Are Final Exams Required for Real Estate License Renewal?

Empty_chairsOn January 1, 2018, amendments to the Illinois Real Estate License Act took effect. While most of the changes are subtle, there is already an impact for Illinois Real Estate Brokers. Over the past few weeks, our customer service team has been getting lots of questions about the changes. Here is the key question and answer…

Do the license law changes impact your 2018 Broker license renewal?

Yes, but not in a significant way.

Although the amended license law makes some changes to curriculum and the way courses can be offered, most of the impact of those changes won’t be felt until the next license renewal period. That’s because there’s another step in the process. The state must first establish administrative rules that implement many of the changes.

Even so, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Education (IDFPR) recently indicated that some aspects of the amended license law are very clear and may be implemented in advance of the rulemaking process. This has led to some confusion among licensees.

Impact on Broker Continuing Education

As a reminder, most Illinois Brokers must complete 12 hours of continuing education before renewing their licenses. The IDFPR understands that with the Brokers’ two-year license renewal period nearly complete, it would be unfair to make changes that significantly change the CE requirements before the April 30, 2018, deadline.

That means you can stick with the tried-and-true way you’ve completed CE for previous renewal seasons. No need to change it up unless you really want to. For most licensees, that takes the form of a simple self-study program.

In addition to self-study programs, licensees sometimes attend classes or webinars to earn CE credit. You may be pleased to learn that if you attend a live, interactive CE course via classroom or webinar, you are no longer required to complete a final exam for that course. Keep in mind that you must attend the entire course. (Attending review classes for self-study CE courses is not permitted.)

Attending 12 hours (at least two days) of live training is not for everyone, and you may be looking for another way to avoid a self-study course with a final exam. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and willing to try something new, Online Distance Education may interest you. This new interactive course delivery method just became available under the amended license law. Online Distance Education is a modern approach to self-study that has some pros and cons, depending on your perspective:


No one relishes the idea of taking a test. It’s important to know that although a final exam is not required with Online Distance Education courses, there must be interactivity, which includes quizzes/knowledge checks along the way to make sure you’ve gone through the entire course.

Impact on Broker Post-License Education

Brokers whose licenses were issued after February 1, 2016, will be renewing their licenses for the very first time. This group of licensees is required to complete a 30-hour Post-License Education program in lieu of continuing education for their first renewal. This program consists of two courses:

  • 15-Hour Broker Post-License Topics
  • 15-Hour Broker Post-License Applied Real Estate Practices (Interactive)

If you’re among those who need to complete post-license education by April 30, you’ll be happy to know that the “Applied” course, which requires interactive delivery, no longer requires a final exam! This means that a final exam will only be required for the “Topics” course and only when completed in a self-study format.

While it may be possible to attend the “Topics” course in a class or webinar format, our student feedback indicates that independent study is strongly preferred. Attending an extra two days of classes/webinars is challenging for anyone, especially new brokers trying to build their businesses. Until now, that left only a self-study course option, which includes a final exam. (Although nobody looks forward to a final exam, the 25-question exam is based on the school’s course and is really no big deal… and there is no state license exam to follow.)

As mentioned above, the new course delivery method, Online Distance Education, lets Brokers avoid a course final exam without any extra class or webinar attendance. This format is a great fit for students who are open to online courses.

For most students, completing the “Topics” course via Online Distance Education and the “Applied” course via webinar will be the winning combination. “Applied” webinars reinforce the concepts learned in the “Topics” course by providing live interaction and feedback from expert educators. This makes it possible for post-license students to complete all their coursework online, choosing their own schedule, without any final exams!

In summary, the course format you choose will determine whether a final exam is required.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years. Our team of experts is standing by to answer your questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.


2 thoughts on “Are Final Exams Required for Real Estate License Renewal?

  1. Is passing the Illinois Brokers final exam in your class required to sit for the Illinois license Brokers exam

    • Good question! An exam is required for some Broker pre-license courses, but not all. The recent amendments to the license act open the door to pre-license courses without a final exam, but only when the entire course is offered in an interactive format, such as live class. Even so, many schools continue to include a final exam. A comprehensive final exam provides a strong indication of whether or not the student is prepared to *pass* the state licensing exam.

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