Real Estate Dreams vs. Reality: The Truth About California's License Exam Challenge

Real Estate Dreams vs. Reality: The Truth About California's License Exam Challenge

Published by Kartik Subramaniam

Reading Time : 4 minutes

California real estate exam pass rates

Pass Rates For Real Estate Exam Explored

The path to becoming a real estate professional in California is often perceived as a straightforward journey. However, the reality is quite different. The California real estate exam a critical step in this journey, poses a significant challenge to many aspirants. The statistics for September 2023 are a telling example of this challenge, reflecting a trend that remains consistent regardless of the month. These numbers have been pretty consistent throughout the years.

Qualifying to Take the Exam: The First Hurdle

In order to take the real estate license exam in California, a candidate must successfully complete three college level courses. These courses are “Real Estate Principles” “Real Estate Practice” and one elective course. Once certificates of completion are obtained for each of these three required courses, the candidate may then sit for the state license exam.

If a real estate broker license is desired, the candidate must complete the above three courses as well as five additional college level courses.

In addition to the education requirement, broker license candidates must also demonstrate a level of experience generally fulfilled by two years of full-time real estate sales experience or a degree with a major in Real Estate. (Most people qualify for this by the two-year experience method).

Scheduling vs. Taking the Exam: The Second Hurdle

Once the prerequisites are completed, the next step is to schedule and take the real estate license exam.

A surprising phenomenon in the California real estate exam process is the discrepancy between the number of individuals who schedule their exams and those who actually sit for them. In September 2023, for instance, while 384 brokers scheduled their exams, only 319 actually took the test. Similarly, out of 5013 salespersons who planned to take the exam, only 4179 followed through and actually took the test. That’s almost 1,000 people who scheduled their salesperson exam but never took the test!

This gap suggests a range of factors - from last-minute jitters to personal circumstances - that prevent candidates from even attempting the exam.

Passing the Exam: A Steeper Challenge

For those who do take the exam, success is not guaranteed. The failure rate is a stark reminder of the exam's difficulty and the level of preparation required.

A recent examination of the pass rates might be super surprising. 319 people took the broker exam in a recent month and only 150 of those passed.

The salesperson exam isn’t much better. In the same month, 4179 people took the sales license exam and only 1922 of those passed.



Unpacking the Low Pass Rates of California's Real Estate Exams: A Deeper Insight

The real estate license exams in California for September 2023 have yielded intriguing results, with notably low pass rates that might raise eyebrows among novices and experts alike. These outcomes are reflective of the stringent standards and complexities inherent in the real estate sector. Let's delve into the factors that contribute to such challenging scenarios.


Exam Difficulty: A Comprehensive Hurdle

The California real estate exams are renowned for their rigor. They encompass a broad spectrum of topics, from intricate laws and regulations to real estate principles, practices, but relatively little math This extensive range demands a level of understanding, often proving to be a formidable challenge for many examinees. The depth and breadth of these subjects require not only memorization but also a level of knowledge and the ability to apply concepts in varied scenarios.

Preparation Level: The Key to Success

A significant factor influencing these pass rates is the level of preparation among candidates. Often, examinees may find themselves inadequately prepared, possibly due to limited study time, a lack of understanding of the exam's structure, or even a simple underestimation of the exam's difficulty. Such unpreparedness can lead to gaps in knowledge and skills, hindering their ability to successfully navigate the exam.

Navigating Test Anxiety and Test-Taking Skills

Moreover, possessing the required knowledge is only part of the equation. Many candidates grapple with test anxiety or lack effective test-taking strategies, which are crucial for success in such high-stakes exams. This psychological factor can significantly impede performance, as it affects concentration, memory, and overall composure during the test. Developing strategies to manage anxiety and enhance test-taking skills is essential for transforming knowledge into successful exam results.

The pass rates for California's real estate license exams are indicative of a demanding professional standard and a call to action for aspiring real estate agents. They underscore the necessity for thorough, well-rounded preparation and the development of robust test-taking abilities. For those embarking on this journey, understanding and addressing these factors can pave the way to success in this challenging yet rewarding field.

If you need help passing the real estate license exam, visit for the most up-to-date and comprehensive test prep available.



Kartik Subramaniam

Founder, Adhi Schools

Kartik Subramaniam is the Founder and CEO of ADHI Real Estate Schools, a leader in real estate education throughout California. Holding a degree from Cal Poly University, Subramaniam brings a wealth of experience in real estate sales, property management, and investment transactions. He is the author of nine books on real estate and countless real estate articles. With a track record of successfully completing hundreds of real estate transactions, he has equipped countless professionals to thrive in the industry.

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