Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Diploma, Certificate and AIC Program Course - Course Issues

The following questions deal with information on course specific topics such as issues for tutorials, course content, and examinations. Questions on administrative issues, such as program planning, registration, getting started, computer issues, Appraisal Institute of Canada, and program completion can be found in the Administrative FAQs.

If you do not see your question listed here, please contact

General Questions on Course Content

Tutorial Issues

Assignments and Course Content Issues

Webinar Related Issues

Examinations Issues

Course Specific

General Questions on Course Content

Q: How challenging are these courses?

A: UBC Real Estate Division programs are accredited university programs sufficient in rigour to receive undergraduate degree credit. As such, they are intended to be challenging, based on the belief that being challenged leads students to more meaningful learning, which in the end leads to quality graduates. Our programs are widely recognized as high quality and of high calibre, and as a graduate you will benefit from this reputation. The motto of UBC is “Tuum Est” meaning “it is up to you”. Our courses follow this creed, in that we expect students to be resourceful and self-directing, meaning that students in our courses are not “spoon fed” and are required to work through any adversity or uncertainty they encounter. You can expect some frustration and some difficult times along the way, as these are common byproducts on the path to personal growth and development. The satisfying end result is what will make it all worthwhile.

Q: What is the passing rate in these courses?

A: The rate of success varies in each course, but the overall course grade is typically 70-75% and the passing rate in most courses is above 90%.

Q: I will never use most of this content, what is the point of studying it?

A: Our courses aim at more than just transfer of content. The overarching intent of the program is to foster growth in higher level skills: analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. The courses attempt to build critical thinking abilities and communications skills. Every experience in your education will help contribute to building these skills, even if the content itself is not completely applicable in your future occupation.

Q: Will the program teach me a specific job in real estate?

A: In our programs, you will definitely learn many hand's-on skills that are immediately useful in the workplace. However, beyond these skills our programs emphasize education rather than training, with the difference being the courses focuses not on "how to" but "why to" or "what else". Training is most effective in a static environment, where detailed steps can be taught and then applied; on the other hand, education is more effective in a dynamic environment, where things are changing rapidly. In this environment, you need to start with foundational knowledge and develop your ability to think on your feet and adapt with the times. Our courses focus on principles and foundations that will be effective in changing circumstances and in many contexts.

Q: Are there lectures for my course?

A: All Real Estate Division courses are designed to be stand-alone distance education offerings - the examination is always based solely on the course materials which were sent to you. Select courses offer webinars, or live online classroom presentations. See your Course Resources webpage to see if these are offered in your course. If so, you will find registration and orientation details there.

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Tutorial Issues

Q: I have tried to phone the tutor, but I can't get through. What can I do to speak to a real person?

A: The Real Estate Division tutorial service is a messaging service: students send email or leave a phone message, and a tutor responds as soon as possible. For tutorial questions, we generally prefer email, as we find that you can get more information across in more detail. This allows the tutor to better prepare before calling you back, improving the response and not wasting time on the phone. Also, if we have trouble reaching you, we can leave a detailed message that may solve the problem (rather than playing telephone tag). When you send us an email or leave a phone message, clearly state your name, area code and phone number, student and course number, and a brief description of the material you are having difficulty with. Please indicate an approximate time that you would prefer the tutors to return your call and the tutors will do their best to accommodate your needs. More information on policies and procedures for the tutorial line can be found in the Real Estate Division Student Handbook.

Q: I need more help than the Real Estate Division tutors can provide. What are my options?

A: The Real Estate Division provides a telephone and email tutorial service, but does not arrange personal tutoring. Some suggestions for finding additional assistance:

  • contact other students on the Student Contact List. You can sign up and access the Student Contact List from your Course Resources web page in the "Course Tools" section. Alternatively, you could use the Discussion Forums found on your Course Resources webpage. Studying in groups can be beneficial, both to help each other with the material and as reassurance that other students are also finding the material challenging.
  • post a call for assistance to the online Student Café. A recent graduate of this course may be able and willing to help you out.
  • try to arrange a private tutorial yourself. To find a tutor, you could post an ad at your local college or university business school asking to hire a senior student (or even a teacher) as a tutor; or you could look in the classified ads of your local newspaper.
  • continue using the Real Estate Division telephone and email tutorial service. Most students find the tutorial line a very helpful resource - if there is any specific reason why you are unable to connect with the tutors, let us know, and possibly we can modify the service to suit your needs.

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Assignments and Course Content Issues

Q: How much time should I be spending on my assignments?

A: The time needed will vary by course. Weekly multiple choice questions may only take 2 or 3 hours, while completing a project or studying for your exam might take 60 hours or more. Overall, the time requirements should average to 10-20 hours per week over the 13 week term. This time requirement is roughly based on the time needed for a typical college/university course: three hours per week in class and two hours of homework for each of these hours, to a total of 10 hours per week. If you are taking significantly more time than this per week, you are probably getting a very in-depth understanding of the materials, but may be spending more time on any given subject than is optimal. If you are taking significantly less time than this, you might be a fast worker who is able to take in a lot of information quickly, or you could be missing areas of the material that may be tested later, and should exercise caution!

Q: How should I approach multiple choice questions?

A: The multiple choice questions are intended to be "challenging but fair". These "quizzes" have three main intents:

  1. to motivate students to read the course materials closely;
  2. to motivate students to proceed through the course on schedule – by following established due dates, we try to minimize procrastination; and
  3. to help students prepare for the final exam.

