As a senior instructor at a major test preparation company, I learned all the secrets critical to success on the most challenging standardized tests—strategies you can use to practice and boost your score on your state’s real estate licensing exam.

Standardized tests can turn the coolest customer into a sweaty-palmed wreck, glancing nervously at the clock every few minutes with a No. 2 pencil clamped in between their teeth. But I’m here to help! In this article, we’ve partnered with RealEstateU to provide a free real estate practice exam, recommendations for taking your exam prep to the next level, and sever expert secrets you can use to level up your exam-taking strategy.

Learn more about RealEstateU

What to Know About Real Estate Exams

We don’t want to scare you, but the real estate exam is notoriously challenging and has very low pass rates in many states. Texas, for example, has one of the toughest exams, with an average pass rate of 58%. North Carolina’s pass rate is even lower, at 49%. Here are some quick facts about the exam:

  • The exam is made up of a state portion and a national portion. South Carolina, for example, has 40 questions in the state part and the national part is composed of 80 questions.
  • Most exams have between 120 and 150 total questions. Vermont has the fewest (100 questions) and Oregon has the most (200 questions).
  • The time allotted depends on the state, but is usually three to five hours. South Dakota is an outlier, allowing seven hours, while states like Virginia and New York only allow 1.5 hours.
  • The exams are pass/fail. No extra points for scoring well. However, some real estate commissions will allow you to pass the state and national portions separately, so that if you do fail one, you only need to retake that half.
  • To pass, you’ll need to have answered somewhere between 70% and 80% correct, depending on the state.
  • You’re usually allowed to bring a basic-function calculator into the testing room, and may be provided scratch paper and a pencil.
  • Most exams are proctored, conducted on a computer in a state-approved testing facility.
  • Taking multiple practice exams is one of the absolute best ways to prepare for the exam.

For more information on your specific state and its requirements, go to our guide on how to get a real estate license, or refer to our article on real estate exam tips. You can also look for an article on your specific state in the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of our site.

Take RealEstateU’s Free Real Estate Practice Exam

RealEstateU is a real estate education provider in 14 states, including Texas, California, Florida, and New York, with plans to expand to the rest of the country very soon. In fact, it is one of our top picks for online real estate education because it’s a budget-friendly option that is shaking up the industry with streamlined courses and career-building resources. 

Visit RealEstateU

We partnered with RealEstateU because they are developing a new real estate exam prep program that could really change the game, and we got a little peek behind the curtain. 

Essentially, real estate exams across the country are administered by two different providers (Pearson VUE and PSI), while the curriculum is developed by each individual state. This can create a lot of confusion, poor test scores, and time wasted studying the wrong things. RealEstateU is attempting something different by teaching to each state’s test. They want to ensure that you’re exposed to all of the necessary content, but that you focus on the information that you’re definitely going to be tested on. 

Try your hand at this mini practice quiz below and then download their 100-question practice exam (for the national portion of the test) and see how prepared you are for the exam.

Question 1

When Jan redecorated her house 12 years ago, she bought a chandelier that would complement the crown molding in her foyer. Now that she’s selling the house, which section of the M.A.R.I.A. test would be used to determine that the chandelier is a fixture?

Question 1 of 12

    2 minute approx

    Question 2

    A property is 450ft by 185ft. Approximately how many acres is it?

    Question 2 of 12

      2 minute approx

      Question 3

      Four friends owned a parcel of real estate. One of the friends died, and his interest passed according to his will to become part of his will. What was the role of the deceased friend in this property?

      Question 3 of 12

        2 minute approx

        Question 4

        What is meant by the principle of substitution in terms of the property value?

        Question 4 of 12

          2 minute approx

          Question 5

          What is a promissory note?

          Question 5 of 12

            2 minute approx

            Question 6

            What does 'fiduciary duty of confidentiality' mean?

            Question 6 of 12

              2 minute approx

              Question 7

              Owner Brad signed an exclusive right to sell listing agreement with broker Owen. Brad found a friend who purchased his property. Is the listing broker entitled to receive compensation?

              Question 7 of 12

                2 minute approx

                Question 8

                A buyer states that they want to build a pool in their backyard but their property lies on a wetland area. What should the buyer’s agent do?

                Question 8 of 12

                  2 minute approx

                  Question 9

                  You’re a new licensee who’s thrilled to be handling your first client. While drawing up the offer to purchase for her, she asks for your advice on how to hold title to the property. What should your reply be?

                  Question 9 of 12

                    2 minute approx

                    Question 10

                    What does a property management agreement generally NOT include?

                    Question 10 of 12

                      2 minute approx

                      Question 11

                      A seller transfers the ownership of a property to a new owner. Who pays the Homeowner's association fees and dues?

