How does my no note taking method of teaching work?

I am a real estate innovator and educator with over 46 years of experience. I specialize in helping individuals pass the California Real Estate Salesperson or Broker State Exam the first time they take it without taking notes. I have developed a unique and effective method for teaching students how to pass the real estate exam without taking notes unlike competing programs. 

This is a clear differentiator between my program and my competitors’ programs. My approach is more efficient and effective than the traditional approach. It allows students to learn more effectively and retain information better.

My program is revolutionizing the way that people learn for the real estate exam. I am making the exam more accessible to people who have difficulty learning from traditional note-taking methods! I am a thought leader in the real estate exam prep industry. I am helping students to learn more effectively and efficiently. It allows students to focus on listening and understanding the concepts, rather than trying to write everything down. It helps students to develop their critical thinking skills and to learn how to synthesize information on the spot. It is more efficient and effective than the traditional approach. My approach is more engaging and motivating for students. My students for the California Real Estate Exam ideally take my program the weekend right before their state exam.

I first started specializing in helping students to pass the California Real Estate Exam in March of 1988. From 1988 through 1997 I conducted the program the traditional way of taking notes or sometimes by giving them an outline in advance and having them highlight hundreds of notes during the program. 

During that time I conducted a two-day program from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM over 500 times. During those years I subcontracted my students (as a subcontractor) from a well-established California real estate school. 

During those years my passing ratio was approximately 86 to 88%.

In 1998 through June 2000 I began to experiment! Teaching some of my classes the traditional way of taking notes or highlighting hundreds of notes and some of my classes without taking notes and without highlighting any notes. On July 1st of 2000. I compared the passing ratios of the two distinct methods of teaching & found that my passing ratio improved with the classes where no one was allowed to take notes to 89% to 91%. Information on the spot. It helps students to focus on listening and understanding the material, to develop their critical thinking skills, and to learn how to synthesize information on the spot. 

Instead of teaching my students to read and memorize hundreds of facts and figures regarding real world subject matter, I teach them keywords and underlying concepts of the real estate sales person and broker state exam. This helps them to better retain the information and to apply it to the state exam while taking the state exam.

On July 1st of 2000, I discontinued subcontracting the students from a California pre-license prerequisite school. At that time I started teaching the program to only students that have been referred to me. Since July 1st of 2000 to the present day I have conducted the program without taking notes over 700 times. I have never marketed for students at any time during my sojourn! 

Since July 1st of 2000 100% of all of my students are referred to me. I use a different methodology or approach than the traditional methods of teaching.

This is what I have learned regarding the California Real Estate Salesperson and Broker Exam. When you are taking the California Real Estate exam you can know too much, and you can know too little! You can know too much about the real world and as a result fail the state exam miserably! 

A good example of this is real estate attorneys. I have had several dozen attorneys in my classes, (and one judge) over the years. Attorney’s sometimes take the California real Estate Salesperson or Broker State Exam on their own and fail it! This is because they are extremely knowledgeable regarding the real world knowledge subject matter! Subsequently they come to me and take my one-day Boot Camp and pass it the first time they take it after taking my class!

I use acronyms, reframes, mnemonic devices, repetition, silly things, shocking things, catch-them-off-guard things, funny things sad things, and silly stories to help my students remember key words and concepts. 

For example, I have found over the years that silly things are easier for most of us (not necessarily all of us) to remember than the technical textbook definitions and the legal jargon of the material. 

For example on the state exam, they talk about a female individual that acquired title to a property prior to getting married and then sells the properly after getting married. They want to know what this can cause on the chain of title. The textbook explanation is quite complicated and somewhat dry, and perhaps boring to some. The way I teach it is I tell my students “if you see a story about a single woman getting married”, select the word “cloud” in the answer. And then I tell them that “she got married on a cloudy day”!

As previously mentioned, I use mnemonic reframes to aid in retention. What are mnemonic techniques? Mnemonic reframe techniques are ways to help you memorize a word, question, answer, phrase or idea without necessarily understanding the true legal definition or meaning and without memorizing the legal definitions. For instance what do you think of when you hear “da, da, da, da, da”? Think about it for a few moments and McDonald’s should come to the surface of your conscious mind! Old Spice: “Smell like a man, man.” Apple: “The future of computing is here.” 

Some of the mnemonic reframes and phrases that I use to help my students remember the correct answer to a question without writing it down are for example, I tell my students, “By the way, at home for self-defense I have 1-38. I till my you see $138 on your exam, select it!” “Alcohol equals defeasible”. I tell my students if you see the word alcohol in a question and the word defeasible in one of the four selection choice’s select defeasible and move on to the next question! 

Additional mnemonic reframes that I use to help my students pass their California Real Estate Exam are “Zoning” equals “police power”, “Eminent domain” equals “condemnation”. “Hubby and wifey” equals “community property,” and so on and so forth. 

And then I tell my students, whatever you do, don’t go back at the end of the exam and change answers. When you do that more often than not you are changing a correct answer to an incorrect answer. The reason being that when you answered the first time you selected it because I planted the answer into your subconscious mind. If you go back and reread the question and four selection choices several minutes later and ponder on it you will come up with a logical reason to change the correct answer to an incorrect answer based of on your real world knowledge!

I teach my students to look for keywords in the questions and keywords in the answers and how to match the keywords in the questions to the keywords in the answers. This teaches my students how to learn and synthesize and helps my students to focus on passing the state exam the first time they take it, not necessarily learning about about the real world. It prioritizes passing the exam over learning about the real world. They can learn about the real world after they are licensed!

My classes are interactive and engaging with a focus on hands-on learning. This helps my students to learn more effectively and to retain the information better. I offer my students individualized attention and support.

As mentioned previously, on July 1 of I switched over to teaching 100% of my two-day programs without taking notes and also without giving them any sort of outline to highlight during the program. In March 2019 I upgraded my program and perfected it to a one-day program as opposed to a two-day program without taking notes. As a result, my passing ratio has not changed! With my one-day program without taking notes approximately 89% to 91% of my students pass their California Real Estate Exam the first time they take it. My program is more efficient and effective, it is more engaging and motivating for students and my students are more likely to pass the exam on their first try.

November 20th, 2023.
J Marshall Schoonover

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PO Box 12643
Marina Del Rey, CA 90295
United States