On November 2, the SEC announced a collection of rule changes meant to, in the announcement’s words, “harmonize, simplify, and improve” its “overly complex exempt offering framework.” Continue reading
On November 2, the SECannounceda collection of rule changes meant to, in the announcement’s words, “harmonize, simplify, and improve” its “overly complex exempt offering framework.” The changes affect Regulation A, which governs small public offerings; Regulation D, which governs private placements; and Regulation CF, which governs crowdfunding. This system of exemptions allows various small offerings to avoid the normal registration process required by the Securities Act.
The rule changes should provide a clearer choice as to which exemption is most appropriate to an issuer, based on how much the issuer needs to raise and other factors.
The changes also seek to clarify how issuers can avoid “integration” of exempt offerings. Integration is the risk that exempt offerings will be considered a single offering by the SEC, because the offerings are too similar.
Highlights of the changes include:
If two exempt offerings are conducted more than 30 days apart, they are almost always protected from integration.
An issuer can “test the waters” with potential investors before deciding which exemption it will use for an offering.Test-the-waters communications solicit interest in a potential offering before the issuer has filed anything with the SEC.Previously, an issuer could only test the waters after deciding that its potential offering would take place under Regulation A.
Caps on the amount that may be raised through these exemptions have been increased:
Crowdfunding: from $1.07 million to $5 million
Regulation A, Tier 2: from $50 million to $75 million
Regulation D, Rule 504: from $5 million to $10 million
Make “bad actor” exclusions more consistent across different exemptions.
The rule changes will take effect early next year.Until the changes take effect, securities exam questions will continue to be based on the old rules. FINRA Exams affected by these rule changes include the SIE, Series 6, Series 7, Series 14, Series 22, Series 24, Series 65, Series 66, Series 79, and Series 82.
This question is relevant for the SIE and Series 7, 14, 24, 26, 27, 28, 51, 53, 65, 66, and 99 exams.
Which situation would a CTR need to be filed?
A. When a customer regularly, but on different days, deposits $9,900 into their account in cash.
B. When a person deposits checks for $11,000 every week.
C. A customer withdraws $10,500 from their account in cash.
D. A customer makes a $20,000 Venmo transaction.
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: A currency transaction report (CTR) is filed with FinCEN on cash transactions that exceed $10,000 in a single day, whether conducted in one transaction or several smaller ones. The transactions can be either deposits or withdrawals and they must be in cold, hard cash.
Solomon Exam Prep is delighted to announce a partnership with Claflin University and Lincoln Financial Advisors. Continue reading
Solomon Exam Prep is delighted to announce a partnership with Claflin University and Lincoln Financial Advisors. With sponsorship from Lincoln Financial, Claflin University students taking a new Claflin investment course will receive the Solomon study materials they need to pass the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam.
To read the official press release, please click on the download link below.
FINRA partner Prometric has developed ProProctor for online, remote test taking. Here are some takeaways about the process. Continue reading
In person licensing exams have been a staple in the securities industry for decades, but with the novel Coronavirus COVID-19, FINRA has been tasked with providing a safer method for testing. Given this, FINRA partner Prometric has developed a new product titled ProProctor for online, remote test taking. Prometric is a giant in the testing industry, and operates hundreds of testing centers.
With all this as the backdrop, one month ago I was tasked with studying for and taking the SIE as a junior associate at Solomon Exam Prep. Using the ProProctor product seemed like the most convenient way to take the exam, and proved easy enough. However, for the benefit of Solomon exam takers, I would like to share some takeaways about the process.
I registered for the test three weeks ahead of time on the Prometric website, and there were still many time slots available, but the most convenient ones had been taken. The most feasible slot for me ended up being at 7:45 AM, so if you prefer to test later in the day, register ahead of time!
I immediately received a confirmation email detailing all of the procedures that I would need to follow for test day. It was a lengthy email. This is due to Prometric’s desire to avoid cheating and duplication of the test, so they are rightfully cautious. The full procedures can be found in this PDF. That being said, there are a few procedures that are very important to understand ahead of time. First is your testing environment. Ideally one is able to test in a bare, white room, at a desk, with no decorations of any kind. However, this is not always possible, so it is helpful to have a bed sheet or tarp on hand to cover anything that your proctor determines to be unacceptable. Furthermore, you cannot have any interruptions during the test, so it is imperative to notify your office mates! Prometric also recommends having a mirror on hand for the check in process. Ultimately, this is simply for the purpose of inspecting your laptop keyboard/screen if you cannot remove your webcam, so a medium sized mirror is fine. The more easily you can position it in front of your screen the better (I did not take my own advice here and had a giant mirror, which was tough to position so that my proctor could see my keyboard).
Leading up to the exam day, you should do one of Prometric’s system readiness checks, test your microphone specifically, and download/install their application. On exam day, you will be asked to follow a unique web link that is in your confirmation email to launch your exam. Once there, you will input user specific information, and it will automatically launch the application. Be warned, once you launch the exam application, you cannot access any other settings or applications on your computer, so adjust your volume or microphone controls ahead of time. Once there, you will be asked to photograph yourself, take a picture of your photo ID, and you will be sent to the security proctor.
