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Get READY to Pass the NMLS Exam

Imagine, you finally decide to start a new career in the mortgage industry after years of thinking about it. You have a natural sales ability; not to mention, you’re great with people. Once you become a licensed mortgage loan originator, you can leverage all of your contacts in your circle of influence.

Everything depends on passing the NMLS exam and getting your license. You’ve taken an online course – which was pretty good – but, honestly, the information was overwhelming. Now you are scared you might not pass, and you just spent your last one hundred and ten dollars signing up for the proctored exam which is one week away.

What now?

Before you can tackle exam questions, you’ll need to implement a strategy that moves you from uncertainty and doubt to confidence and self-assurance. First things first, get organized so you can say –  I AM READY!


Invest time to catalog your materials by organizing information according to the NMLS test outline . Grouping content with defined subject areas will help focus your attention on important topics you need to learn for each exam segment:

  • General Mortgage Knowledge
  • MLO Knowledge
  • Federal Laws
  • Uniform State Test (UST)
  • Ethic

Once you organize your material correctly, then you can begin a more targeted approach to studying.


Looking for resources to help get organized? Click Ameritrain’s Exam Prep page for help.


Arrange related subjects in an order where it is easy to recognize associated content. Test areas often have main topics followed by several sub-topics. When displayed in a logical, coherent manner it will be simpler to create a visual map to connect related items, therefore, making it easier to recall important concepts.

Manage your time wisely. If you try to retain everything you learned in one sitting, prepare for brain overload. Not only is it impossible to memorize all you have read, but it’s also completely unnecessary.  Exam questions will address some specific content linked to broad concepts. The best way to learn this information is to tell the story of how specific information fits in an overall picture. Plan to invest several hours a day leading up to exam day by studying critical sections in groups. Being able to articulate how facts, rules or guidelines are related can assist with committing information to long-term memory.


Worried about finding time to study? Ameritrain offers online flashcards that are great tools for at home and on the go.


Repetition is key. Renowned salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar has a famous quote, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” And, he is right. Retention of important content and concepts is essential to passing the NMLS exam. There are several ways to accomplish this by reciting information over and over, jotting down key points, and leveraging tools, such as mnemonic devices, to help improve your memory. Your brain is malleable and can become a powerful learning tool, but only if you exercise it.  Mnemonic devices are memory techniques that rely on cues, imagery and other elaborate techniques to encode information for efficient storage and data retrieval.

Explore available options to reinforce your learning. Now it’s time to test your knowledge. Repetition is only one part of a larger study strategy. Next, testing how much you have retained is crucial. First, take everything you have written down in a visual map and create a blank version to fill in as you recall information. Then check your written responses against the correct information. Second, create flashcards of key terms you should know. Once you have gained mastery of newly learned information, leverage practice tests that mimic NMLS exam test questions style and format to help assess your ability to recognize content and apply concepts.

Analyze unknown areas. Returning to the course material will improve content retention. Invariably, once you start more in-depth studying, you’re bound to come across questions you don’t comprehend or recall ever learning. This is where the rubber hits the road so to speak. It’s time to go back through your course material to seek out answers to your questions. Studies have shown when students do additional research they retain information for a longer period; in other words data tends to stick. Exam questions are less about memorization and more about understanding concepts. Application of learned content will determine your success. You must apply critical thinking and reasoning skills to answer test questions. Don’t know answers to some questions? You can still select correct responses through higher level analysis to get a deeper understanding of what’s being asked.

Determine when you are ready to schedule your exam. Only you will know if you feel confident about your knowledge of the content. If you are feeling unprepared to take the exam, then perhaps some professional assistance will help. A tutor or coach can make a difference by a few critical points. Making a small financial investment can save you frustration and disappointment. The return on investment will likely outweigh any cost of failing the exam.  Remember, you can cancel or reschedule your test appointment up to 48 hours before taking the exam. It’s better to take more time to feel prepared, than to meet some arbitrary deadline and not do well.

Yield positive results. Success from your efforts is the ultimate goal. Going through a rigorous process of preparing for the NMLS exam and failing to achieve your desired outcome is not what you want. Taking control of your time, money and efforts is all within your control. Devise a clear strategy for success, follow defined steps, remain consistent, stay committed, and you can achieve your goal of becoming a licensed mortgage loan originator. You’ll know it’s time to take the NMLS exam when you can say with resounding confidence – I’M READY.


Still feeling overwhelmed? Ameritrain offers a complete catalog of exam prep products, including practice exams, live and online refresher courses, and one-on-one tutoring.

Contact one of Ameritrain’s experienced support specialists to put together a custom study package that fits your needs.


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