Everything You Need to Know About the SIE Exam

by Julie Mendel, SILA-A, CDEI | Aug 30, 2022
What you need to know about the SIE Exam

The securities industry can provide a variety of career specialties for those with the right skill sets. For those starting in the industry, the first beneficial step is passing the Securities Industry Essentials or SIE exam.

What is the SIE Exam?

The Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE) is used to assess the knowledge of those interested in working in the securities industry. The exam evaluates candidates’ understanding of the basics of the securities industry -- the concepts and fundamentals necessary for success.

Passing the SIE exam does not qualify candidates to practice under any FINRA member firm. Instead, this introductory level exam evaluates the candidate’s general understanding of basic securities terminology as it relates to common issues faced in the industry. While preparing for the exam, candidates will learn about how the financial services industry operates, including what the various regulators do and why they exist, as well as review the basics of prohibited practices.

Once a person passes the SIE exam, they may take several other qualification exams (called “top-off” exams) for various specialty job functions requiring licensure within the industry. However, additional requirements like firm sponsorship, fingerprints and background checks may be necessary to complete the licensing and registration process.

Why Take the SIE Exam?

While taking and passing the exam does not guarantee someone a job in financial services, successful completion will make you a more favorable candidate.

SIE Exam completion information on a resume shows employers a candidate's drive and commitment to the financial services industry. Employers will also view it as a considerable time and cost savings benefit because they will not have to train the candidate for the exam.

Candidates who pass the SIE Exam also show employers they have a much higher chance of passing qualification exams. Having a foundational knowledge of the industry can help employers immediately train candidates in other qualification exams to increase the earning potential for the firm and the candidate faster.

What is the SIE Exam Like?

The SIE exam is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and assesses a person’s general knowledge of the securities industry.

There are four key components of the exam:

  • Knowledge of Capital Market
  • Understanding Products and their Risks
  • Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts, and Prohibited Activities
  • Overview of Regulatory Framework

The exam has a total of 75 questions with a required passing score of 70%. The test is structured as a multiple-choice exam and candidates have one hour and 45 minutes to complete the test. Taking the test costs $80.

Candidates taking the SIE exam do not have to have sponsorship from a FINRA registered firm. However, it is important to know the SIE exam results are valid for four years and to pursue other opportunities within the securities industry, candidates will need sponsorship to complete other licensing and registration exams.  

How do Candidates Prepare for the SIE Exam?

Students take different approaches to preparing for the SIE exam. The one thing all successful candidates do is participate in SIE exam prep. Online exam prep courses and study tools, like WebCE’s Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Complete Exam Prep package, are available to help candidates enhance their knowledge of the material and practice for exam day.

To help candidates get the most out of their exam prep study experience, WebCE provides several tools and features within our Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Complete Exam Prep package:

  • Read-it-to-me audio for all course content
  • Flash Tutor online flashcards, mobile-friendly and perfect for reviewing key terms and concepts on the go
  • Exam Tutor exam simulator, which allows students to take full practice exams or build custom exams to test their knowledge on specific topics
  • Study Guide Workbook, designed as a companion for the course material to write notes and complete exercises
  • My Study Planner, which assists with creating a customized learning plan because daily studying is important for mastering the key concepts

WebCE’s securities exam prep course packages provide convenient, effective study solutions for passing the SIE exam. To order the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Complete Exam Prep Package and take one step closer to a career in the securities industry, visit our Securities Exam Prep Course Catalog.