People who want to become licensed real estate agents are required to take a test, and it isn't easy. The average Florida real estate exam pass rate is only 47% for first-time test takers. Typically, you have two years from the time you finish your pre-licensure classes to take the real estate exam.
Exam prep courses are designed to help people prepare for their tests and can boost pass rates to over 95%. The best courses are effective (helping most students pass their tests), accessible (with materials they can refer back to), and have great reviews, without being overly costly. We evaluated over a dozen real estate exam prep courses and chose the best based on their materials, cost, reviews, accessibility, and more. Not all of these courses are offered in every state, so be sure to choose the one that’s offered in your state and fits your needs.
Keep in mind that, due to COVID-19, all classes are now only offered online. Some are live online and others can be accessed at your own pace, which are called on-demand classes.
The 8 Best Real Estate Exam Prep Courses of 2020
- Kaplan: Best Overall
- The CE Shop: Runner-Up, Best Overall
- Real Estate Express: Best for Accessibility
- Real Estate Exam Scholar: Best Value
- AceableAgent: Best Bundle for Pre-Licensure and Exam Prep Courses
- OnCourse Learning: Best for Self-Paced Learning
- CompuCram: Best for Brokers
- 360 Training: Best for Additional Courses
Best Overall: Kaplan
Kaplan offers both exam prep and pre-licensure courses for real estate agents and brokers. The company has over 70 years of real estate testing experience and is considered the industry leader. That, along with the multitude of states that it covers, its high ratings, and in-depth course material, are what makes it our top pick for real estate exam prep courses.
Kaplan offers different course prices for different states. The salesperson exam prep courses range from $24 to $199. The $24 price range only includes math practice questions, then you can add on flashcards for terminology, drill and practice questions, and full practice exams. Kaplan offers that sort of a la carte pricing in some states, while others only have one of two options. For $199, you also get progress reports showing what you need to practice, diagnostic and practice exams, and video tutorials.
All of Kaplan’s offerings vary by state; some states offer on-demand courses where you go at your own pace and can rewind and fast forward, and other states offer live classroom courses online. Courses are typically completed in about a weekend to a week, depending on your schedule and pace. Students have mostly positive things to say about Kaplan’s real estate exam prep courses including that their administration is helpful and flexible and the courses are regularly updated.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: The CE Shop
The CE Shop offers a product called Exam Prep Edge, which allows you to take an initial assessment and receive feedback on what you’ve mastered and what you need more practice on. It also offers unlimited practice exams. Although some students know The CE Shop for its continuing education classes, it also offers helpful study tools, is easy to use, and has in-depth exam prep materials and positive reviews, which is why we named the company our runner-up.
The CE Shop is ideal for students who like to have a detailed study plan because it offers lessons by topic and has an interactive dashboard that lets you track your progress. It’s a self-paced course and can typically be completed in a few days. Like other real estate exam prep courses, prices can vary by state. Typically, prices start around $51.75 for exam prep for the national portion of the salesperson exam, and they offer package deals of $89.25 for both parts of the exam: state and national.
The CE Shop has excellent reviews, with students saying the courses are easy to understand and are ideal for multi-state real estate agents.
Best for Accessibility: Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express is an online-only school that offers exam prep courses as well as post-licensing classes and continuing education classes. All classes are completed at your own pace with instructor support available for questions. Their online platform can be accessed 24/7, is easy to use, and has FAQ videos which all contribute to making Real Estate Express our choice for the most accessible exam prep course.
Exam Prep Master is Real Estate Express’ exam prep course and it has a pass-or-don’t-pay guarantee. The course can be purchased by itself or as a package with a pre-licensure state course. Course prices vary by state, but purchasing the course alone will typically cost $99. It includes practice exams to check your progress, national and state final exams, and exams that you can customize based on topics you need more help with. There are also digital flashcards, and everything is done at your own pace so you can cram it into one weekend or spread it out for a week or two. You have access to the material for six months.
Real Estate Express has mixed reviews with students saying the structure is good but the teaching manner is not helpful.
Best Value: Real Estate Exam Scholar
Exam Scholar focuses solely on exam prep courses and doesn’t offer continuing education or pre-licensure courses. Its exam prep courses are good for six months but can be completed in a weekend or spread out over the course of weeks or months depending upon what your schedule allows. The courses are self-paced, online-only, and include more than 25 practice exams, flashcards, exam hints and secrets, and easily downloadable content. They use what they call "Immersion Technology" to simulate a real exam environment to prepare you for the big day.
