If you are here, perhaps it’s because you:
We understand - and are here to help!
Undertaking a new career or re-working a current career in real estate can be a bit overwhelming. You’re wondering how you’re going to make this job work in your life - and it all begins with your real estate education. This guide was created in part by asking actual Continuing Ed Express graduates how they managed to fit their real estate education into their lives - and we borrowed their study tips!
As you begin your online real estate education, you’ll find that you have helpers, and you don’t have to go it alone. Your education and career in real estate will provide you with opportunities for connection, as well as the autonomy and strength which come from making your own way.
This guide will provide you with encouragement, and real resources to help you get through this process. Whether you are comfortable with technology or are new to online learning or computers in general - we are here to assist you!
As a real estate professional, you will be your own boss. What does that mean? It means freedom, and it also means developing and learning unique skills and practices. The online education you are about to undertake will help you with that!
The Continuing Ed Express courses help you gain important self-management skills. You will acquire habits of keeping track of details, prioritizing your time and planning, and carefully reading and documenting information.
Study hard, be patient with new concepts, and enjoy learning about your exciting new career!
(Click on the orange links below to skip to each portion of the Study Guide.)
A word about learning disabilities:
Whether you have been diagnosed with a learning issue, or suspect you might have unique challenges, you might find you could use some additional assistance beyond the scope of this Study Guide.
Common Student Concerns
“I’m not sure I can do this online learning thing…”
Students occasionally call and share this vulnerable, and very real, thought. It can be intimidating if online classes are a new learning method for you. We hope you can think of this Study Guide as similar to a phone chat (though we’re always available for that, too!).
“I’m worried I can’t be accountable to do the work without an instructor in the room.”
This is a common concern, and completely understandable. Advice for this is ahead!
“I don’t know how to fit this education into my life.”
Read on for tips from actual graduates of ours. The beauty of our program is that most everyone who takes our courses finds that they are highly convenient.
“I’m not a “techie,” and am embarrassed and frustrated with computers and technology in general!”
You are not alone! We hear this from customers from time to time - and we are always learning too! This Guide will provide you with resources, and hopefully help you build some confidence in this area. We hope you’ll be less intimidated, and find that it’s not as difficult as you think.
“Your format doesn’t use books or workbooks, which is what I’m used to. I don’t know how to study this way.”
We hear you, and wrote this Study Guide in large part to address this concern! Thousands of people, from all walks of life, have completed our courses.
“This is a significant financial investment - what if it’s not for me?”
We offer a 60-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. As long as you don’t complete the course final exam, you can receive a refund anytime within 60 days of your purchase. Learn more about our Refund Policy. You have 60 days to work through the material and decide if this is right for you. The majority of students find that after they work on the material for a while, they get the hang of it, and follow through to the end. This Guide will help you get the hang of it - confidently and quickly! If you are wondering if a career in real estate is right for you, our list of Pros and Cons might help you make that decision.
“...Insert your concern here…”
Your concern may be unique to your particular situation, or perhaps a new concern will come up later. We hope the following study tips will help you, no matter what you’re wrestling with!
As previously mentioned, we asked some Continuing Ed Express grads some detailed questions about how they figured out how to learn online, on their own - often with busy lives. Their responses, along with some things we have learned along the way, have shaped the following study tips.
Feel free to make a note to yourself right now, to remind yourself to check back to this Study Guide as needed!
You will want to treat your online real estate education as if it were an in-person class, or a job. In short, you will need to “show up,” for your studies (and yourself), on a regular basis.
You will save yourself a lot of frustration, and set yourself up for success, by taking some time to prepare a few things before you begin your Continuing Ed Express online education. If you have already started the courses, that's okay - these tips will help you at any point in the learning process!
Plan to focus.
Are you feeling anxious to get going? We love your enthusiasm, and it will serve you well in your career! We invite you, however, to take a bit of time to consider a few things before you get going, or wherever you are in this process. Any seasoned real estate licensee will tell you that unfortunate mistakes, made in haste, can spell trouble. It’s a good idea to practice working slowly, methodically, and carefully. You know: “dot your ‘i’s’ and cross your ‘t’s.’” Details are everything when you work in real estate. Practice reading and notetaking carefully now, and it will serve you well later.
