Series 3-Specific Hints
Success or failure on the Series 3 exam should be a fair measure of one's knowledge of the requisite material. It is difficult. It is less than generous in time allotted. But overall, the testers are obviously endeavoring to find out how well you have mastered the information a futures trader needs to do the job, not how well you take tests.
The first thing you have to do to take the Series 3 exam is sign up for it. To apply for any of the futures industry exams, the applicant must submit a Form U10 and accompanying fee to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), www.finra.org
Unlike with most other FINRA-administered licensure exams, a sponsor is not required for the Series 3 or any of the futures industry exams.
You apply online by clicking on the following link and scrolling down to the sub-bullet:
"Submit U10 online with credit card payment". Click on that sub-bullet and register with FINRA. Once you have an ID and password, you will be directed to the online U10:
FINRA Central Registration Depository
Fill out the required fields, and only the required fields – the ones marked with an asterisk (*). Some fields, particularly the ones related to sponsorship, have nothing to do with Series 3 candidates.
Once you've applied for the exam, the next step is to schedule an appointment to take it. From the time your application is accepted, you have a 120-day window – that's calendar days, not business days – to take the exam. If time runs out, then you have to reapply. Although your NASD ID and password will still work, you'll need to fill out another U10 and cough up another $95.
FINRA contracts with two test providers: Thompson-Prometric and Pearson VUE. For more information, including testing center locations, please click on one of the following links:
http://www.prometric.com/finra Pearson VUE
Plan ahead when scheduling an exam to secure a preferred testing date and site; allow two to three weeks lead time when scheduling an exam. Also, ensure that you provide your name exactly as it appears on the Form U10. Keep a record of the appointment tracking number, which could be helpful if an appointment needs to be rescheduled.
If you don't pass the exam, you will need to file another Form U10 and $95 fee with FINRA and then re-register to take the exam. You won't be able to schedule your repeat exam until you've re-registered.
There are some special accommodations available to test takers. If you are not a U.S. resident, FINRA has some test sites in other countries and these are listed on the association's web site. If English is your second language, you should call the test center when making your appointment so you can request extra time. When you show up for your appointment, you'd require a note on your company's letterhead attesting to your assertion that English is not your first language. If you are disabled or have a learning impairment, you may request accommodations from the individual test center under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those who are temporarily incapacitated (pregnancy, sprained ankle, or what have you) aren't covered under the Act but they can contact the test center, which will deal with these situations on a case-by-case basis.
Get to the exam center a half hour before your appointment. Bring a government-issued picture ID (driver's license, passport or military ID) and a second ID with your signature (credit card, library card, student ID).
Aside from that, the less you bring with you, the better. Security, as you might expect, is taken very seriously. At FINRA test sites, the staff members are generally polite, cordial and professional, but they have procedures they must follow. They are strict, but not unreasonable.
At the test center, the candidate is asked to place all personal items in a locker. This includes not only any notes and calculator (replacements for both were provided by the test center), but also any personal effects. At exam time, the candidate enters the testing room carrying nothing but his or her driver's license and the key to the locker.
Although group seatings are available, it is more likely that you will go into the testing room alone. Your proctor will show you to a seat in front of a computer terminal, hand you a calculator, an erasable note board and two black felt-tip pens, and give as much time as you need to take a brief tutorial on how to navigate through the screens.
There will probably be other people quietly coming and going while you are taking your exam. Some of them may be taking the Series 3, but there is a whole litany of other exams they might be taking instead. It is useless to even attempt to glance at someone else's screen because their material could be vastly different from your own.
It also bears mentioning that the proctor will be watching you from a glass-enclosed booth and monitoring for any audible chatter.
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