Ultimately two different proctors will communicate with you. The process for meeting with them is seamless, and they will answer any questions you may have. The first will conduct the security checks and you will have a webcam view of them. The security checks are detailed on the ProProctor website, as well as in the confirmation email, but here are a few tips. I wore pants with lots of pockets, which was a mistake. Wearing as few items of clothing as possible, with as few pockets as possible, is helpful because they will ask you to empty them. Additionally, they advise no jewelry. Ideally, the only things in the testing room are you, your photo ID, and your computer. There is nothing else allowed (with the exception of tests that have certified testing materials).
The security checks also include room checks, which necessitates either an external webcam or an easily portable laptop. The fewer furniture items in the room, the easier the check will be. Finally, the security proctor will detail their break policy. I did not use the break, and it should ultimately be seen as an emergency asset. The test time does not stop while you take it, and you will have to redo all security checks upon returning.
Once all of the security protocol is over with, your security proctor will pass you on to another proctor. The new proctor will greet you via the application chat, but you will not see them on screen. They will, however, see your video and hear your audio. Additionally, they prohibit you from speaking out loud during the exam. You may mouth or whisper the words, but they do not allow you to speak. Once the exam commences, it is straightforward. There is a calculator in the application, as well as a “scratch pad” where you may type things. Be warned, you may not go back to questions once you move on.
When I was taking the SIE, I felt confident once I got to this point, since I was mostly worried about complying with the security checks. However, there is protocol from Prometric should you be disconnected from the application for any reason. I was disconnected with just six questions left (!), so it would have been helpful to know this ahead of time. Needless to say, I panicked. Prometric recommends a wired internet connection for this reason, but I gambled with wifi. Ultimately this was not the reason I was disconnected (my internet connection was fine), but the application automatically closed and I was forced to consult the FAQ.
From here, Prometric recommended that I check my internet connection, wait three minutes, restart my computer, and relaunch the exam. This proved to be perfect advice, and I was readmitted to the system. I had to re-do the entire security check with a new set of proctors, but my test time was paused and my progress had been saved. I finished my last six questions without a hitch. In other words, if you are disconnected, do not panic and simply follow their directions on the FAQ. If the issue persists, they recommend that you contact support.
As with the in person exams, my preliminary results were shown at the conclusion of the exam, and I was free to continue with my work day. All in all, the process was relatively user-friendly, and well worth it since I was able to avoid going to a testing center.
FINRA and the NASAA are now offering Prometric’s ProProctor remote assessment service which allows you to choose where and when you take your security exam. This user-friendly testing platform Continue reading
FINRA and the NASAA are now
offering Prometric’s ProProctor remote assessment service which allows
you to choose where and when you take your security exam. This user-friendly
testing platform offers self-service capabilities, with live agents available
at all times to offer support for candidates if required.
features advanced security measures to ensure the same safety standard is being
met comparable to conventional test centers, guaranteeing a consistent and fair
testing experience for all candidates. These advanced security measures include
multiple ID authentication and facial detection checks, personal security
checks, 100% live-monitoring, 360-degree environmental readiness checks, live
security agents, proactive protocols such as device checks, as well as record
and review functionalities.
Each test candidate is assigned three agents to ensure
the exam is administered safely and securely, with a proctor present throughout
the entire test.
In order to access Prometric’s ProProctor system, you
must install an application on your laptop or desktop and perform a system
It is important to note the following difference with
exams at the traditional test center: online tests via ProProctor are
forward-moving only. No flagging a question and returning to it. No changing
online exams have an onscreen calculator, a virtual scratchpad to capture your
notes digitally as well as highlight and strikethrough functionality, which
allow you to mark through or bring attention to the portions of the displayed
and firms may schedule online test appointments for the following six exams:
the SIE, Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66.
It’s no small feat to study for and pass a securities licensing exam, especially if you have ADHD. With that in mind, Solomon has compiled a list of skill-based strategies to support ADHD learners through the process of studying for their securities licensing exams. Continue reading
Studying for a knowledge test, like a securities licensing exam, requires significant effort over time. Solomon offers some helpful tips for studying and passing your securities licensing exam(s).
Study Strategies for People with ADHD
It’s no small feat to study for and pass a securities licensing exam, especially if you have ADHD. Two areas that can be especially challenging for people with ADHD are time management skills and study skills. Time management can be difficult because it requires a person to prioritize tasks, organize their day, and plan for short- and long-term goals, all of which are potential stumbling blocks for those with ADHD. And when it comes to studying, people with ADHD often have trouble concentrating and haven’t acquired effective study habits.
However, studies suggest that people can learn specific behaviors and strategies that help them work around ADHD symptoms and succeed in their studies. With that in mind, Solomon has compiled a list of skill-based strategies to support ADHD learners through the process of studying for their securities licensing exams.
If you’re planning to study for a securities licensing exam, such as the Securities Industry Essentials exam or the Series 7 or the Series 65, managing your time effectively is crucial. Depending on the exam, Solomon Exam Prep recommends studying for between 30 to 100 hours over the course of ten days to several weeks. It’s a daunting prospect for anyone. How can someone with ADHD get better at managing his or her time?
