What is on the California Real Estate License Exam?

The California real estate license exam is the step in the licensing process that most aspiring agents are most nervous about. For many of us, it’s been several years since we’ve had to sit an exam. And your future career is riding on the outcome of your real estate exam!

But you don’t need to be nervous. With the right preparation, you can substantially increase your chances of passing the exam. And if you don’t pass on your first attempt, it’s okay! You can always retake your exam. 

Understanding how the exam works and what’s included on the exam will help you prepare for your big day. Here’s everything you need to know about the California real estate license exam.

California Real Estate License Exam Basics

The California real estate license exam is made up of 150 multiple-choice questions to be completed over three hours at an in-person testing center. 

To pass the exam, you need to score 70% or higher. If your testing center offers electronic exams, you’ll know your results before you leave the testing center. If your testing center still uses pen-and-paper exams, you’ll learn your results by mail about a week after taking your exam.

How to Study for the California Real Estate License Exam

Your chosen California real estate pre-licensing course may play a large part in preparing you for the license exam. Take advantage of schools that offer test prep materials in addition to the course curriculum. Practice tests are an especially effective tool to help prepare you for the exam. They’ll help you get familiar with common exam questions, cement the material you learned in your courses, and help you brush up on your test-taking skills.

How Does the California Real Estate License Exam Process Work?

Before you can sit your California real estate exam, you must apply to take the test and pay a $60 exam fee. You can complete your exam application via the DRE’s eLicensing portal. You may want to consider applying for your real estate license at the same time to speed up the licensing process.  

You can allow the DRE to schedule you for the first available exam appointment (to save time). Or you can wait for your approval to take the exam, then schedule the exam yourself through the eLicensing portal. 

On testing day, you’ll need to bring a valid form of ID with you (driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or military ID card issued within the last 5 years). You can also get your DRE-required fingerprints done at the testing center on the day of your exam.  

There’s a long list of items prohibited during the exam including cell phones, bags, hats, and drinks. Lockers will be provided for your belongings. You should also know that cell phone use is not permitted, even on testing breaks.

What is on the California Real Estate License Exam?

To help guide your exam studies, the DRE has published a list of topics covered on the exam: 

  • Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures
    • 25% of the exam (37-38 questions)

  • Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duty
    • 17% of the exam (25-26 questions)

  • Property Ownership and Land Use Controls and Regulations 
    • 15% of the exam (22-23 questions)

  • Property Valuation and Financial Analysis
    • 14% of the exam (21 questions)

  • Contracts 
    • 12% of the exam (18 questions)

  • Financing 
    • 9% of the exam (13-14 questions)

  • Transfer of Property
    • 8% of the exam (12 questions)

Is the California Real Estate License Exam Hard?

Well, the California real estate exam certainly isn’t easy. Think about it this way: this exam is the only way you can prove to the California DRE that you know enough about the industry to be awarded a license to practice real estate. The exam has to be hard to determine which applicants really know their stuff and deserve to be working as a real estate professional.

If you don’t pass the exam on your first try, don’t worry; you can retake the test.

And once you pass, you’ll be a licensed California real estate agent, ready to launch your new career!

Leanna Petronella

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