To reflect this, they are given quite minimal weight assigned in terms of final grade: roughly 0.1% per question. Each individual question has virtually no effect on a student's final grade.

You need to read the questions closely, as the specific language can often make a real difference to the meaning of the options. However, be careful to avoid over-analyzing questions and making them harder than intended. A good rule in answering multiple choice questions (especially on exams) is to stay with your initial "gut instinct" and not change your answer unless you have a specific reason to do so: e.g., missed something in the question, made a mistake in the calculation, misread something obvious. If you are tempted to change your answer upon reflection, quite often you are reading things into it that aren't there, tying yourself up in "what if" type theoretical knots.

If you find you are spending hours on individual questions, then you are likely going well beyond what is necessary or intended. You should contact the course tutor for clarification, as they can usually work through the problem with you quite quickly. Your time is much better spent working on your projects and in studying for the exam, as these have much more impact on your final grade in the course.

Q: How do I submit written assignments and projects?

A: Written assignments and projects are submitted on the Real Estate Division’s website, through an online service called TurnItIn. Tutors will grade the project in TurnItIn, provide marking comments, and students can quickly and easily review the results. Note that TurnItIn also confirms content originality, to ensure there is no plagiarism.

Q: Why should I have to pay late fees?

A: There is a fee for late assignments/projects as a motivator for students to stay on schedule – falling behind in a distance education course is very problematic, in that as a student begins to fall behind, the risk of them not completing the course grows and grows. Most university courses do not allow late assignments at all or deduct marks for lateness. We recognize that our students have busy lives, and believe that charging a fee is sufficient motivation and is preferable to having late assignments or projects impact the student's final grade. However, we also waive the first four late assignments/projects in a course, to allow for some flexibility.

Q: I'm going to be late on my first assignment and I don't think it's fair to have to pay a late charge at the beginning of the course.

A: The Real Estate Division has a policy that you are not charged any late fees for the first four late assignments. This gives students adequate time to adjust for the time it takes to get their assignments to the Real Estate Division. Also, if you registered late, this should give you enough time to catch up to the rest of the class.

Q: Can I get an extension on my project?

A: The Real Estate Division doesn't provide extensions on due dates, but has a very flexible late assignment/project policy. If you are late on assignments or projects, there is a $15 fee for each late submission, although the first four late fees are waived. As such, you may submit your project according to your own schedule, subject to these late fees. However, there are deadlines towards the end of term as to being eligible to write the regular exam or the supplemental exam. You are strongly recommended to review the "Important Dates and Deadlines: Course Schedule" document on your Course Resources webpage, to ensure you will be eligible for the scheduled exam.

Q: If I fall behind on my assignments, should I try to catch up now or do them all at the end?

A: If you do fall behind on your assignments, it is important to catch up as quickly as possible:

  • doing all the assignments at the end may not give you adequate time to really get an in-depth understanding of the material and to reflect on any feedback from the marker.
  • all assignments must be submitted before you can write the exam. If you're late getting them in, you may not get them back to study before your exam.
  • students that fall more than 5 assignments behind schedule may be withdrawn from the course.

If you find you are having trouble getting caught up, you should contact your course representative to discuss your situation.

Q: I have fallen behind on the course schedule and won’t be able to finish the assignments by the Course End Date. What should I do?

A: The Real Estate Division’s credit courses are scheduled in order to help students progressing through the course at a pace that will allow them to complete all necessary work during the term. If you have fallen behind significantly and are unable to submit all of your course assignments by the Course End Date, you have 3 options;

  1. You can Transfer into a future offering of the same course (two transfer options are available to you within one year of your original course registration), or
  2. You can Defer your Examination which will extend the deadline for assignment submission from the Course End Date to your current term’s scheduled examination date.
  3. You can Withdraw from the course (withdrawing will cause a “W” (withdrawn) or a “F” (Fail) status to be applied (see your Important Dates and Deadlines course schedule on your Course Resources web page for details).

Q: What happens if I fail an assignment?

A: You do not necessarily need to be alarmed if you do not pass one or more assignments. Your grade will be calculated as an average of all work, according to the percentages noted in your course workbook. Multiple choice assignments count for a small percentage of overall grade (less than 1% per assignment in most courses). However, if you find you are consistently doing poorly, then this should be cause for concern - if you are not successfully meeting the learning objectives, then you will need to change your study methods before the course exam.

Q: I failed my assignment because I selected the wrong assignment number for a multiple choice assignment, what should I do?

A: Please contact your Course Representative. Depending on the circumstances, they may remark your assignment with the correct entries.

Q: What should I do if I disagree with my assignment grade?

A: The Real Estate Division has a policy of regularly reviewing assignment marking to ensure it is comprehensive, fair, and consistent for all students. We are open to receiving feedback on our markers, positive or negative, since this helps us to know if we are being effective or less-than-effective (and therefore allows us to improve). If you think there is a problem for any specific assignment, we will review the marking if you send the assignment back to us with a letter explaining the problem. However, we will only change the mark if there are obvious mistakes such as marks totalled incorrectly, sections that the marker missed, etc. We absolutely will not change marks in areas which are subjective or matters of opinion. The marker has the benefit of seeing many papers which answer the same question, and is therefore in a much better position to judge the quality of an answer in relation to that provided by other students. For multiple choice questions, please keep in mind that these assignments make up only a small proportion of your final grade, and one or two marks are insignificant in the course as a whole (in a typical course, one mark on an assignment is worth approximately 0.07% towards your final grade).

