What's the Best Way to Pass the Michigan Real Estate Exam?

Written by Kacie Goff

When it comes to licensing their real estate professionals, the state of Michigan doesn’t skimp. Not only do they require 40 hours of pre-licensure education, but they also ask you to take and pass an exam. But don’t panic. You can put some tips in place to give yourself the best chance to pass your Michigan real estate exam. 

Getting ready to take the Michigan real estate exam

Before you can qualify to take the exam, though, you need to take some other steps first. If you already know the process, skip to the next section. But if you don’t, here’s a quick look at your path leading up to the Michigan real estate exam. 

Step #1: Register

Assuming you meet the minimum requirements (are at least 18, are a U.S. citizen, and don’t have a criminal background), your first step is to register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA). It’s fairly easy to do; all you need is a computer with an internet connection. 

Head to LARA’s internet Commercial Occupation Licensing Application (iCOLA) webpage to start the process to create an account. The first step will ask for your license number, but don’t worry. You can just leave that section blank.

Once you register, you’ll have access to the online Michigan real estate salesperson registration form. But you can’t complete it until you’ve finished the required pre-licensure education. 

Step #2: Finish your 40 pre-license education hours

Next up, LARA requires you to complete 40 hours of education to prepare you to work as a real estate salesperson. Fortunately, the state has approved providers who offer the hours online so you can knock them out at your pace and at your convenience. 

Once you finish your hours, your education provider issues you a Certificate of Completion. You’ll need this for the next step. 

Step #3: Submit your application

Now, head back to the iCOLA portal to complete and submit your application to work as a real estate salesperson in Michigan. Have a credit card handy; you’ll need to pay the $88 application fee. 

Step #4: Take your exam

Next up, you need to schedule, take, and pass your Michigan real estate exam. Once LARA authorizes you to take this test, you can schedule it with PSI, the state’s testing partner. The test is closed-book and three hours long. It costs $79 each time you take it. But don’t worry. We’ll give you tips in the next section to help you pass it in one go. 

Step #5: Get your license, find a broker, and start selling

After you pass the exam, you get your picture taken at the exam site and LARA immediately issues you your Michigan real estate salesperson license. Find a broker to oversee you and you’re ready to start working. 

Passing the Michigan real estate exam

It all seems pretty straightforward — except for the exam. Most people report that the three-hour test is the most difficult part of the real estate licensure process in Michigan. Fortunately, we have some tips to help you out. 

  • Pick the right education provider. Your 40 hours of pre-license education should give you all the info you need to ace your exam. When you’re shopping education providers, look for ones that gear their teaching toward helping you prep for the test and pass. Some providers will even refund your course cost if you don’t pass on your first try. 
  • Time your education right. Try to schedule your exam with PSI as close as possible to finishing your 40 hours. This way, all of the information is fresh in your brain. We recommend submitting your LARA application as soon as you get your education Certificate of Completion to move the process along as quickly as possible. 
  • Read the PSI bulletin. PSI, the test administrator, puts out an extensive bulletin for Michigan salesperson test takers. Read it through so you know what to expect when you show up for your test and what kind of questions you’ll be asked. The bulletin even includes sample questions. 
  • Take practice tests. PSI offers practice tests. They’re focused on nationwide real estate regulation, but they still give you a feel for how PSI styles their tests.   
  • Know you only need a C. You only need to get 70% of the exam questions right to pass, so don’t stress too much. A C- qualifies as a passing grade. 


Tests can be stressful, but with 40 hours of prep work and plenty of resources to help you acclimate to the exam style, you’ll breeze through it.