What you need to know about the Real Estate License Exam

Student taking the Real Estate License Exam.

Every state has different requirements for becoming a real estate agent, broker, or appraiser, but every state requires you to take and pass a test to become licensed. Before taking the real estate licensing examination you must also take a pre-licensure class, and the hours required can be anywhere from 20 to around 200. Many states contract their testing out to an agency who writes and administers the test, with the most popular testing companies being PSI, AMP, and Pearson-Vue. The real estate licensing exam is typically divided into two parts: one longer portion that covers the information you learned in your pre-licensure class, and another shorter portion that covers real estate laws relevant to your state. There are 100-150 multiple choice questions, and they are all worth the same amount.

What are the costs?

Costs to take the Real Estate Licensing exam vary, but are typically around $100. Pre-licensure classes can run anywhere from $200-$600, and there are also may be fees for license applications and background checks.

What should I bring?

Generally speaking, you should bring your ID and registration confirmation. Pencils, scratch paper, and a calculator are typically allowed but will be provided for you at the facility. Be sure to check with your testing administrator to verify all of the items you will need on test day.

How is it scored?

In most states you must have a minimum score of 70%-75% or above in order to pass the test. Some states, such as California, require higher scores for brokers than they do real estate salespeople.

What kind of job can I get?

Real estate agents and brokers help people buy and sell properties, such as homes, condos, businesses, and vacant land. Although it isn’t required to use a real estate agent to sell a home, about 89% of sellers choose to do so. Why? Simply put, real estate agents know real estate. They are experts in home and property values, marketing, paperwork, and negotiation. Many people use the terms “real estate agent” and “real estate broker” interchangeably, but they do have a slight difference. Real estate brokers are licensed to manage their own business, while “real estate agents” are not. So while their jobs are similar, agents may work under brokers, but not the other way around. A real estate appraiser often works for a real estate company. They appraise homes, do inspections, take pictures, and provide reports on a home’s value and characteristics. To become real estate agent, broker, or appraiser you need only to be 18 (or 21 in certain states) and a high school diploma. However, many agents have at least some college experience, with at least 30% holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

Am I eligible?

In order to take the real estate licensing exam you must successfully complete the pre-licensure classes required by your state. All states require you to be at least 18 years old, and a few require you to be at least 21. You will need to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and also need to pass a background check.

Why does it matter?

The real estate market is hot right now, and if you’re good at sales and negotiation you can stand to make a lot of money. If you want to become a licensed real estate agent or broker, you must take and pass the real estate licensing exam in your state.

What salary can I expect?

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median income for a real estate agent in 2014 was around $45,000. However, because real estate sales are largely commission-based, this number can vary widely depending on hours worked, the current housing market, and home values in the agent’s selling area. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, real estate sales are expected to grow 3 percent between 2014 and 2024.

When is it available?

Real estate licensing exams are offered year round and are typically administered through the testing company contracted with your state.

Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t leave anything blank. Blank answers are counted against you, and since questions are multiple choice, you might as well pick something.

  • Come back to the harder stuff. Don’t waste valuable time on one question when you could have sailed through fifteen of them. If you are having difficulty answering something, keep going and come back to it when you have time.

Time Allowed

Most states allow 3-4 hours to answer 100-150 questions, although some states only allow 2-3 hours.

Practice using our expertly crafted questions!