Real estate exam prep is one of the last important steps towards becoming a licensed realtor. Unfortunately, all too often, it gets overlooked.
You’ve done the work. You’ve taken the classes. All that’s left between you and your real estate agent license: the licensing exam. Don’t worry, though – even if you’re a terrible test-taker (like me), using these foolproof strategies will help you to ace the exam and become a licensed realtor. Real estate exam prep is easy if you follow these simple tips:
1. Give Yourself Rewards.
Create a positive relationship between yourself and studying the material. Every time you finish a study session, give yourself a treat. Make studying immediately worth your while. The payoff will be worth it in the end, but make sure you encourage yourself along the way!
2. Try the Pomodoro Method.
Set a timer (on your phone, watch, oven, whatever) for 25 minutes. During those 25 minutes, don’t let yourself get distracted, and study as hard as you can. When the timer goes off, take a 5-10 minute break. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
3. Avoid the internet, if possible.
If your real estate exam prep materials aren’t on the internet, avoid the internet! We all love being up-to-date, but there are way too many distractions that could waste time and precious concentration.
4. Schedule Real Estate Exam Prep Study Sessions.
Personally, I study as soon as I get home; I don’t give myself a chance to get distracted. It’s become a part of my daily routine. I know that once I give myself a chance to relax, it’s a lot harder to get back to work. Make it a part of your daily routine, and focus on passing the licensing exam.
5. Find a study buddy.
Some people don’t study well with others, but if you can, it’s a really useful tool. Talking with someone about exam materials and bouncing ideas off others is a great way to learn.
6. Use Mnemonics to remember definitions.
Mnemonics are a great way to remember lists of information. For example, a mnemonic to remember America’s great lakes is “HOMES” (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior). If there are definitions you need to remember, make a mnemonic!
7. Write Out Your Notes (yes, with a pen and paper).
Science has shown that we remember things better when we write them out physically. It might be way slower than typing things out, but if you study enough, time shouldn’t be a problem 🙂
8. Break Up The Studying.
You don’t have to get all your real estate exam prep done at once! If you schedule effectively, you should give yourself plenty of time to relax.
9. Exercise after studying.
Exercising after a study session can help to strengthen the synaptic pathways in your brain, making the memories “stick”. Plus, since the material’s fresh in your mind, it’s good to distract yourself with. I know I look for any distraction that’s available when I’m exercising 🙂
Keeping yourself hydrated is important for your brain as well as your body – it will keep you more alert, and allow you greater stretches of concentration.
11. Remember what works for you.
Some people like studying at night; study better listening to music; some people like studying right after work, and some wake up early to do it. Tailor your real estate exam prep experience to what works best for your particular situation.
12. Treat your notes as a first draft, and fix them later.
The first time you write up notes, they may look pretty rough or messy. Don’t worry about that – a great way to review material is to rewrite it later, making sure the formatting is just how you like it.
13. Quiz yourself often.
Put yourself in a test situation: don’t let yourself look up definitions. Try to answer questions from memory. If you have a study buddy, ask them to quiz you, and if you don’t, try flash cards.
14. Look for answers in uncommon places.
Try getting some real-world experience in tracking down answers: if you know any real estate agents, ask them. Or if you don’t, try emailing local agents. Who knows, they might answer, and you might get a contact in the real estate business!
Recent studies have shown that a few minutes of meditation before and after studying can help to calm people down and reinforce memories. Try some breathing exercises before and after you study, and let me know if this tactic helps you!
16. Stay positive.
Just remember: you can do this. If you work hard, work smart, and stick to your schedule, the results will come. You might be nervous or anxious, but if you keep your eyes on the prize and work hard, you’ll be fine.
17. Read out loud.
If something is confusing you, try reading it out loud. If you can make it sound sensible while you speak, chances are higher that something will “click”. Next time you run into something you don’t get in your real estate exam prep, try reading it out loud a few times.
18. Relate what you’re learning to what you already know.
Think about why you’re learning what you’re learning. If it’s a related topic to something you’ve already learned, you should connect those pieces. If you picture yourself learning a web of interconnected topics instead of a bunch of unrelated facts, your studying will be much easier.
19. Don’t wait until inspiration strikes.
Stick to your schedule. Don’t wait until you want to study, because who wants to study? Stick your nose in the book, and get to work! Lots of little study sessions are much more effective than a few super-long, super-intense sessions.
20. Practice every day.
As mentioned above, consistency is key. If you make a schedule and stick to it, the results are going to show it, and if you aren’t consistent, the results will show that instead. Instead of “practice makes perfect”, think “practice makes passing”!
21. Pretend you’re teaching someone else (or have a really good friend willing to listen).
It’s said a lot because it’s true: one of the best ways to learn is to teach. If you can teach the material, you probably know it well enough for the exam. If you don’t have someone willing to listen to you blather on about real estate topics, do it to the air, or even put a picture up on your wall. Whatever it takes to get you to practice!
22. Bring study materials with you on-the-go.
Make sure that you have something (a small notebook, a glossary, etc.) that you can look at in your spare time. Waiting for coffee? Getting your oil changed? In the dentist’s waiting room? All great times to study!
23. Nix Netflix.
Trust me, this one’s as painful for me as it is for you. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime: if they stream videos, I’m probably subscribed to their service. Unfortunately, they’re huge time-sinks, and in order to get the appropriate amount of studying done, it’s best to avoid them. Don’t worry – you can binge all you want after you’ve become a licensed realtor!
24. Take some Practice Tests.
There are a lot of free practice tests, like on Tests.com and PrepAgents.com, as well as paid options and even courses. Which one is right for you depends on your studying style, but the free resources are a great place to start.
25. Take a walk before beginning your exam.
Instead of cramming up until the last minute, have faith in the studying you’ve already done. Relaxing before an exam will help your brain be more responsive and improve recollection. If you’ve done enough work beforehand, you shouldn’t have to read up until the last minute!
26. Remember Why You’re Doing This.
Read up on the benefits of a real estate license. Remember your career goals. Tell yourself that you can accomplish anything with enough work and preparation. Thousands before have succeeded, and you can too! Just follow the steps, and you’ll do great.
27. Confidence is Key.
Like I said at the beginning of this post: the hard part’s over. You’ve taken the classes, studied hard, and followed the above tips. On the day of the exam, you should be feeling confident in yourself and confident in the amount of work you’ve put in. The grade you get on the exam will be a reflection of all that work. No matter how bad you are at taking tests, if you follow these rules, I’m sure you’ll do great!