Solomon Exam Prep Named One of the “Best SIE Exam Prep Courses of 2023”

For the second year in a row, Investopedia has chosen Solomon Exam Prep as the “Best Value” SIE Exam Prep Course. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep is proud to have been included on Investopedia’s list of the top six prep courses for the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam. This is the second year in a row that Solomon’s SIE materials have been recognized by Investopedia’s independent review process as among the best available.

In the review, Investopedia named Solomon’s SIE exam prep as the “best value” of the many vendors that provide SIE prep courses. They highlighted the fact that Solomon materials are affordable, and that they offer the flexibility of purchasing study products individually or in packages. As a result, students can customize their learning plan to fit their preferences. And if someone opts for a package option, there are generous discounts.

Solomon Exam Prep offers the following study products for the SIE: digital and hardcopy study guide, exam simulator, video lecture, audiobook, flashcards, and live web classes. There are four packages, which combine the study guide, exam simulator, and one or more additional products. All Solomon SIE materials include access to professor support and free resource materials. To learn more about Solomon’s SIE exam prep materials, visit the Solomon SIE page.

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FAQs for the Securities Industry Essentials – SIE Exam

The FINRA SIE exam is required for many careers in the securities industry. We cover all your frequently-asked-questions about the SIE. Continue reading

Updated May 20, 2022

The FINRA SIE Exam is a foundational exam required for many career paths in the finance and securities industries. But you probably have some questions about the SIE, such as what the exam covers and if you need to take it. We compiled answers to the most frequently-asked-questions about the SIE to help.

  • When did the SIE exam begin?

    October 1, 2018

  • What does the SIE exam test?

    The SIE exam tests fundamental securities-related knowledge. This includes knowledge of basic products, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. It also tests securities industry rules and regulations.

    FINRA has outlined the SIE exam content and categorized it into four "functions" or categories:

SIE exam topics
  • Do I need to be employed or sponsored to take the SIE exam?

    No, unlike other FINRA licensing exams, you do not need to be employed or sponsored by a broker-dealer to take the SIE exam.

  • Do I need to take the SIE before other licensing exams?

    Not necessarily. The SIE is a corequisite for the representative-level "top off" exams and the MSRB Series 52. You may take your top-off exam before the SIE, but you must pass both in order to become a registered representative. Most municipal and NASAA exams do not require the SIE (with the exception of the Series 52). Finally, if you passed a representative-level exam on or before October 1st, 2018, you do not need to take the SIE exam.

  • What is a Top-off exam? Can I take it with the SIE?

    The SIE covers basic or essential securities industry knowledge. When FINRA introduced the SIE, they also introduced new, shorter versions of their specialized representative-level exams (such as the Series 7, Series 6 or Series 79). These exams “top-off” your knowledge of the industry with more specific information based on which one you take, thus the name “top-off exam."

    You may choose to study for your SIE and top-off exam simultaneously, and even take them on the same day. However, most people take the SIE first and then take a top-off. For those taking the SIE and a top-off exam, see discounted Solomon Exam Prep Top-Off bundles here.

  • Does the SIE make me a "registered representative?"

    No. In order to be a registered representative, in addition to passing the SIE exam, you must get hired by a broker-dealer. Your employer must then sponsor you to take a representative-level qualifying exam, also known as a top-off exam, such as the Series 6, Series 7, or Series 79. Once you pass a top-off exam, you will be registered with FINRA and then be considered a registered representative.

Who Needs to Take the SIE

  • If I was registered before the SIE started to be required, do I have to take it?

    No. If you were a registered representative before October 1, 2018, and you have maintained your registration after October 1, 2018, FINRA has credited you with the SIE automatically.

  • If I was once a registered representative but my registration lapsed, do I have to take the SIE to re-enter the securities industry?

    If your registration lapses, you can be outside the industry for up to four years before you would need to take the SIE. In other words, you will not have to take the SIE, provided you register as a representative within four years from the date of your last registration. After four years pass, you would need to take the SIE before reentering the industry. For example, if you left the industry on October 31, 2018, you have until October 31, 2022, to become registered again before you would need to take the SIE.

    However, a two-year timeline applies to the top-off exams, such as the Series 6 or Series 7. In other words, after two years outside the industry, if you want to become registered again, you will have to retake the top-off exam.

  • What if my registration lapsed or terminated before October 1, 2014?

    In order to get re-registered, you will have to pass the SIE and any relevant top-off exam, such as the Series 6 or Series 7.

  • If I am registered in an exam license that has been retired by FINRA, do I have to take the SIE exam?

    If you are registered in an exam license that FINRA has retired, such as the Series 11, Series 62, Series 42, or Series 72, you will not have to take the SIE. You will only have to take the SIE if you left the industry for more than two years and your license expired.

    If you return to the industry within two years, you will not have to take the SIE. 

  • If I want to become a municipal securities representative, is the SIE required?

    Yes. The MSRB (Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board) has coordinated its licensing exams with the SIE. To become a Municipal Securities Representative, you will need to take both the SIE and the “top-off” Series 52 exam.

