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4 Tips for Acing the Real Estate Pre-Licensing Exam

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Think you’re ready for your pre-licensing exam? Good for you—now think again. Here are a few tips that just may end up saving your grade...and launching your career.

1) Buddy up with an already-practicing agent in your area.

There is no better teacher than one who's been in your shoes. Find a friend or agent you feel comfortable talking to on a regular basis, preferably one who's taken the exam recently. This is especially helpful if you're not taking a prep class. Such a mentor can offer tips and tricks not only on how to ace the exam but on surviving and thriving in the industry after you’ve passed it.

2) Stay up-to-date on all things real estate.


This is simply a best practice for your career as an agent; you’re going to need to stay on top of the market—particularly if you plan on establishing your career in a major metropolitan area.

Listen to real estate podcasts (yes, they exist!) during your morning routine. Compile a comprehensive list of key terms and definitions and aim to use at least three new ones in conversation every day. Subscribe to and read publications dedicated to following real estate news, including Bisnow, Globe Street, and the real estate section of the New York Times.

While familiarity with the ins and outs of the Los Angeles condo market may not help you answer an exact question on the exam (particularly, you may think, if you live on the East Coast!), building knowledge of the ebb and flow of the market over time alongside your regular test prep will provide you with context—and thereby greater confidence—for the answers to your test questions.

3) Take flexible courses designed to accommodate you.


Many people studying for the pre-licensing exam realize early on that they need the structure of a class—proctored practice exams, homework assignments, and the like. If this sounds like you, great! But do your research first. Search for classes that, if possible, specialize in the market or state you want to build your career. Find a course that places itself completely at your disposal, including online resources; friendly, knowledgeable instructors who provide office hours and are willing to help you outside of class; and supplementary materials for extra practice.

4) Study for the test.


At the end of the day, the pre-licensing exam is just that: an exam. Studying for it differs very little from studying for the SATs or GRE.

Be hungry. Take as many practice tests as you can find and under test conditions to get used to sitting and concentrating in one place for a block of several hours. Don’t get cocky; approach every topic like you’ve never heard of it before. Learn how the questions and answer options are phrased to trip you up on the multiple choice.