate exam is don’t go into it expecting it to be easy.

They have some tricky questions, so read them carefully to know exactly what they are asking. And expect some math questions (maybe 15-20% involve some kind of computation), so study measurement conversions and real estate math formulas you’ve been given.

Most of all, take several practice tests, then study more in the areas where you received lower scores. In this case, practice does make perfect!”



colleen headshotColleen Gerke
Realtor in Fernandina Beach, Florida
Practicing real estate for less than a year

“I passed the real estate exam on my first try when I took the test last Fall. Like most other busy moms, it seems like I’m always in the car running kids to school and other activities. It was hard for me to sit and study for long amounts of time. The most effective way I found to study was by pulling up practice exams on You Tube that would read the question, potential answers, give you time to think about the correct answer, then read what the correct answer was and why it was correct. I would play these videos every time I was in the car, and got hours of studying in this way.”



Brandon Thomas HeadshotBrandon Thomas
Realtor in Frederick, Maryland
Practicing real estate for 2 years

“I passed the real estate exam back in 2019, so I’ve only been an agent for a couple years now.

I passed the exam with consistency on readings and by creating a study guide that I would read over and over again. Newer agents are entering into the real estate world in an abnormal time in the market.”

What tips do you have for future agents?

“The best advice for a future agent would be to stay consistent with any readings and create a study guide for each chapter they finish. Then, for each chapter, read aloud the study guide into some sort of recording device. This helps with memorizing certain terms, calculations, and all things real estate.

The best part of this strategy is listening to the recorded version of your study guide on long car rides, the gym, anywhere. I did this exact strategy and listened to the recording on my long commute to work every single day. Of course, it will get boring. You simply have to keep the end goal in mind.

I passed the National portion of the real estate agent exam on the first try with this entire strategy. I will always recommend it!”



shannon payton headshotShannon Payton
Realtor in Seaford, Delaware
Practicing real estate for 6 years

“My state requires you to complete 99 hours of education between real estate math, law, and Math. You must pass the pre-licensing to move on to the actual state test. I would review the content from class daily so that I didn’t cram. I would rewrite concepts that were difficult so that I could remember.”

What tips do you have for future agents?

“Take the state test as soon as you can. Do not wait and study, thinking you actually study. The longer you wait to take the state licensing after the prelicensing class, the more difficult it will be.

Research the prelicensing school you plan to attend. My instructors provided stories so we could remember things. I still remember those stories to this day. 

Save up! Becoming a REALTOR is expensive.

Interview the brokerages before you commit. You are/will be an independent contractor. The relationship needs to benefit your growth.”



Kelsey Zeidner headshotKelsey Zeidner
Realtor in Orlando, Florida
Practicing real estate for less than a year

“I have a background in education and notice that many online classes and instructors use industry jargon while teaching a new term or process.  Unfortunately, if you don’t already know that jargon (most beginners in the industry don’t), it impedes your ability to fully understand the lesson related to it. My advice is to pause or write down any words being used that you’re not familiar with. Research them on your own time and then go back to your notes on the lesson and plug in your newly gained information.  That will give more context to the term and help with situational exam questions.”



Bill-Samuel HeadshotBill Samuel
Realtor in Chicago, Illinois
Practicing real estate for 7 years

“The most effective time management strategy I found was to take the practice exams at the end of each chapter in your course book and record your scores on a spreadsheet. This will give you an idea of where to focus your study time. If you can dedicate 2 hours of your time each day you can finish the practice exams in 5-6 days.

Review your test scores and set a benchmark to determine what material to review further (e.g. any score less than 80%). Any score below your benchmark focus on reading the chapter to get a better understanding of the material. Take the comprehensive review tests in the back of the book during your last study week to get an idea of where you are at.

Most course textbooks will have a page that gives you a percentage breakdown of the material covered on the test to help develop your study plan. No sense in spending all your time reviewing material that only represents a small portion of the test.”



ali choucri headshotAli Choucri
Realtor in Watertown, Massachusetts
Practicing real estate for 15 years

“I passed on the first try and now manage an office and help other agents get their license and start a career in real estate
I can give very specific advice on the test. It is in two parts: 
1) Take the course as quickly as possible. Don’t worry if all the information doesn’t stick. The course is like primer before a coat of paint. 
2) Once completed with the course, take practice tests. In the beginning, agents will score 50 or 60%. After 40 or more hours of taking the practice tests, the score will improve. Aspiring agents should also master the skill of eliminating wrong answers from the multiple choice section. When they consistently score 90% of higher on practice tests, I advise them to go take the test right away.”



