Mask Policy Change at Prometric Test Centers

Prometric will no longer require test candidates and test center staff to wear masks at test centers, effective May 1, 2022. Continue reading

Prometric, the testing vendor for several securities licensing exams, has announced a change to one of its COVID-19-related policies. Beginning May 1, 2022, Prometric will no longer require people to wear masks at its testing centers, unless required to do so by building management or local government mandates.

This policy change applies to both candidates and test center personnel. However, Prometric encourages anyone who would like to wear a mask at a test center to do so. The choice to wear a mask or not is up to the individual, regardless of vaccination status.

According to Prometric, this policy change is in response to current trends and guidance from world health organizations. Prometric will continue to follow guidance from local government and health officials in determining its COVID-19 policies. For more information, visit Prometric’s COVID-19 Update page and COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

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Series 6 Solomon Study Guide, 3rd Edition, Now Available

If you need to take the FINRA Series 6 exam, the new 3rd edition of the Solomon Series 6 Study Guide covers everything you need to know to pass the exam. Continue reading

Are you thinking about a fulfilling career in the securities industry? There are many attractive roles to choose from, like investment adviser, financial adviser, insurance agent, or retirement plan specialist. Regardless of the path you choose, you’ll likely need to pass one or more licensing exams to qualify, such as the FINRA Series 6 exam. So how should you prepare for exam day?

Solomon Exam Prep has just released its 3rd edition of The Solomon Exam Prep Guide to the Series 6 Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Examination. To help professionals pass the exam, the Solomon Series 6 Study Guide is comprehensive and covers exam topics in easy-to-understand language. In addition, charts, graphs, and practice questions throughout the text support learners in understanding and applying key concepts.

What is the Series 6 exam?

The Series 6 is also known as the Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Examination. It is a representative-level exam for securities professionals who want to buy and sell certain investment products. Passing the Series 6 (plus the co-requisite Securities Industry Essentials, or SIE, exam) qualifies you to solicit, purchase, and/or sell:

    • Mutual funds (closed-end funds on the initial offering only)
    • Variable annuities
    • Variable life insurance
    • Unit investment trusts (UITs)
    • Municipal fund securities [e.g., 529 savings plans, local government investment pools (LGIPs)]

The Series 6 is only 50 questions long, but don’t let its humble length fool you. You’ll need to learn about many topics relating to the four main job functions of a Series 6 registered representative.

“The Series 6 exam is short, but it covers a lot of ground. Reading the Solomon Study Guide is the most crucial part of an effective study plan and will result in real learning. By mastering the concepts, test takers can handle any question the exam throws at them.”
Jeremy Solomon
Solomon Exam Prep President and Co-founder

What changes with this new edition?

The core content of the Series 6 Study Guide remains the same, but some key changes in the 3rd edition include:

    • Expanded and updated discussion of Regulation D private placements, including the SEC’s new definition of accredited investors

    • Additional, extensive coverage of Regulation Best Interest and the new suitability requirements it imposes on BDs

    • Expanded coverage of several aspects of mutual funds

    • Revised coverage of 529 college savings and prepaid tuition plans

    • Expanded coverage of FINRA’s taping rule with additional examples

Content updates for this new edition are also present in the Solomon Exam Simulator. The online Exam Simulator complements the Study Guide with over 3,000 practice questions for the Series 6. Take unlimited chapter quizzes and full exams to practice what you’ve learned and assess your growing knowledge.

Series 6 Study Materials

The Series 6 Study Guide is available as a digital subscription with a hardcopy upgrade option. It can be purchased individually or in a package with supporting Series 6 study products. Customers also have access to free tools and resources, including detailed study schedules in digital and pdf formats.

Learn more about Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 6 study materials, including Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture, and Flashcards, by visiting the Solomon Series 6 product page.

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Elon University Students Studying for the SIE Exam with Solomon

Solomon Exam Prep’s SIE exam prep materials are helping finance students at Elon University prepare to take the FINRA SIE exam. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is delighted to be partnering with Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, to bring Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam prep to students this Spring 2022 term. Twenty students in the FIN 4780 SIE course are studying with Solomon SIE prep materials. The course will prepare students to take not only the FINRA SIE exam, but also the FINRA Series 7 exam after graduation. Instructor Thibaut G. Morillon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Finance in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, is teaching the course.

