How to Pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

by Julie S. Mendel, SILA-A, CDEi | Apr 20, 2021
Preparing for the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

The FINRA® Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam is the core FINRA exam for prospective securities industry professionals. This exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information and is the first step towards a career in the securities industry.

About the SIE Exam

The SIE Exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are given 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam and must achieve a 70% to pass.

The Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam is a FINRA exam for prospective securities industry professionals, first introduced in October 2018. The SIE Exam is designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information. These could include concepts like types of products and their risks; the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies, and their functions; and prohibited practices.

Any individual aged 18 or older is eligible to take the SIE Exam, including students, and exam-takers are not required to be associated with a member firm. SIE Exam results are valid for four years. After they pass the SIE Exam, the individual should choose a registered role and pass a specialized knowledge exam to become licensed.

SIE Exam Content Outline

FINRA provides the Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam Content Outline, a comprehensive guide describing the SIE’s wide range of topics and depth of knowledge required. The Content Outline is organized into four sections covering the exam’s 75 multiple-choice items. The table below gives the exam’s allocation of questions from each section.

Sections

% of Exam Questions

# of Exam Questions

Knowledge of Capital Markets

16%

12

Understanding Products and Their Risks

44%

33

Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities

31%

23

Overview of Regulatory Framework

9%

7

Total

100%

75


DOWNLOAD THE SIE CONTENT OUTLINE

Much of the SIE Exam Content Outline is based on common securities industry knowledge and concepts. Frequently, questions covering industry knowledge aren’t tied to any single regulation. For example, there could be questions covering basic characteristics of investment products, like a common stockholder’s rights or the relationship between the price and yield of a bond.

Some portions of the content are based on specific regulations, however. Examples of rule-specific knowledge on the SIE Exam could include the reporting requirements for a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) or the filing requirements for a Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4). The SIE exam’s overall goal is to assess prospective licensees’ combined rule- and non-rule-based industry knowledge.

SIE Exam Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How old do I need to be to take the SIE exam?

Anyone at least 18 years of age may take the SIE exam.

What is the cost of the SIE exam?

There is a $60 fee to take the SIE exam.

How many questions on are on the SIE exam?

The SIE exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions.

Is the SIE exam a timed test?

Test-takers have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the SIE exam.

What is a passing score on the SIE exam?

The passing score on the SIE exam is 70%. From the FINRA website:

The passing score for the SIE is 70 (on a scale of 0 to 100). This test score is placed on a common scale with all other candidate test scores for that exam and statistical adjustments are made to the score to account for slight variations in the difficulty that may exist among different sets of exam questions. This method allows for a fair comparison of scores and ensures that every candidate is held to the same passing standard regardless of which set of exam items they received.

Is there a waiting period if I fail the SIE exam?

After the first and second failed attempts at the SIE exam, there is a 30-day waiting period before you may retake the test. After the third and any future failed attempts, candidates must wait 180 days before attempting the test again.

Do I need to be associated with a broker to take the SIE exam?

No, you do not need to be associated with a broker to take the SIE exam. To take any qualified exams (like the Series 7), you must be associated with a broker-dealer.

How do I study for the SIE exam?

The best way to study for the SIE exam is with an exam prep course like WebCE's Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Complete Exam Prep Package. With this special package, candidates receive all the materials they need to fully prepare for the SIE exam.

Studying for the SIE Exam

Exam Prep Course

The most effective study solution is a Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam Prep course from an online exam prep provider like WebCE. The WebCE SIE Exam Prep course package includes everything necessary to pass the SIE Exam on the first try. WebCE’s exam prep study course follows the exam content outline and is always kept accurate and up to date.

To help students get the most out of their exam prep study experience, WebCE provides a number of tools and features:

WebCE’s SIE Exam Prep course package provides a convenient, effective study solution for passing the SIE Exam. To order your SIE Exam Prep course and take one step closer to your career in securities, click the button below or visit our SIE Exam Prep Course Catalog.

Order Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam Prep Course