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Kaplan Financial Education identifies five major roadblocks to passing FINRA's SIE Exam
[March 14, 2019]

Kaplan Financial Education identifies five major roadblocks to passing FINRA's SIE Exam

Five months have passed since the launch of the new SIE (Securities Industry Essentials) exam, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's (FINRA) restructured representative-level qualification exam. During this time, Kaplan Financial Education has worked with more than 18,000 SIE test takers in preparing for the exam. And although 91% of Kaplan students have passed the exam, Kaplan has identified the five greatest roadblocks in passing the exam:

#1: Specialized language and acronyms

The SIE exam is above all a reading comprehension exercise-there are very few math computations on the test. Exam writers expect students to be comfortable with the specialized language of finance, as well as common acronyms. Students are strongly encouraged to review the glossary found in the back of their Licensing Examination Manual (LEM). The glossary is a great first step in demystifying some of the industry specific language students may encounter on their exams.

Spending the time to review FINRA's SIE practice test will pay dividends by exposing SIE exam candidates to a test created by the same writers who authored the actual exam. Remember, FINRA exams are written by committee, and unlike other standardized tests such as the SAT, the language and sentence structure may vary between individual questions. Some questions may contain legal jargon contained within various FINRA rules, while others may employ a more conversational tone. The point of taking FINRA's SIE practice exam is to gain exposure to several different writing styles and "spins" on topics pror to taking the actual test.

#2: One word may have several meanings

After students have spent some time with the study materials, they'll notice some words have multiple meanings. For example, the word principal could refer to:

A) A bond's face value;
B) A person in a managerial position at a brokerage firm;
C) The capacity of a firm on a given trade.

#3: Several different terms may be used to reference the same concept.

As noted in the LEM, the terms options writers, options sellers, and going to short a contract and option could all be used to express the same concept. Conversely, options owners, options buyers, and going to long a contract reference the same ideas. As mentioned earlier, the SIE exam is written by committee, and each writer may employ his or her favored terminology.

#4: Math?! The good news…the SIE exam typically has a very limited number of computational questions.

Remember, the SIE exam focuses on reading comprehension. Students can expect very few calculations on their exam. Many students only see one or two calculation items on their exam and Kaplan has identified the three most common.

#5: Expansion of definitions into concepts

Students can expect approximately 25% of their exam questions will move beyond mere definitions and tie together various concepts from different sections of the LEM and/or address suitability issues with a given product. In these tough questions, students are expected to extend their factual knowledge of a product or rule into a conceptual understanding.

For more detailed information on each roadblock, including examples, go to:

About Kaplan Financial Education

Kaplan Financial Education delivers license exam prep, professional development, and CE programs for the insurance, securities, and financial planning industries. Through classroom training, online courses, and self-study options, Kaplan helps students pass exams and maintain licensing with study materials that satisfy almost any learning style and budget.

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