Use schedules and planners to stay on track. Whether you use a paper or digital planner, the following tips will help you use it to your advantage:
Refer to the Solomon Exam Prep study schedules located in the resources folder of your online Solomon account to help create an effective study plan.
Fill in your planner with study targets for each week and smaller goals for each day. People with ADHD often get overwhelmed when confronted with a large task, so breaking the task up into smaller pieces will make it more approachable.
Be realistic about how long things take for you and build in some breathing room for when things takes longer than expected. Also build in time for frequent short study breaks.
Begin the day by checking your planner to see which activities you need to do. Try to complete each day’s to-do list, but don’t panic if you don’t finish everything – you built in extra time, remember?
Build structure into your day with consistent routines and rituals.
Figure out your best time for study. Are you more alert in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Try to study at your optimal time as much as possible.
Use alarm clocks, timers, and alerts to help you structure your time, build routine, and remind yourself of important tasks. This article has some great tips on how to use your smartphone to stay organized.
Give yourself small rewards as you study and complete tasks. This article recommends people with ADHD improve their focus by routinely rewarding themselves for achieving small goals. A reward can be as simple as taking a 10–15 minute break to have a snack or take a walk around the block, which also helps prevent fatigue and loss of concentration.
Studying for a securities licensing exam can make you feel like you’ve landed back in high school or college, when you were forced to study and retain large amounts of information with the end goal of passing a test. If you were a successful student, the strategies that worked for you then will probably work for you now. But individuals without prior academic success, and those with ADHD, can increase the effectiveness of their study time by applying the strategies that follow.
Make note-taking a core aspect of your studying. Studies suggest that becoming a better note-taker can increase concentration and help learners make better use of their time by learning actively rather than passively. Here are some specific ways to boost your studying with note-taking:
If you have a hardcopy of your Solomon Exam Prep Study Guide, then highlight, underline, and write notes and questions in the margins as you read. If you are reading your Study Guide online or listening to your Audiobook, take notes on paper using a note-taking system that works for you, such as the Cornell, outlining, or mapping method, all described here.
Use color-coding to organize your notes. Invest in colored pens, highlighters, and sticky notes and use them strategically.
Return to your notes frequently: review them several times; rewrite them; read them aloud; create possible test questions from them.
Do A LOT of self-testing.Studies have found that incorporating more self-testing, or retrieval practice, into a study routine can significantly improve retention of material, especially for people with ADHD. The Solomon Exam Prep study system has two features specifically designed for self-testing:
Solomon Exam Prep Online Exam Simulator: with a large question bank and tools that help you identify areas that require more study, the Solomon Exam Simulator is the perfect way to incorporate self-testing into your study time.
Solomon Exam Prep Digital Flashcards: interactive true/false and definitions flashcards that can be organized by chapter and customized to target the terms and concepts you need to study more.
Teach the content to someone else. To be well-prepared for a securities licensing exam, candidates must truly understand the content. What better way to check your understanding than to teach the content to another person? Becoming the teacher to a friend or family member is a highly effective learning technique. This list of study tips for learners with ADHD includes talking about the concepts aloud to yourself or others. Even if you don’t have a study buddy or captive family member to lecture to, imagine that you’re teaching a course on the material and write up a lesson plan. Deliver your lesson to an empty room if need be, but the act of trying to explain the material out loud is a great way to confirm which areas you have a strong command of and which you need to study further.
FINRA and NASAA plan to launch a new online testing service May 24, 2020. The online test service will allow exam candidates to use their personal or Continue reading
FINRA and NASAA plan to launch a new online testing service May 24, 2020. The online test service will allow exam candidates to use their personal or firm-provided, camera-equipped computer to take qualifications examinations. Prometric staff will proctor the examination through the camera and other online tools.
Launch exams for this new online service include the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 exams. Starting May 11, candidates and firms will be able to begin scheduling their online test appointments for May 24 and beyond.
For more information about online testing and availability of test centers during COVID-19, go to FINRA’S COVID-19 exam page.
It has now been announced that FINRA and NASAA plan to implement a new remote testing service, which will allow exam candidates to take selected exams using a camera-equipped computer. Continue reading
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 17
Prometric closed its testing centers in the US and Canada, with these
closures being extended until May 31st. It has now been announced
that FINRA and NASAA plan to implement a new remote testing service, which will
allow exam candidates to take selected exams using a camera-equipped computer.
Exam testing will continue to be administered by Prometric, with their staff
supervising the exams via video and online monitoring tools.
remote testing service is currently in its trial phase, FINRA plans to launch
the service “in the near future” for selected exams, including the SIE, Series
6, Series 7, Series 63 and Series 66. It is expected that further exams will be
included in the weeks following the launch of this innovative service.
also announced that it plans to resume testing at certain test centers on May 1st,
with limited capacity to maintain safe social distancing protocols. Further
information will be updated on the Prometric
Coronavirus Update page.
Solomon Exam Prep is offering complimentary extensions for students who have Solomon study materials expiring before June 1st. Contact Customer Service at email@example.com or phone us on 503 601 0212 to have your Solomon study materials extended until August 1st.