Q. How do I appeal a Program Regulation or an academic decision?

A. If you are writing to appeal a program regulation or a decision made regarding your course or program there are several guidelines you may want to follow to help create an effective appeal.

  • What is your Goal? - The first step in writing an effective appeal is to state specifically what you are appealing and the outcome you are hoping to achieve.  If your appeal relates to certain program regulations, be sure to state specifically which regulation you are appealing.  Also be sure to state why you feel the regulation should not apply in your situation, or how you feel the regulation was applied unfairly.
  • Communicate the Details - Effectively communicate the circumstances surrounding your appeal, and include how the situation arose, what events took place, and how those events lead to the current situation.  Appeals should be brief, succinct and to the point, while at the same time accurately reflect the actual events and include facts that are verifiable.
  • Appeals and Emotions - Appeals can sometimes raise strong emotions, but these are better left off any written appeal.  It can be helpful to wait a day or two before beginning to put your appeal down in writing.
  • Be Reasonable in Your Expectations Appeals are normally only granted in extraordinary situations, or on medical or compassionate grounds where circumstances are well beyond the control of the student.  Appeals are not typically granted when they relate to common situations within the control of the student such as performance on projects or examinations. 

Q: If I find a mistake in the course materials, what should I do?

A: The Real Estate Division appreciates hearing about any errors that students find in the course materials. Through this valuable feedback, we are able to keep our courses as correct and problem-free as possible. You can do a number of things, depending on the nature of the problem:

  • if it is a significant problem that affects your understanding of the materials for the assignments or for the exam, please contact the course tutor as soon as possible. We will do what we can to alleviate the problem for you and for the entire class.
  • if it is a small problem such as a typo or a simple numerical error, you might want to make a note of it and let us know at the end of the course by a letter or by phone, or in the course evaluation you will receive with your exam results.

Q: My Hewlett Packard 10BII/10BII+ calculator doesn't work. What should I do?

A: The Real Estate Division tutorial line gets many calls from students who are getting the calculations wrong and believe their calculator is broken. Calculators rarely break down, so before concluding this, please contact the course tutor -- he/she will work through common causes of problems with you (some of which are described below). You may also wish to review the "Introduction to the HP10BII Calculator and Review of Mortgage Finance Techniques" which is found under "Online Readings" on your Course Resources webpage.

Why your calculator may be giving you the wrong answers:

  • data entry error: a common mistake is in entering one number incorrectly, or in forgetting a step such as entering 0 in FV or PMT for certain calculations (which means that whatever number is in the key from the previous calculation will remain in the key's memory). You can always check what is stored in any particular key by pressing RCL and then the key. For example, to check what is in the PV key, you can press RCL PV If you get a number that doesn't make sense or is wrong, you can simply change this one number rather than starting again from the beginning. RCL can be used to figure out where a data entry problem occurred.
  • BEGIN appears on your calculator screen: if your calculator shows BEGIN on the bottom of the screen, you will get the wrong answers in most financial calculations. Mortgage payments are made in arrears or "not in advance" (i.e., you pay interest at the end of each month), compared to lease payments which are made in advance (i.e., you pay on the 1st of each month for the month ahead). You should set your calculator to "end-of-period" mode by pressing shift (the yellow key) BEG/END. This will remove BEGIN from your screen.
  • decimal places: the HP 10BII/10BII+ calculator will display 0 - 10 decimal places. If you have the calculator set to show, say, 2 decimal places, it will automatically round off answers to the nearest cent. You don't want this setting because some calculations require a lot more accuracy and in others you need to be able to decide rounding for yourself. You should put your calculator in "floating decimal" mode which shows the most significant decimals possible -- press shift DISP .{period}
  • batteries: if the batteries are dying, your calculator screen will dim and eventually a little battery symbol will show in the bottom right corner. However, your calculator won't start to give wrong answers as the batteries run out! See your HP 10BII/10BII+ owner's manual for instructions on how to replace the batteries.
  • self-test: if none of the above solves the problem, you can test the calculator using its self-test feature. See your HP 10BII/10BII+ owner's manual for instructions on running a self-test. If your calculator fails the self-test, before concluding it is defective, try running the self-test several times. It should come up with the same error message consistently - if it does not, then it is unlikely to be malfunctioning.

Q: I followed all the instructions above, and my calculator still doesn't work. Now what?

A: If you have a problem with the HP 10BII/10BII+ calculator that you purchased from the Real Estate Division AND you are within one year of the date you purchased their calculator from us, please contact We may replace their calculator if it is faulty, but we will not offer a refund. Our Real Estate Assistants will double check on the phone to confirm if the calculator is indeed faulty or if you have pressed some keys incorrectly, etc. If the calculator is deemed to be faulty, you will be directed by the Real Estate Assistants to send the calculator back to our office to:

ATTN: Real Estate Assistant
UBC Real Estate Division
Calculator Returns
247- 2053 Main Mall (Henry Angus Building)
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2

A final check will then be made by the Real Estate Assistants to make sure the calculator is indeed faulty, and if so, we will send you a new calculator. If not, we will return your calculator to you.

Should you wish to contact Hewlett-Packard directly, their Customer Service number is 1-800-268-1221.

Q: Why aren't my multiple choice assignments worth more towards my final mark?

