License Requirements

Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Requirements

How to Meet the SIE Requirements

The SIE is an introductory-level exam that tests knowledge on basic securities industry concepts. This exam is developed, maintained, and administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Passing the SIE does not qualify you for registration with FINRA or to be engaged in the securities industry. You must pass both the SIE exam and the appropriate representative level exam, such as the Series 6 or Series 7, to be registered with a member firm. There is no required order to take these exams, and they can even be taken on the same day. You will not become a registered representative until both exams are passed and all other requirements relating to registration have been satisfied. 

If you already have a sponsoring firm, talk to your firm to help determine which representative level exam you should take. You are required to have a sponsoring firm to be eligible to take the Series 6 or Series 7 exam.

You are not required to have a sponsoring firm to take the SIE exam. The SIE results are valid for 4 years from the date the exam is passed, so you have time to find a sponsor and explore your options. For additional help in determining the registration that you need, you can consult the Permitted Activities of Registered Representative’s page.

1. Complete an Exam Prep Course

To prepare for the SIE exam, we recommend you take a prelicensing exam preparation course. A.D. Banker offers prelicensing courses that will prepare you to successfully pass your licensing exam on your first attempt. Online courses include videos, practice exams, audio, activities, and key facts. They can be supplemented with flashcards, study manuals, and web classes.

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SIE Testable Topics

The knowledge required to pass the SIE exam includes basic characteristics of securities markets, stocks, bonds, options, investment company products, pooled investments, the economy, customer accounts, trading orders, suitability, and prohibited practices. The content also includes but is not limited to rules and regulations under The Securities Act of 1933, The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, The Investment Company Act of 1940, and The Investment Adviser Act of 1940. The A.D. Banker Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Online Course  covers all testable information you need to study to pass the exam.

The FINRA SIE content outline provides a comprehensive list of testable topics.

2. Schedule Your Licensing Exam

In order to enroll for the SIE exam through a sponsoring FINRA member firm, your firm must file a Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer, also known as the U4, via FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD) system. You will also be required to provide your Social Security number and submit fingerprints.

Once you are enrolled and eligible to take the exam, FINRA will issue a CRD number and open a 120-day window in which to schedule an appointment with Prometric to take and pass your exam.

If you are not sponsored by a FINRA firm, you must follow the self-enrollment procedures as an individual. This will require you to create an account with FINRA, enroll, and pay for the SIE exam.The cost of the SIE exam is $80.  

You will schedule an appointment to take the SIE exam through Prometric. You have the option of taking the exam either at a Prometric test center or online. You can schedule an appointment to take the exam at a local test center through Prometric or by calling (800) 578-6273. 

To schedule to take the exam remotely, you will first need to make sure you can meet the technical and procedural requirements for online testing. This includes downloading and installing the ProProctor application from the Prometric website and performing a system check. Once it is determined that you are able to meet the requirements, you can schedule an appointment to take the exam online through Prometric by selecting the online appointment link.

Upon scheduling your exam, you will need to provide:

  • Your name and FINRA ID # or assigned unique ID number
  • The exam name or identifying series ID (SIE)
  • A telephone number for you or your employer
  • An email address where they can send the appointment confirmation

Once you have scheduled your exam, you will receive an email from the testing provider with the schedule date and time, the test center location (if applicable), and the test-day procedures.

3. Pass a Licensing Exam

The SIE exam consists of 85 multiple-choice questions, of which 75 questions are scorable. These 10 additional questions are “pretest” questions that are randomly distributed throughout the exam and do not count for or against your score. Once these questions have sufficient statistics to be considered valid questions, they will be added to the testing provider’s pool of scored questions. As a test taker, you will never know which questions are pretest and must answer all questions to complete the exam, so you should treat every question as if it counts. Candidates will be given 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam and must correctly answer at least 70% of the 75 scorable questions to pass. 

Testing Procedures 

On the day of the exam, you will be required to provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID to be admitted to the exam.

If you are taking your exam online:

  • Check in to your online appointment 30 minutes before your scheduled time to complete the check-in process
  • Use a wired internet connection and make sure your computer is plugged into a power source
  • Show a 360-degree view of your workstation and surrounding environment using a movable or embedded computer camera
  • Agree and abide by Prometric’s Security Guideline provided in the ProProctor User Guide
  • Agree and sign the FINRA Qualification Examination Rules of Conduct 
  • Access Prometric’s ProProctor site to launch your exam
  • You will have access to an onscreen calculator and a virtual notepad

If you are taking your exam at a test center:

  • Arrive 30 minutes before your appointment
  • You will be required to sign in and agree to the FINRA Qualifications Examinations Rules of Conduct 
  • The center takes a photo of you and/or collects your biometric info (thumb/palm print)
  • At the beginning of your appointment, you will have 30-minutes to take a tutorial to familiarize yourself with the exam format
  • No personal items will be allowed in the testing area. All personal items must be placed in the center-provided storage prior to entrance.
  • Personal calculators are not allowed; the testing center will provide a calculator for you to use

Exam Results

Upon completing your remote exam, you will receive your unofficial pass or fail notification on screen. Within 3 business days, official test results will be posted to FINRA’s systems. Upon completing your exam at a test center, you will receive your results on the computer screen after you complete your exam, and you will also receive a printed copy of your pass/fail results report.

Candidates must wait 30 days after a first failed exam attempt and 30 days after a second failed attempt before retaking the exam. After a third failed attempt, as well as any attempts after that, the waiting period is 180 days

We’re Here to Help

Our goal is to prepare you for your licensing exam, and then guide you through your career as a financial services professional. After you become a registered representative in the securities industry, you may decide to further your career by obtaining one or more insurance or securities licenses.

Once you begin the process of becoming a licensed financial services professional, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get started today by reviewing our prelicensing course catalog.

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