Elon students taking the course receive the Solomon Exam Prep SIE Total Package, which contains all the study materials they need to prepare for the SIE exam:

    • Digital Study Guide
    • Exam Simulator
    • Video Lecture
    • Audiobook
    • Digital Flashcards
    • Free resources and tools, including Solomon SIE Study Schedules and Pass Probability™, Solomon’s proprietary technology that predicts when students are ready to take their exams.
What’s the SIE exam?

The SIE exam was created by FINRA as a foundational exam for those wanting to enter the securities industry. Studying for the SIE exam enables students to learn the basics of the finance and securities industries, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. In addition, passing the exam can open doors to a variety of careers. Anyone over 18 years old can take the SIE and results are valid for four years, so college is a perfect time to take the exam.

The SIE exam is a co-requisite to the Series 7 and other FINRA representative-level exams. To take the Series 7 exam, a FINRA member firm must employ and sponsor you. If you pass the SIE and get hired by a broker-dealer, you can then take the Series 7 and become a registered representative in the securities industry.

Interested in partnering with Solomon?

Solomon Exam Prep partners with dozens of colleges and universities to bring the Solomon SIE exam prep program to students across the country. Solomon can tailor its SIE curriculum to fit any course, including credit and non-credit courses, as part of a current course such as Finance or Capital Markets, or as a self-study program. The Solomon platform works equally well for in-person, hybrid, and online courses. And instructors receive access to the Instructor Portal, class slides, quizzes and exams, a custom study schedule, and QwizBang, Solomon’s interactive game platform.

Join institutions such as Elon University, Florida Memorial University, Pepperdine University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of Delaware, Adelphi University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Seton Hall University, Ohio Dominican University, Georgetown University, Widener University, and University of Dallas in partnering with Solomon.

To learn more about the ways colleges and universities can partner with Solomon, contact Beth Hamilton, Higher Education Development Manager, at beth@solomonexamprep.com or 503-601-0212.

4th Edition of the Solomon Series 7 Study Guide Now Available

If you plan to take the FINRA Series 7 exam, the new edition of the Solomon Series 7 Study Guide covers everything you need to know to pass the exam. Continue reading

There are many exciting careers in the securities industry, such as stockbroker, investment adviser representative, financial advisor, and investment banker. Perhaps less exciting are the securities licensing exams you’re required to pass to pursue these careers. For example, if you’re interested in a career buying and selling all securities products, then you’ll need to pass the FINRA General Securities Representative Exam, also known as the Series 7 (plus the co-requisite Securities Industry Essentials, or SIE, exam).

The Series 7 is one of the longest FINRA exams. It is a 135-question test that covers the four main functions of a securities representative. You have three hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam. Like all qualifying exams in the securities industry, the Series 7 is closed-book. As one of the most challenging FINRA exams, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared going into test day. How should you prepare for the Series 7 exam?

Solomon Exam Prep has just released its 4th edition of The Solomon Exam Prep Guide to the Series 7 General Securities Representative Examination. To help professionals pass the exam, the Solomon Series 7 Study Guide is comprehensive and covers exam topics in easy-to-understand language. Charts, graphs, and practice questions throughout the text support learners in understanding and applying key concepts.

“The Series 7 is challenging. To pass this exam, you must learn the concepts, not just memorize test questions. The Solomon system focuses on teaching the core concepts in a digestible way and reinforcing them through examples and quizzes. This prepares customers not only for the exam, but also for their careers.”
Jeremy Solomon
Solomon Exam Prep President and Co-founder
What changes with this new edition?

While the core content remains the same, the 4th edition of the Series 7 Study Guide includes helpful content updates, along with general writing improvements.

Updates are also reflected in the Solomon Series 7 Exam Simulator. Designed to accompany the Study Guide, the online Exam Simulator contains over 4,400 original Series 7 practice questions with rationales that explain why an answer is correct. With the Solomon Series 7 Exam Simulator, learners can take an unlimited number of quizzes and exams, and the simulator comes with helpful self-assessment tools and Solomon’s proprietary Pass Probability™ technology, which calculates the probability that the student will pass the Series 7 exam.

Solomon Exam Prep is committed to providing industry-leading securities licensing materials, which are continuously kept up-to date. If you are an existing Solomon Series 7 customer, the new 4th edition will be automatically updated in your account, free of charge.

To learn more about Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 7 study materials, including Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture, Flashcards, and Live Web Classes, visit the Solomon Series 7 product page.

