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The Securities Industry Essentials Exam

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Securities Licensing: About Our Securities Industry Essentials Exam Prep Courses

The FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a requirement to obtaining a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license.

The FINRA SIE exam is basically an introductory-level exam that assesses a candidate's knowledge of basic securities industry information and concepts fundamental to working in the industry, such as types of products and their risks, the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions, and prohibited practices.

Essentially, to obtain a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license, you must pass the Securities Industry Essentials exam PLUS pass the applicable Series exam (now referred to as "Top Off" exams). Passing the SIE exam should make it easier to find a job in the securities industry as you have proven mastery of the essentials, versus the old FINRA rules where you needed to be employed or otherwise sponsored by a FINRA member in order to take the Series 7 exam. More information about the Securities Industry Essentials Exam is provided at the bottom of this page.

What Is On The FINRA SIE Exam?

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) examination consists of 85 multiple-choice questions covering the topics listed below.
  • Knowledge Of Capital Markets

    The first section composes 16 percent — or 12 questions — of your exam. Within it, you'll be tested on content such as:
    • Regulatory entities and agencies such as SEC, SROs and other regulatory bodies and market participants
    • Types of markets and the market structure
    • Business and international economic factors
    • OfferingsSecurities Industry Essentials Exam
  • Understanding Products and Their Risks

    The second section makes up most of the exam. You'll spend 44 percent of your test answering 33 questions about:
    • Products such as hedge funds, exchange-traded products (ETPs), packaged products and more
    • Types of investment risks and strategies for mitigating them
  • Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts, And Prohibited Activities

    This section contains 23 questions, which make up 31 percent of the exam. Content includes:
    • Trade settlements, investment returns and corporate actions
    • Types of customer accounts and their characteristics
    • Compliance considerations
    • Prohibited activities such as market manipulation, insider trading, improper use of customer funds and more
  • Overview Of The Regulatory Framework

    The last section makes up only 9 percent of your exam. You'll answer seven questions about:
    • SRO regulatory requirements
    • Employee conduct
    • Reportable events
FYI: You'll have an hour and 45 minutes to complete your exam. Once completed, you will need to achieve a score of 70 or higher out of 100 to move on to the Top Off.

About The Securities Industry Essentials Exam And Our SIE Exam Prep Classes And Study Materials

SIE And Top-Off Training Options Available In Multiple Formats

TrainingCenter offers FINRA SIE exam prep materials and SIE exam study guides to help you study for and take your The Securities Industry Essentials exam. Each of our SIE exam prep classes and the accompanying study materials contain proven methods to help you to effectively prepare, practice, and pass your SIE exam. Simply click on a 'Recommended Course' below to view the recommended FINRA SIE exam prep materials and SIE exam study guides, or use the search function to find your preferred SIE course.

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Top FAQs

The SIE is an introductory-level exam that assesses a candidate's knowledge of basic securities industry information and concepts fundamental to working in the industry. It is the prerequisite for earning a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license.
The structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions, security products and their risks, and prohibited practices.
The SIE course typically takes 24 hours to complete.
Downloadable and printable training materials, Instructor-led training, and a bunch of sample exams.
You should spend several hours preparing for the SIE exam by both reviewing the materials and taking sample exams.
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About The Securities Industry Essentials: Pre-Requisites And Other Info

The FINRA SIE exam is open to anyone aged 18 or older, including students and prospective candidates interested in demonstrating basic industry knowledge to potential employers. Association with a firm is not required, and individuals are permitted to take the exam before or after associating with a firm.

There are no prerequisites to taking the Securities Industry Essentials Exam, and once you pass your SIE exam, you have one full year to study for and pass your Top Off exam.

The Origin of the SIE Exam

On October 1, 2018, FINRA changed the requirements for earning a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license. Where you used to take one exam for a Series 6 or 7 license, you now have to take a base course titled Securities Industry Essentials, plus a shortened version of the original Series 6 or 7 course.

Why The Change?

The new SIE exam and the changes to the licensing requirements stemmed from a review conducted by FINRA, with the following objectives:
  • Reducing redundancy of subject matter content across the current exams
  • Identifying opportunities to simplify the qualification exam requirement
  • Limiting the impact of any alternative structure on the registration rules
  • Identifying and eliminating outdated registrations
This new format also is arguably designed to draw more people into the financial industry, as prior to the SIE you were required to have a sponsor to take, for example, the Series 7 exam. While you still need a sponsor to take the Series 7 Top Off, passing your SIE exam should make finding a sponsor much easier.

How The SIE Affects Current License Holders

Most individuals who are currently registered would be considered to have passed the SIE exam, and it would remain valid for four years upon leaving the industry.

Additionally, if a currently-licensed representative leaves the industry and:
  • Returns within two years, his or her registration would be regained without the need to take the SIE or top-off exam
  • If between two and four years later, the SIE exam need not be taken again; only the Top Off exam for the registration
  • More than 4 years later, both the SIE and top-off exam would need to be re-taken
Go to for more information from FINRA on the Securities Industry Essentials Exam.