The Time Has Come!
Now that you have used the tips offered in my previous post Study Tips for Passing the Real Estate Exam on Your First Try, and have spent countless hours studying, taking numerous quizzes and reading chapter after chapter to prepare for your real estate license exam, it’s time to put what you have learned to the test. Like prepping for any big test, the days leading up to the exam can be unnerving. You have done an amazing job consuming a ton of information; being nervous is completely understandable. But don’t let it get the best of you.
Try to relax and check out these “day of test” tips to ease your test-taking nerves so you can ace your real estate exam and pursue your new career as a successful real estate agent!
BEFORE YOU GET TO THE EXAM CENTER
Know the testing center rules – Each testing center has its own rules. Find out which test center your state requires you to test at. Do you research when you schedule your exam; check out their website to inquire about the following:
- Calculators: Do they provide one for you or do you need to bring one?
- Exam fees: Did you pay your exam fees when you registered, or do you pay them onsite? If you are to pay onsite, make sure you have it and can pay in the form of payment they request.
- Food: Are you allowed to bring food into the testing center? If you have a medical condition that requires you to eat at certain times, contact the testing center in advance to seek approval of your request to bring snacks.
- Identification: Find out the specific types of identification you need to have with you. PSI (one of the national testing centers) requires two forms of ID. I used my driver’s license and passport.
- Less is better: Do not bring any unnecessary items into the testing center with you. Leave your purse, phone and any other personal belongings locked up in your car. I only brought my wallet (ID) and keys in with me.
- Handicapped accessibility: Find out ahead of time about accommodations for any handicap needs.
- Location: Pick the most convenient exam center location for you. Make consideration of unexpected traffic when scheduling your exam. I was given two test time options, 9:00am or 1:00pm. I opted for the later time as rush hour traffic around the closest testing center to me is horrible.
- Aim to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes early. Use the restroom before you sign in. If you are late, they will NOT let you take the test. You will have to reschedule and pay the exam fee again!
Get a good night’s rest! – Make sure you are well-rested on the day of your test. Do not go into the test tired, and make sure you are properly nourished when you arrive at your scheduled test time. Try not to do any last-minute cramming or review, this can cause you to tense up and overthink. Concentrate on being calm, staying focused, and passing your real estate exam.
Eat something – There is definitely something to be said for consuming (healthy) foods to provide energy, stable blood sugar levels, alertness, and focus! Eat your normal meals for the day, don’t skip a meal due to nerves. If you are hungry during the exam, you will not be focused. Keep it light and healthy, don’t stop at an all-you-can-eat buffet on the way to the exam. I have heard that a small amount of caffeine can also help with alertness and focus.
Loosen up – Test-taking is much easier when you are relaxed and confident. Practice positive self-talk on your way to the testing center (and days leading up to the exam). Repeat some type of positive affirmation, for instance: “I CAN do this, I WILL pass the exam!” Before you go to the testing center, take some time to stretch out to release any tension your body may have. Take several deep breaths, walk proudly, and confidently into the testing center. This will make you feel better while clearing your mind before taking your exam.
ONCE YOU GET INTO THE EXAM ROOM
More than likely you will be assigned a desk/computer station. If you are taking the exam with PSI, any belongings you brought into the center will be locked up in a bag that you keep with you, but they retain the key.
- Breathe – Once you are checked in and are told which computer to report to, get comfortable and take three long, deep breaths to relax and center yourself.
- Read carefully – Take the time to read every word of every question on the exam. This may seem obvious or trivial, but, in timed multiple-choice exams, missing or misreading one word can make a HUGE difference.
- Be aware of “tricky” wording – Read the questions twice (maybe three times), make sure you aren’t missing keywords that might throw you off like “NOT, EXCEPT, ALWAYS, USUALLY, and the trickiest one, “which BEST describes.” These words are thrown in to trick you.
- Pay close attention – Don’t be afraid to select the obviously correct answer. Examiners don’t just write questions that are intentionally designed to trick you, they write questions that sometimes require knowledge of differences between two points. Pay attention to unnecessary material that is designed to throw you off (extra numbers in math problems or facts that don’t matter in a situation). Also, don’t choose an answer option that you have never heard of! You should be able to eliminate two of the possible answer choices immediately (some are actually funny); then pick the best answer from the remaining choices.
- Take your time – It is easy to overlook the details when you are nervous and in a rush. Ample time is provided for each portion of the exam. Slow down. If you are unsure of the answer within 1-2 minutes, flag the question and move on. You can revisit the question at the end of the exam (before you click submit).
- Flag questions you are unsure of – In Virginia, (PSI Exams) you have the option to FLAG questions, this skips them and allows you to go back at the end and revisit them. As I noted above, do this for questions you cannot figure out quickly. For instance, I flagged all of the math questions and went back to them at the end. I knew these would take me more time to figure out. Also, when checking your answers to the math questions, work the problem at least twice or until you get the same answer twice. You might even try to work the question backward to see if you come up with the given question.
- Answer ALL of the questions – Most importantly, don’t leave any answers blank. If you have remaining time, go back and review the questions you are not 100% sure of. I know they say you should go with your gut and that you shouldn’t change your answer once you selected one, but I know that by reviewing the questions that I was unsure of again, I had definitely misread some of them, so changing my answers was the correct thing to do.
*With the PSI exam, when you come to the end of BOTH tests, there will be a survey. Once you submit the survey your results will immediately be posted on the screen. Pass or Fail. That is all this screen will tell you. If you pass, you will not know your score. If you fail (I really hate that word), they will give you a printout of how you scored in each area. Use this to help you re-evaluate how you will study to take the test again when you will see the beautiful word PASS on the screen.
Above all, the BEST piece of advice I can offer you is to BE POSITIVE and stay that way through the entire process. The power of a positive attitude is amazing! Remember your WHY! Why do you want to become a real estate agent? Use this as your fire and motivation to help you pursue your dream!