Commission Implements Major Changes To Real Estate Licensing Examination

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission is implementing major changes to the real estate license examination program on March 1, 2012. To understand these changes, however, one must first recall how the current examination program works.

The license examination that applicants must pass to initially obtain a real estate broker license (on provisional status) has consisted for many years of a one-part comprehensive examination with 110 scored questions and a 75% passing score. This one-part examination approach has been followed by the Commission since it assumed full responsibility in 1984 for developing and maintaining its own examination “in-house.”  Initially the Commission also actually administered the examination, but since 2000, the examination has been administered for the Commission on computer by PSI Examination Services, Inc.  Also since 2000, North Carolina has had a single entry-level license examination, with no separate examination for an advanced-level broker license status. North Carolina’s approach contrasts with the system followed by a majority of states whereby the state licensing agency contracts with a testing company to provide a two-part examination consisting of a “national” section on general real estate laws, principles and practices and a “state” section on state-specific laws and practices.

While the Commission has been quite satisfied with its “in-house” examination, the Commission determined that the current high quality and standards of the examination program could best be maintained by enlisting the assistance of a testing company to do more than just administer the examination. Moreover, the Commission determined that the two-part examination approach followed by most other states would have the additional benefit of enabling the Commission to require persons applying based on licensure in another jurisdiction to pass the “State” section of the license examination, thereby providing some assurance that such applicants possess a good basic knowledge of North Carolina real estate laws and practices.

Consequently, the Commission went through a procurement process in 2011 to select a testing company to assist in developing and administering a two-part examination program. Following a thorough selection process, the Commission contracted with Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP) of Lenexa, KS to handle its examination program.

The “New” Examination

Beginning March 1, 2012, the license examination will be a two-part examination consisting of (1) a “national” section of 100 scored questions on general real estate laws, principles and practices and (2) a “state” section of 40 scored questions on primarily North Carolina laws and practices. The “national” section is AMP’s national salesperson (entry-level) examination administered in 11 other states, while the “state” section is developed by and will be maintained entirely by the Commission. The passing score for each section is 75%. Most applicants must pass both sections of the examination; however, persons applying based on licensure in another jurisdiction will be required to pass only the “state” section of the examination. [See article on “License Reciprocity Changes” on page 1 of this Bulletin.]

Approved schools and instructors have been aware of the impending changes for several months and the Commission is working closely with them to assure they have the information necessary to properly prepare their students for the new examination.

This article came from the Feburary 2012-Vol42-3 edition of the bulletin.