When I ask my students what they have heard about the Florida real estate sales associate exam many of them say, “I’ve heard that the questions are worded so they will trick you.”

I tell them that’s not exactly true. The questions are difficult, for sure, but they are not designed to trick you.  They are designed to ensure “minimal competence.”

Bloom’s taxonomy is an adult learning concept. This pyramid shows the hierarchical levels of thinking.

Most Florida real estate exam questions are at the application level and above.

The first level of learning is remembering. This is recall of specific facts, patterns, and rules.  In other words, this is plain old memorization.  An example of an exam question at the memory level would be:

The Florida Statute that deals with real estate is called
a. Chapter 20
b. Chapter 120
c. Chapter 455
d. Chapter 475

This is a simple question that only requires you to memorize the information. I can remember foreign language classes in school where I would memorize a script in a foreign language, but I didn’t really know what I was saying.  I could remember it, but I didn’t understand it.

Understanding is the second level of learning. This level requires you to be able to explain the concept to someone else.

An example of an understanding-level question would be:

Which action by the Fed will reduce the supply of money in circulation?
a. Decreasing the discount rate
b. Purchasing Treasury securities
c. Increasing the reserve requirement
d. Charging discount points on mortgage securities

The third level of learning is applying. This is where you have the ability to use the learned material in a completely new and concrete situation.  On the real estate exam, these are the story questions.  I call them story question because they give you a long story and ask you what is going on.  Here’s an example:

A small shopping center produces $4,000 per month in net operating income. If an investor requires an 11% overall rate of return, what is the maximum price the investor should pay?
a. $36,363.64
b. $48,000.00
c. $330,578.45
d. $436,363.63

Per Florida Statute, only 10% of questions on the class exam and state exam can be at the lowest level of learning.  Furthermore, 70% of the questions have to be at the application level or above.  Put another way, only 10% of the questions can be easy and 70% have to be difficult.  If someone is saying that the exam is tricky (not difficult, but tricky) that’s because they only learned the material at the first level of thinking, but they were being tested at the third level of thinking.  If you are being tested on something that is two levels higher than how you can think of that subject, it will seem tricky.  But if you know the material at the third or fourth level of thinking, you won’t be tricked.

By the way, if your instructor is telling you that the test was designed to trick you, then your instructor does not understand adult learning theory. This should concern you.  It also means your instructor hasn’t read the Florida Statute where it explains what level of thinking is required to pass the exam.  This should also concern you.  You need an instructor who understand adult learning principles.  You need an instructor who has read the statute himself or herself.  You need an instructor who is not tricked by the questions on the Florida real estate exam.

(The answers to those questions are D, C, and D.)

Please note that neither I, nor anyone in the Climer family, have any affiliation with Climer School of Real Estate.  My father, Ron Climer, sold Climer School of Real Estate in 2014.  You can find me at Demetree School of Real Estate