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The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is an entry-level assessment that covers products, risks, regulatory agencies, prohibited practices, and markets administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The exam has 75 multiple-choice questions, takes an hour and 45 minutes to complete, and it's a tough test, even if you have financial experience.
One of the best ways to get ready for it is to enroll in an SIE exam prep course, so you can make sure to make the grade of 70 or above needed to pass. To help us evaluate the best SIE exam prep courses, we looked at factors such as cost, published pass rate, and availability. We also considered the course materials offered, availability of instructors, and whether or not there was a guarantee.
Best SIE Exam Prep Courses of 2023
- Best for Career: Securities Institute of America, Inc.
- Best for Materials: ExamFX
- Most Informative: Securities Training Corporation
- Best for In-Person Classes: Kaplan Test Prep
- Best Value: Solomon Exam Prep
- Most Comprehensive: Knopman Marks
Best for Career : Securities Institute of America, Inc.
SIA, Inc.'s programming is tailored for someone looking for more than just professional enhancement: It's ideal for someone actually looking to move into a financial services career.
Offers a variety of bundled courses
In partnership with the largest financial publisher in the world
SIA's products are easy-to-use
Bundles can get expensive
May be best for students with previous experience in the financial sector
The Securities Institute of America, Inc. (SIA) offers a variety of bundles if you're looking to get the SIE credential and then pass the requisite top-offs like Series 6 or Series 7.
The materials distributed by SIA, Inc. have been created in partnership with John Wiley & Sons, the world's largest publisher of financial information. SIA's products are intuitive and help guide you through the learning process step-by-step so that you feel prepared on the day of your exam.
Packages cost approximately $49.95 to $449 depending on whether you want to purchase the textbook, exam prep software, the online video class, the mobile e-book, or bundles. While reviewing SIA's study supplements, you can chat with a representative online or call the company during business hours to ask any questions you might have.
Best for Materials : ExamFX
ExamFX was our choice for best overall because of its options for SIE exam prep (self-study, video study, and live online), relatively affordable cost, loads of helpful study materials, and the guarantee exam given at the end of your training session. The guarantee exam allows you to get a refund on your course if you take the SIE exam within three days and fail.
Money back if you take the SIE and fail (three days after taking the course)
Robust set of learning materials
Offers three choices of exam prep
May be more expensive than other options
No in-person classes offered
ExamFX has been in business since 1996. It offers three packages for SIE exam prep: Self-Study, Video Study, and Live Online. Pricing varies depending on your package, but it typically ranges from $99.95-$209.95.
While the Self-Study tier includes features like an interactive learning portal, a readiness exam, a guaranteed assessment, instructor support, and more, the Video Study package includes on-demand video lectures and online flashcards. If you're looking for the maximum level of service, the Live Online tier includes everything the aforementioned packages have, including live online training.
One highlight of ExamFX is its guarantee exam. At the end of the training, if you score 80% or above on the guarantee exam—and if you take the SIE exam within three days and fail—the company will refund the cost of the material. Be sure to book your exam time early so you can do it within the three-day window, just in case you think you'll need to take advantage of this offer.
Most Informative : Securities Training Corporation
We selected the Securities Training Corporation (STC) because it features one of the bigger catalogs of financial services training materials and offers numerous test prep options, including the SIE, Series 7, and Series 63 combination that allows you to become a general securities representative.
You can purchase a single course or a bundle
24/7 tech support
Offers virtual and recorded classes
Only six months of access to your course
May charge administration fees
Live classes are only offered for top-tier bundles and cost the most
Securities Training Corporation (STC) is based in New York City, and according to its website, it has helped over 1 million professionals pass their exams. It offers many options for SIE exam prep, including live (virtual) classes and recorded ones for those who want to pace themselves. Individuals from all 50 states have passed their licensing exams thanks to STC's prep exams in the financial sector.
Courses and bundles run from over $100 to over $750, depending on whether you purchase the bundle or a single course. Because it offers a substantial amount of courses and materials, you may find the most options for prep courses here if you are looking to take more than the SIE exam.
One thing to keep in mind is your timeline for studying because STC only offers exam prep access for six months. If you are unhappy with your exam results, understand that at STC, refunds are limited and subject to fees.
Best for In-Person Classes : Kaplan Test Prep
Kaplan Test Prep is well-known for its tutoring and exam prep courses, and it offers a wide range of test prep courses and materials for financial exams, such as SIE. Its experience in offering live test prep makes it one of the best options for in-person training classes.
Sterling reputation for course prep and tutoring services
Offers live streaming and on-demand courses
Course comes with a pass guarantee
Only five months of access to your course
Does not offer in-person classroom courses
Basic packages may not include multiple practice tests
Kaplan has provided a wide range of educational materials, resources, and test prep since 1970, and its reputation is excellent. The company offers SIE exam prep courses ranging from bare-bones to bundles, with various options for live online training sessions. All packages include a study calendar to help you prioritize your time, practice exams, a performance tracker, and more.
Premium packages offer live online or on-demand courses. Depending on the kind of service you're looking for, prices can range from about $99 to $229 for SIE exam prep, with Series 6 or Series 7 packages ranging up to about $480.
