You’ve gone through all the classes and finally understand the many ins and outs of the real estate industry. The only thing standing in your way of becoming a licensed real estate agent is the exam. In California and most other states, you must pass an exam to sell property owned by anyone other than yourself legally.
Nervous about taking the California real estate exam? Put that anxiety at ease; we’re here to help. This article is filled with everything you need to know so you can be prepared to secure your real estate license.
How to Apply and Where to Take the California Real Estate Exam
Scheduling a time and place to take the California real estate exam is relatively simple. You start by creating an eLicensing account through the Department of Real Estate’s website. After creating an account, you can fill out the online exam application.
The state of California will require you to attach the following documents to your application:
- A valid ID with a photo. It can be a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or a valid passport.
- The completed Live Scan form
- Your 3 Course certificates
You will also pay a processing fee when you apply. Something you may want to budget for is the fees associated with a background. The fees aren’t expensive, but it’s something you may want to keep in mind.
After submitting the exam application, you’ll then be asked to select a testing location, and you can choose from one of five locations scattered throughout the state. You can’t take the exam online; it must be done in person, so if you live in a rural community, you may be in for a bit of a drive.
The five testing locations in California are:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
On the day of your exam, it’s a good idea to arrive a few minutes early. This gives you time to settle in. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a form of ID; you can present a state I.D., driver’s license, or military identification card; just remember that the ID must be current and have your picture on it.
What To Expect on the California Real Estate Exam
The California real estate exam covers a range of topics. Most of the topics you cover in your pre-licensing classes, but there may be some surprises.
Here’s a brief look at the topics commonly included in the real estate exam:
- Property Ownership, Land Use Controls, and Regulations
- Property Valuation and Financial Analysis
- Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duties
- Transfer of Property
- Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures
Some of the sections will take up more of the California real estate exam than others. For example, questions about Practices of Real Estate and Disclosures make up 25% of the exam, compared to Transfer of Property, which comprises only 8% of test questions.
You may also encounter some math problems throughout. A good tip to follow is to save any math questions for last; this way, you don’t spend too much time working out the equation.
Tips on Preparing for the California Real Estate Exam
An effective way to prepare for your upcoming real estate exam is to spend time studying. Yes, you studied in class, but chances are you didn’t retain all of the information.
Create a Study Schedule
Cramming for an exam the night before or even the day of may work for school tests, but the real estate exam is much, much different. Passing or failing the exam will affect your potential career in real estate.
Start studying a couple of weeks in advance and create a schedule. Maybe your schedule has you studying for an hour after dinner, or you can even divide it up into different blocks throughout the day. Creating a study calendar will help you stay on track and make it a little harder to skip studying for another activity.
Don’t Focus on One Topic
The California real estate exam consists of multiple sections on a range of topics spanning the legal field. You may be more familiar with some than others.
However, this doesn’t mean skipping over familiar topics; you still want to include them in your study sessions. If there’s a particular topic giving you trouble, then go ahead and spend a little more time on that subject.
Do you remember how effective flashcards were at helping you study for school tests when you were younger? Flashcards are still common in grade and middle schools, and even in high school and college.
The same principles that make flashcards effective in school also apply when you are studying for your real estate exam. Flashcards can make it easier to remember specific facts and are a great tool to use as you are reviewing topics you may not have a strong handle on. Another study tip is to create acronyms for concepts and phrases, because sometimes, it’s easier to remember the acronym than a particular phrase.
Study with Friends
Study groups are a great way to learn new material and refresh your memory a bit. Chances are, different people in your study group have various strengths and weaknesses about specific real estate topics.
A member of your study group may be able to explain a concept you are having trouble grasping, and you may also be able to help someone else. You can bounce questions off of each and debate answers that may not seem correct.
Take Advantage of Online Tools
The internet has a wealth of information about the real estate industry in California. From lesser-known laws to concepts only glossed over in class, you can find the information online. You may even be able to pay a small fee for a practice real estate exam. Try to find one for California; regulations and laws vary by state.
Take Your California Real Estate Exam with Confidence
Taking any type of exam can be stressful, and this is especially true when the results can affect your career. Studying before the test, by yourself and with a group, can help ensure you score a passing grade.
Also, don’t forget to not stress yourself out during the exam, try to take your time, and carefully review your answers when you’re done before the end of the test. Hopefully, at the end of the test, you’ll finally achieve your goal of becoming a licensed real estate agent with the lessons you’ve learned.