A Complete Guide to Licensing & California Real Estate Exam

By Published: November 6, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Overview 
    • Introduction to the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Why is the California Real Estate Exam Important? 
  • Preparation 
    • Steps to Preparing for the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Study Materials and Resources for the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Tips and Strategies for Success on the California Real Estate Exam 
  • Taking the Exam 
    • Registration Process for the California Real Estate Exam 
    • What to Expect on the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Test Format and Structure in the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Time Management and Test-Taking Strategies for the California Real Estate Exam 
  • After the Exam 
    • Understanding Your Exam Results for the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Next Steps After Successfully Passing the California Real Estate Exam 
    • Renewing Your California Real Estate License
California Real Estate Exam

Overview of The California Real Estate Exam

Introduction to the California Real Estate Exam

Passing the California real estate license exam is just the first step. Aspiring real estate agents can then look forward to a long and lucrative career. With the right preparation, you can pass the exam quite easily and if you fail to do so, you can retake the test. 

To be ready for test day, you should know the structure of the exam and what topics to focus on. In a nutshell, you have to visit an in-person testing center and sit for the three-hour exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions. The minimum score to crack the exam is 70%. 

When do you know whether you have passed the exam or otherwise? Since the exams are electronically controlled on computers, results are known shortly after the completion in the test center itself. 

The Top Reasons To Take the California Real Estate Exam  

The California real estate exam is an opportunity to know whether you have picked up enough knowledge about the real estate industry. Buying and selling property is not easy and there are a lot of rules and regulations that govern this activity. 

There are legal implications too of drawing up contracts and documents and even a slight mistake can have wide ramifications later. How to carry out your duties to perfection will be taught to you thoroughly in the pre-licensing course before taking the exam. 

The 135 hours of coursework includes all that you need to know about California estate laws, ethics, agency, and other real estate best practices. Hence, cracking the California real estate exam is your ticket to the real estate industry. 

Preparation for The California Real Estate Exam

Steps to Prepare for the California Real Estate Exam

  • Create a study schedule: Having a study schedule will stop you from overstudying or understudying. You can also break down the coursework into manageable bites and set the days and hours to complete them.
  • Create a plan of study: Do not review the same material repeatedly but go onto new concepts and focus there, especially your weak areas. 
  • Use acronyms: These are short and simple shorthand words that rhyme with difficult concepts. By breaking them down you can remember unknown topics easily.
  • Joining a study group: Interaction within these groups helps a lot. You get help for questions and areas that you are weak in. Similarly, you can advise others who are weak in your fields of strength. It is a practical way to update your knowledge base. 
  • Get guided help: Enroll in courses by top providers that specialize in the 153-hour pre-licensing coursework. Get exam prep and crash courses along with practice questions and simulations that will help you to easily pass the exam.

Check out the courses offered by RealEstateU. These online study materials are designed and created by top real estate professionals to make you better understand the various facets of the industry. Our packages are also among the most affordable in this niche. 

What Study Materials and Resources to Use for the California Real Estate Exam

To pass the real estate license exam in California, you need to go through 153 hours of coursework that covers all that is necessary to be a successful real estate agent. There are several course providers you can choose from. However, check what they have to offer before selecting one. 

Typically, top offerings of study materials for the license exams have several packages and students can choose one as per their budget. The basic package has real estate eBooks, moving to flashcards, live and interactive instruction support, access to an animated video library, and career success tools in higher-priced packages.  

Choose a course that provides lots of practice questions so that you can gain the required confidence for exam day.  

Take, for example, coursework from RealEstateU. We offer online courses and an app that allows you to study on the go at any time. Moreover, aside from the high-quality materials, our packages are the lowest-priced in this niche with the base one starting at $99 only.

Successfully Passing the California Real Estate Exam – Tips and Strategies

Follow these tips and strategies to successfully crack the real estate exam in California.

