To get a real estate license to help others buy and sell property you will have to complete a real estate licensing course (60-90 hours of education), and pass a state exam in the state in which you would like to work. Many licensing exams have 80 to 100 questions on general real estate topics, and 60-80 questions concerning state laws and rules. After spending that much time in the classroom studying real estate, you’ll want to make every effort to pass the state exam.


Since what you will be tested on is material you’ve learned in your real estate pre-licensing course, the best prep work is to focus, put in the effort, and ace the real estate course. Develop good study habits long before the test, take notes during the course, and do the required reading and homework.  The more you engage in the material the better you will remember come test time. Take the practice exams. Many online pre-license courses include lots of practice exams, so take advantage of them. This will help you feel more confident and defeat stress during the exam.

Basic Test Taking Tips

Most state licensing exams contain multiple choice questions with four answer choices. Read the question carefully, multiple times if necessary, to ensure you know exactly what it is asking. The questions may be posed in odd ways, for example: the licensee shall disclose all of the following EXCEPT. These questions are meant to trick you, so it’s important to think of the correct answer before looking at the answers.

There are tips for taking multiple choice tests, that might help you to think through each question carefully. Eliminate choices that are obviously incorrect so you can quickly narrow the choice down and improve your odds. Don’t ignore “none of the above” or “all of the above” , one study shows that 52% of the time this is the correct answer. The study also shows that the longer answer is usually the correct one. If possible, answer the questions you’re confident about first, then go back to the ones you skipped and see if you can pick out the correct answer.

Memorize the Basics

There are certain real estate facts that will be on the test. You would do well to memorize the following facts by heart:

  • Type of listing and agent agreements
  • Types of licensees and agents
  • Fiduciary duties
  • Forms of ownership
  • Contract types and elements
  • Deeds and titles
  • Fair Housing Rules
  • Types of property conveyance

Coping With Stress

You’ll need to prepare emotionally to take the exam. Test taking is already stressful, but when the outcome determines whether you can become a real estate agent, it gets to anxiety level stress. There are things you can do to help alleviate the stress you may feel as you prepare for the exam:

  • Recognize signs of anxiety
  • Practice breathing and muscle relaxation techniques before the test
  • Break the self-defeating habit of negative self-talk

So if you’ve researched the exam, studied the topics, and prepared yourself emotionally, you are ready to take the exam. Believe that you will pass the test and your odds of passing will increase greatly.