how to study for the real estate exam thumbnail of a woman studying for the exam.

By Bettina Siochi | 04.12.21

150 questions, 3 hours, at least a 70%? You got this!

The real estate exam is the last step needed to get your real estate license and become an agent.

If you’re putting pressure on yourself to perform, then it’s time to ease up the gas and apply these tips to help you study smarter and better.

From creating a schedule to mastering your mental game, these study tips will help you feel confident and ready for the real estate state exam. 

Here are 10 tips on how to study for the real estate exam:

  1. Create a study schedule
  2. Don’t overstudy
  3. Diversify the study material
  4. Challenge yourself
  5. Use acronyms to remember material
  6. Get plenty of rest
  7. Form a study group
  8. Find guided help
  9. Use your state exam
  10. Don’t overthink it

Now, let’s dive deeper for a closer look at each tip.

Tip #1: Create a Study Schedule

A study schedule will help you make the time to focus on the material.

Studying is all about consistency!

For example, you can schedule to study from Monday to Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. You can also choose to study on alternate days of the week, such as Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The bottom line is, you have to create a schedule for yourself. 

The reason why study schedules are so effective is because it’s a commitment to studying. Studying without a schedule will make you feel lost and it will make studying hard. When something is hard, we tend to procrastinate to avoid doing it.

During study hours, stay focused. Clear your schedule and free yourself from any distractions. If this means switching off your phone or finding a nice quiet place to study, then do that! 

You can take it a step further and map out what to study on the exact date or time. For example, for the first two weeks of your schedule, focus on real estate principles. Then the following two weeks, study real estate practice. 

Breakdown the material and schedule it out. It doesn’t matter when you study, so long as it’s consistent. 

Tip #2: Don’t Overstudy for the Real Estate Exam

Overdoing it will lead to burnout. Keeping your study sessions short is important. We recommend spending around 2 hours in a given study block.

If you study for long hours, you’re prone to fatigue and frustration. Once you overdo your study sessions, you may not be able to absorb all the information you’re reading.

Overexertion is a big contributor to burnout. Once you hit the burnout zone, the idea alone will seem exhausting. 

Remember to conduct your study session in short intervals to focus, digest, and absorb.

This goes back to creating a study schedule. Two hour study sessions combined with a daily or alternating daily schedule is a great way to keep a steady, productive moment when studying for the real estate exam.

Tip #3: Diversify What You Study

In the state of California, there are 7 real estate categories that appear on the state exam. They are:

  • Property Ownership and 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 (Includes Specialty Areas) (25% of Exam)
  • Contracts (12% of Exam)

Diversifying what you study refers to mixing up what you study. Changing it up by studying different areas from time to time will help you cover more ground and retain more information.

By changing up what you study, you don’t get tunnel vision on one specific category. This will also keep studying fresh and interesting because you won’t be repeating information you learned the day before.

Review it, learn it, move on.

Tip #4: Challenge Yourself

We all have that one subject we struggle with the most. 

Don’t just hope that it won’t appear on the real estate exam. Instead, challenge yourself to understand and master it.

Once you finish studying all the areas, circle back to the area that you struggled with the most. Don’t be eager to dismiss and reject this area. 

The best thing that you can do is to dissect this subject and hone in on the topics you do not fully understand. 

After selecting those topics, take the time and have the patience to go through them again. 

Yes, it may take some time. But, it will be worth it

Tip #5: Use Acronyms to Remember

A tried and true method of studying is using acronyms. Acronyms and mnemonics make remembering bulks of information easier. This is done by creating a fun, short word or phrase to remind you of a greater section of information.

That way, you more efficiently store info in your head without burning out when you need to recall an answer on the real estate exam.

During the real estate state exam, you will run into acronyms that you will need to know. 

One acronym you’ll definitely encounter is “M.A.R.I.A.” This stands for method, adaptability, relationship, intention, and agreement. It is an acronym that helps determine real or personal property.

Another acronym you might encounter is “U.P.T.E.E.”. This acronym can help you remember the Bundle of Rights. It stands for use, possess, transfer, encumber, and enjoy. 

Tip #6: Get Rest Before the Real Estate Exam

This is the funnest tip! Once you finish your study session, it is extremely important that you decompress. 

Time to relax! 

Whether it’s going out for a walk to catch some fresh air or snoozing on the couch, taking time to relax will help destress and stay collected. 

Too much studying leaves you stressed – you have to let that out! 

The most important time to rest is the night before the actual state exams. The last thing you want to do before the night of the exams is to stay up late. Sleep deprivation leads to unfocused attention, foggy memory, and sedated enthusiasm to ace the exam. 

Sleep allows your mind to stay sharp and efficient. This will help you to feel refreshed the morning of the real estate exam. 

Tip #7: Create a Study Group

Studying alone has its benefits. You work at your own pace, you take your time, and you can focus on the material you want to focus on.

But, you get even more advantages when you create a study group. Creating a study group allows you to bounce questions off each other for an impromptu quiz.

Instead of simply covering your book and asking yourself, other people can now test you.

You know what they say “two minds are better than one.” Imagine if you have four or five minds, how much better would that be? 

Another advantage of creating a study group is the accountability factor. People can hold you accountable to study at a specific time on a specific day. Your study buddies can support you and encourage you to keep going when you feel like you can’t.

But, here’s one of the unspoken perks of studying together. One of the most effective ways to learn new information is by explaining it to someone else. A study group is a space that lets people learn the material from each other, which benefits everyone.

Tip #8: Get Guided Help

One of the best ways to prepare for a real estate exam is to get guided help. 

Guided help lets you ask the questions that had you stumped. We recommend that you enroll yourself in a weekend crash course right before you take the exam. 

A weekend crash course will give you last minute tips, tricks, and detailed review to help you pass the state exam on your first attempt. Not only will this prepare you mentally but it will also help boost your test taking confidence.

At the very least, seeking out help from your real estate trainer or tapping another professional can help you learn the material from a trusted source.

Tip #9: Utilize the State Exam Prep

If you’re a CA Realty Training student or if you’re looking for a quick and effective way to prep for the state exam, then check out our State Exam Prep. The exam prep is designed to make preparing for the state exam simple.

You also have access to the flashcards for quick terminology drills that will instill vital information. You get a mock state exam that mimics the state exam and uses similar questions and time restraints

Don’t just take the mock state exams once, take it multiple times! Try to get at least 80%. If you can consistently get a score of 80% at least five times, you’re good to go.

Tip #10: Don’t Overthink It

Some people might fall into a trap. They sit down for the exam, stress, and want to outsmart the exam. This is a classic example of overthinking.

Test takers nose dive and get exam anxiety that leads to them to eject key information and terminology.

If this happens, remember to take a deep breath and ground yourself.

Whenever you encounter a question that confuses you, don’t overthink it. Remember: a five-dollar bill is a five-dollar bill. Most definitions in real estate are straightforward. Do not question the question.

Final Thoughts on the Studying for the Real Estate Exam

There’s no magic formula when studying for the real estate exam. The best of advice that you can apply is to stick to a consistent schedule that you can follow for at least two months.

This gives you plenty of time to break the gargantuan task of studying for the real estate exam into bite sized study blocks.

As long as you remain determined, you will succeed. 

What studying style works for you the best? Share them with us down in the comments section!


Every week, we release in-depth videos to help viewers become successful real estate agents on our CA Realty Training YouTube Channel. Also, if you enjoyed reading this article, we would love if you could share it with a friend who you think would get something out of it.
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