Exam Scholar claims its students have a 95% exam pass rate and the company gets positive reviews from students who like the low one-time fee, the high pass rate, and the pass guarantee. We chose the company as the best value because its class is only $29 and comes with a pass guarantee. If you don’t pass your salesperson or broker exam the first time you will get a full refund. They’re ideal for the student on a budget who has already taken the pre-licensure courses and just needs to take the exam prep course before the real estate exam.
Best Bundle for Pre-Licensure and Exam Prep Courses: AceableAgent
AceableAgent is the opposite of Exam Scholar in that it only offers bundles of pre-licensure classes and exam prep courses. The exam prep courses can’t be purchased separately, so if you’re just starting your real estate journey and need to take all of your classes together, it may be right for you. We chose the company as the best for bundling because it has reasonable bundle prices, has classes produced by top-producing real estate agents, and offers an Ace the Test Guarantee. AceableAgent is online only and offers self-paced courses as well as an app.
You can take the courses on any device at any time, and the prices typically range from $199 to $497 with different states having different prices. Keep in mind that these prices are higher than other exam prep courses but they also include your pre-licensure courses. The company’s Ace the Test Guarantee is offered for some states, so if you don’t pass the exam you may be able to get your money back.
Courses from AceableAgent typically take at least a few months to complete, depending on how much time you can devote to studying. Classes include the pre-licensure classes, which typically consist of 60 to 180 hours of coursework and final exams, as well as the exam prep courses when the prerequisite classes are completed. Course reviews are excellent, and students like that the material is taught in an easy-to-understand manner and can be accessed on any device.
Best for Self-Paced Learning: OnCourse Learning
OnCourse Learning is a five-time member of the Inc. 5000 list and offers online self-paced classes. It includes updated course material for real estate salesperson and broker licenses including exam prep, pre- and post-licensure classes, and continuing education courses. We chose OnCourse Learning as our best real estate exam prep for self-paced learning because they offer a learn-at-your-own-pace program that goes into detail about each part of the exam.
OnCourse Learning comes with a personalized study plan with practice tests, flashcards, an entire section devoted to math problems, and information on real estate law and contracts. It’s ideal for students who want to take their time studying and need a bit more practice on certain portions of the exam. The exam prep courses range from about $42 to $110 depending on your state and how much exam prep practice you need. You can also choose to add features like math questions or choose the basic national exam prep package, which includes practice tests. Depending on your state, there are several options to choose from.
OnCourse Learning has positive reviews, and students like the flexibility, affordability, and that the courses are good career preparation. The exam prep courses are all self-paced and can be completed in a weekend, or the more in-depth prep may take a week or more to complete depending on your schedule.
Best for Brokers: CompuCram
Like real estate salespeople, brokers also need to pass a state and national exam and often benefit from exam prep classes. CompuCram offers an entire section devoted to the broker’s exam prep, and their motto is "Pass the test the first time."
Courses include lots of training materials, including practice tests, tips and tricks, and practice exams specifically for brokers. CompuCram also has a unique feature called a Readiness Indicator, which tracks your studying progress and gives you a readiness score based on whether you’re ready to take the exam.
CompuCram’s tools—built specifically for helping brokers pass their tests—are why we named them our best exam prep course for brokers. However, the company also offers exam prep for the real estate salesperson exam, as well as appraisal, lending, insurance, and home inspection classes. Classes are ideal for students who want to learn at their own pace and want the confidence of knowing they’re ready to take the exam.
CompuCram’s prices range from $49 to $89, depending on your state. Some of the state exam prep courses include the national portion. Currently, the company is offering a 20% discount on its website. All of the classes are online, self-paced, and some include PDFs for future reference. They can take anywhere from a weekend to a week to complete depending on your pace.
Like some of the other exam prep course providers, CompuCram offers a pass guarantee or your money back, but there are contingencies. There are a few complaints on their Better Business Bureau page, including students saying they weren’t prepared for the exam based on CompuCram’s exam prep course.
Best for Additional Courses: 360 Training
360 Training offers real estate exam prep courses as well as a variety of other courses for real estate professionals in different fields, along with workforce training, environmental safety, and food and beverage industry classes. Some of their course offerings include:
- Salesperson and broker exam prep courses
- Pre-licensure classes
- Post-licensure classes
- Designation classes
- Continuing education classes
- Mortgage education
- Appraisal classes
With this wide array of training on real estate-related topics, we chose 360 Training as our best exam prep course for additional courses. It’s great for someone who may want to take multiple real estate-related classes on the same platform or who has an interest in one of the other industry education choices the company offers.
