How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time

In this blog, we will cover and discuss how to pass the NMLS MLO exam the first time. The 125-question NMLS exam has a reputation for being tricky. Many test-takers say out of four answers to choose from, two of them can easily be eliminated, but the final two left answers are always a 50/50 choice.  You need a 75% passing score on the NMLS exam to pass. Once you pass the 125-question national NMLS MLO EXAM, you will be eligible to apply for your NMLS licenses in 50 states.

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Tips on How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time

Tips on How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time

“If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford

  • I am a teacher, both by vocation and by nature
  • I love to learn, and I love to share what I know and have learned
  • I grow personally and professionally when I see that ‘something’
  • I have shared with someone who has enhanced their lives and has opened up a new avenue for them
  • So, I am reaching out to you today to share my journey with you;
  • The journey I embarked upon to change the course of my future
  • I want to share my experiences with you
  • The reason is so that you will know and understand the process I went through, the resources I utilized, the fear and apprehension I experienced, but most importantly, I want you to know that you can do this

My Work Experience Prior To My Journey on Figuring Out How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time 

As I mentioned, I am a teacher by vocation. I’ve been in the education industry for approximately 11 years. Seven of those years have been in the classroom as a math teacher. While the other four years proviDded me with the opportunity to work in a leadership capacity. Worked as a Leadership Consultant and Instructional Math Coach. Experience includes working with math teachers. Also supporting their instruction in the classroom and developing their campus leadership teams.

My Experience In Education in Learning How To Pass The NMLS MLO EXAM 

Education is at the heart of everything I do. However, as I sat at my desk one day looking at the ever-growing stack of paperwork (none of which had to do with lessons or activities). I began to ask myself some very difficult questions:

  • questions I’ve asked myself before but knew in my gut my responses were not completely honest
  • This was now the time, to be honest with me…brutally honest
  • The conclusion I’ve come to is that our education system is painfully and irreparably broken
  • It no longer has the best interests of our students at heart
  • And while, I do believe that accountability is crucial, both on the part of the student and on the teacher, it does not serve the purpose it may have been originally designed for
  • I work daily with teachers and students who consistently battle feelings of inadequacy
  • Who stresses every time a test is administered
  • This is because the results may not be in line with what the state expects
  • I am one of those teachers
  • Not only did I experience stress for myself, but also for my students
  • Their success means everything to me

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How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time and My Next Step In My Mortgage Career

How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time and My Next Step In My Mortgage Career

So, as I continued asking myself questions, I found myself at my last question…the one that set my journey in motion. It was simply, “So, what’s my next step?” How can I continue to serve others in a way that challenges me to continue to grow, and educates and inform others…a way to share my knowledge for someone else’s benefit. After much consideration, I made the decision to pursue my mortgage loan originator license.

Preparing To Get Licensed to Become a Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator

For me, it was the perfect way to combine my passion for working with people and sharing my knowledge in order to help them. So, I did my due diligence by researching the educational requirements for Texas. I found out that I needed 20 hours for the national requirements, plus 3 hours specific to Texas law. Wow, that’s a lot! With a full-time teaching job, and a daughter facing a very challenging first year of college, I was very anxious about how I was going to accomplish this. And then, finally, I was incredibly stressed about having to take a 4-hour, 125 questions licensing exam.

How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time and Start Your New Journey As a Loan Officer

Wheels In Motion And Ready To Join Capital Lending Network 

After gathering all of my information and determining all that needed to be accomplished, I put into practice the same strategies I’ve utilized with my classroom students and the teachers I’ve coached. I developed a plan. Without a plan, your goals are only dreams. A plan will give you something to measure progress by. For me, my plan needed to be something that worked around my other ‘life’ commitments (job, family, etc).

Signing Up For an Online NMLS MLO Licensing Course

Signing Up For an Online NMLS MLO Licensing Course

So, what I found was that an online course worked best for me. It allowed me the flexibility and control that I needed in order to meet my daily commitments. Planning is essential, even for this. In my head, I could hear the 5 P’s one of my principals used to preach: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. After 6 years with this principle, those words are embedded in my thought process, and they have served me well, which is why I’m sharing them with you. On a calendar, I would write down the days and the amount of time I knew I could commit to my course. Writing this down will increase your commitment to follow through.

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Commitment To Pass NMLS Exam And My Journey To Passing The NMLS Exam

Once my online coursework was complete, I decided to find a study guide to help me prepare for the exam. Again, I did a great deal of research, and the one I decided to use is, The SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator National Exam Study Guide, by Patricia O’Connor. It’s offered as a paper copy and also as a Kindle. For me, I like to write notes in my study guides. Especially if there is something I don’t understand and need to do additional research on. So I purchased the paper copy. This was an invaluable resource and supplement to the online coursework.

The Key To Passing The NMLS Exam The First Time Was The Practice Questions and Answers

Quizzes are offered at the end of each chapter, and there are two full practice exams at the end of the book. What I found was that a great deal of information that I read in the study guide had not been shared in the online course. Together, however, they offer a complete industry overview.

Tips and Advice on How To Pass The NMLS MLO EXAM

Studying For NMLS Exam With A Full-Time Job

Studying For NMLS Exam With A Full-Time Job

I’ll be honest with you, I was very overwhelmed when I received it. It just looked like so much material. Again, with a full-time teaching job (that doesn’t end at 5:00), and family commitments, all I could think of was, “How?”  Well, here is where another strategy comes into play. Break an overwhelming task into smaller chunks. By doing this, the smaller chunks are much easier to plan and manage.

Advice on How To Pass The NMLS MLO Exam The First Time

Disciplining Yourself on a Study Schedule on How To Pass The NMLS MLO EXAM 

The best way to do this is to go back to the calendar. Once I broke the study guide into smaller chunks, I mapped it out on the calendar. I knew how many pages I needed to cover each night (or each week). And give yourself a deadline, a REALISTIC deadline. Consider all of your commitments and any time constraints you may have. Once everything was planned out on my calendar, I scheduled my exam. By doing this, I knew I would have to stick to my plan in order to meet my deadline.

How To Pass The NMLS MLO EXAM in 30 Days or Less

Anxiety And Nerves Prior To My Journey To Passing The NMLS Exam
Anxiety And Nerves Prior To My Journey To Passing The NMLS Exam

Tests are not my thing. I know that probably sounds funny coming from a teacher, but it’s the truth. I experience so much anxiety. I’m the person who doesn’t sleep the night before and feels nauseated up until the moment the test is passed out. And then the real anxiety sets in. My brain literally feels like it has been squeezed into a tiny little ball. I probably couldn’t recite my name and address if asked. But, on this day, as I sat in my testing cubicle and clicked ‘Begin Exam’. I reminded myself of the conversations I’ve had with my students as they begin to take their dreaded state assessments each Spring. That conversation goes like this, “You have done everything in your power to prepare for this. And, in the event, you are not successful this first time, there are two really great things that can result from this:

  1. You’ll have a better understanding of what you know really well and what you need to go back and work on
  2. You’ve seen the exam in its entirety once, so you’ll know what to expect the next time
  3. No Stress

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”
~Christian D Larson, Author, and Teacher


Peter has 7+ years of experience in residential lending. He is a licensed Realtor in the Chicagoland area.