The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers a broad range of exams to people who want to become securities professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a FINRA exam?

    The phrase “FINRA exam” refers to a category of qualification exams that are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). There are several of these exams (typically identified by the word “Series” and a number), and they cover a broad range of subjects related to both the markets and the securities industry. Securities professionals wishing to become registered must pass a specific type of FINRA exam, which demonstrates their competence in their relevant securities activities.

  • How many FINRA exams are there?

    There are a total of 32 qualification exams administered by FINRA. Of these, the only one to eschew the typical naming convention is the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, which is an introductory-level exam. The remaining exams are categorized as FINRA Representative-Level Exams (Series 6, 7, 22, 57, 79, 82, 86/87, & 99), FINRA Principal-Level Exams (Series 4, 9/10, 14, 16, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, & 39), Municipal Securities Rulemaking Body (MSRB) Exams (Series 50, 51, 52, 53, & 54), National Futures Association (NFA) Exams (Series 3, 30, 31, 32, & 34), and North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) Exams (Series 63, 65, & 66).

  • Is the Series 7 exam difficult?

    While the question of which FINRA exam is the most difficult is a subjective one, the Series 7 exam is definitely one of the longest of all the securities exams. Those taking the exam have three hours and 45 minutes to complete 125 questions. Although a score of just 72 is required to pass, the questions are comprehensive and cover the full breadth of securities products and rules.

  • Is Series 6 or Series 7 harder?

    When comparing the Series 6 and Series 7 exams, the latter is more likely to be a challenge for test-takers. While the Series 6 exam has a shorter time limit than the Series 7 (i.e., one hour and 30 minutes vs. three hours and 45 minutes), it also has fewer questions (i.e., 50 vs. 125). The Series 6 exam is also less comprehensive than the Series 7, as a Series 6 license only qualifies the holder to deal in retail-investor-oriented products (i.e., mutual funds, etc.).

Key Terms

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  1. FINRA. "Qualification Exams: Overview." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams

  2. FINRA. "Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams/securities-industry-essentials-exam

  3. FINRA. "Qualification Exams: Overview." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams

  4. FINRA. "Qualification Exams: Overview." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams

  5. FINRA. "Series 7 – General Securities Representative Exam." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams/series7

  6. FINRA. "Series 6 – Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative Exam." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams/series6

  7. FINRA. "Series 7 – General Securities Representative Exam." https://www.finra.org/registration-exams-ce/qualification-exams/series7