A: The main intent of the multiple choice assignments is to ensure that students are reviewing the course materials in-depth and are maintaining a good pace towards completing the course. They are marked so that students can have feedback on their level of understanding and sometimes to help students think about the materials in new ways. If you are doing well on the assignments, it is a good sign that you are understanding the topics -- if you keep up this level of studying, you should do fine on the rest of the course. In most Real Estate Division courses the final examination is the main test of your competence and mastery of the course material. One of main reasons for this is a security issue. Because the Real Estate Division's courses are offered by distance, there is a concern that the person writing the assignments may not be the person who registered. At the exam, we check this by asking for picture identification. These courses qualify students for licensing and accreditation, and it is crucial for us to be able to assure these professional organizations that all of our graduates really do have this education.

Q: Why are the projects worth so many marks?

A: The projects are intended to be a challenging and creative application of course concepts. They generally go beyond the course materials requiring students to do outside research and critical analysis, in many cases applying concepts to a practical setting. Although it requires more effort, simulating what real estate practitioners do in practice is a much more effective learning exercise than just reading about it. You will not be expected to get everything right the first time, but you will learn more than just reading about the subject. Hopefully, you can achieve a rewarding balance by both reading and doing. The overarching intent of these projects is to help develop research skills, writing skills, and critical thinking. These projects have been built into our courses largely in response to student feedback. In past Real Estate Division courses, the exam counted for 85-100% of the course grade, meaning that a term’s work was decided in a single three hour exam. The projects have been implemented to take some weight off of the final exam, allowing students to demonstrate their competencies in other ways. We hope that this varied work will give students more options and more input into their own success, effectively allowing students more control over their educational destiny.

Q: My project requires me to find all sorts of market information. I don’t know anyone in real estate, what should I do?

A: First, contact your tutor, and he/she can guide you in your information gathering. You may wish to establish a relationship with a knowledgeable industry practitioner (e.g., appraiser, analyst, broker, or developer). Such relationships may lend valuable assistance in completing the project (and may also lead to future networking benefits in your career!). For sales information, brokers are usually happy to help, as you may be a source of future business for them. Appraisers and property managers have typically gone through an educational program like this, and are usually happy to help out those aspiring to join the profession. However, these are busy people, so organize your questions in advance and don’t waste their time. Another source of helpful information may be professional organizations in the area, such as the Real Estate Institute of BC, Appraisal Institute of Canada, or the Institute of Real Estate Management.

Q: How can you expect us to do a perfect job on this project in so little time?

A: Keep in mind that this is a learning experience - no one expects your work to be perfect, and it is ok to make some mistakes along the way. You are learning new material and you will not get everything exactly right the first time. You should do the best job you can.

Q: On my project, I did everything that was asked for, but only got 80%. Where did I lose my marks?

A: This is a university credit course and you are marked according to university guidelines. It is not a “competency-based” course where satisfactory completion of assigned tasks automatically results in a 100% grade. UBC guidelines describe the letter grades and percentages for student performance. A paper that is of good quality, meets expectations, but is not exceptional relative to peers might receive an A- or 80%. There is nothing wrong with the paper in particular, which is why it got an A-, but it is not work that is distinguished. Only a paper that is exceptional would receive an A+, or a grade of 90% or higher. A paper that is flawed minimally would receive a grade less than 80%, and significantly flawed a grade lower than 70%. Further explanation can be found in the following resources:

  • The Real Estate Division Student Handbook explains grading policies.
  • The University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management provides similar guidelines which may help explain grading policies.

Q: I did poorly on my project, can I resubmit for additional marks?

A: No. Assignments and projects cannot be resubmitted for additional marks and there is no appeal of these grades allowable [Regulation 2.06(3)]. You only get one chance, so you have to put in a good effort the first time through. One option you do have available to you is to redo and resubmit your project in order to receive additional marker feedback. This costs $35. Note that this will not change your mark though - it is only to receive clarification that you are now on the right track. This can be critical in courses where the assignments or projects build in complexity and you need a solid foundation before you can move on.

[NOTE: an exception to the above is courses where the final assignment or project is equivalent to a final exam (444, 451, 499). If grade of less than 60% is received, you can resubmit for a $175 fee. See your course workbook for details]

Q: Will I get my project back in time to study for the final exam?

A: If you submitted your project on time, the Real Estate Division will attempt to have your project marked and returned before the exam date. However, in order to give you as much time as possible to complete your projects, the due date is late in the term, and thus it may not always be possible to get you your project back on time. In general, the projects are a practical application of course concepts and because of this, they do not generally cover new testable materials, and are usually not particularly necessary as a studying aid.

Q: What does the Course End Date mean?

A: The Course End Date falls one week after the final assignment/project due date in most courses, and 2-3 weeks prior to the exam. This is a very important academic deadline, because it is the last day where students can EITHER: (a) submit all assignments/projects and be eligible to write the regularly scheduled final exam; OR (b) apply to defer their exam; OR (c) apply to transfer to a future offering of the same course. Students that do not pursue one of these three actions by the Course End Date are mandatorily withdrawn from the course, have a grade of FAIL recorded on their course history, and are required to register once again for the course, paying full tuition fees.

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Examinations Issues

Q: What is the format of the final examination?