Solomon Exam Prep Exhibiting at Midwest Finance Association 2022 Conference

If you’re attending the Midwest Finance Association 2022 Conference March 10-12, visit Solomon Exam Prep’s exhibitor booth. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is proud to be sponsoring and exhibiting at the Midwest Finance Association 2022 Conference, which will be held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, IL, March 10–12. Solomon invites attendees to visit our booth to learn about how Solomon provides its innovative Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam prep to colleges and universities across the country.

About the MFA

Founded in 1951, the Midwest Finance Association is a nonprofit professional association of academics and finance industry professionals dedicated to the furtherance of finance education. The organization currently has over 400 members from more than forty countries, and membership is open to anyone who has a career in the area of finance. The annual conference provides a forum for the exchange of intellectual ideas between academic and business circles.

What is the SIE Exam?

The FINRA SIE exam is the foundational exam required for anyone who wants to become licensed to work in the securities industry. Passing the SIE shows potential employers that you have mastered the basics of the industry and opens doors to a variety of careers. Anyone over 18 years old can take the SIE, so it’s perfect for college students.

Solomon Exam Prep partners with dozens of colleges and universities to bring the Solomon SIE exam prep program to students across the country. Join institutions such as Florida Memorial University, Pepperdine University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of Delaware, Adelphi University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Seton Hall University, Ohio Dominican University, Georgetown University, Widener University, and University of Dallas in partnering with Solomon.

To learn more about the ways colleges and universities can partner with Solomon, contact Beth Hamilton, Higher Education Development Manager, at beth@solomonexamprep.com or 503-601-0212.

Florida Memorial University, InspereX, and Solomon Exam Prep Bring SIE Exam Prep to FMU Students

With sponsorship from InspereX, FMU students will receive the Solomon study materials and exam fee they need to pass the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is pleased to announce a partnership with Florida Memorial University and InspereX to support FMU School of Business students in preparing for and taking the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam. Through this partnership, FMU is offering an SIE Self-Study Program led by Visiting Instructor of Finance and Marketing, Lawrence Goehrig, in Spring 2022.

Thanks to the generosity of InspereX, FMU students will receive the top-of-the-line Solomon SIE Total Study Package. InspereX is also funding the purchase of hardcopy Study Guide upgrades for all students in the program, plus the FINRA SIE Exam fee, which is $80.00 per student.

Solomon Exam Prep President Jeremy Solomon says

“Solomon is honored to work with FMU and InspereX to help prepare students to take the FINRA SIE Exam. The SIE is the foundational exam required for anyone who wants to become licensed to work in the securities industry, and passing the SIE exam will give FMU students a competitive edge in the job market.”

Geared to fit a variety of learning styles, the Solomon SIE Exam Total Package includes the full line of Solomon SIE materials: digital Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture with downloadable slides, and digital Flashcards. Students will also be able to take advantage of free resources and tools, including Solomon Study Schedules and Solomon Pass Probability™ technology. And with access to the Solomon Instructor Admin Portal, Professor Goehrig will be able to monitor his students’ progress to assist them as they study.

Florida Memorial University, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest academic centers in Florida, and is the only historically Black university in southern Florida. The university offers 27 undergraduate degree programs and three master’s programs.

InspereX is a leading fintech transforming how fixed income securities and market-linked products are accessed, evaluated, and traded. The firm has principal offices in Delray Beach, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City.

About Solomon Exam Prep

Founded by Karen Solomon (Ph.D., University of Chicago) and Jeremy Solomon (MBA, Wharton), Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass their securities licensing exams including the SIE, Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82 and 99.

Solomon Exam Prep partners with dozens of colleges and universities to bring the Solomon SIE exam prep program to students across the country. Join institutions such as Florida Memorial University, Pepperdine University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of Delaware, Adelphi University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Seton Hall University, Ohio Dominican University, Georgetown University, Widener University, and University of Dallas in partnering with Solomon.

To learn more about the ways colleges and universities can partner with Solomon, contact Beth Hamilton, Higher Education Development Manager, at beth@solomonexamprep.com or 503-601-0212.

Solo 401(k), SEP, & SIMPLE: Retirement Plans for Small Businesses

Be prepared for questions about SIMPLE, SEP, and solo 401(k) retirement account plans on the FINRA Series 6 and Series 7 exams. Continue reading

If you are studying for the FINRA Series 6 or Series 7 exam, you will need to learn about the different types of retirement plan accounts. A retirement account may be an individual plan that is managed by the participant or the participant’s agent, such as an investment firm or a trust bank. Or it may be employer-sponsored, meaning that it is organized and managed by the participant’s employer.
  
