How Hard Is the North Carolina Real Estate Exam?

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The North Carolina real estate exam is no walk in the park, but if you go in prepared, you can ace it. Let’s talk about what is tested and how the exam works. After all, knowledge is power!

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How is the North Carolina Real Estate Exam Structured?

The North Carolina real estate exam is administered by testing company PearsonVUE and is broken out into two sections: the national section and the state section.

Most applicants must pass both sections. The only exception is applicants who are licensed in another state: they only need to pass the state section.

  • The state section is 60 questions
  • The national section is 80 questions

State and National Pretest Questions

Additionally, there will be 5 pretest questions in the national portion and 5 pretest questions in the state portion. Pretest questions are questions that the exam provider is auditioning for future tests and don’t count toward your score.

Question Format

All the questions in the exam are multiple-choice questions with four answer choices. This format should look familiar from the end-of-course exam you took after completing your pre-licensing education.

What’s a Passing Score?

How many questions do you need to get right to pass?

  • For the state section, you must answer 45 out of 60 questions correctly (or 75% passing score)
  • For the national section, you must answer 60 of the 80 questions correctly (or 75% passing score)

Retaking the Test

If you don’t pass the exam on the first try, you can retake it.

If you only pass one section of the exam, you can retake just the section that you failed. Note that every time you retake the test, you have to pay the $100 application fee and the $60 exam fee all over again. If you only need to retake one section of the exam, state or national, the exam fee is $50. Yikes! Better study hard for your wallet’s sake!

What Topics Are Covered on the North Carolina Real Estate Exam?

So what’s on the test, anyway? The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) provides a candidate handbook and pre-licensing course syllabus that have extremely detailed information about what is tested and taught. Here are the highlights of what you’ll see on the exam:

  • Basic real estate concepts
  • Property insurance basics
  • Basic construction
  • Basic real estate investment
  • Property ownership and interests
  • Property taxation and assessment
  • Transfer of title to real property
  • Federal income taxation of home ownership/sale
  • Land use controls
  • Environmental issues in real estate
  • Brokerage relationships: law and practice
  • Agency contracts (sales) and related practices
  • Basic contract law
  • Sales contracts and related procedures
  • Real estate financing
  • Closing a sales transaction
  • Real property valuation
  • Landlord and tenant
  • Property management
  • Fair housing
  • Real estate license law and commission rules
  • Agent safety
  • Real estate mathematics

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North Carolina Real Estate Exam Prep

Nobody wants to pay $160 to retake this exam, so do yourself a favor and go in prepared. The state section especially is known for being tricky. In fact, according to NCREC, fewer than 40% of applicants who take the state section of the exam without taking a pre-licensing course (because they are licensed in another state) pass the test.

What’s the best way to prepare? Here are some suggestions:

  • Take as many practice tests as possible. If your pre-licensing course provides practice tests, keep taking them until you regularly score 90% or higher. That’s a great indication that you’re ready for the licensing exam. You can also take exam prep with exam prep specialists like PrepAgent.
  • If you didn’t take a pre-licensing course, NCREC has recommended study materials for the state section of the exam.
  • Review the materials from your pre-licensing education. Consider making flashcards for key terms or concepts you’re fuzzy on. See where you underperformed on the end-of-course exam or in-course practice questions, and focus your study there.

The North Carolina real estate licensing exam is tough, but you’re tougher! Go in ready and you’ll have that license in no time. Want to learn more about how to get a North Carolina real estate license? Check out our blog!