A: Real Estate Division courses have three hour final examinations. The questions are generally short-answer or "essay-style", often with calculations required, although some courses have examinations with multiple choice sections or case studies. Note that an "essay-style" question does not require you to write an essay! In general, a short paragraph will suffice. In most questions, point form answers are perfectly acceptable. Please see the Real Estate Division Student Handbook for more details.

Q: What is the passing grade on the examination?

A: Sixty (60) percent is the passing grade for each course. Your overall grade is a combination of your grade on the exam and the grade on your assignments (please see the Foreword in your course workbook for more detail). However, in order to receive a passing grade, you must achieve a minimum of 50% on the final exam. See the "passing rate" question in "General Questions on Course Content" for more information on average grades.

Q: Can I get copies of old examinations for practice?

A: The Real Estate Division does not sell or publish its old examinations. The assignment questions in your course workbook are generally a good indication of the types of questions which could be asked on your final exam. In most courses, review and discussion questions are also provided, and these are a good source of practice questions for the exam.

Q: Will I have to memorize all of those formulas?

A: Most courses have a list of formulas which is included with your examination. For your reference, this list is also included at the end of your course workbook. However, the list of formulas will not necessarily include every formula in the course and you may be expected to know any formula which was given in the course, even if it is not included on the list.

Q: Do I have to show my calculator steps or can I just put down my answers?

A: If you just write down your final answer and it is incorrect you will receive a grade of zero for that question. If, instead, you write down your intermediate calculations, the marker can assign partial marks for the portions of the questions which you did answer correctly. This does not mean that you should write down every calculator step, as this would be very time consuming. The best procedure is to write down each intermediate step in the calculation; for example, if you are calculating the yield on a discounted mortgage, you should write down the contract interest rate (after it has been converted), the payment amount, and the outstanding balance. Another advantage of doing this is that if you get a final answer which does not seem reasonable, you may be able to find out where you went wrong without having to re-do the entire question from beginning to end.

Q: Is everything in the book going to be covered on the exam?

A: Anything provided by the Real Estate Division in the course manual, course workbook, or in any announcements or bulletins can be tested on your final examination. The assignments are a good indication of what the key areas of the chapters are, although material not covered in the assignment may be tested as well.

Q: When I'm studying for the exam, is it enough to just review my course assignments?

A: Reviewing your assignments is strongly recommended before your exam, since the assignments are a good indication of the types of questions you will be presented with on your exam. However, the assignments do not always test the entire chapter of the course manual and you should be aware that anything presented in the course manual is testable, whether it was in the assignment or not.

Q: One of the assignment questions took me over an hour to complete. How can I possibly finish this exam in three hours?

A: While it is true that some of the questions may take a lot of work to complete, these are balanced by other questions which can be answered very quickly. The final examinations for all Real Estate Division courses are designed to be completed within the set time limit and the vast majority of students do complete it within this time.

Q: What is the breakdown of topics which will be tested on the examination?

A: While there is no maximum or minimum number of questions for any particular topic or chapter, the exam questions are generally weighted evenly between the major chapter topics. The examination questions will not be arranged in any formal order.

Q: Can I bring scrap paper into the examination room?

A: No scrap paper is allowed to be brought into the exam room. If you need paper to make notations, you can use the answer sheets provided with your exam. Also, the exams are printed on one side only, so the back of each page is also available for use.

Q: Can you give any hints on how to write the exam?

A: Some hints for writing your examination:

  • quickly read through or scan the exam from beginning to end;
  • first attempt the questions which you find the easiest and leave the ones you find most difficult to the end;
  • roughly calculate how much time you have for each question, according to the number of marks it is allotted, and make sure you do not spend too long on one question;
  • if you find yourself running out of time, write down what you know in the time you have remaining, so that the marker can at least award partial marks;
  • if you have multiple choice questions, do not leave any questions blank. Because no additional marks are deducted for getting a question wrong versus leaving it blank, it is best to make an educated guess when you are unsure of the correct answer. Leave yourself enough time to fill in your multiple choice answer sheet, or better yet, fill in the "bubbles" as you go. You will not be given time at the end of the exam to fill in the answer sheet.

Q: How do I sign up for my exam?

A: Students are automatically registered for their exam upon registering in any course, however you must select your desired examination centre upon registration. The exact exam location and time will be posted on the Exam Centre section of your Course Resources webpage (at least 10 days prior to the exam date). If you wish to change the exam centre originally selected, you must request this location change at least 30 days prior to your exam date. If you are writing a Deferred Exam or a Rewrite Exam, registration is also completed via the Course Resources webpage. If you are writing a Challenge Exam, you will need to fill out an exam application form, which must be received at least one month prior to the exam date you wish to apply for.

How do I apply for an exam centre that is not established?

A: If you wish to write your examination in a location other than an established exam centre, you may apply for a Special Examination Centre. We will try to accommodate your request, but we cannot guarantee your choice of location due to the complexity of establishing new centres in numerous locations. Please note that Special Examination Centres will not be set up within 100 kilometres of an established centre.

Establishing a Special Examination Centre requires a $200 fee. Applications must be received at least 30 days prior to the exam date — applications will not be accepted with less than 30 days' notice. If you wish to defer an exam scheduled at a Special Examination Centre, you must apply with at least 30 days' notice or the fee will be forfeited. If forfeited, re-establishing a Special Examination Centre for another exam date will require a further $200 fee.

Students outside of Canada may be required to make arrangements for suitable invigilation at their own expense; please contact Examination Services for more information.

