The Power of Explaining: A Study Strategy Backed by Research

If you’re studying for the Series 65, Series 7, or another securities licensing exam, try this evidence-based study strategy. Continue reading

Solomon Exam Prep’s learning system is built on understanding how people learn. Solomon Exam Prep is always looking for new ways to help our students.  

Research from Dr. Tania Lombrozo of UC Berkeley, published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science, shows that explaining a new concept to another person is an enormously helpful learning technique. When you explain an unfamiliar concept to another person, your brain makes crucial learning connections. However, many people do not have a person around them that is ready to listen to their new knowledge. Thus, Dr. Lombrozo recommends self-explanation, which is the practice of explaining concepts to yourself in order to better understand them.

Why does explaining work?

Dr. Lombrozo found that the positive effects of self-explanation can be attributed to the generalization process. Explaining requires you to put new information in the context of “prior beliefs,” which makes you generalize the information. In doing so, you are forced to pick out what is most necessary for understanding the concept. In thinking about how to explain something, you in fact learn more about the thing itself!  

Dr. Lombrozo describes an experiment by psychologists Amsterlaw and Wellman that demonstrates the power of explaining in understanding. In Amsterlaw and Wellman’s experiment, they administered logic tests to children under various conditions. During the course of the experiment, the children were split into groups. One group would answer, and then they would be asked to explain the correct answer once it was revealed. A comparison group did the same, but only for half the problems. The third group was a control group and gave no explanation at all. According to Amsterlaw and Wellman, “children in the explanation condition significantly outperformed the comparison and control groups….” In other words, explaining increases understanding.

How to use this strategy for licensing exams:

What does this mean if you’re studying for the Series 65 or the Series 7 or some other securities licensing exam? Solomon Exam Prep suggests finding someone in your life who will listen to you explain topics from your securities exam prep. The person you choose does not need to have any knowledge of securities. The person just needs to be a good listener; even better, someone who will ask questions. What if you don’t have anyone who can do that for you? Well, as Dr. Lombrozo showed, the practice of self-explanation is also helpful and will increase your understanding of the material you are trying to learn.

Other recommended Solomon study strategies include:  
  • Listen to the Solomon audiobook while you read the Solomon study guide.   
  • As you read the Solomon study guide and watch the Solomon video lectures, take notes by hand.
  • When practicing in the Solomon exam simulator, read and re-read the question at least twice. 
  • If you answer a question correctly, explain to yourself why it was correct before reading the question rationale.  
  • If you answer a question incorrectly, read the rationale carefully. Explain to yourself what the right answer is, and why. Write down the explanation in your notes. 
  • Study with a partner. Trade off testing each other on concepts and asking for an explanation.  

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass their securities licensing exams, including the SIE and the 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 SIE Practice Exam Now Available!

Meet the newest addition to Solomon Exam Prep’s lineup of free Sample Quizzes: the SIE Sample Exam! Visit the Solomon website to try it out. Continue reading

Meet the newest addition to Solomon Exam Prep’s lineup of free Sample Quizzes: the SIE Sample Exam! Like all Solomon Sample Quizzes, the SIE Sample Exam features questions from our industry-leading Online Exam Simulator. Questions are written by Solomon content experts, who are experienced in both investment education and the process of adult learning. 

But unlike other Solomon Sample Quizzes, the SIE Sample Exam is a FULL exam – it contains 75 questions, just like the real FINRA SIE exam – giving you an even better idea of what the actual exam is like. You will encounter easy, medium, and difficult questions so that you can more easily gauge your current knowledge of SIE content. 

All Solomon Sample Quizzes and Exams also provide instant feedback for each answer, with a full rationale to help you understand the WHY behind the what. Plus, you get a report at the end detailing your results and giving you the opportunity to review all the questions. 

Visit the Solomon website here to try out the SIE Sample Exam and explore free samples of quizzes for 21 different exams.

Solomon Study Question of the Month for April

This month’s study question from the Solomon Exam Prep Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Continue reading

Study Question

This month’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available.

*** Comment below or submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card.***

This question is relevant to the SIE and the Series 7, 14, 50, 52, and 54.

Question: A Municipal Finance Professional (MFP) hosted a $500 plate fundraiser for a governmental issuer. Does this event trigger a ban on business for two years?

A. Yes, it will trigger a ban because an MFP may not host a fundraiser.

B. Yes, it will trigger a ban because the cost per plate is above the de minimis amount.

C. No, it will not trigger a ban because the MFP did not contribute money, only time and space.

D. No, it will not trigger a ban because the MFP was holding the fundraiser, not the municipal dealer.


To explore free samples of Solomon Exam Prep’s industry-leading online exam simulators for the SIE, Series 7, Series 14, Series 50, Series 52, Series 54, and other FINRA, MSRB, NASAA, and NFA exams, visit the Solomon website here.

