Pennsylvania Updates National Portion Of Licensing Exam

HARRISBURG PA – The national portion of the Pennsylvania real estate licensing exam for salespersons has changed “to ensure (its) relevancy and relationship to public protection,” the State Real Estate Commission announced.

Pennsylvania residents and others who want to become licensed to sell real estate within the state’s borders must take a two-part exam covering national and state real estate law that is administered on the Commission’s behalf by PSI Exams, based in Las Vegas NV. The exam costs $56 each time it is taken for either or both portions.

PSI this fall completed what it called a “new validation study” for the national portion, which included a national job analysis survey and a review by a committee of assembled experts. The results of both led PSI to conclude the national test content needed updating. Its changes affect the type of questions asked on the exam, not the number.

The national portion of the Pennsylvania brokers’ licensing exam was similarly changed.

The table above, supplied by the Commission, shows the type of questions being asked on the exam (Column 1 on the left, labeled “Knowledge Area”); the number of questions (items) in each type being asked on the 2004 and 2009 exams, respectively, for salespersons (Columns 3 and 4, in the center); and for brokers (Columns 5 and 6, at right).

For salespersons, notice the number of questions being asked this year increased over those asked during 2004 regarding valuation and market analysis, mandated disclosures, practice of real estate, real estate calculations, and specialty areas. The number of questions decreased on property ownership, land use controls and regulations, financing, and transfer of property/title. Unchanged were the number of questions covering laws of agency, and contracts.

For brokers, the number of questions increased on valuation and market analysis, laws of agency, mandated disclosures, and practice of real estate. decreases occurred in property ownership, land use controls and regulations, real estate calculations, and specialty areas. Unchanged were financing, contracts, and transfer of property/title.

The shift in emphasis, according to PSI, is on questions or items that “require application of knowledge, as opposed to simple recall (or) recognition.” Also, what it calls “scenario-based questions” were added to the broker exam, PSI said. All changes took effect Nov. 1 (2009).

Details of the licensing exams, and the application to take them, can be found at the PSI website. The state requires that exam candidates complete all required education before it grants permission to take the exams.