Absorb concepts faster
by choosing an exam prep format that best suits your learning style.
Online Self-Paced (or OSP)
Prep xL is our online self-paced study tool, which means you will
study independently and learn at your own pace without help from an instructor.
Our fast-paced exam prep webinars are taught by live instructors
who have taken the exam before. Webinars allow you to interact with the instructor
and ask any questions about the NMLS exam.
“Passed on my first attempt
with an 86%! Without these practice tests I don't think I could have done it.”
— Vincent C, Studied with Prep xL
Studying for the NMLS exam
Important information to know as
you prepare to take your test.
What to expect
The SAFE MLO national exam is made up of 120 multiple-choice items that cover 5
content areas: federal mortgage related laws (24% of the test), uniform state content (11%), general
mortgage knowledge (20%), mortgage loan origination activities (27%) and ethics (18%).
To find out what may be covered on the exam in more detail, the NMLS provides a
handbook and a national test outline that you can use to
study. Keep in mind that the outline is not intended to be a full list of every topic and subtopic
that will be covered. Be sure to review chapter 7 of the handbook to familiarize yourself with what to expect on
your test day.
The cost to take the exam is $110. Once a test enrollment request has been
submitted and payment has been processed, you will have a 180 day enrollment window to complete the
exam. Learn more about the testing process in chapter 2 of the handbook.
You must score a 75% or better to pass the exam. Scores below 75% will be considered a failure by the NMLS and will require you to re-take the test (and pay the testing fee again).
How to prepare
To give yourself the best opportunity of passing on your first attempt, we highly
recommended using Prep xL alongside your pre-licensing education. Practice
often and test your understanding of topics and questions that could be on the exam. Learn more
about Prep xL in this video:
Get answers to the most commonly
asked questions about the exam.
Register for the NMLS national licensing exam by following these steps:
It is important to remember that the pass rate for the exam is very low and
it is quite common to fail on your first attempt. To retake the exam, you will need to pay the
required fees and wait at least 30 days before you are able to try again. If you fail again, you
will be required to wait at least 180 days until you are able to take it again.
Most importantly, don't be discouraged if you don't pass on your first few
attempts. If you purchased an exam prep tool like Prep xL, your access lasts for a full year
from the time of purcahse. So, use your waiting period wisely, keep studying the material and
you'll position yourself for success on your next try.
Once you receive a passing score on the exam, you'll need to apply for your
mortgage loan originator license through the NMLS website, authorize background checks, a credit
check and pay any state-specific application fees.
To learn more about the steps to complete your MLO application, read our step-by-step guide.
Visit the Prep xL login page to access your Prep xL study tools. Your login
information may be different from your OnCourse Learning training login.