The Securities Industry Essentials Exam, How I Passed The SIE On My First Try and How You Can Too!

The following blog post will look into the SIE exam, also known as the Securities Industry Essentials Exam. The securities industry essentials exam, is the first basic framework FINRA examination that is taken by any aspiring registered representative, or stockbroker. I first took this exam at the beginning of February, and I remember the exam with fond memories like it was just yesterday. I had been studying for the SIE exam for about three months, while I waited for my employment at a new investment bank to start. I ended up taking the exam about three weeks into My new job, my first job in banking. I walked into the Prometric test Center, extremely cocky, and would eventually pass the SIE exam. I showed up at around 7:30 AM, and once I got in the testing room, I had given my wallet phone and identification, and put it into a locker. From there, the receptionist walked me to the testing room, and it was game on. The computer turned on, asked me to confirm a few things, and then I clicked start for the exam.

*Quick update regarding the SIE and other Securities industry exams that I just found out about, you can actually take these online from home now! A guy in my office just said that he took his Series 7 Exam fully from home, but that it was actually worse than if he had gone to a test center because it was much more disorganized, and they watch you like a hawk. He also said that the efficiency of one of the best old school training exam strategies for this, known was Training Consultants, has been significantly watered down, and that he’s seeing things like AD Banker and Kaplan starting to take the reigns. Also, no more masks required as testing centers, I guess COVID is finally over! This is all as of May 2023, leave a comment down below and let us know how your exams have been going.

My Take on The Securities Industry Essentials Exam, What My First Time Looked Like When I First Took the SIE Exam

Securities Industry Essentials ExamThe exam started off somewhat brutal, in that the first 10 questions or so we’re SEC regulations, which are among some of the more difficult questions to take an SEC style exam. After the first 10 questions, are we going to get a little more comfortable with the exam, and I breezed through the next 50 questions or so. The exam is 75
questions long, with 10 experimental questions that are counted towards the score. You need to achieve a 70% on the SIE exam in order to pass, I came to the 72% that you would need to pass the series 7 exam. The securities industry essentials exam is often times known as the prerequisite to the series 7 exam. The series 7 exam is one that I am studying for right now, and then I had actually been scheduled to take over a month ago, when COVID-19, close down Prometric for over 30 days, and caused my exam to have a delay.

Right now, at least on paper, I am scheduled to take the series 7 exam in three weeks, however I highly doubts that I will be taking the exam at that time, due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the new Spanish flu, that is 2020s coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic. I will update this blog regularly, but for anyone that’s looking for tips on how to ease the SIE exam, awards advice that I can offer is to study more than just the Kaplan resources.


*image by the University of Central Arkansas via Creative Commons. See link here.

You should study a book known as the exam zone practice, for the securities industry essentials exam. Not only will this help you with the SIE, by supplying you with more information than is necessary, but it also will allow you to learn more than is needed for the test, so that you were extremely comfortable by the time you sit down in the exam testing room.

I wish you all the best of luck, and I will keep this blog posted on when I take my Series 7. *** Update, this has been canceled again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now is being pushed until May, fingers crossed that this does not get postponed yet again!

How The Series 7 Compares to the Securities Industry Essentials Exam

The series 7, from my own personal studies of the exam and what I keep hearing from people at the office regarding those more experienced than I that have already passed the exam, is a more in-detailed version of the simpler, and much easier, SIE, or Securities Industry Essentials Exam. The SIE exam usually comes with the following topics:

Related Posts
  1. Suitability
  2. Options
  3. Mutual Fund Fees
  4. Bonds
  5. Treasury Bonds
  6. Futures
  7. Margins
  8. Municipal Bonds
  9. Stop Losses and Limits
  10. Strips, Straps and Straddles
  11. Index Funds
  12. The Importance of Diversification
  13. Inflation

And occasionally some additional topics in the case that you have a different book than I. I personally would recommend ExamZone or Kaplan Learn, and preferably both, as I aced the test on the first attempt using a combination of these!

