Whenever studying any subject, new concepts and unfamiliar terminology will be encountered. As we try to master the new subject matter, we may find ourselves doing little more than just shuffling around the new words.
Let me offer you a tip gained from many years of teaching this material, and I believe it is true for any subject matter. If you cannot express a concept in your own words, you don’t really have a handle on it. You may think you do, but you are kidding yourself.
For example, what is the purpose of a reconveyance deed? If you say, “Well, it reconveys something from one party to another.” Congratulations, you have just demonstrated that you don’t know because you are just spitting back the same word. Now, it’s not a bad thing to discover that you don’t really know. It is honest, and reveals to you a starting place where you need to begin figuring things out. How would you go about it? Look it up in a Real Estate Dictionary, or read what your text book has to say about it, or ask a mentor. Then put the idea in your own words. It won’t take long, and when you can do that, you will have understanding and confidence. You will simply know that you know, and you can’t beat that.
A diagnostic question I like to ask my students when they express either arrogance or fear of the test is, “In your own words, tell me the difference between a grant deed and a trust deed.” Now that is a great question. Can you answer it? It’s not such a sophisticated question, and anyone expecting to obtain a broker’s license should know it. Ok, here’s the answer.
A grant deed transfers title of a property from the grantor to the grantee. A trust deed secures a note on a property. It makes the property collateral for the debt. So the grant deed and the trust deed perform two entirely different functions. When you can express concepts like that in your own words, you know them. You haven’t just memorized some words-you actually understand how something works. You can explain it to someone else, you can answer a question about it on the test, and you will not forget. As you prepare for the exam, test yourself periodically to see if you can express something in your own words. Remember, if you can’t, you don’t really know it.