Are you studying for the UBC Real Estate Exam? Worried about the math questions? Most people fail the exam because of the math. I've taught BC real estate math to hundreds of people and in this article, I will teach you the three most common math mistakes. Knowing and avoiding them will instantly improve your math score!


Mistake #1: Not Rounding the Payment

Have you noticed that some questions say “payments are rounded up to the next higher dollar” or “to the next higher ten dollars”? It is easy to skip over those details under exam stress. But forgetting to round the payment can cost you precious exam points! Always pay attention to rounding the payment.

Tip 1:

Every time you find a payment ask yourself “Do I need to round this payment?” and read the question again.


Mistake #2: Not Checking the Interest Rate Asked

This is a very common mistake—forgetting to convert the interest rate to what the question is asking (effective annual rate, for example). Often, after doing the calculations, you will end up with j12, but the question is asking for effective rate (j1) or semi-annual rate (j2), so you need to do a conversion.

The trick is that the “before the conversion” rate (often j12) will almost always be an answer option to trick you! Watch out and don’t forget to convert your rate to what the questions asks.

Tip 2:

When you get the interest rate, always ask yourself “Is this the rate the question asks for? Do I need to convert?” and read the question again.

Still confused about interest rates? Check out this video:


And watch this video to learn a super helpful interest rate conversion shortcut, the NPEPN (extremely helpful for almost all math questions)!


Mistake #3: Forgetting to Add the Down Payment

This is a big one! It applies to any market value question. Here is an example:

“Susan Jones has offered to purchase a house from a vendor who is willing to provide partial financing. Her offer is $75,000 down payment plus a mortgage of $125,000 at 4% per annum, compounded semi-annually. The loan is to be fully amortized with monthly payments over 20 years. What is the market value of this offer if the market rate for similar mortgage loans is 6.5% per annum, compounded semi-annually?”

This is the Market Value question type and it is the last of the 6 types in my course because it is the most complex. No wonder that by end of it you forget to add the down payment. Also, the amount without the down payment will almost always be an answer option to trick you!

Tip 3:

For market value questions, when you get to the end, always ask yourself “Is there a down payment I need to add?” and read the question again.

Download Free Math Cheat Sheets Here.

For more common mistakes, tips, cheat sheets, and explainer videos check out Ana’s Real Estate Math Online Course