How Many Questions Can I Miss and Still Pass the NMLS Exam?

Before I begin, I’d like to make something perfectly clear.  Approaching the NMLS National Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Exam from the perspective of, “How Many Questions Can I Miss and Still Pass the NMLS Exam?” OR “What is the bare minimum that I can do and still pass?” is a strikingly slippery slope down which to travel.

Approaching your upcoming test this way can easily cause you to shoot yourself in the foot.  After all, a weightlifter who trains for her absolute baseline lifting threshold will struggle more profusely than one who trains for loftier goals.  By training above and beyond, she accomplishes her actual goal far easier than if she was struggling to just … execute … that … baseline … lift.

When asked, “How many questions can I  miss and still pass the NMLS Exam?”

I typically defer from answering because the answer provides the lowest threshold to reach which can easily and negatively impact the NMLS exam-taker’s goal of passing.  My typical response to this question, therefore, is, “Study, learn everything that you need to know, and you’ll pass without having to worry about how many questions you answered correctly and how many you didn’t.”  Since I receive many requests for this information, however, I will respectfully answer this question since I first offered the aforementioned disclaimer.

How Many Questions Can I Miss and Still Pass the NMLS Exam

The NMLS exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions with each question offering four answer options.  All questions must be answered in slightly over three hours.  The questions appearing on the test taker’s exam are randomly populated onto his or her exam from a databank of anywhere between 2,500 – 3,000 possible questions.

The test taker learns his or her grade immediately upon completing the exam.  And, although the testing system will provide the test taker with a breakdown as to how he or she performed throughout the five NMLS test content areas (below average, average, or above average), the test taker will not be informed of the questions that he or she answered incorrectly.

To pass the NMLS exam, the test taker must score a final grade of 75% or higher.  Simple math concludes, therefore, that, if there are 120 test questions and the test taker must achieve a score of 75% correct, then he or she must answer 90 correctly while affording to miss 30.  But things are not as cut and dry as they may appear!

Of the 120 questions presented on the NMLS exam, five (5) of those questions are test test-questions.  This means that these question count neither towards the test taker’s grade nor against it.  And, since the test taker has absolutely no idea which questions are test test-questions and which ones aren’t, he or she must treat every single question as if it was a live question.

To what this technically boils down, is that the test taker must correctly answer 75% of the counted 115 questions (translating to 87 questions answered correctly while being able to miss 28).   Since, however, the test taker has no idea which questions count and which ones don’t, things become far less cut and dry.

If you feel that you absolutely must know the number of questions that you can effectively miss while still passing, I encourage you to strive to incorrectly answer no more than 28.  But do you really want to walk out of the testing center having only achieved a score of 75%?  After all, this is your career that we’re talking about!

I would imagine that you would want to be the best that you can be while always striving to realize your potential!  At least, I’m certain, this is how your customers who depend on and look up to you would expect you to think!

Although I’ve reluctantly provided this information through this article, I strongly encourage NMLS exam takers to ignore these numbers entirely and instead focus on learning everything needed to be learned in order to knock the NMLS exam out of the park.  Follow this advice and you’ll certainly thank me later!

Connect With Us

8:00am – 6:30pm EST


Get Social