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Taking the Series 6 & 7 Exams


The FINRA or the Financial Industry Regulation Authority offers a series of exams meant for individuals seeking official licensing for selling stocks or certain kind of securities products like mutual funds, variable annuities, etc. FINRA offers close to 20 tests, each of which provides specific authentication. Read on for more information about Series 6 and 7 exams.


What Is the Series 6 Exam?


The Series 6 exam, also known as the Investment Company Products/Variable Life Contract Representative exam, provides official license for the sale of securities products like mutual funds, variable annuities, and unit investment trust. The Series 6 exam contains 100 multiple choice questions regarding securities, tax regulations, evaluation of customers, product information, marketing and sale presentations, etc. The exam is 2 hours and 15 minutes long and costs $95. It is offered on all week days throughout the year and you can register online at the FINRA website at your convenience. To appear for the test, you need to be sponsored by a financial company who is a member of the FINRA. Additionally, you must score at least 70% to pass the test. For more information about the exam, refer to the official handout released by FINRA.  

What Is the Series 7 Exam?

Also known as the General Securities Representative Exam, the Series 7 test is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to be a registered stockbroker. The exam is usually taken by professionals who have recently joined a stockbroking agency and require official licensing. The Series 7 is way more extensive than Series 6 and is offered in two sessions of three hours each.  It contains a total of 250 questions. The percentage to pass is 72%. As with the Series 6 exam, one has to be affiliated with an agency recognized by the FINRA to appear for the test, which costs $290. The FINRA releases a list of seven critical qualities they look for in potential candidates. These include the ability to provide suitable information and recommendations to customers about investment, to keep track of customer portfolios, to negotiate transactions, to solicit customers, and to act according to a client's financial needs. For more information, read this handout released officially by the FINRA.


How to Ace These Exams

Follow the fool-proof tips below to make sure you pass either exam with flying colors!  

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute

Both the Series 6 and 7 exams cover an extensive range of topics (more so in the case of Series 7). Since you already belong to the fields of financial securities and stockbroking, make sure that you are familiar with all the intricate rules and regulations. Buy relevant study guides or e-books and brush up your knowledge about investment, securities, tax regulations, etc. If you need help, there are a number of online courses and model question papers meant exclusively for these exams. It's crucial for you to start early and acquaint yourself with as many details as possible.  

Make Flashcards to Remember Formulas

You will need to remember several formulas related to balance sheets, outstanding shares, etc. when you walk into the exam room. Now, if you start memorizing them a day before the exam, they will get all messed up in your head. Therefore, make flashcards for such formulas and other relevant details that you need to remember, and go through them everyday. This way, they will remain imprinted in your mind for a long time.  

Make an Exam Plan

More often than not, cracking these exams is a matter of having an efficient exam plan. In the Series 6 exam, you have 100 question to do within 135 minutes, which means that you get only a little more than a minute for each question. Once you get the test, scan it quickly for easy questions and attempt them right away. Then, move on to the more difficult ones and never spend too much time on a single question. Similarly, analyze the time equation for the Series 7 exam and have a definite plan in place. Finally, if you encounter a series of tough questions, stay calm and power through the exam. It's all about maintaining your composure during those few hours. Good luck!    

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