How to Pass the FINRA Series 14 and Become a FINRA-registered Compliance Officer

Looking to become a compliance officer for a broker-dealer? Read Solomon Exam Prep’s guide to effective preparation for the FINRA Series 14 exam. Continue reading

What does the FINRA Series 14 allow me to do?

The FINRA Series 14, also known as the Compliance Officer Exam, is a principal-level exam that qualifies you to serve as a compliance officer for a broker-dealer, including being designated as the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) of a broker-dealer in its SEC registration. The Series 14 was designed to make sure that individuals who have day-to-day compliance responsibilities or supervise others engaged in compliance activities have the knowledge necessary to carry out their job responsibilities.

There are two ways to achieve the Compliance Officer qualification: pass the SIE, Series 7, and Series 24 exams, or pass just the Series 14 exam. In other words, by taking the Series 14, you get to take one exam instead of three. For this reason, the Series 14 is broader, deeper, and more difficult than most FINRA exams. Passing the Series 14 requires knowledge of compliance issues related to a broad range of broker-dealer activities, from the mechanics of trading to the details of the underwriting process to the publication of research reports.

You must be associated with a FINRA member firm in order to take the Series 14.

About the Exam

The Series 14 exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions covering the nine sections of the FINRA Series 14 exam outline. FINRA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations.

Note: Scores are rounded down to the lowest whole number (e.g. 69.9% would be a final score of 69%–not a passing score for the Series 14 exam).

Topics Covered on the Exam

FINRA divides the Series 14 exam into nine areas. These areas are organized by the types of knowledge that a compliance officer will need to know to complete various job functions.

The Series 14 exam covers many topics including the following:

    • Components of a satisfactory supervisory system as defined by FINRA
    • Rules and mechanics of the securities markets
    • Margin requirements
    • Sales practices
    • Types of brokerage accounts
    • Separation of research and investment banking
    • Net capital requirements
    • Registration requirements for firms and associated persons
    • Business continuity plans
    • Customer identification and anti–money laundering compliance

Question Types on the Series 14

The Series 14 exam consists of multiple-choice questions, each with four options. You will see these question structures:

Closed Stem Format:

This item type asks a question and gives four possible answers from which to choose.

Under Rule 144, what is the holding period for stock purchased in the open market by a control person?

    1. Two years
    2. One year
    3. Six months
    4. No holding period
Incomplete Sentence Format:

This kind of question has an incomplete sentence followed by four options that present possible conclusions.

According to NYSE rules, a block of stock is defined as:

    1. 10,000 shares, or a quantity with a market value of $150,000 or more, whichever is less.
    2. 10,000 shares, or a quantity with a market value of $200,000 or more, whichever is less.
    3. 20,000 shares, or a quantity with a market value of $200,000 or more, whichever is less.
    4. 20,000 shares, or a quantity with a market value of $200,000 or more, whichever is more.
“EXCEPT Format”

This type requires you to recognize the one choice that is an exception among the four answer choices presented.

All of the following require the successful completion of one or more exams except a:

    1. specialist
    2. trader
    3. securities lending representative
    4. two-dollar broker
Complex Multiple-Choice (“Roman Numeral”) Format:

For this question type, you see a question followed by two or more statements identified by Roman numerals. The four answer choices represent combinations of these statements. You must select the combination that best answers the question.

Which two of the following employees of a member organization must be registered and qualified under NYSE Rule 345?

    1. An employee with authority to bind the firm to a contract involving securities activities
    2. An employee who only trades for the firm’s account and does not transact business with the public
    3. An employee with duties and responsibilities similar to those of a registered representative
    4. A supervisor of an employee who solicits business for the firm from another member firm
    1. I and III
    2. I and IV
    3. II and III
    4. II and IV

This format is also used in items that ask you to rank a set of statements from high to low or to place a series of events in the proper sequence.

In which order, from first to last, are the following actions performed during the underwriting of an issue of corporate securities?

    1. The holding of a due diligence meeting
    2. Investigation and analysis of the issuer
    3. The filing of a registration statement
    4. Distribution of the red herring to customers giving indications of interest
    1. I, II, III, IV
    2. II, III, I, IV
    3. III, I, II, IV
    4. IV, II, III, I

Study Strategies for the Series 14

    • Use all the resources. The Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful information, including a detailed study schedule that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
    • Read and understand. It’s simple: read the Solomon Study Guide, carefully. The Series 14 is a knowledge test, not an IQ test. Many students read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam.
    • Take handwritten notes. As you read the Solomon Series 14 Study Guide, take handwritten notes and review your notes every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies show that the act of taking handwritten notes in your own words and then reviewing these notes strengthens learning and memory.
    • Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning.
    • Research. Research anything you do not understand. Curiosity = learning. Students who take responsibility for their own learning by researching anything they do not understand get a deeper understanding of the subject matter and are much more likely to pass.
    • Answer practice questions in the Solomon Exam Simulator. When you’re done with a chapter in the Study Guide, take 4 – 6 chapter quizzes in the Solomon Exam Simulator. Use these quizzes to give yourself practice and to find out what you need to study more. Make sure you read and understand the question rationales. When you’re finished reading the entire Study Guide, review your handwritten notes once more. Then, and only then, start taking full practice exams in the Exam Simulator. Aim to pass at least six full practice exams and try to get your average score to at least an 80; when you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the Series 14 exam.
    • Take regular breaks. Studies show that if you are studying for an exam, taking regular walks in a park or natural setting significantly improves scores. Walks in urban areas or among people did not improve test scores.
    • Get enough sleep during the period when you are studying. Sleep consolidates learning into memory, studies show. Be good to yourself while you are studying for the Series 14: exercise, eat well, and avoid activities that will hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

You can pass the FINRA Series 14! It just takes work and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you on your journey to becoming a FINRA-registered Compliance Officer.

