Your Immediate Goal Pass The Test

Regardless of the choice you make, you need to reach peace with yourself on one important matter: You will study theoretical material that you will almost certainly never use in your active real estate career, while you will not cover a great deal of specific matters that you could use. A common sentiment among my survey participants was that licensing courses often fell short in providing immediately useful information. About 60 percent of the respondents felt that inadequate preparation in practical real estate matters during pre license activities was very important or important in explaining high attrition. This comment by a broker-builder from Michigan was typical: "Schools should instruct people on how to conduct their business as well as how to pass the examination. Too many newcomers simply do not know the mechanics of a real estate transaction."

I do not make this point to denigrate the quality of the instruction in real estate licensing programs. In both private real estate schools and college classrooms, you will frequently find dedicated instructors who teach not only the theoretical material thoroughly but also relate it to "real world" real estate. But you should be prepared for some disparity between what you must know to pass the licensing test and what you need to know to succeed in the profession.

It will be much better for your mental health and peace of mind if you do not fight the problem. The content of these programs is typically tightly controlled by state regulatory agencies. The schools can teach only what they are told to teach, so if you don't like the message, don't fuss at the messenger. The theoretical background will give you a better perspective of the general field and confidence in your role as a professional in it. Even if that were not true, you have to master the material to pass the test, and you have to pass the test to get the license. If you understand that, and proceed accordingly, you will be less likely to share the frustrations of the survey respondent who complained, "Real estate school was an exercise in futility. No nuts and bolts!" If it is any consolation to you, students of law and medicine, and every other known profession, have always had the same kind of complaints. These requirements of dubious utility are known as rites of passage, so take a deep breath, swallow hard, and press on.

In teaching my real estate licensing classes I rely somewhat on my military background and we go through a little ritual early in the course. It's called, "smile, click your heels, and salute." That's what we do in unison when we get bogged down on learning material we all recognize we'll likely never need in the real world of real estate.

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