After Test Centers Closed, Potential Agents Struggle to Schedule Exams
As the global COVID-19 pandemic rocked the U.S. (and California in particular), the state’s Department of Real Estate (DRE) was forced to close its in-person testing centers. Now, four out of five centers have reopened, but a backlog of interrupted real estate exams are a roadblock in many potential agents' paths. If you’re waiting to finally take your California real estate licensing exam, you’re not alone.
Real Estate Licensing Exam Basics
While scheduling has become a bit more complicated, much of the real estate exam process remains the same. Examinees select their testing center of choice, whether Fresno, La Palma, Oakland, Sacramento, or San Diego. A valid form of identification issued within the last five years is required; a state-issued driver's license, DMV identification card, Passport, or U.S. Military identification card are acceptable. Tests are administered electronically, and salesperson exams run for three hours with 150 multiple-choice questions presented while broker exams run for four hours with 200 multiple-choice questions presented. A passing grade is 70% for a Salesperson License and 75% for a Broker License.
COVID-19-related changes include social distancing requirements, exam center sanitation, and, of course, rescheduling. In March 2019, 3,895 exams were administered. In March 2020, that number had dropped to 2,089 and, as test centers closed amid rising cases and stay-at-home orders, fell to 0 in April 2020. While test centers have almost fully reopened, that’s a lot of exam backlog to wade through.
The State of California’s Real Estate Licensing Exam
As of January 2021, all of the DRE testing sites had been reopened except for the Oakland site. The number of available exams has been increased, with an additional exam session offered on weekdays and weekend exams offered at both the Sacramento and La Palma sites. Evening exams and additional exam centers are also potential solutions moving forward.
In order to test safely, physical distancing requirements must be followed. All testing centers will be capped at 50% occupancy to maintain distancing requirements. Local and state restrictions must be followed by all examinees.
Staff are now working to schedule out the backlogged exams with the earliest test dates prioritized. This means that contacting the DRE to reschedule your licensing exam is not necessary. Instead, ensure your contact information is current in your eLicensing account.
What if I Have Questions About My Real Estate Licensing Exam?
If you have licensing or exam questions, email the DRE at Ask.DRELicensing@DRE.CA.gov or contact the Virtual Call Center, open Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM through 5:00 PM at 877.373.4542. If you’d like moral support, you can also join The CE Shop’s Western Real Estate Facebook group! Here, current and future real estate agents across the Western region can seek support, ask questions, and stay up-to-date on all things real estate.
Whether you’re days away from your rescheduled exam date or still waiting to hear from the DRE, know that you’re not alone. Agents across the state are struggling with this temporary roadblock. Just remember that this setback isn’t permanent, and it’s only a matter of time before your real estate journey is back in motion.
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