What is inside a Real Estate Salesperson exam? Let’s break it down.

PLB Editorial Team

March 6, 2022

Table of content

The scariest thing that all real estate agents first face is the RES (Real Estate Salesperson) exams. You’ve heard about it. You know people who have passed (and failed). But what exactly does it entail?

The RES exams are held three times a year, usually in April, August and November. But you can’t just apply willy-nilly. You must have first sat for the RES Course conducted by a CEA Approved Course Provider. After which, you will receive a Certificate of RES Course Completion as long as you have hit 75% attendance. There are more requirements that one must have acquired before sitting for the RES exams. You can check them out in our previous article here!

Now let’s get on with the exact purpose of the RES exams. Why is the barrier of entry to becoming an agent so strict, with horror stories of people failing the papers?

Exam Objectives

The exams test one’s theoretical knowledge about the real estate industry and how to apply it while sticking to the agent’s ethics and code of conduct. According to the Council of Estate Agencies, all potential agents should pass this course and meet the following objectives:

  1. To be professionally knowledgeable on real estate concepts, real estate market, law of contract, law of agency, planning and development control, and marketing principles.
  2. To be able to apply knowledge in managing the sale and lease of residential, commercial and industrial properties. Including title searches, immigration checks and financial calculations.
  3. Understand and apply good ethics, relevant laws and regulations, and best practices in estate agency work to uphold the professional standing of salespersons.
  4. Be acquainted with existing market information, government guidelines and regulations.

With such high standards being upheld for real estate agents, it is no wonder that the RES exams are hailed to be difficult. But with the proper preparation and knowledge, passing it will be a breeze.

Exam Breakdown

The exam is separated into Papers 1 & 2 consisting of:

  • Section A: 50 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) – 1 mark each

  • Section B: 15 MCQ regarding 1 or 2 Case Studies – 2 marks each

  • Section C: 10 Fill in the Blank Short Answer Questions (SAQs) – 2 marks each

Here is the rough breakdown of the modules you will be taking during the RES Course that will be tested on:

The RES exams test 3 levels of your understanding: Remembering, Understanding and Applying.

LEVEL 1: Remembering

Be aware of the basic terminology and concepts of the laws/rules/regulatory requirements and procedures. They should recognise, list, define, describe or name the term or concept.

LEVEL 2 – Understanding 

Be able to interpret, infer, classify, paraphrase or explain a term or concept in a scenario or case study.

LEVEL 3 – Applying 

Be able to make use of knowledge and apply it in practical situations. They should accurately analyse their client’s problems and offer professional and accurate advice.

If you follow this, you will know what each module is trying to teach you, and it will help you categorise how to properly absorb and learn! You can find the breakdown of which module corresponds to what level of learning here.

Modular Retest

What happens if you pass one paper but fail the other? You are then eligible to retake the paper, called modular sitting.

  • Pass (P)

  • Fail (F)

  • Pass Paper 1; Fail Paper 2 (P1 F2)

  • Fail Paper 1; Pass Paper 2 (F1 P2)

Many people try their best to pass both papers on their first attempt as retaking the papers incurs extra cost as shown below.

But keep in mind: You must ensure that you pass your RES Exams within two years of completing your RES Course. If not, you will need to resit the course again as specific guidelines and rules may have changed since then and refresh your memory. Should you fail one of your papers, you will need to pass the remaining paper within two years of your first attempt. Failing to do so will result in retaking the RES course before sitting for both papers again, even if you passed one previously.

Closing Thoughts

Now that it is broken down into bite-sized chunks, the Real Estate Salesperson examinations are not that big a feat as it may seem. However, we understand that students are worried due to many horror stories of even the most competent students flunking the RES exams. PropertyLimBrothers knows that. That’s why we are here to help! Read our breakdown on how to pass the RES exam on your FIRST try here!

Suppose you are looking for a robust support system, networking opportunities and live support from current real estate agents. In that case, you’re in the right place. PropertyLimBrothers has created Homeskool by PLB to help exam takers like yourself get the sufficient preparation that you will need to sit for the exam confidently and ace it! Click here to find out what we can do to help you in your real estate agent journey!

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