For more than 700 applicants each month, the last Everest to overcome before catering the real estate business is the standard test developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Filled with complex questions, forms and diagrams, and checked by a merciless computer in Princeton, N.J., this test is failed by many aspiring brokers and agents.
The examination program was established in 1970 by Maryland, the District, Virginia and North Carolina. With uniform testing it is possible for states to grant reciprocity to individuals licensed elsewhere. The program has gained wide acceptance and is now used by 25 other states. In 1977, 186,000 tests were given under the program.
Brokers and agents must answer 130 multiple-choice questions divided into two categories. The uniform test includes 100 questions about real estate principles, including finance, contracts, deeds, brokerage and appraisals.
The state test consists of 30 questions specifically related to the jurisdiction where the test is taken. The state test covers local laws, rules and regulations.
To be licensed, applicants must pass both portions of the examination. Each state sets a passing standard, such as 68 percent of the state test and 75 percent of the uniform exam.
The test questions have gone through a number of legal and professional screenings, including a check by a women's and minorities committee to ferret out hidden or cultural[WORD ILLEGIBLE] according to Edward Manwaring, director of the ETS real Estate Licensing Examinations program.
David Krause, chief of the Occupational and Professional Licensing Division of the D.C. Office of Licenses and Permits, says that 42 percent pass the city's sales agent exam each year and 70 percent pass the broker's exam.
At T.C. Williams High School, the state testing site in Northern Virginia, Mat Pasquale, supervisor of Adult and Distributive Education, estimates that the monthly pass rate various from 60 to 80 percent.
For the first 11 months of last year 55 percent of the applicants for agent's licenses and 62 percent of the broker candidates in Maryland passed, according to Charles G. Chambers, executive director of the Maryland Real Estate Commission. Nearby 6,000 people took basic agent's courses in suburban Maryland last year.
Those who successfully complete the exam receive a computerized "pass" three weeks after the test. Those who fail receive a numerical score for each section of the exam.
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