This guide is to help you prepare to sit for the National Commodity Futures Examination, more widely known as the Series 3. If you are a smart, dedicated individual seriously pursuing a financial services career in the area of financial risk management, then you are someone for whom this guide is intended.

Futures are the crossroads where the Farm Belt and Wall Street meet. Without futures traders, the market for grains and meats of all kind would be an inefficient network of brokers trying to understand farming and farmers trying to understand brokerages. It would be plagued by supply imbalances (gluts and shortages), both local and worldwide. American and global consumers alike would be unable to budget how much to spend on next month's groceries.

Futures traders provide similar risk offsets and market efficiency for precious metals, for the equity and fixed income markets, and even for currencies.The purpose of this guide is to assist potential futures traders to become properly licensed.

The following chapters describe requirements for taking the exam, the format, and the general body of knowledge you need before you even begin to study for the Series 3.

The exam contains 120 questions, about a third of which are true/false and the other two thirds multiple choice. A successful candidate will achieve a score of at least 70% on both the industry knowledge and regulatory sections. A very high score on one section will not offset a failing score on the other. Therefore, the candidate should be well prepared for all of the exam topics.

Though study habits differ by individual, in general, a well prepared candidate will have studied in excess of 70 hours.Chapters 3 through 10 each focus on topics that the National Futures Association has identified as part of the exam curriculum.The text that follows will be broken down into sections and sub-sections for ease of reference. The descriptive text will be supplemented by emphasis boxes, easy-reference charts and formula.

Chapter 11 offers test-taking advice. The first part of the chapter focuses on test-taking in general; the second part focuses specifically on the Series 3 exam. Series 3 textbooks and exam prep software are available here. This guide concludes with a 120-question mock exam, which you should be able to complete in 2.5 hours, in conditions simulating those of the actual examination.


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