Table of Contents

Hello and welcome to the SIE exam FAQ article.

We’ll cover everything from the SIE exam preparation to the study materials to taking the exam.

We’ll also highlight what the four SIE exam sections contain.

In a nutshell, we’ll talk about:

  • SIE exam sections
  • SIE exam FAQs

We hope all your concerns will be addressed by the end of this article.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Other free SIE study materials:

  1. SIE exam prep
  2. SIE study plan
  3. SIE study guide
  4. SIE practice exams
  5. SIE flashcards
  6. SIE cheat sheet
  7. SIE Exam FAQ
  8. Best SIE study materials

Table of Contents

SIE Exam Sections

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority SIE exam has four sections.

The four main areas include:

Knowledge of Capital Markets: Makes 16% of the SIE exam.

This preliminary section equips candidates with knowledge of the security industry and the regulations.

Specifically, learners delve into the financial service industry, types of economic markets and the factors that influence the market, regulatory entities, and security offerings.

Understanding Products and Their Risks: This section makes up 44% of the exam.

The focus here is investment products.

This section covers the different types of securities and their investment risks.

Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts, and Prohibited Activities: This section contains 31% of the final exam questions.

In this section, aspiring security industry professionals learn about investors’ roles in the industry, the different customer accounts, and the regulations that protect investors.

Overview of Regulatory Framework: This section makes up 9%.

Here candidates learn about the regulations that govern registered representatives’ work.

This section is about employee conduct rules, registered representative registration, continuous education, and situations that may require industry professionals to disclose information to the public.


Here are the frequently asked questions concerning the SIE exam.

What should I study for the SIE exam?

Study the four sections of the exam content. Each section is weighted differently in the exam.

  • Knowledge of Capital Markets 16% (12 questions)
  • Understanding Products and Their Risks 44% (33 questions)
  • Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities 31% (23 questions)
  • Overview of Regulatory Framework 9% (7 questions)

Is the SIE exam worth taking?

Yes. Passing the securities industry essentials proves to potential employers that you are serious about getting started in the securities industry. Passing the exam shows your commitment as a financial industry professional. It’s also a requirement to take Series 6, Series 7, and other FINRA qualification exams.

What is the passing rate for the SIE exam?

The passing rate for the SIE exam is 74% for first-time test-takers. The overall pass rate is 82%. So, it’s up to you to do a thorough revision for the exam. You’ll get your results immediately. If you’ve failed, you’ll retake the exam after 30 days.

What are the costs of taking the SIE exam?

The SIE exam costs $80. Once you’ve registered and paid for the exam, you have 120 days to prepare for and take it. You can opt for the Prometric testing center or online. Consider commuter, accommodation, and food costs if the center is far from your home.

Why is the SIE exam important?

It’s important because it introduces foundational knowledge of the securities industry. You’ll learn about knowledge of capital markets, prohibited activities, industry regulatory framework, products and their risks, trading and customer accounts. This knowledge forms the basis of the subsequent FINRA series exams you’ll be taking.

What are the requirements for taking the SIE exam?

You must be 18 years and above. The exam is open to students and professionals seeking to transition into the financial securities industry. The SIE exam result is valid for four years. You should get a job in a FINRA member firm to pursue the other series exams.

How do I know if I am ready to take the SIE exam?

The best indicator is when you are consistently scoring above 70% in the practice exams. Practice exams simulate the actual exam. They’ll help you find knowledge gaps to cover the study materials further. The more practice questions you do, the better.

What is the best way to study for the SIE?

The best way to study for the SIE exam is to plan your study time. First, comb through the online reviews to choose the best SIE prep course. From there, draw a study calendar. Dedicate time to reviewing the study materials and taking the practice exams.

Is the SIE hard to pass?

The SIE exam is hard to pass for some people, while for others, it’s a walk in the park. The difficulty level depends on how prepared you are and whether you have experience in the financial service industry. But it is bearable if you dedicate 20-50 hours to study.

Is there a study guide for the SIE exam?

Yes. There is a study guide for the securities industry essentials exam. The guide covers the four sections of the SIE content outline. There are review questions at the end of each section to test your understanding. Plus, there are practice tests to test general comprehension.

How long should you study for the SIE?

It takes around two months to prepare for the SIE exam. If you spend more time studying, you’ll be ready for the exam in a shorter period. The preparation time also reduces considerably if you have a background education in finance, economics, or accounting.

What material is on the SIE exam?

The FINRA SIE exam materials cover security industry terminology, regulatory agencies and their functions, regulated and prohibited practices, and the structure and function of the markets. This content makes up the 75 multiple-choice questions in the exam. You are expected to get 53 of these questions correct to pass.

Why is the SIE exam so hard?

The SIE exam may be hard for some test-takers if that’s the first time they are exposed to the financial industry terminologies. Again, the exam wording may differ from the practice exam questions. That means exam takers must thoroughly understand the SIE content to pass.

What is the SIE?

FINRA SIE is a beginner’s exam in the financial service industry. It covers the basic knowledge of the security industry, regulatory authorities, products, and risks, among other key concepts. This qualification exam is a requirement for some top-off exams provided by FINRA.

Can I take the SIE exam on my own?

Yes. You can as long as you are 18 years and above. Individuals who want to transition into the securities industry, students, and even industry professionals who didn’t take the SIE can enroll. You don’t need sponsorship or affiliation to a FINRA member firm.

What is the most difficult FINRA exam?

The hardest FINRA series exam is Series 6, with a pass rate of 58%. It has the lowest pass rate among the series exams, although some of the series exams’ pass rates are not published. Series 99 is also challenging. It has a pass rate of 68%.

Does SIE tell you your score?

