How to study for the NJ Real Estate Exam: A Guide to Passing the PSI exam

March 26, 2022

In order to become a New Jersey real estate agent, you'll need to pass the New Jersey real estate exam. This test is administered by PSI and covers a variety of topics related to real estate and New Jersey laws.

If you're looking for help preparing for the exam, you've come to the right place! In this blog post, we'll provide a guide on how to study for the NJ Real Estate Exam. We'll also offer tips on how to stay motivated and organized while you're studying.


Tip #1: Create a Study Schedule

To prepare for the real estate exam, you'll want to create a study schedule to follow while you're taking the 75-hour pre-licensing course. A daily schedule will ensure that you study in increments, rather than falling behind and having to cram at the very end of the course. (That's one of the most common mistakes we see.)

Scheduling helps you focus on your studies by providing structure. 

There are many ways to set up your schedule. Just make sure that you follow it consistently.

Study programs and schedules help provide structure and discipline. It's easy to procrastinate, but you'll be more likely to get through the boring parts when there is a set time to study. It's tough to muster the willpower to go over vocabulary terms, but it'll be harder to ignore them if you see them on the schedule.

It helps to do a little bit every day over time, rather than trying to study for hours and hours every day.

You can also break down the material into different subjects and revisit them at different times - this technique is called spaced repetition. It's scientifically proven to complement the way our brains work. We'll get more into that in another post, but for now, focus on finding a small window of time every day where you can study.

If you want to do more, try a window in the morning and another in the evening. Many students prefer preparing new study material in the morning and reviewing it in the evening. That brings us to our next tip on overstudying.


Tip #2: Don't Overstudy for the Real Estate Exam

At the max, you should limit yourself to studying for about 2 hours per day. But that's not the requirement for everyone! Some people are perfect with 30 minutes per day. If you study longer than two hours, though, you'll start feeling tired and frustrated.


 We can't stress this enough - Don't do this every day! Occasional cram sessions are ok but don't make it part of your routine.

Studying more than a couple of hours per day will lead to burnout. When you're studying for the New Jersey real estate exam, it's essential to take breaks and give yourself time to relax. The pre-licensing course is long, and there's a lot of information to absorb.

At a certain point, your brain can't hold any more information. It's like a bucket filling up with water. Once it's full, everything else will overflow. Your brain is the same way when studying. Give your brain time to rest and recover, and you'll find that you have an easier time recalling information in future review sessions.


Tip #3: Diversify What You Study

The New Jersey real estate exam, is administered by PSI. They provide a candidate bulletin that outlines the topics you should know on their version of the NJ exam.

As part of our exam prep course, we've filled in all the details and written practice questions similar to what you'll see when taking the exam.

 In New Jersey, you'll take a combined exam, meaning the exam will combine the national laws with the NJ state-specific laws on one exam. 

Let's take a quick look at the topics. (The complete detailed guides are part of our NJ PSI Exam Prep Course.)


 It's best to start with state laws and property ownership as a foundation. Later, mix in the other categories. Not all real estate exam prep courses and real estate practice exams are created equal, so be careful and examine the material first before fully committing.

The property ownership category includes questions about deeds, mortgages, leases, easements, covenants, restrictions, and other legal documents that affect real estate.

The category of land use controls and regulations includes zoning laws, building codes, environmental impact reports, and other local ordinances.

The agency and fiduciary duties category covers corporate law, partnerships, trusts, limited liability companies, and other business entities.


The property valuation category includes income taxes, appraisal, capital gains, depreciation, and other financial concepts.

The financing category deals with mortgage loans, bonds, notes, and other debts used to finance real estate projects.

The transfer of property category covers contracts, assignments, quitclaims, warranties, and other mechanisms by which property is transferred.

The practice of Real Estate is a specialty area of real estate law. It includes contracts, property transactions, conveyancing, title searches, land planning, zoning, environmental issues, and other related services.

The contract section also covers other agreements between parties. These include sales contracts, leases, property management, and listing agreements.

Remember to mix in vocabulary from each topic. Use practice tests often, and make sure you're working to understand the topics first and memorize them second. They'll give you a sense of progress as you learn and help point you towards which sample questions and issues may need more attention.


Tip #4: Challenge Yourself with Practice Tests

You've probably heard about the importance of mastering your weakest subject. 

The best thing you can do is dissect the topic and break it down into small chunks. At the end of tip #3, we mentioned understanding the topics first. Here's an excellent strategy to do exactly that; The Feynman Technique.


 By using the Feynman Technique, you'll spot your wrong answers early, and you'll have plenty of time to develop a solid understanding of anything you felt a little shaky on. By the time exam day rolls around, all of this work will put your mind at ease.


Tip #5: Use Acronyms to Remember Long Topics

Acronyms are an excellent way to remember long lists of information. For example, you likely learned ROY-G-BIV to remember the colors of the rainbow are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.

You can create acronyms for any New Jersey real estate exam topic by using the first letter of each word in a list. Different real estate schools teach different methods, so don't get hung up on one or the other. Just go with what works for you.

For example, the fiduciary duties that an agent owes to their client can be remembered as OLDCAR.






