Read these test-taking strategies before you take a state licensing exam.
Don’t be a careless reader. Ensure that you understand what each question says, and not what you think it says.
Be particularly careful of negative questions. Read the stem of the question before considering each answer to ensure accuracy.
Do not base your answers solely on common sense. Use your real estate knowledge to answer the questions.
Look out for qualifying or limiting words that could affect your answer. They include “may,” “must,” “all,” “always,” “except,” and others.
Look out for name or title substitutions of equal meaning. One example: calling “a lender” as “an investor.”
Look out for words with similar spellings. One example: is “demise” vs. “devise.”
Always choose the best of the available answers, and make sure the whole answer is true. If most of an answer is true, but a small portion is not true, the whole answer is not true.
Read the stem of a question at least two times before reading the offered answers. Be sure you fully understand the stem before choosing an answer.
Write important words or phrases on the paper provided by the test center. This adds mental emphasis to important points … and slows you down.
Do not speed read. Read and analyze individual words in the same way a lawyer would read and analyze a contract.
Make sure you have clarified and defined, in your own mind, any real estate terms used in the stem before going to the answers.
For any terms that end in “ee” and “or” – for example, a “lessee” and a “lessor,” or an “obligee” and “obligor” – substitute conversational English meanings. Remember that the “or” gives documents or paperwork to the “ee” during the course of a transaction.
If possible, formulate your own answer before reading the answers provided. Don’t allow the answers to help you interpret the stem of the question.
Write a note for each possible answer to help you make your final decision. Your note may only say “T” for “true” or “NT” for “not true.”
Eliminate obviously incorrect answers. If an unfamiliar term or concept is used in a remaining answer, eliminate that answer too.
If the correct answer still is not apparent, answer the question with your first impression. Then mark the question for later review.
Avoid changing answers on a whim. Change answers only if you have a valid reason. If you are unsure of an answer, indicating your first impression will generally result in more correct answers.
If you don’t have a clue about the correct answer … guess! There is no penalty for guessing, and your odds of guessing an answer that’s correct are significantly better than leaving the question unanswered.
Don’t allow a few isolated questions to rattle or upset you. Every exam has several “clinkers.” Remember, you don’t need a score of 100 to pass.
If you are particularly nervous, complete the easy questions first. They usually will take less time, and help eliminate anxiety due to time pressures.
Schedule occasional breaks for yourself to “recharge your batteries.” You will return more refreshed and reduce the number of “dumb mistakes” due to fatigue.
Ignore others in the room. Some will leave early because they are ill-prepared. Some will shuffle about or moan about what they don’t know. Leave their problems to them. Concentrate on YOUR success.