Sometimes students become frustrated with some part of their learning process, only to discover that the answers to an exam, or a question they had, were there all along - they simply missed them due to rushing through the material!
Think about yourself.
That’s right – to begin with, you’ll need to pause and consider a few things about yourself, and what you want to do. You might think you’ll just charge forward with this process, and figure it out as you go. We invite you to consider the following tips as you prepare for your online real estate education.
Only you can make your learning a priority.
Brainstorm some ideas about when and where you intend to work on your courses. Keep in mind that you might need to modify this as you go along.
You may find you need to rehearse a speech to your family, friends, employer, etc., to tell them about this exciting, new endeavor in your life. You can choose to either declare it, or enter into an open-minded discussion about it - whatever feels appropriate.
Why is this so important? You will need to focus, as free of distractions as possible. The people in your life may need to know that you will be setting aside time to work on your courses. People are usually much more receptive if they are given a heads-up. It might take some flexibility on the part of others, temporarily, until you are finished with your courses. If you are sympathetic and thankful, and provide them with treats (optional!), they might be your biggest supporters. Supporters can be helpful, though not required.
Once you are working in your field, life will be all about flexibility! This period during your education can be a great time to practice:
All of which you will be doing as a successful real estate licensee! May this realization motivate you to practice taking your education seriously, working methodically, and taking great pride in what you are accomplishing.
By setting aside special time to focus on your studies, when you are finished for the day, you can leave it and enjoy your life! This “down time” will also help your brain process and remember what you’ve been studying.
You will probably find that it is easier to focus if you can be alone in a space. This could be a room in your home, away from others. You can work in a common area of your home, but study when no one is around. This might be early in the morning before others awaken, or late at night if you are a night owl. It might mean you study on days of the week when no one is home. You might be able to go to a library, co-working space, or your cousin’s apartment a few times a week. You might be someone who likes to work in cafes, or in parks. Study wherever you feel productive, focused, and relaxed.
The great thing about our program is that you can work on any device - anywhere that has an Internet connection! Reading the course material is a quiet activity, so you can work privately, and also not disturb others who may be nearby.
Students often “steal” moments when they are able. You can:
Many students focus best when they have a routine, and go to the same place at the same time of day. It triggers their brain to get right back into “study mode.” Other people need variety, otherwise their passion wanes. For others, it is a mix of both.
As for how often to study, that is also up to you. It is usually a good idea to set aside a regular day and time to work on the course material. Some students say they often need to fit study time into their lives however they can. This method works best if you can put away all distractions, and focus deeply during these study sessions. People who set aside regular time to concentrate, without distractions, are better able to work effectively and quickly.
You might need to experiment with your study days/times, to see what works best for you. If you don’t have many options, we hope this study guide will help you, no matter what your learning environment looks like.
It might be necessary to find creative ways to separate work, school, and your personal life – if all of this is happening at home under one roof. You can cover your work station with a stylish cloth when not in use. You might be able to work in different parts of your home. You might choose to study at a library. Experiment, and you will find the right types of boundaries for you.
If you are having a rough day, and find your focus waning, consider ending your study session at that time. You can schedule a more normal study session next time. Pushing yourself for too long when you are in a low or stressed mood could lead to frustration, difficulty memorizing, or feeling like you “can’t do this.”
Remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day, and that you have the remarkable ability to shift. Try to wait until you are more receptive to being in the “flow,” so you are not slowing down your progress due to stress. Read something positive, if you like, and give yourself a break for now. Try to discern whether the material is too difficult for you, or whether it’s simply that you’re not in the best place mentally for learning - in this moment.
Additional considerations for your workspace
Make sure your workspace is comfortable
Since you are most likely spending many hours of your time working, creating a functioning workspace helps you to keep all your work organized and secure in one place. The tips below can make all the difference in how successful you are with your studies, and even your thoughts about them. Comfort is key!
Keep your screen at an optimal distance
Position your screen approximately 24 inches from your body, or an arm’s length away, and slightly below eye level for the most comfortable visual experience.
Create an ergonomic design
Being aware of how your body feels while doing your work is important when setting up your computer and components. You may need to make some adjustments to your work station, for maximum comfort.