Reasonable care and skill

You can use this technique for any list of information that you need to remember for the New Jersey real estate exam. Get creative and have some fun with it!


Tip #6: Know Your Learning Style and Focus on What Works for You

Everyone learns differently. That's why some people who have passed the exam emphatically recommend what worked for them. If someone with a different learning style tries that advice, it can be a nightmare. 

This may be great news - it means you don't necessarily have to re-read the textbook over and over again.


Here's an overview of the main learning styles:


Visual Learners

People who learn best by seeing things tend to remember information better when shown to them in a graphic way, such as arrows, charts, diagrams, symbols, and more. These people like to see the hierarchy of information.

Auditory Learners

People who learn best by listening prefer to hear information presented to them vocally. They work well in group settings where people are talking. People who learn best by reading and writing focus on the written word. They take notes and do better when they can look at written text.

Reading & Writing Learners

People who focus on the written word usually do well when they have to read and write. They are good at taking notes and remembering information from written text.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners are people who learn best when they use their hands and when they engage all of their senses.


Spend a few minutes discovering your learning style with this short quiz. 


Tip #7: Find Someone to Study With

Studying alone has many benefits. You can work at your own pace and focus on the material you need to learn. However, talking through the topics and explaining them to others will give you valuable insight into your knowledge on the topics. Bonus points if it's someone who has no idea about the topics. You'll be doing a verbal walkthrough of the topic - very similar to the Feynman Technique recommended in tip #4.


Tip #8: Get Extra Help if You Need It

If you find yourself struggling, find some extra help. There are additional exam prep programs available everywhere - make sure the info focuses on NJ state-specific information. At BTSRE, we have tutoring and an exam prep course ready if you need them. A weekend crash course will help you expose your weakest areas to know precisely where to focus. Armed with that info, you'll be able to attack the most challenging areas, so you're ready for the exam by the time the big day arrives. You'll feel more confident as you walk into the exam room, and that's a huge part of success on test day.


Tip #9: Utilize Multiple Choice Test Strategy

The best strategy for the real estate exam is to understand the information. Inevitably, you'll come upon a question that looks unfamiliar, and this technique will narrow your odds and help you choose one of the four.

  • Forget what you've read in Facebook groups. Some of the absolute worst advice comes from people who mean well but haven't even passed the test themselves yet. (Skipping the first five questions is commonly recommended...and it's total nonsense.)
  • Look at the four choices and try to disprove one or two. Is there an entirely incorrect or out-of-place choice and could never be the answer? ID that one, and your odds are now one out of three.
  • Choose the longest answer. This may sound like the nonsense recommended above, but hear us out. Test creators have to ensure that every answer is indisputable - and in some questions, proving the case can take a few more words than the other choices that don't require as much substance.


Tip #10: Don't Overdo it the Night Before the Exam

Overthinking can lead to test anxiety. Take a deep breath and relax. Eat a decent meal for dinner, and get to bed at a normal hour. If you've followed a study plan and kept on pace, there's no need for last-minute cramming.

Sure, you'll always have some exam anxiety beforehand, but you're prepared. Make sure you're ready for the morning and know where the test center is, and you're all set.


Final Thoughts on the Studying for the Real Estate Exam

The best advice you should take when studying for the real estate exam is to stick to a regular schedule that you can maintain for at least two months before taking the test. This allows you enough time to break down the enormous task into manageable bites.

You need to be determined to succeed, but the daily details are what will get you across the finish line with a passing score on the first attempt.

Every week, we upload new videos to help our students and exam prep program members take the first step to become successful real estate agents. Let us know how we can help.

Also, if you liked this article, please feel free to share it with anyone who needs help passing the NJ real estate exam - we'd love to help them pass on their next attempt.


Bonus Tips on Test-taking Tips for the PSI Real Estate Exam

Practice testing is extremely helpful because it helps you understand where you should focus your study time.

You should take several practice tests before your official test date. Using a trusted resource such as our practice exams allows you to learn what areas need improvement.

Here's a quick list of a few additional tips to help you pass the PSI real estate exam;


1. Start by only answering questions where you know the answers. You may see another question or answer later that reminds you of something you couldn't come up with before. Just make sure you go back over the entire test to check for questions you skipped.


2. Use flashcards or flashcard apps and practice your vocab terms at the end of your study sessions. 


3. Don't freak out about the math section. Some people are naturals, and others struggle. Suppose math gives you flashbacks and nightmares from high school. Don't sweat it too much. You can pick up a couple of basic questions by remembering easy rules or solutions that don't require much calculation. 


Here's a practice math question you'll likely see on the NJ real estate exam. Make sure you use the full-screen option to follow along with the transcript and the whiteboard writing on screen. 



Now that you know some test-taking tips for the PSI real estate exam, it's time to get started on your studying. The best way to approach this is by creating a study schedule and sticking to it.

Make sure you allow yourself enough time to break down the material into manageable chunks. It's also essential to practice testing to get an idea of where to focus your study time.

And finally, relax the night before the exam and don't try to cram everything in at the last minute.

If you follow these tips, you'll be well on your way to passing the New Jersey real estate exam on your first try! Good luck!


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