How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time

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How To Study For NMLS Exam AND Pass It The First Time

How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time Was Written By Michael Gracz National Sales Manager of Gustan Cho Associates Mortgage Group

Alright everyone, today I am a very happy man and if you have been following my journey, you should know why, and that is I passed my NMLS Exam with a 90%!

  • After 2.5 hours of sitting in that desk chair, I hit the Exit Exam and Submit Answers button, I was shaking as I waited for that score to pop-up on the screen
  • Once it did, I jumped out of my seat and through a fist-pump into the air as this was a huge accomplishment for me
  • There was A LOT of hard work that brought me to this point, and I am going to detail it in this blog

How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time: Taking My Required 20 Hour Class

In case you didn’t read my earlier blogs, I took the 2-week online course given through Mortgage Educators.

  • This is a self-paced class where you are responsible for getting all the content viewed and completed in a 14 day period
  • This is set-up into 10 chapters of which there are anywhere from 14-20 5-minute videos that you watch and follow along on power point slides supplied to you in PDF form
  • After every 6-10 videos there is a small quiz
  • Every chapter has a homework assignment that consists of going on a message board to answer a few essay questions that has to do with the topics you just covered
  • There wasn’t much stress to get this done as you only have to average 1-2 hours per day
  • The one downfall I can see with this class is that there is so much data to go over that they can’t possibly cover everything that you need to prepare for the test
  • All in all, it was an economical class if you are self-motivated
  • However, if you are better in a classroom setting, this might not be the best option for you
  • I found myself opening the laptop every night before bed to get this done

How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time: Studying For The Exam

The other good thing about my Mortgage Educators course is it came with over 900 study questions with UST components in quiz form that you could do as many times as possible.

  • These tests were broken into multiple sections:
    • TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures)
    • Federal Law, Ethics
    • General Mortgage Knowledge
    • Loan Origination Activities
    • UST

I was probably a little slow getting started after I finished my 2-week class and this might have hindered my initial studying.

  • I finished the class about 3 days before Christmas and with the holidays, I didn’t start studying until the first week of January
  • Before I started taking quizzes, I created a spreadsheet that listed every quiz I had access to
  • I was going to track my correct answers and the cumulative percentage of all the tests I was going to take
  • Knowing that I needed a 75% or better
  • There isn’t a point in taking these quizzes if you don’t have goals to meet and are able to track your progress
  • Yes, this might sound like overkill to some of you
  • But believe me it is worth it as you can determine which subjects need more work than others

How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time: Practice Exams Is Key To Passing Your NMLS EXAM

To be honest, I didn’t do that well on the first handful of tests I took as the data was a little removed from my mind and I was truly freaked out after my scores after 100 questions was 68%.

  • I knew that I needed to buckle down and get a daily plan in place to cover more content than I was currently covering with 30-40 questions per day
  • After thinking about this from a strategic standpoint, I decided that it would be best if I did one quiz from each section in a rotating format so that I got a broad range of questions covered
  • This would ensure that no topic would be forgotten and all the areas of the test would stay fresh in my mind
  • I also knew that I needed to ramp up the quantity I was covering, and I made the dedication to get through 80-120 questions on a daily basis
  • The final strategy I implemented was reviewing every question I got wrong to burn into my brain what the proper answer was if I saw it in the future
  • After a couple days of this strategy my cumulative percentage had climbed to 77% and all of a sudden I was in a “Passing” position
  • This might be satisfying for some, but not for me
  • I still had 400+ questions in my quizzes and I was motivated to get through as much as I could
  • About a week ago I finally got through all the quizzes and my cumulative percentage finished at 80.8%

How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time: Practice Exams And More Practice Exams

I was beginning to feel more confident by the day.

  • I still wanted another resource to study from
  • I reached out to my good friend Gustan Cho at Gustan Cho Associates Mortgage Group
  • Asked if he had any materials that would be helpful for me
  • He came through in a major way
  • He was able to get me 2 separate 100 question practice quizzes as well as a 160+ slide power point PDF “Refresher Course.” 
  • I immediately took Exam #1 and scored an 80/100 followed by Exam #2 and scored an 81/100
  • These scores fell right in line with where I was on my study quizzes
  • These might be “Passing” but it was still pretty close to that 75% needed to pass, and if I messed up on a handful of questions on test day I would be sunk
  • I took the time over the next couple days to go over all the quizzes I took previously that I didn’t get an 80% or better on and I retook them to scores of 90%+
  • Now my confidence was building by the minute and I finished up with retaking the 100 question exams to scores of 91% and 88% respectively
  • Now I got it, I am going to pass this test!