Private employers of any size and structure, from the largest C corporation to a sole proprietorship consisting of a single self-employed individual, may set up and use an employer-sponsored retirement plan. For small business owners, retirement plans offer significant tax advantages and can help attract employees. Since there are several types of retirement plans available for small businesses, it’s important to understand the features of each option. Three plans commonly chosen by small businesses are solo 401(k) plans, SEP plans, and SIMPLE plans.

Solo 401(k) Plans  

A business owner can open a solo 401(k) if the business does not employ anyone else. The owner of the business creates a 401(k) plan much like any other employer. Then, as an employee, the owner opens a 401(k) account within that plan.
 
Both employer and employee contributions can be made in a solo 401(k). The maximum employee contribution is the same as for other 401(k)s. As of 2022, this limit is $20,500 per year, with a catch-up contribution of $6,500 for those aged 50 and above. As an employer, the maximum annual contribution is 25% of what the owner pays herself. The combined annual contribution (employee and employer) cannot exceed $61,000.
 
The business owner is allowed to employ her spouse and still make use of a solo 401(k) plan. The spouse can open their own 401(k) account using the business’s solo 401(k) plan. A solo 401(k) can be created whether the business is set up as a corporation, LLC, or sole proprietorship. Self-employed people who haven’t set up a business can also create a solo 401(k), although their contribution limits are calculated differently.
  
Unlike most employer-sponsored retirement plans, solo 401(k)s do not need to comply with ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act). This is a federal law that requires employers to give employees fair access to the employer’s retirement plan. These concerns do not apply when the business has no other employees.

SEP 

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans are IRA-based retirement plans for any size business but are usually favored by small businesses. Under this type of plan, the business owner can make pre-tax contributions into IRA accounts set up for eligible employees and also for herself if the owner is self-employed.

The plan allows employers to skip contributions in years when business is bad, but if the owner makes a contribution for herself, she must also make contributions for her employees. When contributions are made, they must be made for all participants who actually performed work during the year for which the contributions are made, including those over 72 years of age (the latter feature is unique to the SEP plan). Contributions for all participants generally must be uniform, for example the same percentage of hourly wage.
 
The business owner can make contributions of up to 25% of an employee’s salary, or an annual maximum of $61,000, whichever is less. Only the employer, and not the employee, makes contributions to the SEP IRA, but an employee is always 100% vested in his SEP IRA. Generally, the employer can take an income tax deduction for contributions made to each employee’s SEP. SEP contributions are not included on the employee’s W-2 statement for tax purposes. Rules for withdrawal of funds are generally the same as for any other IRA, meaning that withdrawals are subject to income taxes, and early withdrawals are usually subject to a penalty.

SIMPLE 

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plans are retirement plans for businesses having no more than 100 employees. With a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k), the employee may make pre-tax contributions to the plan. The contribution is expressed as a percentage of the employee’s compensation and is limited to $14,000 a year ($17,000 for employees aged 50 and over). The employer is required to either match these contributions up to 1% to 3% of the employee’s compensation or to contribute 2% whether the employee makes a contribution or not. The employer chooses which type of contribution (and if matching, the maximum percentage it will match). This choice applies to all employees. So an employer who chooses matching contributions is not obligated to contribute 2% to an employee who chooses not to contribute.
 
Any employee who previously earned at least $5,000 during any two years and is reasonably expected to receive at least $5,000 during the current calendar year is eligible to participate in this plan. Unlike the SEP plan, however, premature SIMPLE IRA distributions (withdrawals of account funds) will incur a 25% penalty in the first two years the account exists if made before age 59 1/2.
 
While the SEP plan is discretionary, in that the employer can decide when to fund the plan, funding the SIMPLE IRA plan is mandatory, no matter what kind of year the business had. A SIMPLE 401(k) functions similarly to a SIMPLE IRA. Both have the same contribution limits and are 100% vested from the beginning.