When you set up lighting, avoid glare on the screen. You may need to reposition lights and lamps and use window shades in high sunlight. In general, lights should be positioned to the side of the monitor screen – not behind it or shining directly on it.
Motivational Reminders in Your Workspace
Consider having around you things that remind you that you are capable, professional, and positive. If you can’t have physical items, sticky notes, etc., in your workspace, you can collect a few thoughts and/or photos to put somewhere in your device(s).
Place motivational material on your desktop or phone’s home screen or Notes app., or in an online storage. The point is to make your physical surroundings reflect your goals, and be an additional source of support.
Be Ready to Go!
Finally, make sure to gather everything you think you will need for your study session before you begin working on your course. This will minimize distractions, and help you feel prepared and empowered. Remember: Focusing greatly enables ease of learning!
The more you make this education process your own, the more happy - and in turn, successful - you will be.
This “education time” might be just the time for a few adjustments in your life, to assist you in getting through it. And do remember - this pre-license education is just for a period of time! One day you will be finished and have your real estate license! Wouldn’t it be great to also have your life be better for having gone through the process? We believe it can be!
Several life changes could occur as a result of making this commitment to yourself. Most of the following will probably not surprise you. These are not to be taken as more “shoulds” in your life – you likely have enough of those! These are merely suggestions which could help your education go even more smoothly. You might consider one or more of these:
This is one factor that concerns some students, along with staying accountable and not procrastinating. First and most importantly: please do not be hard on yourself if this is a challenge!
There are excellent reasons why it might sometimes be challenging to stay focused. Let’s face it - some of this material is not exactly exciting. It is required for real estate licensees to know, but a good deal of it is legal information, and, well, can be boring or even a bit confusing at first. Our brains are more likely to want to check social media, talk to a human, zone out, eat, do some online shopping - almost anything but read through some of the required material.
You might also feel you’re missing out on important things, and must “stay connected” via constant checking of email and social media. This will be an important time to figure out how to manage these thoughts and feelings, so that you can reach your goals.
One encouraging point to keep in mind, is that once you have completed your pre-license education - you can then move on to the "good stuff," i.e. your business or new career! Course 1 and the licensing exams are challenging and once you pass the end of course test, as well as the PSI Exams, the rest of your pre-license education will be smooth sailing. Courses 2 and 3 are much easier, and more real-world focused; Course 1 is more legalese. Continuing education courses, which you will need to take in the future, are much shorter, easier, and usually focus on only one or two topics. Also, keep in mind that if you work on your pre-license studies at a steady pace, you should do fine on the course exam.
Students often wonder how long it will take them to complete the course(s). Since our courses allow students to work at their own pace, this is largely up to you. Each of the pre-license courses, Course 1, 2, and 3, are 30-hour courses so you will at a miminum be spending 90 hours on the required education. However, keep in mind that for Course 1, you will be spending extra time preparing for the license exams. One benefit of eliminating distractions is that you will be working more deeply, and therefore, more quickly.
For some, procrastination can be a challenge. That said, there are ways to overcome it. Sometimes people put off studying due to a psychological reason they weren’t even aware of. Are you unknowingly “self-sabotaging” or derailing your success, because you were once told you weren’t good enough? Is something, other than this course and fitting it into your life, stressing you out? There is usually some underlying reason(s) for procrastination, and it is something to pay attention to. Try not to be hard on yourself about it, or just try to just push through. You might find you’ll progress more easily and quickly if you can take a look at why you are not sitting down to work through the material. Remember to always be kind to yourself!
Social media and email can definitely be distractions for some of us! Checking on these constantly can drastically slow your progress and impede your brain’s ability to concentrate and remember information. It takes many minutes for your brain to be able to focus deeply again, after you have had your attention elsewhere. As you study, it might be useful to put your phone across the room for an hour at a time, and/or not have any other tabs open on your computer, except for Continuing Ed Express. Set alarms and tell yourself you can check social media and/or email on your breaks. Better yet, plan to check social media and email at the very end of your study session.
Brainstorm methods which will work for you, and be willing to adjust them as you figure out what helps you to be more successful with your studying.