How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time: Test Day

The night before the test I made sure I got plenty of rest, 9.5 hours to be exact.

  • I woke up, got dressed, and headed downstairs to have my coffee
  • I skimmed over some incorrect answers from the practice exams and I was off to the Prometric testing facility
  • Upon arrival, I checked in, locked up everything into a supplied locker and waited for my cubicle to be ready
  • After a 15 minute wait, I was called back where I was wanted
  • Had my picture taken, was signed in, and brought to my computer
  • The cubicle had noise cancelling headphones to wear, 1 laminated scratch pad, 2 markers, a calculator
  • After the instructions on the computer, my 190 minutes began
  • Now if I can offer 1 bit of advice for the questions that show up on the exam, read them carefully
  • The verbiage is very ambiguous
  • If you skim over it, you will not get what they are looking for:
    • “All of the following are exempt EXCEPT” or “Which of the following are NOT true regarding…” 
  • Over the course of the first 2 hours I made it through all 125 questions
  • But I had marked 47 of those questions to revisit and make sure I made the best guess possible

Making An Educated Guess On Questions

I will be honest, some questions I really did make educated guesses on as it was a topic not covered by the class or practice tests.

  • If you are going to make a guess, you can easily determine 2 answers that don’t make much sense or are so outlandish, it’d be silly
  • This leaves you with 2 answers, from here, go with your gut and don’t second guess yourself
  • After I was through everything 1 last time, I had about 37 minutes left and I hit the Exit Exam to submit my answers
  • This is when I was truly surprised that I had scored a 90%, my hard work had PAID OFF

Advice On How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time

In conclusion, it may seem like some of my study habits were overkill:

  • If you plan on passing this test the first time through you need to drill yourself on these topics over and over again
  • One bit of advice I would like to share is make sure you know your federal regulations and all the details that support them, this includes:
    • TILA
    • RESPA
    • ECOA
    • HMDA
    • HOEPA
    • FACTA
    • FCRA
    • Disclosures
    • 35% of the test covers these topics
  • Honestly a lot of the exam references this in one way or another
  • Finally, I wouldn’t take too much time going over calculations of monthly payments, escrows, and interest rates as there may have been 3 questions like this on the test
  • However, do go over your QM, NON-QM, and housing ratios
  • There was an abundance of questions using these subjects as well
  • Finally, when it comes down to it, don’t stress yourself out too much
  • If you put in the hard work, you will be rewarded, it’s as simple as that

Good luck!

About The Author Of How To Study For NMLS Exam And Pass It The First Time

Michael Gracz is the National Sales Manager of Gustan Cho Associates Mortgage Group. Mike is also a contributing writer and editor for Gustan Cho Associates.

Michael Gracz is a veteran seasoned practicing loan officer. Gustan Cho Associates is extremely grateful for Mike Gracz in writing this article on how to study for NMLS Exam And Pass It For The First Time. Mike is one of those professionals who is a jack of all trades and master of them all. One of Mike’s most important passion in life is helping others. Michael saw that there are so many hard working folks who have had financial issues at one time or another and had a rather difficult time qualifying for a mortgage loan. Many people Mike knows went to banks and other lenders to be told that they did not qualify for a home loan due to their mortgage lender overlays . Michael was intrigued on how I specialized in helping mortgage borrowers and how I did not have any lender overlays on FHA and Conventional mortgage loan programs that he decided to commit himself in getting his NMLS mortgage license. We are blessed and extremely proud to have such a talented professional to be a senior writer for Gustan Cho Associates and a fellow licensed mortgage loan originator. We look forward to the blogs that Mike will be writing in the coming days and weeks. Stay Tuned!!!!

  1. Jessica Belmontes says

    Good Day are you able to share any additional material for the test like your friend was able to give you? Thank you for your article it has been helpful. I will be taking my test next month.

    1. Gustan Cho, NMLS 873293 says

      Jessica

      Unfortunately I don’t have any study materials. However, you can contact Loan Officer School and ask for David Reinholtz. Loan Officer School has the best study materials that will help you in passing the NMLS EXAM

      Gustan Cho NMLS 873293
      The Gustan Cho Team at USA MORTGAGE

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