The Massachusetts Real Estate License Exam Explained

Answers to All of Your Questions about the MA Real Estate Test

Do you want to become a real estate agent in Massachusetts? If so, you’re probably wondering about the real estate license test. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the exam, from how to prepare to what you can expect on exam day.

Basic Requirements

First, let’s look at some of the basic requirements that must be met in order to take the real estate test. You must:

Steps to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts

1. Complete the 40 Hour Real Estate License Course

To become a licensed real estate agent in Massachusetts, candidates must complete 40 hours of pre-licensing education from a certified real estate school. These courses cover topics such as basic contract law, federal and state real estate laws, property rights, disclosures and valuation, financing, agency relationships, brokerage responsibilities, operations, and real estate math. The course typically costs between $95 and $350, depending on the school and learning format. Some schools offer online classes, while others provide in-person instruction.

The school you choose must be authorized by the Massachusetts Real Estate Board. It’s also important select a reputable real estate school that has a track record of success. Seek feedback from real estate agents who have obtained their license in the past year to help make a decision. Ideally, the chosen school will provide the tools necessary to pass the exam on the first attempt. Boston Real Estate Job partners with the best real estate schools in Greater Boston, giving you access to exclusive special offers that can significantly decrease your costs.

2. Submit Your Application to Take the Real Estate Licensing Exam

When preparing for the Massachusetts real estate licensing exam, you must submit an application to PSI Services, the organization responsible for overseeing all license exams in the state. PSI has testing centers in Auburn, Boston (Charlestown), Fall River, Lawrence, and West Springfield. You have two years from the date of completing the 40-hour course to take the exam.

As part of the application process, you will need to provide three candidate endorsements from individuals who are not related to you. There is an application fee of $31 and an exam fee of $54. Additionally, before you take the exam, you must ensure that all previous Massachusetts state tax returns have been filed correctly and all state taxes have been paid. PSI will conduct a background check on you before approving your application. It is important to note that if you are currently on probation or parole, you will not be eligible to become licensed. Once your application has been approved, you can schedule your exam by visiting the PSI website.

3. Pass the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson Examination

The Massachusetts real estate license exam is a multiple-choice test that can be taken either in-person or online. You will have four hours to complete the exam. In order to pass the exam, you need to score at least 70%, and you will find out immediately after completing the exam whether you passed. If you pass the exam, you will be issued your MA real estate agent license on the spot. If you test online, you will need to pick up your license at your closest testing center. The fee for a new license ranges between $103 and $150, depending on your date of birth.

If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, don’t worry! You can retake it as many times as needed within two years of completing the pre-licensing course. You will receive a score breakdown report for the different areas of the test. This report will help you identify areas that need more attention for the retake.

Let’s take a closer look at the exam to you can be better prepared to start your career in real estate.

Massachusetts Real Estate Exam Overview

The Massachusetts Real Estate Licensing Exam consists of 120 questions divided into two sections: National (80 questions) and Massachusetts law (40 questions). Below is a basic outline of the exam.

National Section

  1. Property ownership
  2. Land use controls and regulations
  3. Valuation and market analysis
  4. Financing
  5. General principles of agency
  6. Property Disclosures
  7. Contracts
  8. Leasing and Property Management
  9. Transfer of Title
  10. Practice of real estate
  11. Real estate calculations

Massachusetts Section

  1. Duties and powers of the board of registration of real estate brokers and salespersons
  2. Licensing requirements
  3. Requirements governing licensees
  4. Contracts
  5. Consumer protection laws
  6. Environmental issues and hazardous materials
  7. Massachusetts fair housing law
  8. Landlord tenant law
  9. Additional topics

Pro Tip

When preparing for the Massachusetts Real Estate License Exam, take as many practice exams as possible. These can help you identify areas where you need to focus your studying and can help you become familiar and comfortable with the exam format and structure.

Property Ownership

One of the key topics covered on the Massachusetts Real Estate License exam is property ownership. This includes an understanding of the different types of property ownership, such as joint tenancy, life estate, and ownership in severalty. Candidates must also understand encumberances such as leans, easements, and encroachments.

Real Estate Contracts

Contracts are another important topic covered on the exam. Candidates must understand the basic parts of a real estate contract, including general knowledge of contract law, contract clauses, offers, and counteroffers. They must also be able to describe the different types of contracts used in real estate, such as purchase agreements, leases, and listing agreements.


The Massachusetts Real Estate License exam also covers financing topics including mortgages and other types of financing used in real estate transactions. Prospective agents must demonstrate comprehension of the different types of mortgages, such as VA insured loans, adjustable-rate mortgages, and bridge loans. They must also understand the basic principles of financing, including interest rates, PMI, and amortization.

Principles of Agency and Real Estate Practice

In addition to these topics, the Massachusetts Real Estate License exam has two sections about the practice of being a real estate agent that account for a total of roughly a quarter of the test. To successfully answer the questions in these sections, you need to understand agency and non-agency relationships, an agent’s duty to their clients, trust and escrow accounts, and fair housing, ADA, and truth in advertising laws.

Real Estate Math

Don’t worry too much about the math section, as you’ll only get around 8-10 math questions in total. These questions cover topics such as loan-to-value ratios, equity, property tax calculations, and commissions. All of those terms will make sense once you take the real estate course. The most advanced these questions get are around 9th grade level math; most are simpler than that. Also, you are allowed to use a basic, stand-alone calculator on the exam. That means you can’t use your phone or your old graphing calculator from freshman year.

What to Do on Exam Day

Now that you have successfully completed the 40 hour real estate license course, gained approval to take the exam, and scheduled your exam date, you are ready to take the test. Be prepared on exam day by knowing the rules of the testing center.

Arrive at the testing center 30 minutes early in order to be admitted. Food, drink, electronic devices, recording devices, or excessively large coats or sweaters, are not allowed inside. Make sure you bring a valid, government-issued photo ID, your eligibility information, and a way to pay for the exam if have not paid in advance.

The tests are administered by computer. Once you’re in the testing area, just follow the proctor’s instructions, take a deep breath, and crush it.

Having Your Massachusetts Real Estate License

Now that you have your Massachusetts Real Estate License, it’s time to join a brokerage. Massachusetts state law requires agents to work under a broker, but to be successful it pays to find a good one. Top real estate brokerages, such as our partner offices, provide the best training at no cost to their agents, the best technology, emphasize teamwork, and produce a steady flow of leads for their agents.

Are you ready to begin a rewarding career with limitless earning potential? Apply now and we can help you get your real estate license.

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Newly Licensed Agents or Prospective Agents Seeking a License

Continuous professional training is the cornerstone of short and long term success for all real estate agents. The real estate marketplace changes frequently. New technologies are introduced that quickly change real estate business models. Seek out real estate market leaders that provide extensive programs taught by experienced managers. It is important that you learn how to generate commissions properly from your first deal.

Ask how long a broker or manager has been in real estate. Ask how many transactions they have completed. Paperwork and careful attention to detail through professional coaching can make all the difference in your initial training period. Companies that post jobs on this site provide complete office support systems and generous commission packages that reward you for your effort. A healthy sense of teamwork that will enhance and increase your work ethic is central to their culture.

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