Good to know:

SEP and SIMPLE IRAs have characteristics in common with traditional IRAs. For example, contributions are generally made with pre-tax dollars, must be earned income, and must only be in cash. Taxes on contributions and earnings are deferred until withdrawal, as long as withdrawals occur after the age of 59 1/2. Required minimum distributions (RMDs) must begin the year the participant turns age 72, although the participant may choose to delay the first payment until April 1 of the following year. After that, RMDs must be taken by December 31 each year. Funds can be distributed as a lump sum or in periodic payments. If the account owner fails to withdraw an RMD or the full amount of the RMD before the deadline, the amount not withdrawn is taxed at 50%.

Common Retirement Plans for Small Businesses

Anyone who plans to become a registered representative by passing the Series 6 or Series 7 exam and assist customers with retirement plans must understand the complexity of retirement planning. The Solomon Exam Prep Series 6 Study Guide and Series 7 Study Guide both cover retirement plan accounts so that you can be prepared for questions about this topic on exam day. Visit the Solomon website to explore study materials for 21 different securities exams, including the Series 6 and 7.

Pepperdine University Partners with Solomon on SIE Prep Course

Solomon Exam Prep’s Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam prep materials will be used by students at Pepperdine University this Spring 2022 term. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is thrilled to announce that Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, will be using the Solomon SIE curriculum for a course in the spring 2022 term. This marks the second time Pepperdine has used Solomon SIE materials in one of their courses in the Graziadio Business School, which offers full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs, as well as doctorate, master’s, bachelor’s, joint degrees, and professional development certificate courses. 

The seven-week, in-person class, Contemporary Issues in Business and Management, will be taught by Professor Chris Manfrè, MBA, PhD, and will give students the chance to explore current topics in business and management. Students will be using the Solomon SIE Total Package as their main course material, which includes the digital Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture, and Flashcards. The course will help prepare students to take the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam.

Bring the SIE To Your Campus

Solomon Exam Prep can tailor its SIE curriculum to fit any course, including credit and non-credit courses, as part of a current course such as Finance or Capital Markets, or as a self-study program. The Solomon platform works equally well for in-person, hybrid, and online courses. And no matter what kind of course it is, instructors receive access to the Instructor Portal, class slides, quizzes and exams, a custom study schedule, and QwizBang, Solomon’s interactive game platform.

Solomon Exam Prep partners with dozens of colleges and universities to bring the Solomon SIE exam prep program to students across the country. Join institutions such as Pepperdine University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of Delaware, Adelphi University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Seton Hall University, Ohio Dominican University, Georgetown University, Widener University, and University of Dallas in partnering with Solomon.

To learn more about the ways colleges and universities can partner with Solomon, visit the website or contact Beth Hamilton, Higher Education Development Manager, at beth@solomonexamprep.com or 503-601-0212.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped tens of thousands pass their FINRA, NASAA, MSRB, and NFA licensing exams including the SIE, Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82, and 99.

Pass Probability™ Now Available for the Series 24

If you’re studying for the FINRA Series 24 exam, take the guesswork out of knowing when you’re ready to take your exam with Solomon’s Pass Probability feature. Continue reading

Preparing for a challenging securities licensing exam like the FINRA Series 24, also known as the General Principal Qualification Exam, can be a stressful experience. In particular, determining when you’ve studied enough and are ready to sit for your exam isn’t always easy. How do you know if those weeks of preparation have paid off?  

Pass Probability

With the Solomon Exam Prep Pass Probability™ feature, now available in the Solomon Series 24 Exam Simulator, you don’t have to guess whether you’re truly prepared to sit for the Series 24 exam. Pass Probability™ is Solomon Exam Prep’s innovative AI technology that measures your readiness to pass a securities exam. Pass Probability is based on a mathematical model involving the performance of thousands of Solomon students. A correlation analysis has shown that Pass Probability is highly effective at predicting a student’s likelihood of passing.

Here’s how it works: Once you take five full practice exams in the Solomon Series 24 Exam Simulator, the Pass Probability™ tool is activated. Based on your scores on these five practice exams, the tool calculates the probability that you will pass the real test, with a percentage out of 100. Solomon recommends aiming for a Pass Probability of 75% (80% is even better) before taking your exam.

Remediation Reports  

But if your Pass Probability is below 75%, Solomon can help! Connected to the Pass Probability tool, the Solomon Remediation Report provides an additional level of customized study support. If your Pass Probability is lower than 75%, you will receive an individual report with detailed suggestions on how to focus your study efforts BEFORE taking your exam. The Remediation Report is sent straight to your email and includes the following: 

    • Summary of current study progress
    • Personalized recommendations on areas for growth
    • Study tips for the homestretch
    • Reminders about student support elements

Solomon Pass Probability and Remediation Reports are also available for these exams: SIE, Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, Series 65, Series 66, Series 79, and Series 82.

