Are you asking, “how long should you study for the real estate exam?” If so, you’re in the right place. Our complete guide covers timelines, best practices, study tips, and more. Read on to learn all you need to know!
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- How Long Should You Study for the Real Estate Exam?
- Do You Need to Study?
- Factors Affecting Study Time
- Study Methods
- Advice From Real Agents
How Long Should You Study for the Real Estate Exam?
If you’ve decided to study for the real estate exam in your state and become a licensed real estate agent or broker — congratulations!
It’s a rewarding career that allows you to have more freedom and room for growth than a typical 9-5 job. The first step to getting licensed is studying for the exam.
But how long should you study for the real estate exam? That depends on a few factors, including:
- Your state’s pre-licensing requirements
- The format of your pre-licensing courses
- Your study methods
The average agent needs to dedicate between two and four months to take pre-license courses and prepare for the exam. However, you shouldn’t rush the process. Don’t worry — we’re here to help.
In this guide, we’ll cover typical exam requirements, best study practices, and advice from agents who have actually taken the exam. Sound good? Let’s dive in.
Do You Really Need to Study?
Is it necessary to spend time studying for the real estate exam? Absolutely. Even if you meet your state’s criteria to exempt you from taking pre-licensing courses, there’s no way around studying.
You need to study for the real estate exam if you want to pass. I’d know — I’ve studied for (and passed) the exam. While I didn’t think it was all that difficult, I also studied hard for it.
How the Exam Works
Your real estate exam will have two parts: The federal section and the state section. The state-required pre-licensing courses you take before you sit for the exam covers both sections of the test.
There’s a lot of information to retain, so just taking the courses won’t give you the study time you need. If you want to pass on the first try, you have to dedicate time to studying and sneak in exam prep anytime you can.
Exactly how much time you’ll need to spend studying depends on the factors we’ll cover next.
Factors That Affect How Long You Should Study for the Real Estate Exam
On average, it takes about 4 to 6 months to become a real estate agent, including signing up for pre-licensing courses, studying, and taking and passing the real estate exam.
But different factors affect how much time you’ll need to spend studying for your state’s exam. Let’s look at the factors that affect study time.
State Pre-Licensing Course Requirements
State real estate commissions set their own pre-licensing education requirements that will affect how long you should study for the real estate exam.
You might only need 24 credit hours to be eligible to sit for the exam – or you might need close to 200. In Texas and Colorado, the pre-licensing requirements are the toughest in the nation (requiring 180 and 160 hours, respectively).
In Massachusetts, you only need 24 hours of pre-licensing education to sit for the real estate exam. You can see how there’s a big difference in how much you’ll need to study if you’re taking the exam in Massachusetts compared to Texas!
Pre-Licensing Course Format
The way you choose to take your pre-licensing courses will affect how much time you’ll spend studying for the real estate exam. There are two options: In-classroom or online.
Let’s look at how the course format affects how long you should study for the exam.
If you take in-class courses, it might take you longer to complete the pre-licensing education. Classes are offered only certain days weekly during limited time slots, so working ahead isn’t an option.
It may take you up to 6 months to complete the pre-licensing education requirements if you choose traditional, in-classroom courses.
It’s also more expensive to take in-class courses than online courses. For more information on real estate school costs, read our guide: How Much Does Real Estate School Cost?
Some people mistakenly think that completing the courses will fully prepare them for the exam. It won’t! You will still need to study for the real estate exam after you complete your pre-licensing courses.
Courses you completed first could now be months-old in your memory if you took courses in a classroom setting. It’s essential to spend time studying the information you learned to make sure you’re truly ready for the real estate licensing exam.
Taking online pre-licensing courses puts you in the driver’s seat. You decide how quickly or slowly you want to take your courses. You can work on them every chance you get or set aside time on nights or weekends.
Taking your real estate classes online allows you to work ahead or at your own pace without being rushed or held back. Another benefit of taking online courses is that it’s much less expensive than in-classroom courses.
Just make sure the online courses you select are accredited by The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO).
Again, finishing the courses does not mean it’s immediately time to take the exam. Spend time studying and reviewing the information covered in your courses to ensure everything is still fresh in your mind.
Your study methods and habits will affect how long you should study for the real estate exam. There are multiple effective ways to study for the exam. The most important thing is choosing options that work for you.
People learn best through different methods.
Some prefer taking the pre-licensing courses (online or in-classroom), then taking lots of practice exams. This option may work for you if you are careful to note which questions you’ve missed along the way.