210326_3Taylor D. Moore
Realtor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Practicing real estate for less than one year

“The first step for me in the process of preparation for my real estate exam was mindset. I had purchased the pre-licensing course materials and had the recorded course lectures made available to me through a flash drive. Each lecture was roughly 2 hours. My mindset was to treat test preparation as a 9-5, so that real estate could become ideal 9-5. I did at least two lectures a day, or three when possible.”

What tips do you have for future agents?

“For new agents I would make sure that they know their “why”. The preparation work for a state licensing exam can seem daunting, but if you consistently remind yourself as to why you want to pursue real estate as a career you will be able to make it through the course and pass the exam. Most importantly take the state exam directly after you complete the pre-licensing course. This will ensure that the information that you learned is fresh in your mind for the exam.”



paul lykin headshotPaul Lykins
Realtor in Boynton Beach, Florida
Practicing real estate for 9 years

“I signed up and took the course in a classroom two nights a week for a month. I was able to get first hand training from the teacher which was very helpful as I don’t do well with online courses and felt I learned much more because of the examples he was able to provide. When I went to take the state exam I failed the first time so I went back the classroom a couple nights and studied and then passed it on my second attempt. Each night I would read chapters and study and definitely take the practice exams in the back of the book. Since then I went on to take my broker’s exam and now I’m a broker associate.”



Tal-Shelef HeadshotTal Shelef
Realtor in Toronto, Canada
Practicing real estate for 5 years

“Understand That if You Fail, You Can Try Again

Personally, this thought helped me relieve the fear that I might not pass. If you fail, you have to pay more exam fees and that’s fine. The only thing that matters is: you can do it again.

Losing fear can help you perform better on the exam. Optimism can result in perseverance.

Active Recall and Spaced Repetition

The thing about studying is that you’ll forget the facts that you learned over time. That is what psychologists called the learning curve: over time you forget what you learned. To prevent that, you can use these two techniques: active recall and spaced repetition.

Active recall is recalling the fact that you have just learned minutes ago. This is helpful because you’ll forget some of the materials that you learned.

Over time, if you don’t review what you learned, you’ll forget a huge chunk of it. To combat that, use spaced repetition. You can do this by going through the material every day or every week depending on the difficulty. The good thing about this is that once you do one session of spaced repetition, you’re going to remember the material longer.”



joel sandersJoel Sanders,
Realtor in Nashville, Tennessee
Practicing real estate for 16 years

“I have been licensed in four states: Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. I have passed the real estate exam for the first time every time I have taken it. However, looking back on it the methodology I personally used wasn’t the best. Below is the methodology I share with our incoming agents looking to take the exam. It works every time if they stick with it. 
Here’s the trick: Don’t take the real test as a practice test. It’s a waste of money, time, and it hurts your feelings if you don’t pass it the first time. The best thing to do is take one practice test daily. Grade your exam. Then spend the rest of the day studying what you missed. Make a 55% the first time you take the practice test? AWESOME! Good thing it wasn’t the real test, so who cares about that number. It’s just a practice test. Now you know what 55% you know and what 45% of the topics you don’t know. Spend the rest of the day studying the 45% you missed. Then, the next day sit down cold and take another full-length practice test. Hopefully if you learned anything the prior day from studying what you missed, your score will go up a little bit. So then say you made a 60% on your practice test that day. Good thing it wasn’t the real test. Now you know what 60% you know and what 40% you still don’t know. You’ve confirmed that you really know some parts because you got those questions correct two days in a row, and you’ve missed some other questions multiple times so you’re narrowing down your focus on what you need to study. Do that for a few days and soon you’ll be making 90%+ every time you take a practice exam. That’s when you know you’re ready to schedule your real estate exam. You’ll pass with no issues, and the real exam will feel just like another practice test. 
The test is weighted so many people over study some parts that aren’t heavily weighted (like the math) and don’t study important parts enough that have a higher weight to them. That is where full length practice tests help correct that issue.. Furthermore, this test isn’t like the ones you took in high school or college. YOU get to pick when YOU take it rather than your professor. In college, if a test was on Friday, you study before Friday and you know what you know by Friday…that’s reflected in your score. For the real estate exam, you get to schedule it when you’re ready. So don’t schedule the test right after you complete the pre-licensing courses, and you’re eligible. Take some practice tests to determine your proficiency in a real testing scenario, then once you are ready (making 90% or more on  practice tests) schedule the real exam. You’ll pass with flying colors every time.”



jo ann bauerJo Ann Bauer
Realtor in Scottsdale, Arizona
Practicing real estate for 3 years

“I think the key for future agents is not to wait until the last minute to cram for the exam.
I was still working full time while going to school for real estate.  I got up an hour early each day and studied before heading off to work. My study routine included reading the training materials, making notes and taking the practice exams until I had at least 90% correct.  As soon as I finished classes I took the exam and passed.  Now 3 years into my new career, I’m so grateful for the early effort, it has really paid off.”
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: 6/3/2024