March Study Question of the Month

This month’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available. Continue reading

This month’s study question from the Solomon Online Exam Simulator question database is now available.

***Comment below or submit your answer to info@solomonexamprep.com to be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card.***

This question is relevant to the Series 14, 79, 82, and SIE exams.

Question:

A research analyst who works for an underwriter that participated in an IPO may not publicly discuss or write a research report about the company until __________________.

Answer Choices:

A. 30 days after the registration is filed 

B. 20 days after the securities are issued

C. 10 days after the date of the IPO

D. 30 days after the date of the IPO

Correct Answer: C – 10 days after the date of the IPO

Explanation: A research analyst who works for an underwriter of an IPO must not discuss or write a research report about the company for 10 days after the IPO.  This 10-day period of silence is called a ‘quiet period.’ There is no quiet period for EGCs (emerging growth companies). 


To explore free samples of Solomon Exam Prep’s industry-leading online exam simulators for the SIE, Series 14, Series 79, Series 82, and many more exams, visit the Solomon website here.

How I Passed the SIE Exam

Read our interview with Dominic Mamrega, a finance major at High Point University, who passed the SIE exam with Solomon’s self-study program. Continue reading

Dominic Mamrega, a senior at High Point University, passed the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials exam!

Dominic Mamrega is a finance major at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. Dominic studied for the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam in a self-study program using Solomon Exam Prep SIE materials. We interviewed Dominic after he passed the exam.

Solomon Exam Prep: Why did you decide to study finance and what is your dream job?

Dominic: I decided to study finance because growing up as a triplet my parents taught me the value of a dollar and how to properly save your money. It wasn’t easy for my parents, they had to buy three of everything. My father is great with numbers and taught me how to properly manage my money. My dream job has always been as a financial advisor/planner. There are many people who need financial help and I wanted to make a change.

Solomon Exam Prep: Why did you decide to take the SIE exam?

Dominic: I decided to take my SIE for two reasons. The first reason was I wanted to have an edge when applying to jobs and get ahead of the pack. The other reason I decided to take the SIE was I have a good friend who recently graduated HPU who is also in the field of finance and told me to get the ball rolling in order to land a job when I graduate in May 2021.

Solomon Exam Prep: Where do you work now and how did you get there?

Dominic: My current job is on campus working in the IT department which isn’t that exciting, and I got there by applying to every job on campus and waiting to hear back from one. My upcoming job when I graduate will be with Allied Wealth Partners as a Financial Advisor. I got there by looking at LinkedIn daily for job postings and applying to every single one. I went through the interview process with a few firms and had a great connection with Allied.

Solomon Exam Prep: How has the SIE helped you in your current job?

Dominic: The SIE has helped me land my current job because it showed Allied that I am eager and want to go in the field as fast as I can.

“Yes, I would recommend the Solomon SIE course to other students because you are still able to handle the studying time while staying on top of your classwork.”

Solomon Exam Prep: How did you find Solomon Exam Prep? 

Dominic: I chose Solomon when Professor James mentioned it to me in class one day. After I investigated it and when HPU had a discount code it was a no-brainer.

Solomon Exam Prep: What do you like about Solomon Exam Prep?

Dominic: There are many things I like about Solomon. The first one being the app that is for the phone and knowing I can study anywhere and anytime with ease. Throughout the day I will just take a quiz or read up on something. I like how the material is broken down with simple day-to-day tasks that do not overwhelm me. The ability to ask the professor and the quick response times you have. Finally, I enjoy the exam breakdowns and telling me where I should study more.

Solomon Exam Prep: What did you like about the Solomon Exam Prep SIE products?

Dominic: I enjoyed the website and how easy it is to navigate and go back to sections that I was struggling with. I enjoy the highlight feature that saves to a doc that I can print out and study from.

Solomon Exam Prep: Would you recommend the Solomon SIE course to other students? If yes, why?

Dominic: Yes, I would recommend the Solomon SIE course to other students because you are still able to handle the studying time while staying on top of your classwork.

Solomon Exam Prep: What other exams do you plan to take with Solomon?

Dominic: I am currently studying for Series 7 with Solomon and I will be taking that exam in late March. After that, I will be taking Series 66 with Solomon, and if all goes to plan that will be on June 1st.


For more information about Solomon Exam Prep’s compelling SIE program and the advantages for your students, contact Beth Hamilton at Beth@SolomonExamPrep.com or call 503-601-0212.

