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Real Estate Licensing Exam Prep: A Crash Course for Success on Exam Day

Computer with real estate exam tips on it and a green background

Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education

Published: October 10, 2019

Are you in the process of preparing to become a real estate agent? Congrats on taking the first steps towards accomplishing your goals. Fulfilling your state’s real estate licensing requirements can be both an exciting and stressful time, moving you closer to your dream career while also challenging you to take in a lot of new information.

You’ll be expected to not only retain this new information but to also prove your competence by passing your state’s real estate exam. However, some prospective agents discover that the prelicensing education, while providing the groundwork for a career in real estate, isn’t enough to successfully prepare them for exam day.

How Do I Study for My Real Estate Licensing Exam?

Having a plan for your exam prep will build your confidence and ensure you have the best chance of passing. Take a look at the following steps to learn how to prepare for your real estate licensing exam.

1. Set realistic and trackable goals.

To start, do some research on the topics covered on your state’s real estate licensing exam. For example, California’s Department of Real Estate provides a list of exam topics on its website. It also provides a reference book to help elaborate on key concepts. As you go through the topics, identify which ones you feel confident in and which ones you need to spend more time on.

When you’re ready, assign study time to each topic by setting competency due dates. Mark these dates on a calendar, and post it where you can easily see it for both inspiration and accountability. To keep your study goals realistic and achievable, consider the amount of time you have to devote to studying each week. Maybe one week you have extra time for studying, but the next week you anticipate being very busy. By setting goals for yourself, you are weaving accountability into your study process, ensuring that you are on a set path with a clear and reachable destination.

2. Identify effective and convenient study spaces.

Nothing derails a study session quicker than a distracting or inconvenient setting. Try to identify at least two study spaces that are distraction-free and relatively easy to access. One study space could be at your home, and the other could be in a different location, so if you need a change of scenery, you could switch between them. But you could also find two suitable study spaces both at home or in other locations.

To choose the most effective study space, reflect on the elements most conducive to your productivity. Does background noise or loud music help you concentrate? Or, maybe you need complete and total silence in order to unpack dense topics. These details will help you choose the best study space, whether it’s a busy cafe or an empty library room.

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3. Explore exam prep options.

During your exam research, you may come across online resources to help you prepare for your real estate licensing exam. If you feel confident in your exam topic knowledge and your goal tracking, you might not need any additional assistance. But if you’re not in that group, online real estate license prep options might be just the thing you need to boost your confidence for exam day.

When considering an online exam prep resource, take what you know about your state’s exam topics and explore the pros and cons of what each resource has to offer. Do they address each exam topic clearly and thoroughly? Do they offer self-assessment of key concepts, such as a Qbank? Is the company reputable and provide evidence of past student successes? Using a quality online resource to prep for your exam could mean the difference between passing and failing.

4. Quiz yourself on key concepts.

According to research, one of the best studying methods is quizzing yourself on the material, both before and after reviewing the information. By testing yourself before you begin, you alert your brain to the kind of information it should be retaining. Quizzing yourself afterward not only gives you a clear idea of where you stand but also helps improve your long-term retention.

5. Take exercise and snack breaks.

Another science-backed study tip is taking exercise breaks and eating healthy snacks. Even just one half-hour exercise session can improve your stress levels and give you the much-needed energy to power through your study session. Couple that with snacks high in fiber and antioxidants, and you’ll be well-equipped to tackle your exam topics.

6. Talk with current real estate agents about their exam experiences.

Why not learn from the experiences of those who have been in your shoes? If you’re friendly with current real estate agents, ask them what they wish they knew before heading into their exam. Their advice and tips could provide you with the context you need to be fully confident on exam day.

7. Plan the day of your exam.

The only thing you should be concerned with on the day of your exam is your exam. Plan out the hours of your day before the exam so that nothing is left to chance. Do your laundry and pick your outfit, prepare breakfast, and make sure you have gas in your car before the day of your exam. Plan to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes early. Some exam takers even drive the route the day before, so they’re aware of any road construction or other potential delays they might face. You’ll thank yourself later.


Real estate licensing exam prep is a little-known resource that could help illuminate key concepts and provide essential self-quizzing tools. Kaplan Real Estate Education offers exam prep resources for several states. Pick your state from this list to see the exam prep options available in your state.