Advice On Passing The NMLS Examination

This Article On Taking And Passing The NMLS Examination The First Time Around Was Written By Bob Vogel NMLS 1446953 Of The Gustan Cho Team at CrossCountry Mortgage

The NMLS Exam is one of the more difficult exams anyone can take. The first set of key to taking and passing the NMLS Examination prior to ordering the study materials and taking the pre-licensing course is the following:
  • Do you have 30 days that you can commit yourself.
  • You cannot work a full time job, have overtime, and need time for your family and expect to be passing the NMLS Examination in 30 days.
  • I mention 30 days because the key in passing the NMLS Examination the first time around, it needs to be accomplished in 30 days or less due to the overwhelming amount of information a loan officer candidate needs to absorb.
  • You need to want to become a loan officer and take this task of passing the NMLS Examination the first time around extremely seriously or you will not pass.
  • Key to passing the NMLS Examination is to go over hundreds if not thousands of multiple choice test questions.

Statistics On Passing The NMLS Exam

Here are the general statistics according to the NMLS on the national pass numbers of loan officer candidates on the federal NMLS Exam:

  • According to the NMLS, as of March 31, 2016, the national pass rate of the federal NMLS Examination is 65.5% for first-time test takers, 46.7 % for subsequent test takers, and 61.31% overall.
  • What does this mean for you? Well, for starters, if you want to take the NMLS exam and pass the first time you really need to develop a study plan and you need to commit to that study plan.

Passing The NMLS Examination: Study Guides

Assuming you have completed the required 20 hour pre-licensing course, the first step is to find a study guide. 
  • There are hundreds of different study materials out there so this can be a very daunting task.
  • Deciding what study material is a personal decision.
  • Maybe someone recommended a study guide for you. 
  • In my case, a colleague recommended The Safe Mortgage Loan Origination National Exam Study Guide, by Patricia O’Connor.
  • This study guide is an easy read and there are practice questions at the end of each chapter, along with two final exams.
  • I would recommend taking final exam number 1 before you even start reading the book. 
  • This will show you what areas you are weak in and you can focus on studying those areas more thoroughly than any other areas that you were stronger in.

Studying The Text And Book

Now is time to start reading the book:
  • I made notes as I read, paying special attention to areas I was weaker in. 
  • At the end of each chapter is a special points to remember section. 
  • I rewrote each of these points to help instill the topics into my mind. 
  • I then took the chapter test at the end of each chapter.  
  • I continued with this method for every chapter.
 Now that you are done reading the book, go back through and review each question that you got incorrect on the chapter tests.  Make sure you don’t memorize the correct answers.  Instead of memorizing the answer, make sure that you understand why you got the question wrong.
 Now you are ready for the second final exam at the end of the book.  Hopefully the previous study methods were enough to get you to pass the second final exam from the book.  Make sure you go through the final exam and review each of your incorrect answers. In addition to reading the book , I would take as many practice tests as possible.  Your 20 hour pre-licensing course more than likely includes practice test questions.  I would recommend taking those tests. The more tests that you take, the more practice you will have in answering the real NMLS test questions.

Key Pointers Before Taking The NMLS Exam

 Most importantly, before the exam, make sure you get a good night of sleep. Don’t cram on test day because you want to be fresh and rested.

Here are important pointers for passing the NMLS exam:

  1. Read each answer option.
  2. For example don’t just automatically choose answer  A.
  3. I always start by reading the last answer choice  and working my way to the first answer.
  4. I would go with my first instinct on what the answer should be.
  5. I have found in taking many exams, that erasing my answers and changing them resulted in me selecting the incorrect answer.
  6. Make an educated choice if you are unsure of what the answer should be. Never just pick any answer.
  7. Most of the time, at least two of the answers are blatantly wrong. If you can eliminate those, you have a 50/50 chance of selecting the correct answer.
  8. If all else fails and you are unsure of what answer to choose, select the longest and most descriptive answer.
  9. Skip over questions that you absolutely don’t know.
  10. Save for review and come back later to review it.
  11. Read each question carefully.
  12. Look for key words such as except, always, or never.
  13. Double check your math.
  14. Use the calculator that the testing center provides you.
  15. You don’t want to lose points from mistakes that can be avoided from simple calculation errors.
  16. Make sure you don’t forget to answer each question.
  17. Don’t skip questions and forget to go back to answer them.
  18. If you are nervous take deep breaths and try to remain calm.
  19. Most important is to relax the night before the exam.

About The Author Of Passing The NMLS Examination: Robert Andrew Vogel III NMLS 1446953

Bob Vogel NMLS 1446953 of The Gustan Cho Team at CrossCountry Mortgage NMLS 1446953, the author of Passing The NMLS Examination, is a senior writer for Gustan Cho and Associates.  Bob Vogel is a corporate accountant by education and trade and has an MBA and a Master’s of Science Degree in Accountancy.  Here are other aspects of Bob’s professional work history and experience prior to joining The Gustan Cho Team at CrossCountry Mortgage Inc. NMLS 3029:
  • Arlene Di Sessa has over 20 years of experience with federal and state income tax returns and over ten years of experience in business taxation, including leading and conducting audits of global and national corporations. 
  • Bob Vogel NMLS 1446953 is a licensed mortgage loan originator and team leader with The Gustan Cho Team at CrossCountry Mortgage.  
  • Helping families realize the dream of home ownership become a reality is Bob’s main mission and goals for choosing to become a loan officer with The Gustan Cho Team at CrossCountry Mortgage
The information contained on Gustan Cho Associates website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by The Gustan Cho Team @ Gustan Cho Associates or its affiliates. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and/or guest writers of Gustan Cho Associates Mortgage & Real Estate Information Resource Center website and do not reflect the policy of Gustan Cho Associates Lenders Network, its officers, subsidiaries, parent, or affiliates.


  1. Larry says:

    Excellent article. Great advice. I especially like don’t memorize the answers and find why you may answer wrong. Great advice.

    • Gustan Cho says:

      Lol. You did great too, Larry. You aced the NMLS exam, I remember. You said that Florida was much tougher.

    • Gustan Cho says:

      Arlene DiSessa is a phenomenal writer, Larry. This is great. We will have a team of writers for Gustan Cho Associates. Arlene DiSessa website is going to be

      • Gustan Cho says:

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        Gustan Cho NMLS 873293
        Branch Manager at The Money Store
        Orland Park, Illinois