Q: The exact time and location of my examination has not yet been posted in my exam centre webpage, and my exam is less than 10 days away. What do I do?

A: You should contact a Real Estate Division Exams Coordinator immediately.

Q: The exact time and location of my examination have been posted, but I have not received a confirmation of my eligibility.

A: We do not send exam eligibility notices out - if the Real Estate Division has received all of your assignments by the Course End Date, then you are eligible. To confirm the receipt of all of your assignments, go to the Course History webpage and review your assignment submissions.

Q: I have recently been married and my valid picture identification is in my former name. What documentation must I bring to the examination?

A: You should bring your valid picture identification along with your marriage certificate to the examination.

Q: Can I use any calculator when I write my examination?

A: There is no particular type of calculator required for Real Estate Division courses. The only requirement is that your calculator must be silent, cordless, and hand-held. Note that the answers to all examination questions which require financial calculations have been derived using the Hewlett Packard (HP) 10B/10BII calculator.

Calculators which are both alphanumeric and programmable are not permitted in the examination room. Graphing calculators are strictly prohibited. For more information about our policies on acceptable calculators, please refer to your UBC Real Estate Division Student Handbook. Click here for a list of calculators that are NOT permitted for use on a UBC Real Estate Division Examination. Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive and any other calculators that are alphanumeric and programmable are strictly prohibited on examinations.

Also note that calculators and batteries will not be provided at the exam – so you are advised to bring spare batteries or a spare calculator.

Q: Can I have my course or exam translated into French or another language?

A: No. UBC is an English language institution and all instruction and examinations are in English only. Our policy is that we do not offer exams translated into French or other languages.

Q: The Course End Date is rapidly approaching and I will not have enough time to complete my assignments or prepare for my exam. What can I do?

A: If the Course End Date has not passed and you are unable to complete your assignments and write your final exam due to business pressures or other good cause, you may defer your final examination to a supplemental exam date. Future exam dates can be viewed here. You may write a Deferred Examination within 1 year of your course's scheduled final exam. See the Real Estate Division Student Handbook for more details on this option. If the Course End Date has passed and you have not Deferred your Exam, nor submitted all of your assignments, you will be assigned a grade of Fail.

Students who Defer their examinations are responsible for any existing Late Assignment Fees, as well as any Fees incurred during the remainder of their course.

Alternatively, you may also Transfer your course to a later offering of the same course, also provided the Course End Date has not passed. If the Course End Date has passed, and you have not Transferred your Course, nor submitted all of your assignments, you will be assigned a grade of Fail.

Q: If I decide not to write my exam at the last minute, is it OK if I just don’t show up for the exam?

A: NO! Failure to attend a scheduled exam will result in a Fail. Students who are not able to write their scheduled examination may be able to Defer their exam ($125 Deferral Fee applies) to the next scheduled examination date. Students must request an exam deferral PRIOR to their current scheduled examination. Students must contact their Course Representative to make an exam deferral request.

Q: I recently wrote the exam. How soon can I expect the results?

A: Course results are posted on the Course History section of the Course Resources webpage and mailed to students, usually within three weeks of the date the examination was written for 100% multiple choice exams and within six weeks of the date the examination was written for exams that have some written answers required.

The Real Estate Division has a policy not to provide exam results over the telephone. The only exception to this is when a student has failed the examination and needs to be informed in time to apply for the supplemental exam date.

Q: If I fail the examination, what are my options?

A: If you fail the examination on the scheduled exam date, you will have another chance to write on a supplemental exam date. There is a fee to rewrite this exam. Also, note that a passing grade of 60% is the most that can be awarded on a rewritten exam. If you also fail the second exam, you will have to retake the course. For more information, please refer to the Regulations in the Real Estate Division Student Handbook.

Q: What should I do if I disagree with my exam grade?

A: If you disagree with your exam grade, you may request a "post-examination review". Your examination will be remarked by a second marker and you will receive a letter outlining what topic was tested in each question along with an indication of where you lost marks. There is a fee of $30 for a post-exam review in most courses, but if the remarked exam results in a failed exam receiving a passing grade, you will be refunded this fee (see Regulation 3.05 for details).

Q: If I am taking more than one course per term, when do I write all of my exams?

A: If you are registered in more than one course per term you will be scheduled by Examination Services to write one exam on the Course Examination date and all additional examinations on days following the first Course Examination (subject to room and invigilator availability), except Sunday. A maximum of five examination dates are established during Course Examination periods. You are not able to select the order in which your exams are scheduled. Multiple exams will be scheduled in order of course number, with lower number courses scheduled before higher number courses (e.g., BUSI 111 is scheduled before BUSI 330). If you defer one of your multiple exams, your other exams will remain on the originally scheduled dates unless you are contacted by our office. Multiple examinations are not permitted for Supplemental Examination dates.

Q: I am in summer term. Why is my exam date in September?

A: Because most colleges and universities are closed in summer, we find it difficult to book sufficient exam rooms and invigilators for the exams across the country in August. We attempt to book this exam as close to the first week of September as possible, in order to minimize the overlap between summer and fall terms.

Q: I am feeling anxious about the exam. What can I do to deal with this?

A: Exam anxiety is a fairly common phenomenon that involves feelings of tension or uneasiness that occur before, during, or after an exam. Many people experience feelings of anxiety around exams and find it helpful in some ways, as it can be motivating and create the pressure that is needed to stay focused on studying. However, in some cases, anxiety can become so intense that it leads to disruptive symptoms that ultimately lead to a negative impact on one's performance. In these cases, it is important for students to attend to their symptoms and find a way to cope effectively, so that their schooling does not suffer any further. We recommend that students experiencing tension follow the practical tips included in the Real Estate Division's "Tips for Dealing with Exam Anxiety" document.