You can also learn more on the Solomon website Colleges page.

Solomon partners with Claflin University & Lincoln Financial Advisors to offer SIE class

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.

Testing integrity in times of COVID-19

Test candidates are bound by guidelines that prohibit cheating or using any unfair means during the exam. Continue reading

On July 13, 2020, FINRA and NASAA responded to the pandemic testing challenge posed by in-person test centers with Prometric’s ProProctor, an online testing service, for certain qualifications exams. The exams for which online testing is permitted are the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), Series 6, Series 7 and the NASAA Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 exams. Read more about the announcement here

Curious about what the ProProctor online testing experience looks like? Click here to find out.

It is interesting to note that although the exams are proctored remotely, candidates are still bound by guidelines that prohibit cheating or using any unfair means during the exam. The checks that have been put in place especially for remote testing are as follows:

  • Candidates are required to provide a 360° view of his/her workstations and surrounding environment;
  • A camera (external or embedded) is required during the course of the exam. If an embedded camera is used, a large free-standing mirror is also required in order to reflect unseen areas;
  • Candidates are asked to participate in a visual person check (including a sleeve, pocket and glasses check);
  • While the exam is in progress, candidates are prohibited from leaving, moving out of or obstructing the camera view while the exam is in progress without prior authorization from the proctor; and
  • Additional requirements that are listed in the ProProctor User Guide.

Warning: a candidate found cheating in an online test will be subject to the same disciplinary actions that he/she would be subject to in a physical test, and if found guilty, can be permanently barred from the broker-dealer industry.

Know What to Expect: Testing Online with ProProctor from Prometric

FINRA partner Prometric has developed ProProctor for online, remote test taking. Here are some takeaways about the process. Continue reading

Lucas Rumpeltes of Solomon Exam Prep passed the SIE Exam with ProProctor

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.

16 Study-From-Home Tips From Solomon Exam Prep

Get both general home-study tips and specific home-study tips for securities exams. Continue reading

GENERAL HOME-STUDY TIPS

  • Find a quiet place that you feel comfortable in – try to study in this same place every day
  • Unless you’re using your phone to study with, put the phone in another room.
  • Wake up early – getting started is the hardest part, and starting in the morning will make studying easier. You will get in several hours before you know it.
  • Make small goals.
  • Reward yourself – try to get up and walk around at least every 30 minutes. This will rest your eyes and mind.
  • If you start to feel anxious – take a deep breath, counting to four as you inhale, then slowly exhale, counting to seven as you exhale. Repeat. This will lower your anxiety. This is a good strategy to use before your exam.
  • Ask for help being accountable: find someone in your life to query you every day about what you have accomplished.
  • Go for a walk in a natural or green setting.  Studies show that your mind relaxes and you remember more if you take regular walks in a natural or green setting. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep – try to go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time. 

SPECIFIC HOME-STUDY TIPS FOR SECURITIES EXAMS

  • Read the Solomon Study Guide. Remember: the number one reason people fail their securities exam is they didn’t read the Study Guide.
  • If you’re having trouble reading the Study Guide, listen to the Solomon Audio Guide while you read the Study Guide.  
  • Read Exam Notes in the Resources folder.
  • If you don’t understand a question or concept, email Solomon’s Ask the Professor.
  • If you’re having trouble with something, create note cards and try to teach it to someone else. Becoming the teacher is the most effective tool to learn something you find challenging or difficult.
  • After reading the Solomon Study Guide, take at least six practice exams in the Solomon Exam Simulator.  
  • Use Interactive Review to review the Exam Simulator questions you get incorrect.

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass the SIE and the Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82 and 99.  For more information, go to www.SolomonExamPrep.Com or call 503.601.0212.

Solomon Exam Prep and NASA launch SIE mission to Mars

In preparation for the October 1 launch of the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, Solomon Exam Prep teamed with NASA to send Solomon SIE exam study materials to the Red Planet. Continue reading

In preparation for the October 1 launch of the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, Solomon Exam Prep teamed with NASA to send Solomon SIE exam study materials to the Red Planet.

Unlike other FINRA securities licensing exams, the SIE exam will be open to anyone 18 years or older who is interested in the securities industry. FINRA has not publicly stated whether Martians will be permitted to take the SIE exam but since FINRA is dedicated to “investor protection” and to promoting “market integrity” Solomon takes the position that investors and markets on other planets can benefit from securities education, and the SIE in particular. Solomon has helped thousands of earthlings pass their Series 7, Series 6, Series 65, Series 63, Series 24, Series 50, Series 79 and other securities licensing exams.

Elon Musk has not responded to the news of the joint NASA/Solomon Exam Prep mission.