  • Review the exam requirements: Once you understand what may be expected in the exam, you can prepare better for it.
  • Create notes on paper or digitally for key concepts: Make flashcards with questions and brief answers to important concepts to help you remember them better and revise before the exam.
  • Go through all the materials: Since you are new to this field, you will not know what to read and what to leave out of the study materials. To be on the safe side, go through the full coursework thoroughly.
  • Practice, practice, and practice: There is no end to solving practice questions, the more you do, the greater will be your understanding of the various aspects of the real estate industry. It will also give you the confidence to do well on test day.
  • Do not reach out to practicing agents: This might sound strange but there is often a difference between the theories tested in the California real estate license exam and what agents practice in real-life situations. Taking advice will only lead to a lot of confusion.
California Real Estate Licensing

Taking the California Real Estate Exam  

Registration Process for the California Real Estate Exam

There are several eligibility norms that must be fulfilled to complete the registration for the real estate exam in California. First, you must be 18 years of age or older. Next, you have to produce the certificate of having completed 153 hours of pre-licensing coursework. Finally, you should be able to take the exam in person and be eligible to work in the USA. 

The certificate is important as you cannot sit for the exam without first going through the 153 hours of coursework. Submit the following documents with the application for the real estate licensing exam in California - a valid photo ID, fingerprint live scan form, fees for the state exam and license, and proof of completion of coursework.

How is the California Real Estate Exam Conducted – The Process

On exam day, you must report to the test center administrator at the center of your exam at least 30 minutes before the start of the test. You have to show your photo ID which is current up to the last five years and will be one of the following -  

  • State-issued DMV identification card or driver’s license
  • Passport issued either by the U.S. or a foreign Government
  • U.S. military identification card.  

The exam will be held on a computer at the test center and you do not need typing skills or computer experience for it. You have three hours to complete 150 multiple-choice questions. To target the passing score of 70%, you need to get at least 105 questions right. You will get the results of your exam shortly after you complete it from the administrator.

What Wiil You Get in California Real Estate Exam 

There are 150 MCQs in the California real estate license exam. The passing score is 70% and so, you must answer at least 105 of them correctly. You will give the exam on a computer at a test center. The results are declared shortly after completing the test. 

The structure of the exam consists of 7 parts.

  • Property ownership and land use controls and regulations
  • Laws of agency and fiduciary duties
  • Property valuation and financial analysis
  • Financing
  • Transfer of property
  • Practice of real estate and disclosures (includes specialty areas)
  • Contracts

The exam is challenging but nothing that you cannot overcome with the right pre-licensing course.

What are the Time Management and Test-Taking Strategies to Follow for the California Real Estate Exam

  • Go through as many practice questions as possible in the pre-licensing course as it will prepare you well for the real test.
  • During the exam, start by answering the easy questions first.
  • Look at the answers and check the vocabulary and keywords that stand out.
  • Eliminate the wrong answers to arrive at the right one.
  • Skip questions that you do not have a clue about. Do not waste precious time on them.
  • Do not go back and check how many questions you have answered in the real estate exam in California. It will not only discourage you but also lead to time constraints in the end.

After the California Real Estate Exam

Understanding Your Exam Results for the Real Estate Licensing Exam in California

In the real estate exam in California, students are given 150 MCQs. The passing score for the exam is 70% which means that you must correctly answer 105 to crack the exam. If you have taken the test on a computer, the result will be declared soon after the exam is over. For pen-and-paper tests, you will receive the result within 10 days via email.

What Should You Do After Passing the California Real Estate Exam 

  • Within a year after passing the exam, you must apply for a real estate agent’s license in form RE 202 along with the requisite fees.
  • Submit the Live Scan Service Request in form RE237 to the CalBRE. A license will only be issued after this step is completed. 
  • Submit proof that you have gone through the Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice, and one additional course. 
  • Join a brokerage. This is essential to get a license as you need a mentor and support during the initial stages of your career.

With these steps done, you will be issued with a real estate license in California

Renewing Your California Real Estate License

The validity of licenses varies from state to state. Real estate licenses must be renewed every four years in California. Between one license renewal and the next, 45 hours of continuing education must be completed by you. You should apply with the requisite fee. Failure to renew the license timely will lead to its expiration.