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SIE Exam 101

If you’re looking to take your first stepping-stone into the industry, the SIE Exam is your bridge to get there. Packed full of information and materials that are designed to give prospective industry professionals and edge over their colleagues, this 85-question quiz will help you to understand basic fundamentals of the markets and their functions.

If you’re new to the SIE Exam, keep reading. We’re going to break down what the SIE Exam is, it’s difficulty level, and the best ways to study for the SIE Exam.

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The Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam is a FINRA exam for prospective securities industry professionals and is designed to assess your knowledge of introductory concepts, including products and their risks, industry market structure, and regulatory agencies.

What is the SIE Exam?

So, what is the SIE Exam?

The Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam is a FINRA exam for prospective securities industry professionals and is designed to assess your knowledge of introductory concepts, including products and their risks, industry market structure, and regulatory agencies.

While passing the SIE Exam doesn’t qualify an individual to engage in securities or register with a FINRA member, it does offer a number of important benefits, including:

    • Ability to set yourself apart from peers looking for similar jobs or internships
    • Jumpstarting career goals
    • Increased marketability in the industry
    • Provide immediate notice of pass/fail status with feedback

After passing the SIE Exam, you can then register with a member of FINRA and begin to explore a qualification exam for the type of business you wish to engage in. (see below)

SIE Exam Basics

SIE Exam Content Outline


How Hard is the SIE Exam?

The level of difficulty for the SIE Exam will vary for each individual. It is largely dependent on current knowledge of the financial service industry.

If you’re currently enrolled in an education program relating to the industry, it will be less challenging than for those going into the test without any prior preparation.

No matter your skill level, it’s highly recommended to study up to six months ahead of time using a qualified SIE Exam preparation course. Pass Perfect offers three distinct prep packages utilizing everything from study guides and interactive dashboards, to audio tutorials and chapter exams.

For more information of Pass Perfect’s SIE Exam prep course options, check out our informative SIE Exam guide.

What are the Best Jobs to get after the SIE Exam?

Passing the SIE Exam is a smart idea If you’re looking for a career opportunity within the financial industry. While you aren’t eligible to engage in securities with only a SIE Exam qualification, it is an important stepping stone into a career in finance, securities, research, operations, and more.

After passing the SIE Exam, it’s time to take a qualification, or “top-off” exam, which will allow individuals to engage in securities activities. An employer sponsor, as well as a member of FINRA, will advise you on which exam to take.

Here are the best careers to get from the SIE Exam and their adjoining top-off exams that are offered for each particular qualification.  

Series 6 - Investment Company Representative

After taking the SIE Exam, becoming an investment company representative is a smart career choice. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 6 – Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 6 exam is then qualified to solicitate, purchase, or sell the following securities products:

            • Mutual Funds
            • Variable Annuities
            • Variable Life Insurance
            • Unit Investment Trusts
            • Municipal Fund Securities

Series 7 - General Securities Representative

With a SIE Exam qualification, becoming a general securities representative is a great option. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 7 – General Securities Representative Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 7 exam is then qualified to solicitate, purchase, or sell the following securities products:

            • Corporate Securities
            • Municipal Fund Securities
            • Options
            • Direct Participation Programs
            • Investment Company Products
            • Variable Contracts

Series 22 - Direct Participation Program Representative

Passing the SIE Exam offers the opportunity for individuals to become a direct participation program representative. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 22 – Direct Participation Programs Representative Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 22 exam is then qualified to cover activities and products, including:

            • Direct Participation Programs
            • Limited Partnerships
            • Limited Liability Companies
            • S Corporations

Series 57 - Securities Trader

After taking the SIE Exam, becoming a securities trader representative is a wise career choice. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 57 – Securities Trader Representative Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 57 exam is then qualified to cover activities and products, including:

            • NASDAQ Equity Trading
            • OTC Equity Trading
            • Proprietary Trading

Series 79 - Investment Banking Representative

With a SIE Exam qualification, becoming an investment baking representative is a fantastic option. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 79 – Investment Banking Representative Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 79 exam is then qualified to advise and facilitate the following:

            • Debt and Equity Offerings
            • Mergers and Acquisitions
            • Tender Offers
            • Financial Restructurings
            • Asset Sales
            • Divestitures or Other Corporate Reorganizations
            • Business Combination Transactions

Series 82 - Private Securities Offerings Representative

Passing the SIE Exam offers the opportunity for individuals to become a private securities offerings representative. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 82 – Private Securities Offerings Representative Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 82 exam is then qualified to solicitate and sell private placements securities products as part of a primary offering.

Series 86 and 87 - Research Analyst

After taking the SIE Exam, becoming a securities trader representative is an excellent career choice. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 86 and 87 – Research Analyst Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 86 and 87 exams is then qualified to cover activities including preparation of written or electronic communications that analyze equity securities companies and industry sectors.

Series 99 - Operations Professional

With a SIE Exam qualification, becoming an operations professional is an exceptional option. Individuals who want to go down this path need to take the Series 99 – Operations Professional Exam.

An individual who passes the Series 99 exam is then qualified to advise and facilitate the following:

            • Customer On-Boarding
            • Collection, Maintenance, Reinvestment
            • Stock/Loan Securities Lending
            • Trade Confirmation and Account Statements
            • Margin
            • Pricing Model Valuations Approval
            • Many More!

SIE Exam FAQs

Do you have to be associated with a firm to take the SIE Exam?

No, because the SIE Exam demonstrates only basic industry knowledge, you don’t have to be associated or sponsored by a firm.

How long are results valid for?

SIE Exam results last for four years.

What is the wait time if I fail?

After the first and second failed attempts, there is a 30-day waiting period. After the third failed attempt, there is a 189-day waiting period (including all attempts made after the third).

What is the SIE Exam pass rate?

According to data conducted by FINRA, the SIE Exam pass rate is 74% for first attempts.


Choose Pass Perfect for SIE Exam Prep!

If you want to join the 74% of individuals who pass the SIE Exam on the first attempt, let Pass Perfect help you!

We equip all of our SIE studiers with everything they need to pass the first time. Using smarter studying, we are able to reinforce retention, shorten your study time, customize your studies, and offer virtual classes.

For more information or to get started with your future in the financial industry, contact us today!

Join the millions we've helped pass the first time!