Preparing for the Real Estate Exams

Success in taking the real estate license exam requires preparation, whether you take classes, enroll in a distance learning program, or study on your own. Here are a few real questions to consider:

1. Does your state require formal pre-exam courses?

Almost all community college and some four – year universities offer real estate courses. Many are held in the evening and are targeted towards adults who are working full time. Even if courses aren’t required, I recommend taking a formal course anyway because this will prepare you better for the exam and give you a broader perspective of the industry when you start your work. Classroom discussions are also a great place to pick up advice and build relationships with both aspiring and established agents.

2. If so, do you prefer to take a course at an educational institution or through a real estate brokerage?

Some large real estate brokerages, like John L. Scott and Remax run their own real estate schools. They may offer tuition assistance or free tuition to people committed to working at that brokerage after becoming licensed. This possibility is always worth investigating. Make sure the brokerage is a place that you would genuinely like to work for.

3. If you are permitted to prepare on your own without a class and want to do so, do you prefer to study out of books or do you want to use an online or video program?

States that use national testing services will release an Applicant’s Bulletin, which is an excellent study resource. Some states provide practice tests for a fee and other states have textbooks, but make sure to use a recent one, as tests change all the time. Contact your state agency for more information.

There are also abundant distance learning courses, computer programs, and DVD video series.

We’ve compiled a list of useful real estate career books for those who want to self-study or supplement your classroom learning.

These books provide thorough coverage of the national portion of the exam.

A Quick Note – Students in real estate courses often complain that their knowledge is too theoretical and not useful when working, but I’d recommend thinking of the courses as a way to gain confidence in your knowledge, as well as an opportunity to build connections and learn from real estate professionals.


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