How to Pass The Securities Industry Essentials Exam

Study hard, and study long! In the online literature, most websites will say that you are going to need 50-100 hours of study time in order to pass the exam. I probably had well over 150-200 hours of study time, and passed the test no problem. Generally speaking, it is better to sprint through these exams, ie. to aggressively grind for 4-6 weeks and then knock the test out, rather than to delay it for 2-3 months, but whatever gets the passing score! You will need a 70% in order to pass the SIE exam, and with 75 graded questions, and 10 sample questions, making up an 85 question exam, this is a tall task indeed!

*Update: February 16th, 2021

Adding one more thing to this blog post as a quick update, I want to take this time to quickly talk about the Series 9 and 10 exams, which I do not see being written about too much on the web these days. These licenses are basically the holy grail of Securities licenses, and for anyone who is serious about making a lasting career in the field of Wealth Management, whether it be a CSA or even a Financial Adviser, it is something that I would highly recommend getting. For one, it makes you appear significantly more educated in your field, and gives you the option to switch firms if you need to, something that is invaluable in any field. Secondly, it is entirely true that it will help out your education of compliance significantly, I have learned that many financial advisors can improve on the area of compliance knowledge, and while this is something that takes time and effort in the specialization, it is something that can absolutely be done and which can drastically improve your compliance knowledge.

The 9/10 certification is broken up into two licensing exams, the Series 9 and the Series 10 exam, and both of them are going to be extremely difficult. The Series 9 is the Registered Options Principal Exam, and basically allows you to sign off on options documents, while the series 10 allows you to review correspondence and approve it given your firms permission. I think that both are absolutely invaluable, both in the knowledge and the resume boost they bring, and would highly recommend going for both if possible.

One Other Word of Advice for Passing Your SIE Exam on the First Attempt

One more final word of advice regarding you passing your Securities Industry Essentials exam on the first attempt here, and that is that you should take it as seriously as humanly possible. I am currently training one of the interns in our office on his new full time position, and I have asked him if he has started studying for his SIE exam, as he already has his books for it, and he said he has not because of this, that and the other thing. I will be completely blunt with you on this, you cannot be half in and half out on these exams, you need to be 100% committed to getting your licenses at all costs. You need to burn the life boats and take literally every single step humanly possible and do whatever it takes to get these passing scores needed, as your career in the field of Wealth Management both in the short term and the long term may very well depend on it.

You cannot pass these exams if you are not all in, especially not all on the first attempt, they are far too difficult, and even me who had a finance background and a finance degree, with an SEO and a computer background (needless to say I consider myself fairly smart, but these exams were all still extremely difficult.) Out of the 20 or so financial advisors in our office, I’d say that more than half of them failed their series 7 on the first attempt, and nowadays it is completely true that if you don’t pass your Series 7, that you don’t get a whole lot of leeway.

You get two attempts to pass your series 7, and if you fail it on the third attempt, then usually you get fired. Don’t take it lightly, while you might not be carrying your stuff out in a box on your first failed attempt just like you would have been in the olden days, it looks TERRIBLE to screw up like that when first starting a new job, win at all costs and do what it takes.

My advice to you is to treat these exams like your business when you first start your new job in Wealth Management with them, you need to spend 3-4 hours per day studying for about 4-6 weeks for each exam, and something like 5 weeks is probably most realistic (you’ll need something like 6-8 weeks for the Series 66 and the 9/10 and 24, and possibly even longer.) So schedule your exams for 6 weeks from now and hit them out of the park, best of luck and comment with any options or Municipal bond questions, I absolutely love the field of finance and am very happy to help out if I can transfer my knowledge to someone else who is entering the field.

Final Thoughts on Your Journey Towards Passing the Securities Industry Essentials Exam

If you study hard, and make sure to stick to a daily study regiment of every single day reviewing the primary concepts of the SIE exam, options, Municipal Bonds, etc. then you will absolutely be able to pass the exam with flying colors! Leave a comment down below with your thoughts and opinions on the Securities Industry Essentials Exam, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for additional details and information.

* To reiterate another quick update in 2023 regarding securities licensing exams, no more masks required and you can test from home now!





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