Preparing for the real estate exam can be nerve wracking. The exam is one of your first big steps on your journey to becoming a real estate professional.
There’s so much to learn and memorize, especially when you are new to the field, that it can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, we have some great tips to help you prep for the real estate exam like a pro.
Study real estate exam prep material only. Your main goal right now is to pass the test, not become a real estate expert overnight. There’s a lot of information out there and you’ll have your whole career to learn all of it but for now, focus exclusively on finding study guides or real estate courses designed to help you pass the test.
Study the current Real Estate Candidate Handbook or Licensing Information Bulletin for your state. It will contain an exam content outline that you can use as the basis of your study materials. The outline will also familiarize you with the real estate terms and jargon.
Check off each topic on the outline of the handbook or bulletin when you feel you have it down.
Don’t move onto the next section until you feel confident that you fully understand that section. This will prevent you from forgetting or skipping sections or rushing through others halfheartedly.
Take lots of notes. Writing down important information helps you commit it to memory and also helps you organize the info in a way that makes sense to you. Highlight and underline key ideas as well so you know what to focus on.
Use up-to-date study guides. Tests change over time and so do study guides. Check the date on all study guides to ensure that you are studying current, up-to-date information so there will be no surprises on the test.
Take lots of practice tests. Not everything from the test will be on every practice test so take as many as you can. Taking practice tests can also help alleviate any test anxiety you may be feeling by familiarizing yourself with the materials, language and process of the test.
Time your practice tests. The real exam will be timed, so do the same with your practice test. See how quickly you can complete the test while still remaining accurate. You don’t need to finish it in record time, you just need to make sure you can finish it in the amount of time you are given. Any questions you skip or get wrong will highlight the areas you need to concentrate on.
Get info on the exam. Know what you are getting yourself into by finding out the specifics: what subjects are on the test, how many questions are on the test and how much time you have to complete the test.
Also remember to find out where and when the exam is and what time it is recommended that you arrive at the testing center. Most of this info can be found on each state’s license requirements page on our website: http://realestatecareershq.com/ (either in the “Exam” section or the references at the bottom of the page.)
Make a study schedule. Set aside a certain number of hours each day or each week to sit down and study for the test. Without a schedule, you can quickly lose track of time and find that you have very little time to prepare for the test.
Cramming is the least successful way to study for a test so make sure to plan your study time accordingly. Study frequently for periods of 45 to 60 minutes. Concentration often wanes when studying for longer periods of time.
Sleep well. Although you may be tempted to hold an all night cram session the night before the test, don’t. All this will do is tire you out, physically and mentally, and leave you unable to think clearly. Get a good night’s rest the night before the exam and arrive early and ready to start.
Always answer the questions you know first and skip the ones you are unsure of. Don’t waste time trying to answer the questions that stump you. Skip over any questions you don’t know and come back to them after. You may often find that a related question later in the test jogs your memory enough to help you answer the ones you were stuck on.
Don’t compete with other applicants during the test. It’s a test, not a race. Take as much time as you need to finish. In fact, use all of the allotted time you’ve been granted. Don’t worry if other applicants finish before you. A lot of students who finish quickly tend to fail.
Don’t keep score. This will only cause undue stress and distract you from what you should be doing, which is answering the questions correctly. Don’t waste time counting and adding up correct or incorrect answers. It might discourage you and affect your performance. If you really need to check how you did, wait until after you’ve finished to tally up your answers.
Don’t change your answer. Once you’ve written down your answer, don’t change it, even if you’re unsure that you are correct. Statistically you are more likely to change an answer from correct to incorrect instead of the reverse. Unless you’re certain you answered incorrectly, leave it alone.
Don’t be afraid to choose many of the same options in a row. Sometimes a test will have five questions in a row where the answer is “A.” If you are certain these are all the correct answers, don’t worry about it and just answer them.
If you have to guess, guess wisely. There are a few tricks to guessing. If one of the answers is much longer than the others, choose that one. If two of the four answers are almost identical, choose the longer one.
Be suspicious of words like Never, Always or Except. These are greatly exaggerated answers which are rarely correct. The word Except is tricky and can change the meaning of a sentence, so read the sentence carefully.
General terms like “most,” “some,” and “usually” are more likely to be found in a correct answer. Answer every question, especially when guessing. Unanswered questions are marked incorrect. Even if you don’t know the answer, if you guess, at least you have a chance of getting it right.
Don’t take the test on an empty stomach. Your hunger will distract you and your blood sugar may drop which will cause you to lose focus and get confused easily.
Read each question twice. There’s a lot of similar terms and jargon on the test and your eyes can easily play tricks on you when scanning the questions. Read each question carefully and then read it again to make you sure you fully understand what it is asking before you answer it.
Use the process of elimination. If you’re stuck on a certain multiple choice question, look at all the answers first and determine which answers are blatantly incorrect. Then slowly narrow it down until you uncover the most probable answer.
Last but not least, relax! Test anxiety can rattle your brain and make it hard to think straight. Remember that it’s only a test and you can always retake it if you don’t do well. Just breath deeply, prepare ahead of time and do the best you can!