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Course Specific Issues

Q: Why is there an additional fee for the required textbook in some courses?

A: There are a number of reasons that the textbooks are not included as a part of the course materials in some courses (e.g., BUSI 100, 101, 330, 400, 401, 433, and 460) and why we felt it was reasonable to do so. First, it is standard policy in university courses for textbooks to not be included as a part of tuition. This reflects the large retail cost of these books. Students may purchase these books from the Real Estate Division online bookstore, but are encouraged to shop online for eBook alternatives or talk to prior students, as used versions may be available. The Appraisal of Real Estate, Third Canadian Edition is an AIC and Appraisal Institute US publication (although published on their behalf by UBC). Most of the cost of this book is royalties to these two organizations (in other words, it is an expensive book for us to distribute). This book is required reading in 330, and recommended or suggested reading for 331, 442, 452, and 499, so it is used in not just one course, but in five. As well, The Appraisal of Real Estate is the central book endorsed by the AIC and is expected to be the main reference source for appraisers across Canada, which will help you beyond the course in any area of real estate professional practice. There are many copies of these book out there in appraisal firms and in general circulation and we encourage students to attempt to borrow these textbooks and save this cost.

Q: I am planning to enroll in BUSI 398, BUSI 497, or BUSI 499. Do I need to have a property in mind before I start the course?

A: No. Assignment 4 in 398/497/499 involves selecting and registering a subject property, so you do not need one before starting the course. This is a critical decision in this course, and you will be given guidance on this decision from the workbook and from your tutor. If you want to begin looking for a property before starting the course, you can view the “Registering a Subject Property” link on your BUSI 398/497/499 Course Resources webpage.

Q: Is there a sample report available for BUSI 398/497/499?

A: The Guided Case Study courses help students prepare a detailed appraisal report. For many appraisers, this is the largest and most comprehensive report they will complete in their career. This report is the closest thing in the AIC program to a thesis or graduating paper – and similar to these, providing a sample or template would hamper the originality and creativity that is an important part of this exercise. That being said, for every section of the report the workbook has an exceptionally detailed set of instructions as to what is expected. Working with these explicit instructions, together with advice from your tutor, should provide adequate guidance to succeed in this course.

Q: What level of Math education is required to successfully complete BUSI 121 and BUSI 300?

A: BUSI 121 has a fair amount of algebra in it. While the end result is that you can do 90% of the calculations required using your calculator, the course spends a fair amount of time working with the algebraic formulas underlying what the calculator is doing. The hope is that by illustrating how the formulas operate, you will have a better understanding of how mortgage finance works. Math 11 would probably suffice as a pre-requisite, although Math 12 would certainly be of benefit, in terms of being comfortable with algebra.

Q: BUSI 300 indicates BUSI 121 as a recommended pre-requisite, should I complete BUSI 121 first?

A: BUSI 300 is a math-focused course, requiring students to work with many formulas. Being comfortable with algebra is quite important in this course. The content doesn't focus on finance (i.e., present value analysis) or statistics, so the content in 121 isn't a requirement in order to understand what is going on. However, being comfortable with math is a requirement, so completing 121 first might be a good starting point.

Q: BUSI 330 indicates BUSI 100, 101, 121 as recommended pre-requisites, should I complete these first?

A: BUSI 330 outlines the foundations of real estate appraisal. Economics shows how markets form and their influence on prices, which provides the fundamental basis for real estate value. So, studying economics (100, 101) before completing this appraisal course will give students an appreciation for the underlying influences on value and make for a better course experience in BUSI 330. Similarly, appraisal is a math-based process, so a more in-depth understanding of financial math is also helpful to have before attempting BUSI 330 (provided in BUSI 121). However, note that BUSI 330 is designed to be a stand-alone course that can be completed without these prior studies in 100, 101, or 121 – meaning 100, 101, 121 are recommended to be completed prior to BUSI 330, but not required. For example, the Appraisal Institute of Canada requires BUSI 330 to be completed prior to becoming a Candidate – students who need candidacy to begin their career in valuation may wish to complete BUSI 330 as soon as possible, and may choose to skip the 100, 101, 121 recommended courses, instead completing them later.

Q: Why do I need to complete basic economics courses to do appraisal? (BUSI 100/101)

A: Economic principles are the foundation for real property valuation, because it is micro and macroeconomics that drive real estate markets. Similarly, to understand the value of real estate as an investment, one needs to understand how real estate fits into other sectors of the economy, locally, regionally, provincially, nationally, and internationally. Macroeconomic factors such as GDP, imports/exports, inflation, and interest rates have a direct impact on real estate values -- most noticeable when there is a substantial change in any of them -- and appraisers must be able to interpret how these factors impact value.

The BUSI 100 and 101 courses provide this basic economic education. Most of the material is general to all areas of business, although the workbook provides some supplementary real estate specific information.

UBC's Diploma in Urban Land Economics specifies these as foundation courses, necessary before more in-depth real estate economics applications can be studied. The Appraisal Institute of Canada has specified these courses as requirements for their accreditation.

Q: What is the objective of BUSI 460? Will it help me in my job?

