All About the Series 7 License

By Julie Mendel, SILA-A, CDEI
Sep 15, 2022


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All About the Series 7 License

The FINRA's Series 7 license allows financial professionals to sell a broad range of securities products and services. Work on Wall Street as a stockbroker. Become a financial advisor. Serve as an investment banker or advisor. There are many challenging and rewarding careers that begin by passing the Series 7 license exam, or General Securities Representative Qualification Examination, and earning a Series 7 license.

In addition to the Series 7 license exam, candidates must also pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, as the two are considered co-requisites for a Series 7 license.  Below, you will find everything you need to know about the Series 7 license, including all requirements and tips for passing the Series 7 exam the first time. 

What is the Series 7 License?

The Series 7 license, also known as the General Securities Registered Representative license, is a general securities representative certification from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). With a Series 7 license, a professional is qualified to solicit, purchase, and sell all securities products, including:

  • Corporate, Government, and Municipal Fund Securities
  • Public Offerings
  • Hedge Funds
  • Venture Capital
  • Unit Investment Trusts (UITs)
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

Financial professionals who need a Series 7 license include those working for investment banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, hedge funds, and financial planning firms, to name a few. Careers include financial advisors, investment bankers, wealth and portfolio managers, and investment advisers, among many others.

Candidates for the Series 7 license must pass two co-requisite exams: the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and the Series 7 license exam. The Series 7 license exam is meant to assess foundational knowledge and standards for all general securities representatives, while the SIE is a general securities industry exam.

How to Get a Series 7 License

The General Securities Registered Representative (Series 7) Exam is a qualification exam required to receive registration. It is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on behalf of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)

Pass FINRA's Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

FINRA’s Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a Series 7 license co-requisite exam alongside the Series 7 exam. This means every candidate must pass both the SIE exam and the Series 7 exam to obtain a Series 7 license. FINRA created the SIE to serve as an introductory exam for the entire securities industry, while the Series 7 exam is focused specifically on job functions of a general securities representative. Unlike the Series 7 exam, however, SIE test takers do not need to be associated with a FINRA member firm. The only requirement for the SIE exam is candidates must be 18 years or older.

Attain Sponsorship from a FINRA Member Firm

All candidates taking the Series 7 exam must be sponsored by (that is, employed or otherwise associated) with a FINRA member firm to qualify. Unlike the SIE exam, which is a securities industry introductory exam, the Series 7 is narrowly focused on the specific job functions and responsibilities of general securities representatives. FINRA’s sponsorship requirement for Series exams extends to the license, too. This means your Series 7 license is only valid if the licensee is actively employed in the securities industry. If the licensee quits or otherwise loses their job, their Series 7 license is forfeited.

Pass the Series 7 Exam

FINRA's Series 7 exam is designed to assess competency in the core job functions of a general securities representative. A passing score for the Series 7 exam is 72%, or 90 correct answers out of 125 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have three hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam. The Series 7 exam is one of two co-requisites, along with the more general SIE exam, required to obtain a Series 7 license. Series 7 exam content is broken into four major job functions, detailed in the following section. The primary eligibility requirement for the Series 7 exam is sponsorship by a FINRA member firm.

What is on the Series 7 Exam?

The Series 7 licensing exam is comprised of 125 multiple-choice questions, each with four answer choices. The exam content is broken up into four primary job functions of a general securities representative. These four job functions include:

Job Function Weight Number of Questions
1. Seeks Business for the Broker-Dealer from Customers and Potential Customers7%9
2. Opens Accounts After Obtaining and Evaluating Customers' Financial Profile and Investment Objectives9%11
3. Provides Customers with Information About Investments, Makes Recommendations, Transfers Assets, and Maintains Appropriate Records73%91
4. Obtains and Verifies Customers' Purchase and Sales Instructions; Processes, Completes, and Confirms Transactions11%14
TOTAL: 100%125

The FINRA Series 7 exam content outline details the breakdown of what to expect in each section.

Passing the Series 7 exam requires a 72% score or better. The equates to 90 correct answers out of 125. Test takers have three hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam. Unofficial test results are displayed immediately after completing the exam. Those who fail the SIE exam must wait 30 calendar days for another attempt. Three failing scores within a two-year window stretches the waiting period between exams to 180 calendar days.

Online Series 7 Exam Prep Tips to Pass the First Time

FINRA does not require exam prep for its Series 7 exam, but it only improves your chances of passing the first time. Consider the 30 day waiting period between retakes, which could put your career goals behind by a month before getting started.

For the highest chance of passing the Series 7 exam the first time, prepare with an online securities exam prep program. Exam prep programs, like WebCE’s Series 7 Complete Exam Prep Package, offer essential exam prep tools and features, including:

  1. Exam Tutor exam simulator for unlimited online Series 7 practice exams—even build custom Series 7 practice exams to test and improve specific knowledge areas
  2. Read-It-To-Me text-to-speech audio for all course content
  3. Flash Tutor online flashcards, a mobile-friendly approach to staying fresh on key terms and concepts on the go
  4. Study Guide Workbook course companion to make notes and complete exercises
  5. My Study Planner to customize a learning plan that fits your daily schedule

Mastering and familiarizing yourself with the content with Series 7 exam prep and testing yourself on key topics is essential to confident test taking practices that can drastically increase your chances of passing the Series 7 exam the first time.

WebCE offers an entire catalog of Securities Exam Prep courses, which also includes SIE exam prep as well as a combination SIE + Series 7 Complete Exam Prep Package to help you prepare for both of your co-requisite exams at the same time.

The securities industry is competitive and rewarding. Whether you find yourself on Wall Street or managing portfolios, your career begins here, with WebCE’s security exam prep.