The exam prep courses offered by 360 Training are interactive, self-paced online classes with simulation quizzes and activities that make learning more engaging than just reading a textbook. Classes can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection and include practice tests and problem-solving and analysis skill-building. Since the classes are self-paced, they can be completed as quickly as a weekend or longer depending on the time devoted to them.
The majority of 360 Training’s state-specific classes are $79, which includes all of the exam prep materials. The company also gets great reviews that specifically say courses are easy to follow, informative, and students like the read-out-loud options.
What Is a Real Estate Exam Prep Course?
A real estate exam prep course is optional training that some professionals take after they pass the state-required pre-licensure courses in order to prepare for their state licensing exam. These prep courses are offered online, with some presented in a live classroom setting and others offered as self-study programs. Their focus is solely on the exam, not what you need to know in your career as a real estate agent. Instead, they explain concepts that will be on the exam and give you sample exam questions to study. They’re meant to be a quick crash course taken immediately before your real estate exam.
After spending so much time and money on your path to becoming a real estate agent, it’s a good idea to take the exam prep course. It’s really the last step you should complete before taking your exam. It helps you get in the exam mindset and keeps the exam material fresh in your mind so you can schedule your exam as soon as possible after the prep course.
Real Estate Agent vs. Broker
A real estate broker is a step above a real estate agent and can work for themselves or for another broker. This is in contrast to a real estate agent, who must work under another broker’s supervision. In order to be a broker, you have to take specific pre-licensure broker courses and pass a state broker’s exam. This is in addition to the salesperson licensing requirements.
In some states, you must also work as a salesperson for a certain number of years before becoming a broker. For example, in Pennsylvania, you must be a salesperson for at least three years and acquire 200 experience points, which you get by completing real estate transactions. There are additional requirements if you’re going to use your broker license to open your own brokerages, such as financial background checks and certain ethical standards qualifications.
What Do Real Estate Exam Prep Courses Include?
Before taking a real estate exam prep course, you must finish your state-mandated pre-licensure classes. Some schools offer package discounts to purchase pre-licensure classes and an exam prep course.
Real estate exam prep courses typically include:
- Practice exam questions and answers
- Study guides with real estate exam subjects
- Practice math questions and explanations
- Real estate definitions that you will need to know for the exam
- Tricks to memorize concepts
- Exam-taking tips
- Materials with up to six months of access
Exam prep courses are usually taken in one weekend from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. However, some schools also offer evening classes spread out over a month, which allows some flexibility to fit your schedule. If you’re taking the course online, you can self-pace and get through the material a bit quicker.
What Is the Cost of a Real Estate Exam Prep Course?
Real estate exam prep courses vary in price from $29 all the way up to $497 if combined with pre-licensure classes. Some courses are offered online and in classrooms and others are strictly online. Most online classes have the option of completing at your own pace. Some of the exam prep courses include all the material you need in a package, while others price items like flashcards and the problems in an a la carte fashion.
After you receive your real estate salesperson or broker license, most states require that you take continuing education classes to stay current on local industry news, learn about new topics, and review your ethics commitment. These classes are typically required every year or two in order to keep your license active.
How Much Do Real Estate Agents Earn?
There are different professions in the real estate field with varying average salaries:
- Real estate assistant: $15.29 per hour
- Administrative assistant: $37,749 to $47,914 per year
- Real estate office manager: $35,000 to $54,000 per year
- Leasing agent: $30,646 per year
- Real estate agent: $59,630 per year
- Real estate sales manager: $55,149 to $72,080 per year
- Real estate broker: $75,910-$100,000 per year
Typically, real estate assistants, administrative assistants, and office managers don’t have to be licensed. So, if you don’t pass your exam or want to get started in the real estate industry before you get licensed, those may be other options. Leasing agents, property managers, real estate agents, sales managers, and brokers typically need to be licensed, but rules vary by state.
Is Taking a Real Estate Exam Prep Course Worth It?
Not everyone needs to take a class to pass their real estate exam. If you already work in the real estate industry and are familiar with the terminology, you may not need to take the prep course. Similarly, if you recently took the pre-licensure classes and are adept at taking exams or have an exceptional memory, the exam prep course might not be for you, either.
However, for most students, a real estate exam prep course is worth the investment. In comparison to pre-licensure classes, application, and exam costs, it’s fairly inexpensive and worth taking to give yourself a better chance of passing the real estate exam the first time.
How We Chose the Best Real Estate Exam Prep Courses
We reviewed over a dozen real estate exam prep courses and chose the best based on cost, courses offered, materials and subjects included, student reviews, and accessibility. Our best real estate exam prep courses led the pack with a variety of course offerings, positive reviews, and high passage rates.
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