Best Value : Solomon Exam Prep
Do you want flashcards and audiobooks but no exam guide or video lectures? Then Solomon Exam Prep is the perfect choice for you. We chose this exam prep course due to its simplicity and cost. It offers an unbundled range of materials and resources, making it more affordable and customizable than the other offerings in the SIE exam prep world.
Offers single-item materials at a low price point
Allows you to customize your study experience
Discounted rate for bundles
Fancier packages cost more
Support from instructor isn't available for the basic package
While it offers unbundled materials, Solomon Exam Prep also encourages users to purchase bundles because they're offered at a discounted rate. There are four packages to choose from: Essentials, Video Premium, Audio Premium, and Total.
All tiers include a study guide and exam simulator. Should you opt for one of the pricier packages, add-ons like video lectures, audiobooks, flashcards, and support from your instructor may be included with your purchase, depending on the package you choose.
Most Comprehensive : Knopman Marks
If you're looking for virtual classes, Knopman Marks is a great choice with its comprehensive exam prep bundles that provide students with digital and in-person options and a range of useful materials. Knopman Marks provides access to materials for up to one year so that you can go at your pace.
Great virtual course offerings
Access for up to one year
Has a 98% pass rate
Bundles can get expensive
Live online courses cost more
Overall, Knopman Marks is a comprehensive option that provides vast resources to its users from start to finish. While it might be pricier than some of the other offerings, the value is incomparable. Plus, if it means you pass on your first try, it'll be well worth the money.
While its packages are more expensive than some others in this round-up—it's $250 for the self-study option and $225 more for live virtual courses—Knopman Marks states that it currently has a 98% pass rate for the SIE.
If you opt for the bundle, you'll receive diagnostic exams, one assessment, video lectures, digital flashcards, personal instructor access, a textbook, class supplements, and more. You'll also have access to all materials for up to one year.
Our best overall SIE exam prep course option is ExamFX. It offers a wide range of prep tools and courses, a guarantee that you'll pass, and a refund if you don't.
Compare the Best SIE Exam Prep Courses
|Company||Cost||Length of Course||Materials Provided|
|Securities Institute of America Best for Career||$49.95–$449||15-hour training course||Textbook, online video class, mobile e-book, and exam prep software|
|ExamFX Best Overall||$99.95–$209.95||Access for up to 90 days||Interactive learning portal, practice exam, guaranteed assessment, on-demand videos, and online flashcards|
|Securities Training Corporation Most Informative||$100-$750||Access for up to six months||Varies depending on the course|
|Kaplan Test Prep Best for In-Person Classes||$99–$229||Access for up to five months||Study calendar, practice exams, a performance tracker, online and on-demand classes|
|Knopman Marks Most Comprehensive||$250 and up||Access for up to one year||Various; may include practice exams, video lectures, digital flashcards, access to instructors, and one assessment|
|Solomon Exam Prep Best Value||$40 and up||Varies||Digital flashcards and audio textbook|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do You Need to Study for the SIE Exam?
The SIE exam itself is composed of 75 questions, takes an hour and 45 minutes to complete, and a passing grade is 70 or above. In order to pass the SIE exam, you will likely need to dedicate many hours over weeks (or months) to studying the material. If you don’t already have a strong financial background, you should dedicate even more time to your exam prep.
How Much Does an SIE Exam Prep Course Cost?
There are many SIE exam prep courses to choose from, depending on how much help you need and how you learn best. For example, you can purchase a generic online review course for as low as $40, though it’ll be mostly self-guided. If you want an in-person prep course, you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $300 or even more.
Is an SIE Exam Prep Course Worth It?
While it is possible to pass the SIE exam without taking a prep course, students are able to become more efficient in studying for the exam. Courses focus on the topics known to be covered on the exam and can take practice exams to see where their strengths and weaknesses are. In doing so, students don't waste time studying concepts they are already strong in and can focus on improving weak areas.
What Is the Best Way to Prepare for SIE?
Taking the time to enroll and participate in an SIE exam prep course is an excellent way to prepare for your SIE exam. In addition, sticking to a study schedule, becoming comfortable with financial terminology, and taking practice assessments should help you pass your SIE exam.
Is the SIE Exam Difficult?
Yes. The SIE exam is considered difficult because of the wealth of financial knowledge you are expected to understand. If you have a background already in finance before studying for the SIE, you might find it less complicated than someone without it. Overall, the current pass rate of the SIE exam is about 82% overall.
To help determine the best SIE exam prep courses, we looked at factors such as cost, published pass rate, and availability. Since different examinees respond to specific class structures differently, it’s important to choose the model that best suits you—whether that’s online, in-person, or in a book.
We also looked at what is offered in each course, such as review books, flashcards, practice exams, access to instructors for questions, and the like. Additionally, we took course policies, such as money-back guarantees, into account. Ultimately, using our roundup of the best SIE exam prep courses, you will find the right program to help you pass your exam and advance your career.
The Securities Institute of America. "About The Securities Institute."
Securities Training Corporation. "Securities Training Corporation."
Knopman Marks. "SIE: Securities Industry Essentials Exam Prep."
Kaplan Financial. "What Is the SIE Exam Passing Rate?"