A: BUSI 460 reflects the increasing emphasis that professional organizations (such as AIC) are placing on preparing the next generation of property consultants and appraisers to develop the skill sets that are critical in successfully meeting the business needs of their clients.

Put one way, it is about thinking for a living. The course emphasizes the importance of and need for creative, critical thinking in problem solving. Such skills are learned and developed through constant effort, but they are difficult to examine (you will note that there is a major project required for the course but not an examination). You will be expected to demonstrate creative, critical thinking in all assignments.

You will find that the course is built within the framework of creative problem solving. The course introduces you to a variety of 'tools' that you can apply within a creative problem solving framework - i.e., decision analysis and forecasting techniques. You will not become a professional forecaster as a result of completing this course. But you will have a better understanding of decision-making processes and an ability to critically analyze forecasts - whether you or someone else prepares them.

BUSI 460 is less about providing "job ready" skills and more about facilitating critical thinking and making more effective decisions. An analogy for BUSI 460 is studying introductory macroeconomics. In this subject there is very little studied that will be directly applied in one's work, but there is no question the subject matter is effective in terms of better understanding how the market operates, the basis for value, and the "big picture". BUSI 460 focuses on similar big picture issues: not specific applications such as step-by-step how to forecast a cap rate for a hotel, but questioning the basis for why you might want to, what you should perhaps be doing differently, and then some basic resources for carrying out such a forecast should it be necessary. Rather than application specifics, it provides a grounding and then an informed starting point for further study on your own.

You will learn about solving the RIGHT problem, and then about solving that problem in the right WAY - all without losing sight of your client's business context. You will find that the client's perspective is emphasized throughout the course.

Q: What is the difference between BUSI 111 and 112 and which is better for me?

A: BUSI 112 is aimed cross-Canada at people interested in real estate in general. The majority of the examples used in this course are still based on sales transactions and brokers, as this is the most common legal transaction in real estate. However, the course is also balanced with discussion of appraisal and other areas of practice. One comparative drawback of BUSI 112 is that it is less specific and definitive than BUSI 111: because most real estate legislation is provincial, in order to make BUSI 112 applicable across Canada we have had to generalize on many legal issues (e.g., "In many provinces, the law is...."). Because of this, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia does not recognize this course towards real estate licenses in BC. However, AIC does recognize the course for its designations.

BUSI 111 is the course aimed specifically at BC students only. It uses the Trading Services (Salesperson's) licensing course as its reading materials, with very similar assignments and projects. The law topics are largely the same as BUSI 112, but they are aimed specifically at people wanting to be licensed. The course focuses detailed attention on BC's real estate legislation, and the Real Estate Council of BC recognizes it for credit towards licensing. For students possibly interested in real estate sales in BC, this may be an attractive option.

In summary, both courses cover largely the same content. 111 is more specific, but with a sales flavour. 112 is more general, but more focused on real estate practice overall, not just sales. AIC recognizes both, and both are applicable to UBC's Diploma in Urban Land Economics. Only 111 is recognized by BC's Real Estate Council as partial credit towards licensing.

Q: I am in BUSI 344/444/460, what software will I need?

A: Software options can be found on this page. BUSI 344/444 require a statistical software program. The workbook instructions are written for the IBM SPSS program See the Software page for information on purchasing the required software for your course. For BUSI 460, as of January 2016, SPSS is no longer mandatory. This course uses SPSS to illustrate statistical forecasting applications, but the use of SPSS will not be required for the projects, assignments, or exam. BUSI 460 students may purchase SPSS if they wish to follow along with the steps illustrated in the workbook (optional only).

Q: Will the BUSI 445/446 courses train me to be a developer?

A: Yes and no. The BUSI 445/446 courses present a broad overview of the development process, from inception to completion, so that a student is familiar with all aspects. However, the course does not go into great detail on any specific aspect, so as to be considered “job training”. As well, keep in mind that property development is an entrepreneurial pursuit – much of what it takes to be a developer is creativity and a willingness to undertake risk, both of which cannot be taught. However, BUSI 445/446 do offer a good starting point in terms of understanding the basics and beginning work in the field.

Q: Why are there no answers provided for the Review and Discussion questions in BUSI 445 and 446?

A: Several BUSI courses have a few review and discussion questions in the workbook, and answers to selected questions are provided online. Our policy in most courses is that if a question is open-ended, requiring judgment, we do not provide an answer. But, if the question is more specific, we normally draft an answer for the students to review – in an effort to assist them in understanding the material. BUSI 445 and 446 are designed somewhat differently. Jim Whitehead (who authored the material and is the current tutor) lists many discussion questions, many review questions, and suggests that students also go to the course discussion forum to discuss specific topics. An assignment follows – which is submitted and marked. If you look at Lesson 4, for example, there are 31 discussion questions, 35 review questions, and an exercise. In our other courses, there may be 5 R & D questions – total. What Jim is doing is attempting to direct the students to think about the topics and theories by posing a question/situation – which should encourage the student to review the text in some detail. To provide answers to 66 questions defeats that purpose, in his opinion – and, as a result, these courses have always been organized in this way.

Answers to R & D questions are normally completed by our staff, and not the tutors. For BUSI 445 and 446 a decision was reached, in consultation with the tutor, not to provide a long list of answers to the questions posed – for the reasons stated above. The questions are a good study aid, they allow you to review the material in the text as it relates to the question, and hopefully prepares you for an exam.