                      Question 11 of 12

                        2 minute approx

                        Question 12

                        Which of the following statements in an advertisement is considered discriminatory that limits or prefers a protected class?

                        Question 12 of 12

                          2 minute approx

                          Download Your Full Free Real Estate Exam Practice Test

                          Take Your Exam Prep to the Next Level

                          If you want to boost your real estate exam prep, consider a course from one of our favorite real estate education companies:

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                          Their teach-to-the-test strategy gives students the topics they need to master and none of the excess. Their exam prep courses are often heavily discounted.Starting at $125.
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                          Colibri Real EstateThey offer more than 15 full-length practice tests + a great prelicensing / test prep package if you still need your class hours.

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                          Kaplan Real Estate
                          The exclusive QBank platform allows you to create your own custom practice tests based on the areas where you need the most help.

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                          7 Real Estate Exam Hacks Test Makers Don’t Want You to Know About

                          I’ve spent enough time teaching for a reputable real estate education company to share some hard-won secrets of the industry. Here are the seven test-taking hacks you need to ace your exam:

                          1. Answer Every Question

                          Don’t leave anything blank, even if you’re guessing. The worst that can happen is that you don’t get any points, and the best that can happen is that you have a one in four shot at getting a point. 

                          2. Always Answer the Questions You Know First

                          If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it and move on, but make sure you come back to it later. By skipping through the questions you don’t know and focusing first on those you do know, you’re giving yourself time to answer the questions you’ll most likely get right.

                          3. Eliminate Wrong Answers 

                          On a particularly challenging question, eliminate any of the answer choices you know to be incorrect. First, you’ll capitalize on your gut reaction. More often than not, your first instinct points you in the right direction, making your final answer a little easier later on.

                          Secondly, thinking critically and eliminating answer choices you know don’t make sense may help you to answer subsequent questions more effectively. It’s common to encounter related questions on the real estate license exam, and some even use the same purchase or sale scenario.

                          4. Look for Clues in the Question Stem

                          Often, the correct answer is hinted at in the question itself. For instance, if a question setup is particularly long and complex, chances are the answer will match the question in terms of sophistication. More often than not, a three-sentence question will not have a one-word answer.

                          5. Anticipate the Answer Before Looking at the Choices

                          Deceptive language is arguably fair game on tests like these. You can combat this by predicting what you think the answer will be before reviewing the answers. Compare your gut-checked answer against the actual choices, rather than trying to find one answer that sounds better than the others. If an answer choice isn’t anything close to what you predicted, it’s probably incorrect. If one lines up well with what you had in mind, chances are you’ve got the right one.

                          6. Remember: The Real Estate License Exam Is Pass-Fail

                          If you’re an overachiever like me, you want a perfect score. But, from a test strategy standpoint, your goal is to correctly answer the number of questions that will get you a passing score. You need a grade of 70% to pass the exam and get your license. On a 100-question test, your strategy is to answer 70 questions correctly. Spend all your best energy reaching the passing threshold using these tips and strategies—anything beyond that doesn’t matter.

                          7. Manage Your Test Anxiety

                          Even if you know all of the content backward and forward, text anxiety could greatly affect your performance. 

                          First, let me state that test anxiety is completely normal and very common, so you are not alone. Get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat a good meal before your test. Be wary of coffee—it keeps you alert, but can increase anxiety in many people. Deep breathing is definitely helpful, as is getting to the site early (or even going the day before to see what it’s like).

                          The biggest thing that helps me is to completely ignore everyone else. If I focus on myself and my test and don’t worry about when someone else is finishing or what someone else is plugging into their calculator, I can better manage my anxiety. 

                          Finally, know that there’s no way around it. Even if your palms are sweaty, go ahead and get started on the test. Read that first question, quiet your mind, and rely on all of your careful exam prep.

                          Bonus: Write Down the Equations Immediately 

                          Our bonus tip comes from RealEstateU: If you’re allowed to bring scrap paper and a pencil into the testing room (which you almost always are), walk in and immediately write down those equations and measurements you’ve memorized before you start the exam. That way you won’t have to recall the number of feet in an acre when you’re under pressure trying to answer a difficult question. Review it right before you walk in, and then write it down as soon as you can.

                          It’s 43,560 square feet in an acre, by the way.

                          Check out RealEstateU

                          Bringing It All Together

                          The real estate exam is no joke. It takes serious preparation and practice. With our expert tips and RealEstateU’s free 100-question real estate practice exam, you should be well on your way to passing your test. Have any strategies or advice for those getting ready to take their exam? Leave us a comment below!

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