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Now Available: Series 24 Audiobook, 4th edition

Solomon Exam Prep is excited to release the 4th edition of Solomon’s Series 24 Exam Audiobook. The Solomon Audiobook is a word-for-word reading of the 4th edition of Solomon’s Series 24 Study Guide.  Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is excited to release the 4th edition of the Solomon Series 24 Exam Audiobook.  The Solomon Audiobook is a word-for-word reading of the 4th edition of Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 24 General Securities Principal Exam Study Guide. 
Although the core content of the Solomon Series 24 Exam Study Guide is the same as the previous edition, Solomon Exam Prep has made the following changes in the 4th edition for this important FINRA principal exam:
  • Updated information related to new and changed FINRA rules
  • Added information on SEC Regulation Best Interest
  • Updated tax information for 2020
  • Updates to retirement plan information, most of which is related to the recently enacted SECURE Act which took effect on January 1, 2020 
  • Additional examples and questions to help reinforce important concepts
For those of studying for the FINRA Series 24 exam, Solomon’s Audiobook offers another great way to learn the Series 24 material. Because it’s available as both streaming audio and instant MP3 download, you can conveniently listen on the go with or without Internet access. Solomon Study Guides are written in easy-to-understand language, and Solomon Audiobooks are read by real people who are content experts. Audiobooks can be used in tandem with the Solomon Study Guide, Exam Simulator, and/or Video Lecture to create a well-rounded study experience benefitting a variety of learners. Curious about the many benefits of Solomon Audiobooks?  Visit our blog post to read more:
If you have a current digital subscription to the Solomon Series 24 Exam Audiobook, then you have been automatically updated to the 4th edition on your online Solomon account, at no additional charge. However, if you’d like to be reverted back to the 3rd edition, or if you have any questions about this update, please call us at 503-601-0212 or email and we’ll be happy to help.
And if you’re planning to study for the Series 24 exam, you can explore Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 24 exam study materials here.  The Solomon Series 24 Audiobook is available as an individual item, and it is included in the discounted Audio Premium Package and Total Packages.

Portland, OR – Live, Series 6 & 63 Classes this March

Solomon Exam Prep will be holding a crash course for the Series 6 & Series 63 exams this March in beautiful Portland, OR. The classes will cover the major topics that will be encountered on these exams. Enroll now and reserve your spot! Continue reading

Looking for live Series 6 and Series 63 classes? Look no further!

Solomon Exam Prep will be holding a crash course for the Series 6 & Series 63 exams this March in beautiful Portland, OR. The classes will cover the major topics that will be encountered on these exams. Enroll now and reserve your spot!

The Live Class Package for the Series 6 & 63 also includes access to our digital Exam Study Guides and Online Exam Simulators. Class dates and times are as follows:

Live ClassSeries 6

Tuesday, March 1: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Wednesday, March 2: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Series 63

Thursday, March 3: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM


Classes will be held across the street from Solomon Exam Prep at the George Fox Portland Center: 12753 SW 68th Ave, Portland, OR 97223.

How to Pass Your Exam the First Time

One question everyone asks when encountering any exam is: “How do I pass the first time?” Here is a list of our top 5 study tips, along with an entertaining short video to help drive them home. Continue reading

testOne question everyone asks when encountering any exam is: “How do I pass the first time?” Solomon Exam Prep has been helping their students pass securities exams for over a decade.  For many years Professor Karen Solomon (PhD, University of Chicago) taught and researched how the brain learns and memorizes information. Based on her research, Solomon Exam Prep has come up with some tried and true study tips that will help you pass your exam the first time.

The first thing to remember is that the over-studiers are more likely to succeed. There are many costs associated with taking these exams, so it is in your best financial interest to pass the first time. Increase your chances of passing the first time by following Solomon Exam Prep’s suggested study schedule; you will thank yourself later.

Here is a list of our top 5 study tips, along with an entertaining short video to help drive them home:

  1. Reinforce learning by engaging multiple senses. You want to learn the content, not just memorize it. Reinforce your reading by following along with the Audiobook or reading out loud to yourself. By engaging your other senses, you are more likely to remember the content. We also recommend reading your Study Guide multiple times as you do not always retain everything the first time around. The combination of repeated reading and engaging other senses is sure to drive home the material and increase memory retention.
  2. Make your own flash cards. Many other companies create and sell flash cards, but Solomon Exam Prep does not. Why? To help you better learn the material. When you actively sit down and create your own flashcards, you are more likely to recall the information. This goes along with engaging multiple senses; reading and transcribing the content you find important helps to reinforce learning.  We encourage all of our students to create their own flash cards.
  3. Take practice quizzes. Practice makes perfect! You will not know how much material you have retained until you take practice exams. We encourage our students to take quizzes after every chapter they read. Focus on learning the content and avoid memorizing the questions. Review the rationales for any incorrect answers; not everything may be in the book, so make sure you pay attention to new material in the quizzes. As you approach your exam date, you should be taking full, timed practice exams to best prepare for the actual one. We highly encourage our students to average in the mid 80’s before sitting for the exam.
  4. Take breaks and rest up. It is important to give yourself a break as you are studying. You might try setting a timer to remind yourself to take a break. (It does not help to cram.) Remember: Sleep is important! Before your exam date, make sure you get enough sleep; do not stay up all night cramming. Your brain functions much better when it is well rested.
  5. Review your Study Course and notes. If you have a recorded class, re-watch it prior to your test date; this is a great review.  If you do not have a recorded class, go over your notes and flash cards prior to your exam. You can also re-review your last full exam, taking note of any questions you might have answered incorrectly. This serves as a great final refresher before your exam.

Follow these study tips and you will increase your chances of passing the first time. Be sure to check out our study tips video: