How Hard Is It to Pass the New York Real Estate Exam for the First Time in 2024?

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In this post, I will show you how to pass the New York state real estate salesperson exam and share some additional tips to make it less stressful.

I have been in the real estate industry for nearly a decade and currently work as the Chief Operating Officer at Oxford Property Group, one of the largest real estate agencies in the city.

I am also an associate broker and helped countless real estate agents in New York get their licenses to start a career in real estate.

Let’s dive right in!


How Hard Is It to Pass the New York Real Estate Exam?

Passing the real estate exam is not hard, you just need to prepare for it. You are already on the right track by reading this article: it shows that you care.

If you follow the advice above, I am sure that you will do well.


What Is the Real Estate Exam Pass Rate in New York?

You might be wondering how many people pass the state exam.

The answer is that approximately 60% of people pass the NY State real estate salesperson exam on their first attempt and over 80% of people pass it on their second one.


How Many Questions Are on the New York Real Estate Exam?

There are 75 multiple-choice questions on the NY State real estate salesperson exam. You will have 90 minutes to answer all the questions so you should plan for approximately 2 hours taking the exam.


How Many Math Questions Are on the New York Real Estate Exam?

There are approximately 10-15 math questions on the exam but it can change depending on which set of questions you get.


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

You need to score 70% or higher. Since there are 75 questions, it means that you need to answer 53 questions correctly to pass.

Real estate exam results are reported as either passed or failed—you will not receive a numerical score.


Survey of Experts

How difficult was it for you to study and pass the New York real estate license exam?

How many attempts did it take you to pass your real estate license exam?

Expert Insight

What would you recommend real estate students to invest extra in to ensure passing the exam on the first try?

Nikki Beauchamp Realtor

I would recommend actually using the course materials to study and the practice exams included with the materials.

I did not use additional resources that required additional out-of-pocket investments.

— Nikki Beauchamp, Sotheby’s International Realty, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Augusto Bittencourt Realtor

If you can’t get it online for free, I strongly recommend purchasing a real estate practice exam with questions and answers.

— Augusto Bittencourt, Compass, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Eddie McGowan Realtor

Practice questions and a study guide.

— Eddie McGowan, DynamicEdge Realty, Real Estate Broker

What Happens if You Fail the Real Estate Exam in New York?

If you fail the exam, you will need to try again. There are no consequences other than paying the $15 each time.


How Many Times Can You Fail and Retake the New York Real Estate Exam?

The good news is that there is no limit to how many times you can try to pass the state exam.


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

You are only allowed to schedule one exam at a time. If you find out that you failed the state exam, you can go ahead and schedule it again right away.

There is no mandatory wait time in between.

Read our article on how long it takes to get a real estate license in New York to get an idea of the estimated timeline to complete the licensing process.


Do You Have to Pay to Retake the New York Real Estate Exam?

Yes, the state exam costs $15 each time.


How to Pass the New York Real Estate Exam the First Time?

It’s neither a secret nor a surprise, the best way to pass the state exam is by studying seriously.

You can do everything right and follow all the advice here but if you don’t have the necessary knowledge, you simply won’t succeed.


How to Study for the New York Real Estate Exam

Before taking the state exam, it is required that you complete the 77-hour course at any of the top real estate schools in New York and pass the school exam. Real estate courses can be classroom-based and online.

Our guide will help you decide whether real estate classes online or in-person courses work better for you.

If you are considering taking online classes to get your real estate license in the state of New York, you can save up to 40% on your education costs by utilizing this special PROMO code that is exclusively available only to our readers.

— Kimberly Anderson, Senior Creative Editor at Real Estate Bees

Consider the school exam a practice test as it is usually harder than the state exam. If you can pass your school exam, you will likely succeed at the state exam.

Most schools, for an additional fee, also offer exam prep cram courses. This is not typically necessary unless you feel it will supplement your test preparation strategy.

Everyone studies and plans differently. Do what you think is best for your aptitude.

Of course, the safest way to prepare for the exam is by reading the entire book carefully, multiple times, and memorizing key terms and formulas.

Please don’t make the same mistake as I did. I only read the first half of the book and went for the exam, then failed miserably.


Survey of Experts

Did you take your pre-licensing real estate course online or in person?

Do you think taking a real estate pre-licensing course online can save students time compared to in-person courses?

What is the name of the school where you completed your pre-licensing course?

Expert Insight

Do you see any advantages of taking an online course over the in-person class?

Nikki Beauchamp Realtor

I think it could, but it could also result in ‘I can do it later’ and it could take MONTHS for someone to complete the requirements.

But I can absolutely see the advantages of taking a class online. I think it is important to distinguish between asynchronous classes, pre-recorded modules, and classes that are distance learning via Zoom with live instructor and class interaction.

Except for during the pandemic when I had no choice but to take classes online to fulfill my CE requirements, I prefer in person for the interaction and also potential networking with fellow classmates.

— Nikki Beauchamp, Sotheby’s International Realty, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Adie Kriegstein Realtor

I think it depends on how best one learns. I personally learn better in person vs online.

I took an intense weeklong course, but this was years ago and the hours needed now are longer, so it might take longer for in person.

