California Real Estate Exam: Everything You Need to Know

Mar 1, 2023
6 min

The real estate exam is the last hurdle standing between you and your real estate career. Once you pass the exam, you can get your license and become a real estate agent. 

The only way you can pass is by feeling confident and prepared. That’s why this article will walk you through everything you need to know about the California real estate exam. From submitting your application to best study tips, we have you covered.

In this article, we will go over:

  • How to apply for the real estate exam
  • What is the difficulty level of real estate exam
  • What is covered on the California exam
  • What kind of vocab is on the exam
  • What kind of questions are on the exam
  • Best ways to study for the exam

How to Apply for the Real Estate Exam in California

To schedule the real estate exam in California, you will need to create an eLicensing account on the Department of Real Estate’s (DRE’s) website. On your eLicensing portal, you may submit an application online.

When you send in your real estate exam application in California, you will need to attached the following documents:

  • A valid photo ID
  • Completed Live Scan form
  • 3 Course Certificates

As well as pay the application and licensing fee. Keep in mind, there are additional fees that you will have to pay when you receive a Live Scan Background Check.

Where Do I Take the Real Estate Exam?

In California, you have the option to take the real estate exam at the following locations:

  • Los Angeles Vicinity
  • Fresno
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego

Applicants are encouraged to take the exam at a location nearest to them. Keep in mind, you cannot take the real estate exam online. It must be done in person. Therefore, if you are out of state, you will have to find a way to get to one of the locations above.

What to Bring on the Day of Your Exam

On the day of your exam, you will need to bring a valid form of photo identification. This includes:

  • Valid I.D. or Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Military Identification Card

Is the Real Estate Exam Hard?

The California real estate exam is considered to have moderate difficulty by many. However, the level of difficulty can vary depending on an individual's level of preparation and understanding of the real estate concepts.

The exam is 3 hours long and consists of 150 multiple choice questions. All you need is a score of 70% to pass. Preparation is key and many successful candidates recommend studying comprehensive study materials and taking practice exams prior to taking the actual exam. 

What is the California Real Estate Exam Passing Rate?

The passing rate for the California real estate exam in 2020 was 53%. To many, a 50/50 shot can feel daunting. But, with proper preparation and understanding of what you will be tested on, passing the California real estate exam can be easy!

What is on the Real Estate Exam in California?

In California, the real estate exam will test you on topics that you may not have covered in your pre-licensing education. On the exam, you should expect to see:

  • Property Ownership, Land Use Controls, and Regulations (15% of exam)
  • Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duties (17% of exam)
  • Property Valuation and Financial Analysis (14% of exam)
  • Financing (9% of exam)
  • Transfer of Property (8% of exam)
  • Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures (25% of exam)
  • Contracts (12% of exam)

This is why it’s imperative to find good, high quality state exam study help. You can also enroll in a real exam crash course to get guided help, exam taking strategies, and more.

Will There Be Math on the Real Estate Exam?

It’s hard to say if the California real estate exam will contain math questions. The reason why is because the exams change frequently and questions get swapped out. Some people may find math questions while others do not.

Remember this helpful tip if you do find a math question on the exam: skip it. Unless the answer is obvious, save the math questions for last because they will take the longest to solve. You just need a 70% to pass the exam and scoring higher has no effect on you or your career.

Vocabulary on the Real Estate Exam

The real estate exam will test you on an array of vocabulary words that popped up in your pre-licensing courses. There is a foundational set of vocab words that you should know before you take the exam.

By studying this foundational set, you will increase your chances of passing the exam or, at the very least, feeling more confident to take the exam. Drilling your terms is also a great way to understand the concepts and real word applications you will see on the exam.

What are the Real Estate Exam Questions Like?

The California real estate exam has deceptive and tricky questions to intentionally confuse you. Every exam taker should expect double negatives, odd phrasing, and unnecessary information in the questions for the purpose of keeping you on your toes.

The best way to overcome questions like these is to take your time reading the question thoroughly. Also, make sure you do more than memorize the concepts and terminology. You should have a well-rounded understanding so you are more mentally flexible to apply what you know.

Best Study Tips for the California Real Estate Exam

The best way to study for the California real estate exam is to create a plan. Make sure you utilize the following strategies:

  • Create a study schedule
  • Diversify the study material
  • Use acronyms and mnemonic devices
  • Form a study group
  • Get guided help

Create a Study Schedule

To not overstudy or understudy, you should plan out a study schedule. This will help you organize what it is that you should study as well as break it down into manageable study sessions. Pull out a calendar and select a few days a week and a few hours on those days to study.

Diversify What You Study

We learn best by expanding what we study. In other words, don’t review the same material over and over. Make time to study the material that is new to you and challenge yourself to learn about concepts and vocab that may confuse you.

Use Acronyms and Mnemonic Devices

These are simple, abbreviated, and oftentimes rhyming shorthand words or phrases to help us remember. Acronyms are an effective way to remember big concepts and the specific rules that govern them. Whereas mnemonic devices can help us recall important information that we will otherwise forget.

Form a Study Group

Study groups are a great way to learn because you can work together as a group to learn the material. You can ask others questions that might stump you for help or you can reinforce your understanding of a concept by explaining it to someone else. These are practical ways to instill the knowledge you will be tested on.

Get Guided Help

Guided exam study help is by far the fastest and simplest way to feel confident and prepared to pass on your first try. We provide exam prep and crash courses to students who need additional study help that makes learning fun and easy. Our program has helped thousands of students become licensed agents in California.

Final Thoughts on the Real Estate Exam in California

The California real estate exam is a challenge for most people. But, with consistent studying, remaining calm, and getting guided help, you can pass on your first attempt. This test is hard but it’s not impossible!

TL;DR: First, you will need to apply for the real estate exam and then you need to start studying. One of the best ways to study is getting guided help from a professional or structured outline of everything you need to study.

Mar 1, 2023
How To
6 min