Take Note: Our brains like the feeling of accomplishing tasks. Allowing yourself plenty of focused time to get into a “flow” state – without interruption - will make all the difference in your ability to learn!
It will greatly help your learning if you can slowly increase your attention span. Practice not reaching for the Internet in times of boredom, and notice your productivity increasing!
If family or friends are a disruption to your study sessions, you might need to think about what you believe would help you, and sit down for a friendly conversation. See what you can work out that feels reasonable for all parties. Remind others that this study time is temporary. Sometimes people are afraid of change - in routine, and/or in the people in their lives. You can perhaps allay some of their fears with ongoing conversations/check-ins. Maybe no fears are present, but this might simply be a time to discuss what time and space you need, to accomplish your goals.
If it’s not that your loved ones are distracting you, but instead, you feel pulled toward them, rather than your studies… You can again remind yourself that most everyone in your life will benefit one way or another from your future success and happiness. Tell yourself that you can go and be with them after x-number of minutes or hours of study.
You can always begin with short study sessions, and increase them as you feel comfortable. You will eventually get into a routine, and will develop the strength to keep studying on your own.
Other distractions, such as video games or TV - approach them in the same way. Set a timer if it helps, but allow yourself a set amount of study time before you take breaks. And do take breaks! If you feel deprived of any of your usual habits for too long, you are more prone to reverting back to the old ways. Remember, you can always re-evaluate how things are going, and make changes!
A word about timers: if using a timer on your phone leads to distraction, you might want to get a separate digital timer. The one on your oven can also work well!
Workers who have the ability to focus deeply and quickly on their tasks are in high demand. Practice now, and enjoy greater success in your career!
You might find it extremely helpful to have at least one person in your life who can help you stay on track with your studies. You can achieve this in many ways. It might be that simply by sharing what you are doing with others, they will occasionally inquire, “How’s it going?” This alone might prompt you to sit down to study the next chapter.
Your Broker might already be nudging you along. Balance that with a pace that works best for you.
You could join or start an accountability group, in which there are several members who share the same desire for encouragement, feedback, and accountability. You might simply ask a friend or family member to kindly check in on you regularly.
Some people work very well with tight deadlines; for others, this just creates anxiety, which slows progress. Figure out what methods work best for you.
Having a visual reminder of how far you’ve come in your studies can be a powerful tool! Hang up a wall calendar or use your online calendar to mark the days that you’ve studied. Set a goal of having as few “empty” days as is possible for you.
You might want to consider using a rewards system as a motivator! For example, you could give yourself a healthy (or not!) treat after x-minutes or x-hours of study. When you are finished for the day or week, you might enjoy a good movie at home with delicious snacks. Perhaps when your education is complete, you could take a short road trip, have friends or family over for a celebratory dinner, or buy a new, professional outfit. You get to decide what rewards along the way will help motivate you to keep going!
Taking breaks will be crucial for your mental and physical health. In addition, your brain will retain and integrate more information if you study in a “chunk,” and then take a break from it, which allows for processing. You will likely need to begin with a certain number of study minutes, and then gradually increase as your brain gets used to this type of focused learning.
If you thought you would work quickly through this program, reading for 8 hours a day, every day, so that you can get your license - you might need to re-think that goal. Your brain will likely not be able to remember all that you have read during the day, and you may become frustrated when you struggle to pass the quizzes and exams. You will be best served if you are open to experimenting with what works best for you, and adjust as needed.
Always remember that the ultimate goal of your real estate education is to become a successful real estate licensee, and the more information you understand now, the better off you will be when you are working out in the field.
Whether studying has always come easily for you, or you often struggle, this Guide will be useful for you. While some of the following tips include general advice, many of them refer specifically to the courses of Continuing Ed Express.
Taking good notes is a critical part of your learning process, and will also be a highly useful skill in your real estate career. Below are some tried and tested tips:
Each pre-license course contains eFlashcards at the end of each section. You may also purchase additional downloadable and printable eFlashcards for Course 1. Use these to test your knowledge as you progress through the material. Our students love them! You can use the eFlaschards to test yourself. Keep your sense of humor and be patient as you learn these terms!
Study completed quizzes
If you fail a quiz question, the correct answer will be provided to you. Go back and study the questions you answered incorrectly.
