How to Pass the NMLS Exam the First Time Around
Thinking about becoming a loan officer? Before you start applying for jobs, you’ll need to pass the NMLS Exam. NMLS stands for Nationwide Multi-state Licensing System & Registry, and you’re required to create a profile and complete a 20-hour course before you can take the exam. Courses can be taken online or in-person.
In order to pass the exam on the first try and get your career as a loan officer started, there are a few steps you need to take. But first, a little bit about the exam itself.
NMLS Exam Prep
If you’re studying for the NMLS exam, it’s because you’ve chosen a specific career path. This fact alone should ensure you take this exam very seriously.
The exam consists of 115 questions and each applicant is allowed 180 minutes (3 hours) to complete it. A score of 75% or better equals a pass. Anything lower and you’ll need to take the exam at a later date.
Depending on whether you’re taking your course online or in-person, it’s important to pay attention. There is a lot to learn and you’ll need to study. There are government rules and regulations that apply heavily to our industry, and the industry is always changing. Additionally, you’ll need to know about TRID, Ethics, General Mortgage Knowledge, Federal Law, UST and Loan Origin Activities.
If possible, you should dedicate 1-2 hours per day for approximately 3-4 weeks to studying. Create flash cards, have your friends and family test you, and take advantage of quizzes and practice test questions. The better you know the material, and there is a lot of it, the better chance you have of passing the NMLS exam on the first try.
Tracking Your Progress
Tracking your progress isn’t just important for making sure you know the material, but also great for a confidence boost. How do you track your progress?
- Record your practice test scores in an Excel spreadsheet
- Record your study hours
- Compare test scores in each subject
It might seem silly at first to keep track of this information, but with a test this important it’s worth your time. This way you can easily see where your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you’d benefit from further study.
Books are available online and in stores that help you prepare for the NMLS exam. There is a plethora of practice exams to choose from, and it’s a good idea to take several quizzes written by different people. You would be surprised how big a role simple wording plays in how you understand a question. And by answering the same questions in several different ways, you can prepare yourself for the exam questions that really count.
Taking (and Passing) the NMLS Exam
Once you’re confident you know the material, it’s time to take the exam. You can schedule your exam on the NMLS website – be prompt, don’t forget your ID, and breathe.
All questions are multiple choice, and several are worded in ways to make you second guess yourself. This is what all those hours of study prepare you for. About 35% of the exam is regulations including TILA, FCRA, RESPA, ECOA, HMDA, FACTA, HOEPA, and disclosures.
Once you’ve completed your exam, it will take 72 hours for official scores to post.