How Long Should You Study for the Real Estate Exam? + Tips for Acing the Test

September 18th, 2020
How Long Should You Study for the Real Estate Exam? + Tips for Acing the Test

It’s normal to be stressed before taking the real estate agent exam. After all, you’ve spent weeks, if not months, preparing for this and are probably eager to get started on your exciting new career path.

To help you prepare for the test and set your mind at ease, we’ve done our best to answer the eternal question: How long should you study for the real estate exam? We’ve also added some extra information about the test you should be aware of, along with a few helpful studying tips.

How Long Should You Study for the Real Estate Exam?

You should study for the real estate exam for at least several weeks before your test date. The whole point of taking your pre-licensing courses is to prepare you, first for the exam, and then for your work as an agent, so really, you should be thinking of your courses as exam prep time as well.

illustration of person studying on the computer for the real estate exam

The best study strategy is to take 1-2 hours after each pre-licensing class to go back through your notes and available study tools to make sure you have the information memorized. By doing this after every session, you can cut down on the cramming you have to do before the exam.

Once you’ve completed your pre-licensing courses, you should give yourself a week or two before you actually take the exam. During this time, you should be reviewing everything you’ve learned for a couple of hours each night to make sure you really have everything down before the test.

How Long is the Real Estate Exam?

The length of the real estate exam is typically between 90 minutes and three hours depending on where you live.

illustration of a blue clock

Each state has varying times and requirements for their real estate exam, so you should make sure to check your individual state’s exam length beforehand. For example, the real estate exam in Texas is 150 minutes long, while in New York the exam is only 90 minutes long.

How Do I Prepare for the Real Estate Exam?

To prepare for the real estate exam, you should be constantly reviewing what you’ve learned in your pre-licensing classes. Like any test, the key is to memorize as much as you can and work to fully understand the concepts so you can make your way through any tricky questions. Below are a few specific tips for helping you prepare for the real estate exam.

Take as Many Practice Tests as You Can

sample question from a real estate exam practice test

Hands down the best way to prepare for the real estate exam is to take as many practice tests as you can. These will give you a sense of the types of questions you should be preparing for and will allow you to make sure you can complete the exam on time.

Most pre-licensing schools will provide you with practice exams and other study materials, and you can also find plenty of free practice tests online with a quick search. Make sure you’re searching for practice tests in your state, which will help you prepare for any state-specific laws you should know.

Know Your Real Estate Terms

Real estate is a jargon-heavy industry, so you’ll definitely need to have your definitions down pat. Not only is this essential for doing your job as an agent, but you won’t be able to work your way through any tough questions on the exam if you can’t even understand what the question is asking you. As you make your way through the practice exams, take note of any real estate terms you don’t know and work to memorize them as quickly as possible. The best method for this is the good old flashcard!

Work with Others

Even if you’re not exactly a group project person, studying in a group for the real estate exam can be a helpful strategy, especially if you are able to work with people who were in your pre-licensing courses. Working in a group will allow you to bounce ideas off of each other and work together through problems you may have all gotten wrong on the practice exams.

If you don’t have anyone to study with from your classes, you can also join online social communities and forums to see if others can provide you with extra tips, especially any state-specific terms you should know ahead of time.

Reasons People Fail the Exam

Though we want to stay positive in this article and talk about how you can prepare to pass the exam, it’s also important to talk about why people do fail the exam on their first try.

four squares with visual representations for why people fail the real estate exam

There are a few main reasons, which luckily are pretty avoidable if you’re committed to your studies and becoming a top-notch agent.

  1. Lack of Preparation - If you’ve heard that the real estate exam is easy, think again. One of the main reasons people fail the exam is simply because they didn’t study enough. Even if you did well in your courses, that doesn’t mean you can waltz right into the test without any extra preparation or memorization.
  2. Waiting Too Long - If you suffer from test anxiety or are delaying taking the real estate exam to give yourself more time to prepare, you should know that you’re probably not doing yourself any favors. If possible, you should sign up for the exam within a month of completing your courses so that the information is still fresh in your mind.
  3. Studying the Wrong Things - This is where the importance of practice exams come in. It’s very disheartening to spend hours preparing for the exam, only to realize you missed studying one of the main sections. By taking several practice exams, you’ll know which areas to focus the majority of your efforts on.
  4. Bad Pre-Licensing Courses - When it comes to your real estate classes, cheaper is not always better. Be sure to do your research thoroughly before you commit to your school. You should look at their online reviews on a variety of sites and try to get in touch with someone at the school to talk with them and vet the curriculum as best you can beforehand.

Real Estate Exam FAQ’s

Below are some additional answers to questions people frequently ask about taking the real estate exam.

How Hard Is It To Pass the Real Estate Exam?

In short, it’s pretty hard to pass the real estate exam, though this of course depends on your test-taking ability and the quality of the real estate classes you take. Many real estate schools publish their pass rate percentage which can give you an estimate for how difficult the exam is. For example, this program boasts a 79% pass rate for their Texas courses compared to competitor schools in the 40% range.

How Can I Pass My Real Estate Exam Without Studying?

Unfortunately, you probably can’t pass your real estate exam without studying. However, there are tricks and shortcuts you can take that may work better for your testing style. Instead of reading through the whole textbook your class provides and trying to memorize everything, you can focus on chapter summaries and practice quizzes to avoid overloading your brain. This article has some helpful tips for you non-studiers.

What State Has the Hardest Real Estate Exam?

There isn’t any way to tell if one state’s exam is harder than another. Each state’s real estate exam will include questions on local laws and regulations, so each will be tricky in its own way. In terms of the overall process to become an agent, there are some states that have more stringent requirements than others, such as the amount of pre-licensing course hours and brokerage supervision. According to one estimate, Colorado and Texas may be the hardest states in which to obtain a real estate license.

Can You Use a Calculator on the Real Estate Exam?

Yes, in most states you can use a calculator on the real estate exam. However, these requirements vary depending on your location so it’s very important to check the specifics ahead of time.

illustration of a green and blue calculator with Q&A bubbles

Some states allow you to bring graphing calculators, some only allow simple calculators, and some states don’t allow you to bring your own and will provide test-takers with calculators when they arrive.

How Many Times Can You Fail the Real Estate Exam?

In most states, you can fail the real estate exam up to three times before needing to take additional coursework. The exact number depends on the state you live in so you will need to check the specifics on your own. Some states allow three retakes, some allow five, and some allow as many as you need. However, each time you take the test there is a fee of around $50 - $100, so constant retakes can add up quickly.

We hope these tips and information have helped to shed light on everything you wanted to know about taking the real estate exam. Just remember, you can always retake the test so don’t stress out too much if this is your first time. And once you’re a certified agent, be sure to check out RentSpree’s convenient tenant screening and rental application services.