Some students might find it helpful to speak out loud a portion of the material as they read through the course, or their own notes. You can even pretend you are explaining it to someone else. Talk to your houseplants - no one will ever know!
You have a real instructor - Peggy McNamara - and she happily answers student questions all the time! She enjoys doing so, and is ready and able to answer your questions regarding the course material. If you are stuck on any portion, confused, or need some clarification - send a message to Peggy, and she will get back to you in a timely manner.
Please don’t be shy! Peggy can usually clear up any confusion students have via the online course messaging system, and is able to keep them moving along in their studies. However, there are times that a phone call will work better and she will gladly scheduled one if it will help! You are going to be quizzed and tested on the material, and the questions are often written in a cryptic fashion, so the better you understand the material, the more success you will have with choosing the correct answer. To contact Peggy, click on the purple envelope icon at the top of any page in the course.
Writing to your instructor is a perfect opportunity to practice crafting professional business emails. Before you begin writing, take a moment to think carefully about what it is you need help with. Then write with a specific question(s) in mind. Get as detailed as you can about the material from the course which you find challenging, or need clarification on. Take advantage of the experience Peggy has in this industry; reach out to her, as needed!
Peggy will ask you if you have taken advantage of the provided study resources available within the course, such as eFlashcards, Quick Study Review Guides, practice tests and more. It is a good idea to utilize these tools, as they are extremely helpful for successful studying.
The How it Works tab on our website contains the pages How to Get Started and FAQ’s. Please familiarize yourself with the information found on these pages, as they will guide you through how our system works. This will help you be prepared and confident as you begin working through the material. If you have a question about how our system works, the answer can most likely be found on one of these helpful pages from our website.
If you have a question about something to which you didn’t get an answer from our website or instructor, please feel free to contact our Customer Service representatives. They are happy to answer any questions you may have, or at least point you in the direction of where to likely get your questions answered.
The State of Minnesota’s Department of Commerce requires that your course exam be proctored by an acceptable proctor. A qualified individual must witness you taking your course exam. You can find more information about getting your exams proctored here. You have proctor options, including Continuing Ed Express’s proctoring service.
When you are ready to take your course exam, if you have any questions related to proctoring, our Customer Service can assist in your question.
We have a free demonstration course you can try! Taking a look at the Demo Course could help you feel comfortable before you even begin working through Course 1.
No matter your level of computer proficiency, Northstar Digital Literacy, a program of the non-profit organization Literacy Minnesota, can help you advance your skills. They offer free assessments and training.
Everything you will need to know to pass your licensing exams will be found in Course 1, so study carefully.
Your real estate education and career are a big deal! Both will likely make you an even better, happier human. You will learn a great deal about yourself and your community from:
The business of real estate, in whichever facet you go with your license, is exciting! As you proceed through the pre-license courses, remember the reasons for which you are getting your license. It is an incredibly rewarding career for those who see it through. It can offer challenges and be fruitful in ways that other careers don’t offer. Have fun with it! Take it one step at a time and stay grounded in the fact that this education process just is what it is – a necessary step for you to get your license!
One amazing thing that usually occurs from the process of studying, is all of the “side benefits” that develop. You might experience an increase in:
How great is all that?!
What is your “why?” Why have you decided to undertake this education and career path? Some days you might need a bit of a reminder, so go ahead and place those motivators where you will see them regularly.
The possibilities are endless, but the idea is to have these things in place for the times when you need motivation to keep studying.
Remind yourself of all of the things you’ve accomplished, and that those things were once new to you, too. Every real estate licensee was once in exactly the same place you are today - a brand-new learner.
Looking too far ahead can cause “paralysis,” frustration, overwhelm, fear… you get the idea. Each day that you can, take small steps toward your goal, and eventually you will get there!
If you have not already purchased your Minnesota Salesperson Pre-License courses, click the button below to Enroll Now.
If you have purchased the courses, click the Sign In button below to get started!
We want this Study Guide to be ever-evolving and ever-improving, so if you have any suggestions for how we can make it better, please feel free to drop us a note! We’d love to hear about what study tips worked for you, how you balanced your education/personal life, or anything else you think would help future students. Thank you!