Adie Kriegstein, Founder of the NYC Experience Team at Compass, Sales Agent
Eddie McGowan Realtor

Online courses are much preferable to in-person classes because you can learn at your own pace, work on it whenever you have spare time (on your own schedule), and pause to review and make sure you understand difficult topics whenever you need to.

— Eddie McGowan, DynamicEdge Realty, Real Estate Broker
Debbie Zolan Realtor

Yes, if classes are on-demand and you can view anytime (after work, before work, if children are in school, etc.) and you are not limited to the times the in-person classes are given. One would be able to finish sooner.

Debbie Zolan, Compass, Principal of the Zolan Rossiter Team
Augusto Bittencourt Realtor

Both work well, but online classes will give you more flexibility to finish faster.

— Augusto Bittencourt, Compass, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson


Where to Get an Idea of What Is on the New York Real Estate Exam?

Your school should be able to provide practice tests, and your teacher is usually up-to-date on the latest trends for the state exam questions.

I recommend asking them as to what to expect as they have constant feedback from students.

You should also pay attention to your teachers: they usually emphasize what they expect to be on the test and cover those sections in more detail.


8 Tips for Passing the New York Real Estate Exam

1. Plan your day carefully and arrive early

You need to give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam site. The last thing you want is arriving stressfully because of traffic or train delays.


2. Sleep and eat well

It is essential to be in good spirits and capable of focusing, so eat before the exam and sleep at least 8 hours.


3. Don’t study or take practice tests on the day of the test

It can create anxiety and increase stress.


4. Keep track of time during the exam

Do not stress over it but have a general idea of how many questions and how much time you have left.


5. Skip the question if you don’t know the answer

You can come back to it later.


6. Don’t rush giving the answers

Read every answer and every question carefully.


7. Ignore others in the room

There will be people who finish in 20 minutes, but it makes no difference to you.


8. Don’t change your answer

Statistically proven that it is usually a bad idea. Only change it if you are 100% sure.

You can also read more tips on how to pass the real estate exam the first time from one of our experts, Kristina Morales.


Expert Insight

Tips to help future agents pass the real estate exam.

Nikki Beauchamp Realtor

Use the course materials you’ve already paid for to review and study.

I would recommend planning to complete the classes in close proximity until completed.

In fact, as I look at other areas to be licensed in, I am factoring in where the opportunities are for me to be in a classroom in person for most, if not all, of the required classroom hours.

When I did the pre-licensing courses for Florida, I cleared a week of my schedule to be in a classroom and it was a fantastic decision to do it that way.

I learned a great deal from the instructor as well as from classmates (whom I am still in contact with!).

— Nikki Beauchamp, Sotheby’s International Realty, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Eddie McGowan Realtor

The key for most students is to study the chapter, and then immediately, work on the practice questions and refer to the study guide.

Topics that are difficult should be revisited several times as you continue through the course.

— Eddie McGowan, DynamicEdge Realty, Real Estate Broker
Augusto Bittencourt Realtor

After finishing the course, study the real estate practice exam with questions and answers. It’s a more dynamic way to learn and it was very helpful.

— Augusto Bittencourt, Compass, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Adie Kriegstein Realtor

Taking the additional sample tests is helpful as is studying with peers.

— Adie Kriegstein, Founder of the NYC Experience Team at Compass, Sales Agent
Chelsea Werner Realtor

Take notes during the class and cram sessions.

— Chelsea Werner, Compass, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

What Is the Cost of Taking the New York Real Estate Exam?

The state exam costs $15 each time, however, there are other steps in the process of obtaining a New York real estate license and there is a cost associated with most of them:


1. Complete a 77-hour course that is approved by the Department of State (online or in-person)

Cost varies between $99 – $1,000.


2. Pass your school exam

Included in the cost of the 75-hour course


3. Pass your state exam



4. Find a sponsoring broker



5. Submit your application with the Department of State


For a complete breakdown of licensing expenses, read our article tackling how much a real estate license in NY is.

You may also need to declare your criminal history as part of your license application. Read all about this in detail in our article on the topic – Can You Get a New York Real Estate License with Violations?

After passing your exam and becoming one of the licensed real estate agents in New York, you still need to get prepared for your real estate career.

Find out what is the next step after passing your real estate exam from one more article by another real estate expert.

Joining a real estate team can also help kickstart your career. It’s the easiest way to help you network with the right people and gain clients.

Learn from the experiences of industry experts sharing their insight into the life of a real estate agent as a career.

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.


About the Author

As Chief Operating Officer of Oxford Property Group, Jules Borbely ensures that the company remains an innovative and dynamic brokerage firm for over 800 agents. Jules is a Certified Buyer Representative – a designation given to less than 1% of all licensed agents – by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Jules regularly holds seminars to educate others about the sales process. He is also a Certified Home Stager by the New York Institute of Art and Design. Working with a mixture of A-list celebrities, famous politicians, professionals, and friends, Jules maintains excellent and consistent levels of attention for each individual. He strives to maintain expert knowledge of the real estate market to accommodate his clients, whether they are selling, buying, leasing, or investing.


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

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