Or maybe you like taking extra time to review it before taking the next test. Another benefit of taking practice exams as part of your study plan is that you’ll be able to time yourself and better prepare for the actual exam conditions.
For an online practice exam, try the Official PSI Practice Exam for $19.95. It’s inexpensive but is made from the same type of “gotcha-type” questions you’ll see on the exam.
You might find that your best study options involve tried-and-true techniques, like studying with flashcards. Make them yourself or use a site like Quizlet to create online cards.
There are advantages to hand-writing flashcards, like an increased ability to retain the information and getting rid of distractions that you might have if you study with flashcards online.
To get the most out of studying with flashcards, write the question on one side, and answer the back. Alternate the way you study – by answer and by question – to make sure you have a good grasp of the information.
Exam Prep Courses
You can get the best of both worlds if you decide to take an exam prep course. The best exam prep courses include practice exams, flashcards, ways to check your progress along the way, and even pass guarantees.
We recommend the Real Estate Express Exam Prep course. It’s $99 and includes:
- Ten practice exams
- Two national final exams
- Three state final exams
- Exam results breakdown by topic for review
- Custom exams based on missed questions
- Digital flashcards
- Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee
You can spend as much time as you want pouring over the study materials in the real estate exam prep course. Most courses are available for you to log in for six months after purchase.
I’ve personally used this cram course, and it worked very well. I found that I got the most out of my exam prep by trying to spend at least two weeks reviewing and studying it.
You’ll know you’re ready for the real estate licensing exam when you are consistently scoring at least 80% on your practice tests and practice final tests.
How Long Real Estate Agents Actually Studied for the Exam
We’ve covered some general study suggestions to follow. Sometimes, the best advice you can get is from others who have studied for, taken, and passed the real estate exam in their state.
Here are what real estate agents and brokers from the Bigger Pockets forum had to say in response to “How long should you study for the real estate exam?”
Magdalene Fortson from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
“In FL I had to take a 63 hour course and I opted to do the 7 day crash course which was 20 chapters long, then I was required to pass an in class exam before being allowed to move forward to the State Exam. I locked myself in for 80 hours to study and also invested in an online state exam simulator which was timed and allowed you up to 3 hours (just like our state exam) to be tested on math and other topics.”
Eric Davey Real Estate Agent from Concord, North Carolina
“It took me about 3 months. I took the night classes and studied every lunch break and every chance I could. Not much of a life besides reading, answering the questions in each chapter, taking practice tests, asking questions in class, ect.”
Deren Huang Real Estate Agent from Tulsa, OK
“I took the course while I held my full time job. That took 3 months. Application to actually schedule the test, processing time took a couple weeks. I scheduled my test 1 month out so that I could study for it.”
Nick Rutkowski Rental Property Investor from Cortland, NY
“It took me 3 months to get my RE License in NY. Some helpful tips that got me past the exam was studying with other classmates. That way [you] can teach what you know and learn what you don’t know from your peers.”
Wayne Brooks Real Estate Professional from West Palm Beach, Florida
“9 days…7 day, 63 hour course, review course next day, state test next day. No need to diddle around.”
Jay Hinrichs Real Estate Broker from Lake Oswego OR Summerlin, NV
“2 to 4 months is average if you work at it.”
Michael Liddicoat Real Estate Broker from Yakima, Washington
“I used an online school and was able to spend 7 to 10 hours a day studying. I was able to go from registration to licensed in 2 1/2 weeks. My recommendation on studying may only apply to the Washington state test so be forewarned.”
As you can see, there are a few extreme cases, but most real estate agents say they spent about 2-4 months taking the pre-licensing courses and studying hard for the exam.
Most find that studying for about two weeks to one month gives them enough time to review all the information and feel confident about passing the exam on the first try.
How Long Should You Study for the Real Estate Exam?
Considering all the information we’ve covered in this guide, you should plan to spend at least two weeks reviewing and studying the information covered in your pre-licensing courses.
If you can spend more time, do it. The longer you study, the better chance of passing your real estate licensing exam on the first try.
Set Yourself up for Success
By knowing your state course requirements, you can plan to allow yourself more or less time to study based on the amount of information covered in your courses.
Keep in mind that taking online real estate classes will give you more freedom to take the courses at your own pace and leave more time for studying when you’ve completed them.
The study methods you choose are important, so be sure to select a study method that helps you retain and learn the information best.
As long as you give studying for the exam the attention and focus it deserves, you’ll pass with flying colors and be off to a great start in your new career as a real estate professional.