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How to Pass the Series 57 Top-Off Exam

Changes in FINRA exams almost always raise concerns for candidates that must pass them. The Series 57 exam was recently impacted by FINRA’s updated qualification exam process, which now requires the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam as a co-requisite. But in just a few minutes we can give you some expert guidance that has generated outstanding first-time pass rates on this revised Series 57 top-off exam.

What is the Series 57 Top-Off Exam?

So just what is the Series 57 top-off? Together with the SIE, the Series 57 helps assess the competency of entry-level Securities Traders. It is also a requirement of individuals that are designated as Securities Trader Principals.

The Series 57 is composed of 55 questions (50 scored, 5 unscored) that must be completed in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Use the Knopman Marks Series 57 At a Glance Study Guide to put yourself in the best possible position to pass the first time.

Step-by-Step Plan to Pass the Series 57 Top-Off Exam

Series 57 Top-Off Exam Instructor Tips:

  1. Determine a personal strategy for taking the co-requisite SIE exam. We typically recommend that you complete it before the Series 57 top-off. Some summer programs may have students prepare for and take the exams at the same time; but because the SIE does not require sponsorship, some candidates may prefer to take it separately. Determine a process that works best for your individual career and study needs. The SIE covers securities industry rules, regulations and general concepts such as investment suitability, recommendations, and product characteristics. The Series 57 top-off exam is more focused on trading-specific content.
  2. Follow the study steps to master the Series 57 top-off content. Skim through the text, listen carefully to the video lectures and take good notes. Then work as many questions as possible and strive to average near 80% on full exams the last week before your exam.
  3. The Series 57 top-off exam’s focus has shifted towards more conceptual and high-level understanding of the trading rules and regulations. Therefore, it is more important to understand the general purpose and principals of the trading rules as opposed to test questions on very granular details of these rules. For example, it is more important to understand the general concepts and standard application of Limit-Up, Limit-Down instead of all the various trading bands, timing variations and such.
  4. The Series 57 top-off will cover a significant number of options topics, including suitability, position names, and rules and regulations. Do not underestimate the options concepts.

We are here to help!

Success on any Series exam requires significant commitment and effort. But with Knopman Marks as your guide, you will experience an efficient and highly effective study path with expert help available any time you need it. Remember, we are fully dedicated to helping you achieve success. Learn more about the various preparation courses and materials available for the Series 57 top-off exam here, and contact us at [email protected] with any questions about the exam.

Update May 19, 2020: This post has been updated to reflect FINRA’s updated qualification exam process, and the Series 57 shift to a top-off exam. An earlier version of this post was published January 4, 2017.

Marcia Larson is Vice President, Faculty, at Knopman Marks Financial Training, New York, NY. She has extensive experience in financial licensing and regulatory training, having authored, developed and presented courseware for numerous securities and insurance exam preparation and continuing education and compliance programs. Before joining Knopman Marks, Marcia was Director of Annuity Products and Business Development at CUNA Mutual Group, where she developed and marketed industry-leading annuity products and retirement solutions and implemented distribution relationships. She was previously VP, Securities Products for Kaplan Financial, managing securities training products and subsequently, international training and businesses development. Marcia has trained thousands of financial industry exam candidates throughout their careers, and also college students as an adjunct professor. Marcia was a summa cum laude graduate of Wartburg College with degrees in Business Administration and Piano Performance. Marcia also holds the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS), and Fellow Life Management Institute™ (FLMI®). She currently teaches the SIE, Series 6, 7, 24, 50, 52, 63, 65, and 66 exams.