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Securities Test Taking Tips and Strategy

Applies to: Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) | Series 6 | Series 7 | Series 9/10 | Series 24 | Series 63 | Series 65 | Series 66

You’ve put in a good amount of time and effort preparing to sit for your FINRA exam. Now, it is important to get the results you deserve. You’ll want to beat both your anxiety and the test itself. This is where testing strategy can make the difference between coming up short or passing your exam and moving on with your career. Here are some test taking tips to ensure that you end up on the passing side:

  1. Read the body of the question carefully. If it’s a particularly long question, it can be helpful to read the last sentence first. This is where the question is posed and knowing what is being asked can help you to better process information in the question.

  2. Before reading the answers, pause a moment. Do you know the answer? This can help to eliminate answer choices and save time finding the correct answer.

  3. Always read ALL the answer choices before selecting an answer. Even if you believe an answer choice is correct, there may be a better answer. Remember, your job is to pick the best answer choice of the four.

  4. If you’re not certain of the correct answer, eliminate the easy throw-aways; there are usually one or two answer choices that can obviously be eliminated. Carefully reread the remaining answer choices to understand the difference. Then, reread the question to see if there is something that you might have missed that indicates one of the choices as better than the other(s). Remember, there must be something in the question that makes one answer the obvious choice…it’s your job to find it. But, if you can’t, don’t stress. Make your best guess and move on. Remember, you don’t need to get all the questions right to be successful. You can get one out of every four questions wrong and still pass the test. Take a deep breath and bring your best to the next question.

  5. Once you’ve invested this much time in a question, don’t change your answers. More often than not, your first choice is better than second guessing yourself. Unless you’re 100% certain that what you answered was wrong, trust your gut!

  6. As you work through your exam, keep calm. Remember that each exam contains beta questions that FINRA is testing for possible future inclusion in the test databank. These questions won’t count for you if you get them right, and they won’t count against you if you get them wrong. If you come across a question that you have no idea of what the answer might be, there is a good chance that it is one of these beta questions and that it won’t even count. Read the question carefully, eliminate the trash answers, make your best guess and move on to the next question.

You’ve done the work; you’ve put in the studies; the best thing you can do now is get a good night’s sleep. Show up for your test well-rested and confident that your preparations will lead you to success!

Let us know how you do!


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