How Hard Is the District of Columbia Real Estate Exam and How to Pass It the First Time?

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In this article, we tackle the real estate exam difficulty of the real estate exam in the District of Columbia and how best you can manage it to pass the test on your first attempt.

We walk you through the topics covered in the test, the score you need to achieve to pass, and your next steps should you fail the exam.

Keep reading for a comprehensive breakdown of what to expect on the DC real estate exam.


Best Way to Pass the District of Columbia Real Estate Exam

How to Study for the DC Real Estate Exam

Studying effectively for the real estate license exam in Washington, D.C. requires you to use a combination of class notes and outside resources.

Your notes are your prime responsibility.

Make sure you’re detailed and thorough in your note-taking throughout your 60 hours of pre-licensing coursework as a salesperson and 135 hours as a broker.

If you’re taking your course from a local real estate agent school that provides additional resources, make sure you’re reading those through, too.

Most classes are offered either in person or remotely. It will be to your advantage to pick the best teaching method that will allow you to absorb the topics more effectively.

Comparing the pros and cons of real estate classes online vs. classroom courses can give you a better idea of which teaching instruction is preferable.

Another great place to find out more about what to study is the PSI Candidate Bulletin. Here, you can learn about the exam’s structure to align your studying with the right topics.

Combining these resources and consolidating your information into outlines and flashcards can make review so much easier.

You can even take your own materials to a study group to maintain your motivation as you get closer to your test date, and have someone at the ready to quiz you.


What to Study for the DC Real Estate Exam

As the company that proctors the real estate license exam in DC, PSI gives you the best resource when it comes to where to get an idea of what is on the real estate exam.

Content outlines for the salesperson and broker exams are included in the Candidate Bulletin so you really know what topics to focus on studying.

You can also see what percentage of the exam each topic section comprises, making it easier to prioritize what you study and for how long.

The primary topics you’ll find on the real estate license exam, whether for a salesperson or broker license, are:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and property management
  • Transfer of title
  • Practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations

The above topics are all included in the general portion of the license exam, which consists of a total of 80 questions on the salesperson exam, and 75 on the broker exam.

There’s also a state portion, consisting of 30 questions on the salesperson exam and 40 on the broker exam. Topics covered in this area include:

  • Duties and powers of the real estate commission
  • Licensing requirements
  • Statutory requirements governing the activities of licensees

Those taking the broker exam will have one additional topic area in the state portion of their exam — responsibilities specific to brokerage practice.


6 Tips for Passing the DC Real Estate Exam

With a better idea of what exactly you’ll need to know to pass the test, you can focus on developing a solid study strategy to achieve the real estate exam results you want.

You’ll need this in order to effectively prepare for the exam and hopefully pass it the first time around.

These tips can help you stay focused and feel fully prepared to face testing day.


1. It’s All About Your Notes

Being in class to learn about real estate isn’t always the most interesting thing, but staying focused and taking good notes will help you significantly in the long run.

Think of your notes as the foundation for your study materials. They’ll contain information on every topic you’ll need to review for the exam.

The more you jot down, the easier it will be to review what you need to know later.


2. Transform Your Notes into Topic Outlines

Good notes are essential, but it’s also important to organize them and weed out anything that’s unnecessary to review.

The best way to do this is by creating topic outlines. This will help streamline your studying and make sure nothing important gets left out.


3. Use Flashcards for the Facts

As you create your topic outlines, you’re going to come across succinct facts you’ll need to memorize. These can include dates, laws, and vocabulary.

The best way to memorize these fixed bits of information is to create flashcards. They allow for quick and repetitive review, a trusted method for study.


4. Gather a Group

Studying alone may prove very effective for you, but sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re totally on your own.

To make sure you don’t lose focus as you prepare for the exam, consider creating a study group with some of your classmates.


5. Take Some Breaks

Studying is hard work, even if you’re not working up a sweat. Knowing when to take a break gives your brain a chance to rest and makes it easier to absorb more information over time.

Schedule periodic breaks alongside your study time where you go for a walk, watch a show, or even read a book for fun.

This will help you maintain your own wellbeing without losing your momentum in preparing for that real estate license exam.


6. Go into the Test Prepared

Having a strategy for studying is important, but you’ll need one for tackling the test as well. When the day finally arrives, remember to:

  • Read each question, and all the answers, completely before looking for the right response. Never answer a question until you’ve seen all your choices.
  • If a question feels hard, skip it for now. Tackle the easier ones first by reading through the whole exam and marking each with a 1 or a 2. Then, answer all the ones first.
  • When you get to those two’s, use a process of elimination to help find the most likely right answer. You should always be able to eliminate a few you know are totally wrong.
  • Allow yourself the option to guess. If you simply have no idea, it’s okay to guess. You’ve studied a lot, your guess will have some thought behind it no matter what.

