The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam is FINRA’s newest exam. Launched in October 2018, the SIE Exam is now the mandatory first step to all securities licensing, and it requires strong, comprehensive knowledge of financial industry concepts.
Unlike previous FINRA licensing exams, the SIE can be taken by anyone 18 or older, and test-takers do not need sponsorship by a financial institution, opening the exam up to anyone hoping to jump-start a career in securities.
Whether you’re still an undergraduate or are a current employee considering a career change, passing the SIE is your edge in the race to secure a competitive internship, an analyst position, or another registered position at a financial firm.
75 multiple-choice questions and 10 experimental questions
1. Knowledge of capital markets
2. Understanding securities products
3. Understanding trading, customer accounts, and prohibited activities
4. Rules and regulations
Though we recommend you schedule your exam as far in advance as possible, scheduling an SIE or top-off exam may be easier than it was in the past at many exam centers, due to the shortened length of the new exams.
Exam appointments are made with Prometric directly. Once candidates are enrolled for an exam, they will have a 120-day window to schedule an appointment with Prometric.
Passing the SIE Exam does not register you with FINRA or qualify you to engage in securities business. To become fully registered, you are required to pass a second, more specialized, “top-off exam” (e.g., the Series 6 or Series 79) – once you are associated with and sponsored by a registered securities firm.
After a first and/or second failure, there is a 30-day wait. After a third failure, there is a six-month waiting period before the exam can be retaken.
Your SIE credential is valid for four years. However, you must pass a top-off exam within that four-year window to avoid needing to retake the SIE Exam. Once individuals pass a top-off exam, they become fully registered and their SIE license remains valid for as long as they maintain that registration, plus for an additional four years after leaving the securities business.
The difficulty level of the SIE is similar to that of the Series 7 for certain topics. For example, outside business activities (OBAs), a topic included on the SIE as it applies to all registrations, is tested at the difficulty previously present on the Series 7. Topics that don’t apply to all registrations are tested at a foundational level on the SIE, if at all.
We recommend between 40–60 hours of prep time for the SIE. This includes reading through the textbook, watching our online video lectures, and completing practice questions
We help thousands of candidates prepare for their examinations each year, and we strive for a 100% pass rate for all our students. Stick to our step-by-step study plan, follow our guidance and expertise, and do not go rogue. Our trained instructors will reach out to you to check in on your progress and ensure you have a good study plan in place.