Everything You Need to Know About the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Exam

Everything You Need to Know About the Appraisal Exam


Title XI of the FIRREA requires all licensed and certified appraisers to successfully pass an exam that is endorsed or issued by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) of The Appraisal Foundation. To meet this requirement, the AQB developed the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Exam. No matter if you’re becoming a Licensed Residential Appraiser, Certified Residential Appraiser, or Certified General Appraiser, you have to pass the exam as the final step toward earning your appraisal license. To help you achieve your goals, we’re breaking down what you need to know about the appraisal exam.

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Understanding the appraisal exam

While it all falls under the National Uniform License and Certification Examination, there are actually three different exams, one for each licensing and certification level. Appraisers only need to take the exam that corresponds to the license or certification level they are seeking. For example, if you’re ready to become a Certified Residential Appraiser and have met the education and experience requirements, you would only sit for the Certified Residential exam, rather than all three levels.

What is the appraiser exam format?

All three sections are comprised of 125 multiple choice exam questions. Of those, the first 15 are “pre-test ” questions that won’t be scored, while the other 110 items will be. Appraisers have four hours to complete the Licensed Residential or Certified Residential exam and six hours to complete the Certified General Exam.

When you’re ready to take the exam, the following entities can administer the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examination:

  • Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc.
  • Pearson VUE
  • PSI

Some states and exam administrators offer remote testing, while others only offer live proctored exams at testing centers. It’s important to check with your state board and testing administrator for applicable steps and guidelines.

Who needs to take the appraisal exam?

As mentioned above, any appraiser who wants to upgrade their license must pass the corresponding exam level.

What education requirements do I need to fulfill before taking the exam?

Before you can take the exam, you must meet the AQB’s qualifying education requirements for your specific license level. The requirements are summarized in the following table:

Real property appraiser qualification criteria

chart concerning different appraiser classifications
Hours required include specific curriculum courses and hours — please see the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria for details. Individual states may have stricter requirements.

What’s on the appraisal exam?

The appraisal exam is designed to test your knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of topics and determine your ability to solve situational and real-life appraisal scenarios. All three exams include the following topics:

  • Real estate market
  • Property description
  • Land or site valuation
  • Sales comparison approach
  • Cost approach
  • Income approach
  • Reconciliation of value indications
  • Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)
  • Emerging appraisal methods
  • Appraisal statistical methods

Is the national appraisal exam difficult to pass?

Both the Licensed Residential and Certified Residential exams have a pass rate of less than 65 percent, while the Certified General exam’s pass rate is only around 50 percent. The exams are very comprehensive and require calculations, familiarity with terminology, and an in-depth understanding of the subject matter. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, with the right preparation and study strategies, you’re much more likely to pass on your first try.

National appraiser exam study tips

No matter which level of exam you plan on taking, applying these tips will improve your ability to pass.

Create an achievable study schedule

Cramming for the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examination isn’t likely to result in the results you want. And while there isn’t one set schedule or period of time that will guarantee you pass the exam, setting aside time to study either daily or a few days a week over a few months will put you in better shape to pass. No matter what schedule you create, make sure it’s one you can stick with (without burning out).

Know the calculations

The appraisal exam consists of a lot of calculations that you’ll use on the job, so being familiar with these, as well as with vocabulary and definitions will help you get better prepared.

Use a reputable exam prep course

Our Appraisal Exam Prep Course provides you with a comprehensive review of what you need to know. With videos and live sessions taught by experienced instructors, textbooks and flashcards that break down the material and reinforce it, and practice exams that test your knowledge, we make sure you have what you need to pass the exam the first time.

Get your free appraisal exam prep guide

If you’re ready to sit for the Licensed Appraiser exam, our free guide walks you through more detail, offers more prep tips, and even includes practice questions to get you started. Download your free guide and get ready for the next step in your career!