NMLS test prep - NMLS practice test

How To Become A Loan Officer – The Licensing Process

Applying for a mortgage loan originator’s license involves a process that includes:

  • Registering through the NMLS’ website and securing one’s NMLS unique identifier
  • Completing the 20-hour preliminary licensing education course
  • Taking advantage of additional but optional mortgage exam preparation through a quality NMLS national test preparer such as SAFE MLO Exam Prep
  • Passing the 125-question national mortgage loan originator licensing exam
  • Submitting authorization allowing the NMLS to obtain a current credit report
  • Submitting fingerprints and authorization allowing the NMLS to conduct a criminal background check
  • Applying for the license through the NMLS’ website using form MU4 for each state or possession from which a license is desired
  • Registering Through the NMLS’ Website and Securing One’s NMLS Unique Identifier
  • Securing an NMLS number is free and easily accomplished by creating an individual NMLS account through the NMLS’ log-in portal located at:


If the individual works for a depository institution regulated by a federal banking regulator, all he is required to do is to register through the NMLS by establishing an account and securing his unique identifier.  An individual working for a non-depository institution must secure his unique identifier in addition to pursuing his MLO license(s).

Completing the 20-Hour Preliminary Licensing Education

All mortgage licensing candidates must satisfy the specific education requirements established by each state.  All states require the completion of the standard 20-hour preliminary licensing course conducted through an NMLS-approved loan originator test education provider.  These providers may be located through the NMLS’ website at:


Additionally, various states require additional, NMLS SAFE, state-specific education incorporated into or in addition to the 20-hour preliminary education course.  To determine the education requirements pertaining to the specific state(s) from which you may desire licensure, please reference the NMLS’ state-specific education chart at:


Taking Advantage of Additional but Optional Mortgage Exam Preparation Through a Quality NMLS National Test Preparer Such as SAFE MLO Exam Prep

Unfortunately, the process of preparing for the NMLS national examination is not ideal.  According to the NMLS, the SAFE MLO test attempts occurring between July 1, 2016 and June 31, 2018 resulted in only 54% of those attempting to pass the NMLS exam doing so.[1]  One possible reason for the 46% failure rate is because the 20-hour national course crams roughly 80 hours’ worth of content into 17.5 hour sof actual instruction (2.5 hours are allotted for breaks).  NMLS instructors must often resort to one of two options: they can race through the material barely scratching the topic’s surface while addressing few questions, if any,in order to cover everything listed on the course’s syllabus.  This, however, generally produces extremely confused and frustrated students.  On the other hand, instructors can devote the appropriate time and attention needed to achieve adequate understanding, but only finish 30-40% of the material listed on the course syllabus.  Consequently, test candidates are often left confused and struggling to adequately understand exactly what they need to understand in order to pass the exam.By the way, there is no specific mortgage lender test or mortgage broker test; only one national SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator test.

By adhering to the MLO study guide/NMLS study guide provided through SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s one-on-one individualized NMLS SAFE exam tutoring in conjunction with effective MLO test preparation provided through SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s numerous SAFE exam practice tests, each student receives the opportunity to accurately assess his knowledge of and appropriately prepare for the topics presented through the MLO test questions appearing on the national exam.  SAFE MLO Exam Prep is one of the industry’s prominent mortgage loan originator test prep providers helping NMLS test candidates successfully and correctly answer their SAFE exam questions.

[1] NMLS SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test Pass Rates, July 13, 2018, https://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/profreq/testing/Documents/SAFE%20MLO%20Test%20Pass%20Rate%20Announcement.pdf