For more tips, make sure to read my article on how to study for the real estate exam.


What Is the Cost of Taking the District of Columbia Real Estate Exam?

The cost of the real estate license exam in Washington, D.C. is $69. This is for either the broker or salesperson exam.

When you’re ready to register, you can go online to create an account with PSI, or call them directly at 855-557-0616.

This is when you’ll have to pay the non-refundable fee.

On your scheduled date, you’ll report, 30 minutes ahead of test time, to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 1100 4th Street, SW off the Waterfront – Green Line.

Read our article breaking down DC real estate license renewal fee as well as other licensing costs, so you can properly plan for your budget.


How Hard Is It to Pass the District of Columbia Real Estate Exam?

What Is the Pass Rate for the DC Real Estate Exam?

The real estate agent exam is difficult but not impossible to pass, and many do so on their first try.

However, how many people pass the real estate exam on their first try often depends on the support they get during their pre-licensing classes and how much they study.

Some schools offer a pass rate guarantee, which may mean you get additional services to make it easier to prepare.

Overall though, the passing rate for the Washington, D.C. real estate salesperson exam is 75 percent.


How Many Questions Are on the DC Real Estate Exam?

The amount of questions you’ll answer when taking the real estate exam in DC varies by license type.

The salesperson exam has a total of 110 questions, while the broker exam comes in at 115.

This breaks down differently between the two sections of each test, too. With the salesperson exam, there are 80 questions in the general section and 30 in the state section.

For the broker exam, there are 75 questions in the general section, but 40 in the state section.

Regardless of the exam, you will have a total of 210 minutes to complete the whole test, 120 minutes for the general section, and 90 minutes for the state.


How Many Math Questions Are on the DC Real Estate Exam?

You’ll find real estate calculations within the general portion of the real estate license exam. These questions make up 10 percent of the salesperson exam, and eight percent of the broker.

This translates to roughly eight questions on the salesperson exam and nine on the broker exam.

The specific topics within the real estate calculations section of the exam include basic math concepts and calculations for transactions.

Those taking the broker exam will have to address calculations for valuation, including rate of return.


What Score Do You Need to Pass the DC Real Estate Exam?

Those hoping to become among the real estate agents in the District of Columbia need a minimum score of 75 percent correct to pass.

The same score is required as well to pass the broker licensing exam.

If you pass, you’ll receive a successful score report at the testing center. If you don’t not pass, you’ll receive a diagnostic report so you can review your strengths and weaknesses.


What Happens if You Fail the Real Estate Exam in DC?

How Many Times Can You Fail and Retake the District of Columbia Real Estate Exam?

While you have an unlimited number of attempts for passing the real estate license exam in DC, you must pass both sections within six months of your first try.

If you only fail one section, you’ll only need to retake that section.


How Long Do You Have to Wait to Retake the DC Real Estate Exam?

You cannot schedule a retake at the testing facility or from anywhere on the same day you took and failed the test.

You must wait until the next day to either go online or call to schedule your retake.

From there, you could get an exam time as early as the following day if there are openings.

This means if you failed the exam on a Monday, you could call Tuesday, and test as early as Wednesday pending availability.

To know how much time you need to complete all the steps in the licensing process, read — How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in the District of Columbia?


Do You Have to Pay to Retake the District of Columbia Real Estate Exam?

You must pay to retake the exam each time you attempt it. Even if only retaking one section, the fee is always the same — $69.


We hope this guide helps you get through the DC real estate exam with ease. When you pass the exam, you can then complete all the other requirements in getting a DC real estate license.

For example, you will need sponsorship from a licensed broker as part of your application. You will have to sift through a list of local real estate brokerage firms to find the best fit.

In this case, thorough research is needed when choosing the right real estate broker to work for. You want a real estate company whose structure and ideals align with your career goals.

You will also need to pass a background check for a District of Columbia real estate license to ensure that any past convictions won’t prevent you from getting licensed in the state.

After filing your application, use your time productively while waiting for your license to get approved. These resources can help:

  • Consider being a member of a real estate team to learn from experienced agents. Refer to our guide on how to join a real estate team to know the steps.

To help you build and grow your real estate career quickly, we at Real Estate Bees created a directory for real estate professionals.

It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


About the Author

Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.

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