In response to my questionnaire request for suggestions for future newsletter topics, one reader wrote: “Taking the real estate exam, pass rates, and what happens after taking the exam.”
Since you may have gone through this long ago, perhaps you can pass it along to friends or clients who are thinking of following in your footsteps.
Prospective agents should know: Real estate sales is a rewarding career, but it is by no means easy.
As I began my research, I learned that depending upon the state, the real estate exam consists of 100 to 150 multiple choice questions. About 25 to 30% of the questions will be state-specific. It looks as if test takers have from 3 to 4 hours to complete the exam, and in most cases will get their results before leaving the test center. To pass, students must score 70% on both sections of the test.
That’s a far cry from when I took the Idaho exam back in 1985. The results came in the mail, and I had about two weeks to waver from “I know I aced it” to “I know I failed.” When the envelope finally arrived, I was afraid to open it!
And yes, I did pass with a score of 90-something. This wasn’t due to my brilliance, but to the fact that we had an interesting instructor and I’ve always been a good test taker.
As for the pass/fail rates, after looking at the statistics for several states, I learned that the average pass rate for those taking the real estate exam for the first time is only about 50%, and often much lower. Those who take it for the second time have about a 30% pass rate, and those who keep going for a 3rd try only pass about 14% of the time.
Why are the real estate exam pass rates so low?
Here are a few reasons that come to mind:
- Some people freeze up when taking tests. Even if they know the material, they mark the wrong answer.
- Some don’t read the questions carefully, so get tripped up by small words inserted to trick the test takers. And yes, some who write exams do like to include trick questions. (Which, in my opinion is criminal, but nobody asked my opinion.)
- One thing to remember: As you study you might instinctively know that you will never need certain facts once you’re licensed. Pay attention to them anyway, because those are the kinds of facts that test writers love to include in exams.
For example: Consider the words littoral and riparian. In all likelihood, no client will ever use or expect you to use those words, but you had best know what they mean before going in to your test.
- Some have had poor instructors. If the real estate classes are boring it really is difficult to absorb the material. I was lucky to have an entertaining instructor. While searching for this information, I found websites that showed the pass/fail rates for different schools in Arizona and in Alabama. It looks as if future agents need to choose carefully when selecting a real estate school.
- Some didn’t pay attention to the practice tests in order to learn where to focus most of their study hours.
- Some made poor use of the practice tests. My hint: Only answer the questions you feel SURE about. Then go back and study more on the questions you missed or omitted. If you make guesses on the practice tests, you won’t know what you don’t know. After a bit more study, do more practice tests.
- Some have not learned to approach life with a positive mindset. If you’ve studied hard and feel that you know the material, walk into the test center knowing that you’ll do well. If you walk in believing that you’ll fail – you will fail. I think this is why the pass rate is so much lower for those taking the real estate exam for the 2nd or 3rd time – they expect another failure.
Once you pass that real estate exam…
After you pass the real estate exam you’ll be given instructions on what to do and how much to pay in order to get your actual license. In some states, you’ll get a conditional license to use until the official license arrives.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to hang that license with a broker whose duty it will be to supervise you as you begin your career.
Take your time in choosing that broker. Talk to working agents and interview brokers. You will want and need guidance as you go forward, because real estate classes don’t even come close to teaching you all you need to know. You’ll hear about in-house training – make sure it’s for real. You’ll hear about different commission splits as well. Remember that the higher the split, the less help you’re likely to get. 100% commissions are for experienced agents who are successful enough to work without broker supervision and to pay their own way.
The office atmosphere is important too, because it will be in your best interests to work with people who are willing to help you. In some agencies, cutthroat competition is the norm – and you don’t need that.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“To be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your clients’ best interests first. When you do, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations.”
“In the real estate business you learn more about people, and you learn more about community issues, you learn more about life, you learn more about the impact of government, probably than any
other profession that I know of.”
Of great importance to your success:
Passing the real estate exam was simply the first hurdle. You are now a small business owner, not an employee. If you want success, you must run your business like a business.
- Work regular hours.
- Work when you’re working – don’t go to the office to visit!
- Keep track of expenses.
- Stay within your budget.
- Put away money for self-employment taxes, insurance, etc.
- Dress like a professional.
- Don’t listen to your own excuses.
- Learn to prospect and promote yourself – and do it consistently.
- Keep learning. Right now you have no idea what you don’t know – so pay attention. Take more classes, but also learn from every experience.
- Come to https://www.promotemyrealestatecareer.com/ for new agent advice and freebies to help get you started.
- Read the blog posts linked from this page to learn from other agent’s mistakes.
Once you’ve studied and passed the real estate exam, your real education can begin. I wish you success.
Worried woman courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
Worried test taker Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Business meeting Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net