“Oh NO! I Failed my NJ Real Estate Exam!”


December 14, 2018

Every time we have a New Jersey real estate licensing class, students go through 75 hours of intense education in real estate law and practice and then they graduate from our real estate school. On the last day of the course, they exchange phone and email contacts and then they tell our instructor, “We promise to let you know the minute we pass our state exam!”

Sometimes the texts and emails come just a day or two later, sometimes after a few weeks. Few things give us greater joy than when a graduate of Garden State Real Estate Academy sends us the message that they passed the state exam and then thank us for helping them get their real estate career started.

But sometimes, we get another message:

I feel like such a failure! I failed my exam!

That’s when we take off our real estate instructor’s hat and put on our headgear of a therapist.

The fact is, at best, only about 63% of salesperson license students pass the New Jersey real estate exam on the first try. When we look out at our pre-licensing class of 20 students, that means—statistically—that at least seven of them will not pass the exam on the first try. Luckily, our track record at Garden State Real Estate Academy is far better than that, but that is little comfort to the one who did hit “Finish” on their exam testing center computer and saw the message that they did not attain the magical 70% pass requirement.


So what do we say?

"Oh NO! I Failed my NJ Real Estate Exam!”

“You may have failed, but you are not a failure.”

The computer will tell the student in which general areas they came up short. So we discuss those topic areas and offer advice on how they might better understand those subjects, perhaps explaining them in a new way, suggesting some memory tips or other resources.

Then using the bicycle analogy, we suggest they get right back on the bike and schedule a retake of the exam as soon as possible. The sooner they take the state exam after graduating from real estate school, the greater the likelihood of them passing. Once a month, Garden State offers an all-day Saturday class for those who either failed the exam or who completed school so long ago that they need a refresher on what they learned.

What do you call a Realtor® who failed their exam four times before finally passing it?

Answer: A Realtor®.

We ask our demoralized student, “How many times did it take for your doctor or dentist or attorney to pass their professional exam?” I’ll bet you cannot answer that question! But what do you call them? Doctor. My dentist. My lawyer.  Truth be, told, none of their clients have any idea whether they passed their licensing exam on the first try—or the fifth.

I know of a truly awesome Realtor® at Keller Williams who passed the state real estate licensing exam only on her fourth attempt. She then began an incredible career in which she will probably help her clients buy and sell $8 million only four years later—while having two babies in the interim period!

Our final words . . .

So regardless of whether you studied at Garden State or any other NJ real estate school, if you didn’t pass your state exam this time, take heart. You may not have passed, but you are not a failure. Focus on the areas you need to study a little harder, and in the words of Winston Churchill, ““Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”


David C. Forward is a licensed real estate broker and instructor and was first licensed as a Realtor® 30 years ago. He is School Director of Garden Real Estate Academy, has won numerous awards for real estate sales, is a much-requested public speaker who has addressed audiences on six continents and is the author of 13 books. David can be reached at Support@GSREacademy.com

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