Used Solomon materials for both the SIE and S7. So grateful to these materials for helping me achieve a passing score on my first attempts of both exams. The study guide and videos were thorough, comprehensive and easy to follow. I found the pie charts extremely useful in helping me identify areas where I needed more study, and was grateful for the Pass Probability feature in giving me a bit of extra confidence before sitting for the exam. I would absolutely recommend all of their materials to anyone taking this journey.

Andrew Nerys, Square Inc., Portland, OR

If you have a current subscription to the Solomon Series 24 Exam Simulator, Pass Probability and Remediation Reporting have been added to your product free of charge. These tools are in addition to the other helpful Exam Simulator features:

    • Huge Question Database: Over 3,500 original Series 24 practice questions with robust rationales that clearly explain why a specific answer is correct
    • Free Updates: Questions updated continually to keep up with regulatory and industry changes
    • Strength Breakdowns: Refine your practice with detailed exam results and self-assessment tools that help you identify areas that require more study
    • Interactive Review: Makes it easy to review the questions you’ve gotten wrong on quizzes and exams
    • Unlimited Quizzes & Exams: 
      ◦ 20-question quizzes based on the FINRA exam sections 
      ◦ 160-question untimed practice exams with immediate answer feedback 
      ◦ 160-question timed practice exams

New to Solomon Exam Prep? Learn more about the Solomon Series 24 Exam Simulator and other study materials available for the Series 24 by visiting the Solomon website here. And click here or the button below to try a free Series 24 sample quiz from the Solomon Exam Simulator!

How to Pass the FINRA Series 7 Exam

What can you do with a Series 7 license? What is the exam like and how should you prepare for it? Solomon answers your top Series 7 questions. Continue reading

What does the Series 7 exam permit me to do?

The Series 7, also known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Exam, was developed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to assess the skills and competency of entry-level registered representatives as general securities representatives. Passing the Series 7 exam qualifies you to solicit, purchase, and/or sell all securities products, including corporate securities, municipal fund securities, options, direct participation programs, investment company products, and variable contracts. As a result of this broad scope, the Series 7 exam is one of the longest and most challenging securities industry exams. The good news, however, is that you will be permitted to perform an impressive range of activities with a Series 7 license. The following are covered activities and products: 

    • Public offerings and/or private placements of corporate securities (stocks and bonds)
    • Rights
    • Warrants
    • Mutual funds
    • Money market funds
    • Unit investment trusts (UITs)
    • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
    • Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
    • Options on mortgage-backed securities
    • Government securities
    • Repos and certificates of accrual on government securities
    • Direct participation programs (DPPs)
    • Venture capital
    • Sale of municipal securities
    • Hedge funds
Do I need to take any other securities licensing exams?

In order to be registered as a general securities representative, you must pass two exams: the Series 7 and the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. While the Series 7 requires you to be hired and sponsored by a FINRA-member firm, the SIE does not. Therefore, even though you can technically take them in either order, it makes sense to take the introductory-level SIE exam before taking the Series 7 exam.

About the Exam

The Series 7 exam consists of 125 scored and 10 un-scored multiple-choice questions covering the four sections of the FINRA Series 7 content outline. The 10 additional un-scored questions are ones that the exam committee is trying out. These are unidentified and are distributed randomly throughout the exam.

Note: Scores are rounded down to the next lowest whole number (e.g. 71.9% would be a final score of 71% – not a passing score for the Series 7 exam).

Topics Covered on the Exam

The questions on the Series 7 exam cover the main job functions of a general securities representative, as determined by FINRA:

FINRA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations. Solomon recommends that you print out the current version of the FINRA Series 7 Content Outline and use it in conjunction with the Solomon Series 7 Study Guide. The Content Outline is subject to change without notice, so make sure you have the most recent version.

Question Types on the Exam

The Series 7 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.

When interest rates go up, what will happen to the price of typical preferred stock?

