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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the Real Estate License Exam

About the Real Estate License Exam

Becoming a real estate agent can be a rewarding and lucrative career move. While there are many steps to becoming a licensed real estate agent, one of the biggest hurdles is passing the Real Estate License Exam. This exam varies from state to state to reflect differences in the state laws related to real estate transactions and mortgage lending. However, there are many similarities no matter where you take the exam.

Prior to taking the exam, you must complete your required pre-licensure education requirements. The hours required may also vary from state to state, but generally range anywhere from 20 to 200. After this requirement has been met, you can register for the Real Estate License Exam in the state in which you intend to practice professionally. There are multiple testing companies that offer the exam, including Pearson-Vue, PSI, and AMP.

The exam itself is generally broken into two sections. The longer section covers information that would have been covered in your pre-licensure class; this section is usually very similar across all states. The second section is shorter and covers real estate laws applicable to the state you will be serving. Otherwise, this exam is not divided into sections by topic, but we have divided our materials into six sections for study purposes.

The Real Estate License Exam is composed of between 100 and 150 multiple-choice questions. It is timed, although the length varies from state to state. Generally, examinees will have anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours to complete the exam in its entirety. Preparing for the exam is essential for passing it the first time you take it so that you can get licensed quickly and start working in your new career.

Sections of the Real Estate License Exam

Brokerage Responsibility and Agency Management

The Brokerage Responsibility and Agency Management section of the Real Estate License Exam makes up approximately 17% of the whole exam and covers knowledge of real estate trends and developments, fair practice laws, math calculations, and real estate forms. It also includes items specific to running a real estate agency, such as agency creation and closure, and commissions and fees.


The Contracts portion of the exam is about 10-12%. You’ll be required to know about offer and purchase contracts, lease and listing agreements, buyer/broker agreements, and promissory notes, to name a few.


A lot of money changes hands in real estate, so knowing about the financial side of things is critical. The Financing section makes up approximately 10-17% of the exam, and covers such concepts as loan types, credit laws, government financial programs, and terms and conditions.

Practice and Disclosures

One of the largest sections on the Real Estate License Exam, Real Estate Practice and Disclosures, makes up about 22-25% of what you’ll be tested on. Make sure you have studied Fair Housing laws, ethics, marketing, continuing education requirements, commercial and industrial properties, inspection reports, and disclosure requirements.

Property and Ownership Laws

When ownership is changing hands, it is a realtor’s responsibility to make sure everything is done by the book. The Property and Ownership Laws section accounts for 11-15% of the exam, and covers such concepts as property classes and characteristics, types of ownership, government and personal rights to land, water rights, and environmental hazards and regulation.

Property Valuation and Appraisal

What is a property worth? A realtor will be able to tell you. The Property Valuation and Appraisal section of the Real Estate License Exam is about 15%, and covers methods of determining value and factors that may influence it.

What to Expect on Test Day

Because the details of this test vary across states, it is crucial that you communicate with the testing center before your test day to know what to bring with you and any other rules or policies that may be important. Each testing center has their own requirements related to what materials to bring, how and when to pay fees, and what identification is acceptable. Be sure that you have researched these policies fully so that you aren’t caught off guard when you arrive.

And as with any test, it’s always a good idea to get a full night’s rest and eat a hearty meal before arriving to take the test. Doing this will help you focus fully on the test, rather than becoming distracted by drowsiness or hunger.

What to Bring

You will want to check with the testing center before the day of the exam to find out what they require you to bring. All testing centers will require identification, although there may be differences in what they deem acceptable forms of identification, so it’s crucial you know this beforehand. You will also want to check to see if you need any testing materials, such as pencils, scratch paper, or a calculator. While these items are usually allowed, the testing center may provide them for you.

What Not to Bring

The testing center can provide you with a list of prohibited items. Generally speaking, you will not be allowed to have any electronic devices, books, reference material, or other personal items in the exam room while you are taking the test. A good rule of thumb is also that less is usually better. If it is not necessary, don’t bring it. Some testing centers may have locked storage lockers for personal items, but others may not. You can check directly with the testing center before the day of your exam if you have questions about particular items. ## Best Ways to Study for the Real Estate License Exam

Take Practice Tests for the Real Estate License Exam

The Real Estate License Exam is entirely multiple-choice, and it lends well to practice exams. Taking these practice exams will help you to become familiar with the exam’s subject matter and the types of questions you will encounter on your testing day. Taking practice tests is also a great way to help you identify areas where you should spend more time studying the material. This process can help you feel completely prepared to get a great score on testing day.

Use Alternative Study Methods

Another way to provide yourself with a well-rounded study plan is to supplement it with alternative study methods. Flashcards and study guides for the Real Estate License Exam give you an opportunity to see the content in another format. For many individuals, this can help them learn and retain the information better.

Simulate the Testing Experience

The Real Estate License Exam is a long test, frequently with over 100 questions and lasting anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours. It’s a good idea to simulate the testing experience at least a few times before taking the actual exam. This practice will give you an idea of how you perform for that kind of duration, show you how to pace yourself so that you can complete all of the questions, and help you develop strategies to overcome mental fatigue if it begins to set in.

Real Estate License Exam Tips and Tricks

Read Every Word Carefully

With timed exams, it is easy to misread a question or misunderstand what it is asking. But taking the time to pay attention to the details of a question will help you avoid providing the wrong answer when you actually know the right one—a strategy that can help your overall test score.

Pace Yourself

The Real Estate License Exam is timed, although the amount of time you will have to complete it will vary depending upon your location. By simulating the testing experience that you can expect at your selected testing site, you can determine approximately how long you can spend on each question. This strategy will ensure that you have ample time to complete the test in its entirety. You do not want to leave any questions blank, since unanswered questions are counted against your score.

Review the State Laws

Much of the study material available that can help you prepare for the Real Estate License Exam focuses on the longer section that is relatively uniform across the states. However, the section on state laws is substantial too. So, don’t forget to devote plenty of study time to this material.

Real Estate License Exam FAQ:

1. How much does it cost to take the Real Estate License Exam?

The fees for this exam vary, but it is generally around $100. However, don’t forget to budget for the pre-licensure classes, which can range from $200 to $600.

2. What is a good score on the Real Estate License Exam?

The required score for passing the Real Estate License Exam and receiving your license may vary depending upon the state that you would like to be licensed in. However, the required minimum score is generally between 70% and 75%.

3. How long will it take to receive my exam score?

The length of time that it takes before your official score is released will vary depending upon the policies of your testing center, although it is generally between two and four weeks. Some testing centers allow you to view your unofficial results immediately upon concluding your exam. You will want to check with your testing site before taking the exam to find out more details.

4. Can I retake the Real Estate License Exam if I do not achieve a score high enough for licensure?

Yes, you can retake the exam, although additional attempts will incur additional exam fees. Also, check to see if your state has a maximum limit for the number of times you can take the exam. Some states—including California, Florida, New York, and Washington—cap this at as few as two attempts. If you plan to practice in these states, you will want to be sure that you are prepared to achieve a high score on your first attempt.

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