Top 10 Tips to Help You Study for a Securities Exam


Securities exams are tough. Their purpose is to ensure that financial professionals know their stuff before offering advice to clients. Though they take serious preparation, the knowledge gained in the process makes you a strong financial advisor. Here are 10 dynamite tips on how to ace your securities exam:

Manage time instead of letting time manage you

Know how many minutes you have for each question. For example, the Series 6 exam has 100 questions and a 135-minute time limit, which allows 1.35 minutes per question. On practice exams, get a feel for the pace needed to finish within the time limit. By timing practice exams, you ensure your comfort moving at that pace, which builds confidence and reduces time-induced anxiety.

Flag the hard questions

Don’t let the hard questions get you down. If you can see that the question may take longer than the allotted time per question, flag it and come back to it once you have answered the easier ones. If you are well prepared, there is an excellent chance that you’ll have already achieved the percentage needed to pass by the time you get back to those tough or confusing questions.

Also, be on the lookout for those long and wordy questions. Flag these if the question’s presentation will bog you down. Remember: The simple questions count just as much as the knotty ones.

The testing center computers make flagging questions easy. Just don’t get carried away and flag a dozen in a row!

The securities exam bell curve is your friend (really!)

This bell curve doesn’t mean a percentage of test takers fail, though not understanding how the bell curve works will certainly diminish your chances of passing. The first and last questions on the test are simple. On the first half of the exam, questions grow increasingly more complex. From the midpoint on, they become increasingly simple, creating the bell curve. Don’t let the increasingly complex questions cause frustration and anxiety. Easier questions will come later. Flag the ones that are too time-consuming and come back to them.

Don’t second guess yourself

Most securities exam test takers finish with time to spare. If you’re done early, avoid the temptation to go back and second guess your answers. Statistics prove that scores actually decline when test takers go back and change answers. Even on questions where you guessed, the first guess is usually the best guess.

Practice makes perfect

Practice tests build knowledge and speed. Simply becoming familiar with the test format improves the speed and accuracy of answers. Practice tests also help in identifying strong and weak areas. Compare your strong and weak areas against the percentage of questions devoted to these areas on the test. This analysis will indicate if you are ready to take the test.

Logistics matter

Plan the day of the test carefully. The last thing you want is to arrive at the testing center stressed out because you almost missed the start. It’s also important to eat a healthy breakfast and be well hydrated. Make sure to bring a water bottle. Arrive early so you can relax. Once in the testing center, you’ll sign in and place your effects in a locker. The center provides everything you need for the exam: scratch paper, pencils and a calculator. All you need to bring is yourself and your securities knowledge.

Focus on concepts

When preparing for the test, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of memorizing answers. This takes the focus off of understanding the concepts, which is what ensures a passing grade. The variance in the way real and practice questions are presented are designed to weed out test takers who lack conceptual understanding. Use practice questions to gain mastery over the concepts and the test will go smoothly.

Know you can pass before you go

To be assured of passing, you need to be consistently scoring above 80% on the practice exams. This provides a healthy margin of error above 70% (Series 6) or 72% (Series 7) requirements. Students who are well above 80% have little to worry about on exam day.

Utilize the best study methods for your learning style

We all learn differently. Some people learn best by reading, others need more hands-on study methods. Those who are good note takers may do best by listening to lectures or videos. Many options exist. Use the ones that work for you.

Take courses that provide interactive study opportunities

Interactive study increases engagement and makes studying for securities exams both more fun and effective. Live or virtual classes, on-demand video and audio lectures and mobile app lessons all provide interactive experiences that make securities concepts stick with students.

The securities exams are about more than getting a passing grade, though getting through the exam on the first try should be everyone’s goal! Thorough exam preparation does more than help students earn a credential. It provides a learning experience that prepares students for the real world.

The concepts that the Securities Training Corporation’s preparation courses and materials impart on students make them stronger securities and financial professionals throughout their careers. They are able to give advice and sell products with 100% confidence. With a solid knowledge base of securities, regulations and financial planning strategies, students immediately have valuable advice for their clients.

Securities Training Corporation has been helping student pass securities exams since 1969. Over 1 million financial professionals have passed their licensing exams with Securities Training Corporation’s programs. We have the highest pass rate in the industry. To obtain your securities license and become a consummate professional, follow these 10 tips and enroll with Securities Training Corporation today.