    1. It will go up.
    2. It will go down.
    3. It will stay the same.
    4. It is unrelated to interest rates, so it is impossible to tell.
Incomplete Sentence Format:

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

The owner of a house with a market value of $450,000 and an assessed value of $300,000, and with an ad valorem tax of 4 mills would pay a property tax of:

    1. $1,800
    2. $1,200
    3. $12,000
    4. $18,000
“EXCEPT” Format:

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

VRDOs may have their rates automatically reset at any of the following frequencies except:

    1. Daily
    2. Weekly
    3. Monthly
    4. Yearly
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.

A Build America Bond may:

    1. Provide a 35% subsidy on the interest as a tax deduction
    2. Reimburse the issuer for 35% of the interest paid to investors
    3. Provide a 35% subsidy on the interest as a tax credit
    4. Provide a 35% subsidy on the interest as an additional interest payment
    1. I or II
    2. I or IV
    3. II and III
    4. III and IV

This format is also used in items that ask you to rank or order a set of items from highest to lowest (or vice versa), or to place a series of events in the proper sequence.

The flow of funds requirement for a municipality with a net revenue pledge usually prioritizes the following funds in which order, going from highest priority to lowest priority?

    1. Debt service fund
    2. Debt service reserve fund
    3. Operations and maintenance fund
    1. I, II, III
    2. III, I, II
    3. II, I, III
    4. III, II, I

Answers: B, B, D, C, B

For an even better idea of the possible question types you might encounter on the Series 7 exam, try Solomon Exam Prep’s free Series 7 Sample Quiz.

Taking the Series 7 Exam

The Series 7 exam can be taken at a Prometric test center or remotely online using Prometric’s ProProctor system. If taking the exam at a test center, you will be given a dry erase pen and whiteboard or a pen and scratch paper, and a basic electronic calculator. You cannot bring notes, paper, or your own calculator. Phones and watches are not permitted either. Due to COVID-19, you are required to wear a mask the whole time you are at the test center. Solomon recommends taking timed practice exams in the Series 7 Exam Simulator while wearing a mask to get used to this added discomfort.

If you’re thinking about taking the test from the comfort of your own home or office with ProProctor, it’s important to be aware of the strict procedures you must follow. See this user guide for complete details. And for a first-hand account of the remote testing experience, read this Solomon blog post.

Test-Taking Tips

Whether you take the exam in person or online, it helps to keep some test-taking strategies in mind. You have an average of slightly more than a minute and a half per question, so don’t spend too long on one question—this may cause you to run out of time and not get to other questions you know. If you don’t know the answer to a question, guess at the answer and “flag” it. You will not be penalized for guessing.

After you have finished all the questions, you can come back to any flagged questions. Not only does this strategy allow you to efficiently answer the ones you know, but it can also help because you might learn something later in the exam that may help you answer an earlier question. Just remember to save enough time to return to the questions you didn’t answer. However, it is not a good idea to simply skip all of the difficult questions with the intention of answering them later. You should make a serious effort to answer each question before moving on to the next one, as your thoughts are often clearer early on in the exam-taking process than they will be later.

How to Study for the Series 7 Exam

Follow Solomon Exam Prep’s proven study system:
    • Read and understand. Read the Solomon Study Guide, carefully. The Series 7 is a knowledge test, not an IQ test. Many students read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam. To increase your ability to focus while reading, or as an alternative to reading, listen to the Solomon Series 7 Audiobook, which is a word-for-word reading of the Study Guide.
    • 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 Series 7 Online 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 Solomon Pass Probability™ score to at least an 80%; when you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the Series 7 exam.
Use these effective study strategies:
    • Take handwritten notes. As you read the 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 them strengthens learning and memory.
    • Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning. Solomon also offers digital flashcards for the Series 7 exam.
    • 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.
    • Become the teacher. Studies show that explaining what you are learning greatly increases your understanding of the material. Ask someone in your life to listen and ask questions. If you don’t have anyone, explain it to yourself. Studies show that helps almost as much as explaining to an actual person (see Solomon’s previous blog post to learn more about this strategy!).
Take advantage of Solomon’s supplemental tools and resources:
    • Use all the resources. The Series 7 Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful study tools, including several documents that summarize important exam concepts. There are also detailed study schedules that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
    • Watch the Video Lecture. This provides a helpful review of the key concepts in each chapter after reading the Solomon Study Guide. Take notes to help yourself stay focused.
  • Good practices while studying:
    • 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 7: exercise, eat well, and avoid activities that will hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

You can pass the FINRA Series 7 Exam! It just takes focus and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you on your path to becoming a general securities representative.

To explore all Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 7 study materials, including product samples, visit the Solomon website here.

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