  • If I have a representative-level securities license (such as Series 6 or Series 7) and I want to get another one (such as Series 79 or Series 82), do I have to take the SIE?

    No. If your registration has not lapsed, you don't need to take the SIE to get another representative level license.

  • Do I need the SIE to sell variable annuities?

    Yes, you must take the SIE, as well as a representative level exam (such as the Series 6) to sell variable annuities. You must also be employed by a registered broker-dealer.

Preparing for the SIE Exam

  • How long should I prepare for the SIE exam?

    Solomon recommends studying for 60 hours. Depending on your timeframe, you can choose a 4, 6, 8, or 11-week Solomon study schedule.

  • How do I prepare for the SIE exam?

    Solomon offers a complete SIE study program, which includes digital Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture, Flashcards, and Live Web Classes. Visit the Solomon SIE page to learn more.

Signing Up for the SIE Exam

  • How do I enroll to take the SIE?

    To enroll for the SIE Exam, follow the instructions on the FINRA website.

  • Where should I go to schedule my exam?

    After you enroll with FINRA to take the SIE exam, you must then schedule a time to sit for the exam with Prometric, FINRA’s testing service. Prometric offers online or in person exam appointments.

  • Does the 120-day "exam window" apply to the SIE?

    Yes. Like other licensing exams, FINRA gives you a 120-day window within which to schedule your SIE exam.

  • If I work at a FINRA broker-dealer, how do I enroll someone to take the SIE exam?

    FINRA member firms have two options for registering an employee:

    1. File Form U4 requesting a registration position. When a person takes the SIE this way, the result will be visible in CRD (Central Registration Depository) just like any other exam.
    2. Request the SIE through CRD via a non-Form U4 enrollment process. The firm will be able to view the SIE result as part of this process if the firm subsequently files a Form U4 requesting a registration position for this person. Once this happens, the SIE result will become viewable in the Exam History section in CRD.

Taking the SIE Exam

  • Who can take the SIE exam?

    Anyone 18 years and older can take the SIE.

  • How is the exam administered?

    The exam is administered by computer, either remotely or in a testing center.

  • How much does it cost to take the SIE?

    The SIE costs $80 at the time of this writing.

  • Do I need any materials on test day?

    You don't need to bring any materials on test day apart from the required forms of identification. A calculator is provided on the testing application, as well as a virtual “notepad” for you to jot things down. If you are testing remotely, this notepad does not carry over from one question to another, and you must input your entries on your keyboard. If you are testing in person, they will provide you with a physical notepad as well.

  • How many questions are there on the SIE exam?

    There are 75 scored questions and 10 unscored questions, for a total of 85 questions.

  • How much time do I have to take the exam?

    You have 105 minutes to take the exam.

  • Can I skip between questions on the exam?

    If you choose to take the exam in a testing center, you can navigate back and forth between questions. That means you can go back to a question if you want to change your answer. If you take the exam remotely, you are unable to go back.

  • What are my options to take the SIE with COVID-19 precautions?

    Prometric launched their service ProProctor in June 2020, which allows exam takers to sit for certain exams online. There are many anti-cheating regulations that FINRA requires, so consult Prometric’s ProProctor Info, or our blog post on the process to see how it works. 

    When taking an exam in person at a Prometric testing center, there may be certain safety precautions in place. Consult this page on Prometric’s website to see their updates.

  • Will there be other students present at the exam?

    If you are testing in a testing center, there may be other individuals taking their exam while you take yours. Prometric has taken steps to assure that COVID-19 regulations are followed in this case.

  • Can I take the SIE and a representative-level exam on the same day?

    Yes, but you must schedule each exam separately.

SIE Exam Results

  • What is a passing score on the SIE exam?

    You must get 70% or higher to pass.

  • When do I receive my score on the SIE exam?

    The Prometric system will immediately notify you after you finish your exam. If you pass, the system will just say "pass." You will only receive your specific score if you don't pass the exam.

    If you take the exam in person at a testing center, you will receive a printed confirmation of your result. If you take the exam remotely using ProProctor, you will receive an encrypted email with your SIE pass results.

  • How long is a passing score on the SIE valid?

    Your SIE exam score is valid for four years from the date you pass.

  • If I fail the SIE, can I take it again?

    Yes. If you fail the SIE, you are permitted to retake it, but you have to wait 30 days. FINRA maintains a 30/30/180-day rule with respect to the SIE, as well as all other exams. This means that you must wait 30 days after the first time you fail, and another 30 days if you fail again. If you fail a third time, you will have to wait 180 days to retake the exam.

  • Am I able to find out whether a job candidate or any individual passed the SIE?

    The SIE alone does not appear on FINRA BrokerCheck or CRD. However, once a firm files a U4, it will be pulled into the individual’s CRD history. Also, once an individual passes a representative-level exam, the SIE will appear in BrokerCheck.

Looking for study materials for the SIE exam? Solomon Exam Prep offers a complete SIE study system. Choose from a variety of materials to help you prepare: Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture, digital Flashcards, and Live Web Classes. Visit the Solomon SIE product page to learn more.