Inside the Illinois Proficiency Exam Pilot

 During the month of November, the Real Estate Institute helped Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) test the Illinois Proficiency Exams for the upcoming real estate transition.  As part of the amendments to the Real Estate License Act of 2000, licensees will have a choice of facing the proficiency exam or taking coursework to earn the right to transition to the new license titles.  A passing score on the exam will allow licensees to transition without taking the 30-hour or 45-hour post-license education courses.   The exam is expected to be available to all licensees in January 2011. 

Keeping You Honest
The purpose of the proficiency exam pilot program was to verify the suitability of the exams for use as the Real Estate Transition Proficiency Examinations for both the salesperson-to-broker transition and the broker-to-managing broker transition.  Real Estate Institute participated in the pilot with the cooperation of about 140 brave licensees. 

According to Alan Toban, founder of the Real Estate Institute, the reactions of the test takers were mixed.  “I heard people say that it was a little difficult for them, but seemed like a fair exam for a current licensee.” 

Deborah Hammersmith, Real Estate Institute receptionist, observed the crowds after the exam.  She noted, “After the exam, the test takers congregated to ask each other how they responded to particular questions.  They discovered that they all did not have the same exam and that questions varied.  They all acted like this was a big surprise!”

Years in the Business – No Guarantee
At the other end of the spectrum, Alan said, “A few seasoned salespersons and brokers found the exam very challenging and questioned whether they will pass. They were stunned that, after being in the business for so long, they didn’t know everything!” 

Clearly a passing score is not guaranteed by your years in the business.  Alan further explains, “It’s been a long time since some of these folks studied for their license, and a lot has changed. The additions that were included this year alone caught many agents off guard.  Do you know the differences among a ‘broker,’ a ‘managing broker,’ a ‘sponsoring broker’ and a ‘broker who manages’?”

PREP-to-PASS
The exams, which were given on paper, will now be scored by AMP, and any comments about particular questions from those who took the exam will be reviewed. (Later, the Real Estate Institute will make the exam available online for instant scoring.)   AMP will also check for any questions that seem to create a problem for a disproportionate number of candidates.  The bottom line is: Don’t think you are going to waltz into this test and ace it.  According to Alan, “You do need to be proficient.”

The reactions of the pilot test takers confirmed Alan’s suspicions that test preparation would be beneficial.  “With only one opportunity to pass the proficiency exam, I recommend a good exam prep tool to refresh your knowledge and, in some cases, introduce you to new laws that you may not be aware of.”

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