Yes. It does. Once you complete the test, your result, pass or fail, will be displayed on the screen. Your performance in the different areas of the exam will also be displayed. You’ll also get a print of your results from the testing center.

Can you use a calculator on the SIE exam?

Yes. But you are not allowed to bring your own. A calculator and a notepad are provided during the exam. The exam contains a few mathematical questions. You may end up not using the calculator. Use the notepad to write definitions and formulas you don’t want to forget.

Is the SIE exam free?

No. The exam costs $80. The fee is paid directly to FINRA when registering for the SIE exam. Once registered, you may also need to spend some money on study materials. The costs of the materials vary, depending on the provider.

Is there a practice test for the SIE exam?

Yes. There are dozens of SIE practice tests. Some of the practice exams are paid for, while others are free. You can start your revision with the free one, but it will be good to get the paid version for the best results.

Who writes the SIE exam?

The SIE exam is written by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Like their other exams, this exam tests learners on securities industry functions. FINRA provides the content online for test-takers to have an overview of the test. It also has practice tests to help them prepare better.

How many times can you take the practice SIE exam?

There is no limit to how many times you can take the SIE exam. If you fail in the first attempt, you can try again as soon as you are ready. Suppose you fail again. You must wait for 30 days. The fourth trial requires 180 waiting days.

Does the SIE exam replace the Series 7 exam?

No. It doesn’t. The SIE exam was created to remove the duplicate information in the Series exams. The foundational knowledge repeatedly tested in the exams was consolidated into the securities industry essentials. The Series 7 exam is still intact. FINRA simply adjusted its content coverage.

Do you have to pass the SIE exam to take the Series 7 exam?

SIE exam is a requirement to take the Series 7 exam. However, since the SIE is new in the industry, financial professionals who did Series 7 before the introduction of SIE can go back and take it. SIE is a requirement for all representative-level exams.

Is there a lot of maths on the SIE exam?

There are few maths computations in the SIE exam. SIE exam is a comprehension test. Its main goal is to test exam takers’ knowledge of the securities industry. But that doesn’t mean you ignore the computation part of the SIE content. Be well prepared.

What is the average salary for an SIE?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for SIE professionals is $52,679. The hourly wage is around $25. The platform reveals that they earn between $41,500 and $63,000. Those in the 90th percentile earn around $68,500. The actual salary varies depending on the employer and location.

Can you take the SIE exam online?

Yes. You can take the exam online. You must complete and submit the FINRA Online Exam Administration Request form to take the SIE exam online. From there, you can schedule the online exam. Whether you are using a desktop or laptop, use windows for the best results.

Should I take the SIE exam or the Series 7 exam first?

Since the SIE exam is a requirement for Series 7 exams, we recommend you take it first, although you can do it after the Series 7 exam.

If you take the SIE exam first, you have up to 4 years to take the top-off exams.

Who needs to take the SIE exam?

Anyone interested in becoming a registered representative can take the SIE exam as long as they are 18 years and above. The SIE exam is a pre-requisite for series 99, series 86, series 77, series 57, series 22, series 7, and series 6 qualification exams.

Can you cheat on the SIE?

No. You can’t. FINRA prohibits candidates from using unfair means to pass the exam. Test-takers are not allowed to get into the exam with phones, notebooks, pens, and so on. Testing centers provide a notepad and a calculator. If found cheating, candidates may be barred from the securities industry.

What is the SIE test format?

The SIE is a multiple-choice exam. The exam has 85 questions. Only 75 questions are scored. The exam takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Once done, candidates get their results on the computer screen.

What if I fail the SIE exam?

If you fail the SIE exam, you can retake the exam. You can make the first and second attempts, one after the other. The third attempt has 30 days waiting period. If you fail again, you’ll have to wait 180 days to take the exam.

How long does the SIE exam take?

The SIE exam takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. There are 85 multiple-choice questions, of which ten are unscored. That means you have around 1 minute to answer each question. Time yourself when taking practice exams to get used to the exam duration.

Is the SIE exam mandatory?

Yes. Any individual wanting to enter the financial and securities industry must take the SIE exam. It’s a prerequisite for other qualification exams that guide individuals in the type of business or products they want to sell. It gives one an edge when getting started in the industry.

How many questions are on the SIE exam?

The SIE exam contains 85 multiple-choice questions. Ten questions are not scored, leaving you with 75 scored questions. You won’t know which are the unscored questions during the exam. So, you must put your best foot forward when taking the exam.

How do I set the SIE exam date?

The first step is to register on the FINRA website. From there, visit the Prometric website. Select your state and then enter your name and FINRA ID. Next, select your Prometric SIE exam date. You can also call the Prometric center and get the test location and date.

Where can I take the SIE exam?

You can take the SIE exam at a Prometic testing center or online. If you choose the Prometric testing center, you’ll have to settle for the exam date in that particular center. Taking the exam online gives you flexibility. However, there are requirements you must meet.

How long has the SIE exam been around?

The FINRA SIE exam was introduced in 2018, together with the updates of the top-off exams. The SIE exam is an entry-level exam that one must pass to take an appropriate qualification exam to work in the financial service industry. It demonstrates candidates’ knowledge of basic security industry information.

Is Series 7 harder than SIE?

The Series 7 exam tests a candidate’s competency to operate as a general securities representative. Because of what it covers in terms of an overall knowledge base, this exam is far more difficult than the SIE. Candidates will need an overall passing score of 72%. 
Is Series 63 harder than SIE?

It has fewer questions and the required pass rate is 71.67%, or 43 out of 60 questions correct. That’s higher than the 70% you would need to pass the SIE. On the whole, however, it’s a little easier, although candidates need to study hard for it.


1. Kaplan

2. Knopman Marks

3. Investopedia


5. ATutor

6. WebCE


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