I get countless calls and emails from people who have watched my YouTube videos, and they call to ask, “How should I study for the exam?”
In some cases, what they are really asking is, “how can I study with no effort?” My answer to that is that you can’t. Unfortunately, learning new material is difficult. The only way to get good at anything is to suck at it for a long time.
In other cases, they are saying, “I got through high school with very little effort. I really never learned how to study for a difficult test. What do I do?” This blog post is the answer to that question.
- Read every chapter in the book. Yes, word for word, the entire chapter. But only read it once. You will not benefit from reading the chapter five times. You will not benefit from reading through your notes a thousand times. Reading is passive, and is ineffective. But you do have to read the chapter once.
- Take notes on what you read. The reason you have to read the chapter once is because you need to take notes. Take notes by hand. Do not highlight the material. Do not type the notes in your computer. There is ample scientific evidence that typing is not as effective as writing.
- Teach the material to someone. Explain the material in your own words to someone else. If you don’t have anyone who will listen to you, explain it to you dog. If your dog gets bored, explain it to your teddy bear. I make my students do this. We play a game every day in class about every two hours or so. I’ll put a review question on the screen, everyone answers it. If there are multiple answers in the class, I ask “Who wants to defend their answer?” I don’t care if the person who speaks up has the right answer or not. Someone else, will explain their answer. All I do is facilitate the short discussion until the class usually comes to the right conclusion without my help. This takes all of 60 seconds. The first time we do it, I can tell the students think “This takes too long – just tell us the answer.” But after we do it a few times, they see that it’s more effective.
- Test yourself repeatedly. This is the most important thing you can do. Make flashcards to test yourself. But use them to test yourself. That means you look at one side of the card with a vocab word. Then you say out loud the definition of that word. Then, and only then, do you flip the card over to see the answer. Do NOT read the vocab word on one side, then flip it over and read the definition. That is completely ineffective. Another way to test yourself is by doing practice questions in the book. There are questions at the end of each chapter. There are practice questions in the back of the book. I have practice questions in some of my blog post. Do as many practice questions as you can.
- Test yourself repeatedly. This is so important that is gets two spots on the list. We are very poor judges of when we are learning and when we are not. Testing yourself makes it clear. When you are testing yourself, you will get a lot of questions incorrect. That’s OK. You are still learning. Most people ignore this advice and spend time re-reading. Why? Because re-reading is less awkward and frustrating than testing yourself. It feels better. When learning is harder, it’s stronger and last longer.
I wish I could offer a simpler solution. I wish I could say, “Here are the five hacks that will make the exam easy.” But the Florida real estate exam is difficult. You probably know that the pass rate is around 42%. I believe that the only reason people fail – the only reason – is that they didn’t study. Either they didn’t study enough or they didn’t study the right material.
If you didn’t study enough, that’s your fault. If you didn’t study the right material, that’s probably your teacher’s fault. If studying the wrong material is your problem (as opposed to not studying enough), join me for a weekend review.
Please note that I, Karen Climer, have no affiliation with Climer School of Real Estate. My father, Ron Climer, sold that school in 2014. Since that time, I have had no affiliation with that school. If you are looking for me, you will find me at Demetree School of Real Estate.