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25 Strategies to Solve Real Estate Math Problems

  1. Recognize the type of problem you are solving. Is it a commission problem, mortgage, math, or geometry?
  2. Read the entire problem carefully – Know what you are solving for (e.g., are you looking for annual or monthly payments?)
  3. Figure out your plan for solving the problem – Many of the problems will require you to do 2-3 math calculations to get to the right answer. Plan your work, and then work your plan.
  4. Break down word problems into their parts and formulas. Don’t get caught up with all of the words. The words are just extra!
  5. Don’t skip steps – For multi-step problems, make sure you write down each step. That way, if you make a mistake, it’ll be easier to see where the problem is.
  6. Once you come up with the answer, re-read the problem to make sure you solved for the right thing. Check your units!
  7. When you go back to a question that you couldn’t solve, use a new sheet of paper. Sometimes using a new sheet of paper will help mentally un-block your approach to solving the problem.
  8. Don’t feel like you need to use every piece of information in the problem. Some exams will purposely put additional, unnecessary information in the problem to throw you off, so don’t worry if you do not use a piece of information given in the question.
  9. If you have to guess, eliminate as many answers as possible first. Use your best judgment to eliminate obviously wrong answers. For example, let’s say you have a commission problem and you need to solve for the sales price. You know that the sales price will be greater than the commission. Therefore, you can eliminate any answers that are smaller than the commission.
  10. If you can’t figure out a question, go back to it later rather than waste too much time on one question. It’s better to work efficiently on the entire test than to spend too much time on a single problem. You don’t need to get 100% correct, so it’s ok skip a problem and go back to it only if you have time. Just don’t skip too many problems!
  11. Know how you learn – by reading, hearing, seeing or doing? We all learn in different ways. You may pick up the information by watching a YouTube video or listen to a podcast. Others may need to read examples to understand the math concepts. By understanding how you learn, you can tailor your studying to maximize its effectiveness.
  12. Reach out for help! If you need help, ask for it! Feel free to leave a comment or email us if you have a real estate math question. We’re here to help you pass the real state licensing exam.
  13. Practice, practice, practice – Practice makes perfect. The more example problems you see and are familiar with, the better you will do on the licensing exam.
  14. Pay particular attention to errors that you make all of the time. Take note of these. Learn from your mistakes. For example, students often solve for an annual payment, when the question asks for a monthly payment. By knowing which mistakes you make often, you can pay particular attention to these on the exam.
  15. When you are practicing, keep track of your guessing ability – While you are practicing, keep track of the problems you had to guess at, and if you guessed right or wrong. By keeping track of how you guess, you can become a better guesser.
  16. Get a study group together. If you feed off of other people’s energy, you may want to get a study group together to review problems. When you all pass the exam, you will have an immediate network of real estate agents you know!
  17. Explain the problem to someone else (it may be your cat!) – Following on the previous strategy, if you can teach someone how to do a problem, you’ll know it much better yourself. If you don’t have a study group, just try to explain it to yourself or even your cat!
  18. Come up with a schedule for studying. Don’t wait until the last minute! A schedule allows you to make sure you have enough time to prepare for the exam and that you’ve covered all of the materials you need to. If you’re intimidated by real estate math, creating a schedule also breaks down real estate math into bite-size, do-able chunks.
  19. Get to the test site relaxed and prepared – Make sure you have your calculator, ID and required papers in one place before the exam. Do a test run to the exam site and leave plenty of time to get there.
  20. Be familiar with your calculator – Use the same calculator when you are studying as the one you will use on your exam. You don’t want to get frustrated at the exam because you don’t know how to use the calculator. A simple, basic calculator will be enough for all of your calculations.
  21. Know the basics inside and out – especially decimals, percentages, and the T method . Many of the real estate problems you’ll encounter will require you to do something with decimals, percentages and the T method, so make sure you get these concepts down!
  22. Create flashcards for definitions and formulas so you can memorize them. If you’re always on the go, make flashcards so you can review them when you have free time (e.g., waiting for the bus, waiting for an appointment, etc..)
  23. Create problem flash cards with step by step solutions on the back. Flashcards don’t have to be just for words and definitions. Write a flashcard for each “typical” problem so you can review those also.
  24. Try to associate the concepts with real life experiences. Math is around us every day, so pay attention to relationships between sales price, percentages, and decimals. For example, if you see a shirt that is $100, and it’s on sale for 50% off, you know the sales price is $50.00.
  25. Get a good night’s sleep for the exam! Eat a good breakfast (coffee is your friend), spend 15 minutes reviewing prior to taking exam, and relax!