UPDATED 2021

FINRA Test Guide

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com

 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an independent regulator for United States securities firms. One of FINRA’s responsibilities is ensuring the credentials and competence of those who work in the securities industry, which is done through a certification process. Certification is required for those working in certain securities positions.

 

FINRA offers 33 exams for registered principals, registered representatives and general securities representatives. For detailed information about Series 7, Series 63 and Series 66, please see The Securities Test Guide. All other FINRA exams are listed below.

 

Registered Principals

 

Series 4: Registered Options Principal – This exam is a requirement for those who are planning to work as a registered options principal, senior registered options principal or compliance registered options principal. The three-hour exam includes 125 multiple-choice questions and covers options trading, exchange rules, Options Clearing Corporation rules and regulations of options contract trading.

Series 9 and 10: General Securities Sales Supervisor – This exam is required for those who will register as principals in supervisory sales positions, such as with direct participation programs, variable contracts, investment company products and corporate, municipal and options securities. The Series 9 exam lasts an hour and a half and includes 55 questions on options, while the Series 10 exam lasts four hours and includes 145 questions on FINRA, Securities and Exchange Commission Rules, Municipal Securities Rule Board and the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Series 23: General Securities Principal-Sales Supervisor Module – This exam is an alternative to Series 9, 10 and 24 and tests knowledge of rules and statutory provisions to general securities broker management. It is targeted for sales supervisors who wish to qualify as a principal. The two hour and 30 minute exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions.

Series 24: General Securities Principal – This exam is aimed at individuals registering as general securities principals who will be managing investment banking and securities businesses for investment company products and variable contracts, corporate securities and direct participation programs. The exam lasts for three hours and 30 minutes and includes 150 multiple-choice questions.

Series 26: Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Principal – This exam is for those who will be principals for the sale, purchase or solicitation of redeemable securities, variable contracts, insurance premium funding programs and other insurance contracts. The two hour and 30 minute exam includes 110 multiple-choice questions.

Series 27: Financial and Operations Principal – This exam tests one’s knowledge of recordkeeping requirements and financial responsibility rules. This test includes 145 multiple-choice questions to be answered within three hours and 30 minutes. 

Series 28: Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations Principal – This exam is for those who will be responsible for recordkeeping requirements of introducing firms that do not hold customer funds, securities or accounts. The exam includes 95 multiple-choice questions asked over two hours.  

Series 39: Direct Participation Programs Limited Principal – The exam is for those who will be the principal in the solicitation, sale and purchase of programs that will have flow-through tax consequences. The exam lasts two hours and 15 minutes and includes 100 multiple-choice questions.

Series 51: Municipal Fund Securities Principal – This exam covers the rules and statutory provisions of municipal fund securities and municipal fund securities transactions. The exam lasts for an hour and a half and asks 60 multiple-choice questions.

Series 53: Municipal Securities Principal – This exam evaluates one’s knowledge of rules and statutory provisions for municipal securities brokers, dealers and representatives, as well as the applicable knowledge for the supervision of municipal fund securities. The three-hour exam has 100 multiple-choice questions.  

Series 6: Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative – Similar to the Series 26 exam, this exam is for principals of the solicitation, sale or purchase of redeemable securities, variable contracts, insurance premium funding programs and other insurance contracts. Two hours and 15 minutes are given to answer 100 multiple-choice questions.

Registered Representatives

Series 11: Assistant Representative – Order Processing – For those who will work with unsolicited customer orders, this exam includes 50 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within an hour.

Series 22: Direct Participation Programs Limited Representative – The exam is for those who will be the principal in the solicitation, sale and purchase of programs that will have flow-through tax consequences. Two hours and 15 minutes are given to answer 100 multiple-choice questions.

Series 42: Registered Options Representative – This exam also requires successful passing of the Series 62 exam. The exam covers handling option accounts, equity, debt, index options and foreign currency. One hour and 30 minutes are given to answer 50 multiple-choice questions.

Series 52: Municipal Securities Representative – This exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions that cover municipal securities, municipal fund securities, municipal markets, US government and federal agency instruments, government policy, economic activity, interest rates and federal securities law. Three hours are given for this exam. 

Series 55: Equity Trader Limited Representative – This exam is for those who will trade equity and convertible debt securities on a principal or agency basis. Three hours are given to answer 100 multiple-choice questions. Series 7 is a prerequisite.

Series 62: Corporate Securities Limited Representative – This exam is for those who will be a representative in the sales of corporate stocks and bonds, rights, warrants, real estate investments trusts, collateralized mortgage obligations, securities traders, mergers and acquisitions, hedge funds, ETFs, venture capital and corporate financing. The exam includes 115 multiple-choice questions, and two hours and 30 minutes are provided.

Series 72: Government Securities Limited Representative – With this certification, registered representatives are able to conduct business in treasury securities, mortgage-backed securities and government agency securities. Three hours are given to answer 100 multiple-choice questions.

Series 79: Limited Representative-Investment Banking – Series 79 is for qualification for the advisement on equity offerings or debt facilitation through public offering or private placement, facilitate mergers or acquisitions, tender offers, asset sales, corporate reorganizations or financial restructurings. Five hours are given to answer 175 multiple-choice questions.

Series 82: Limited Representative-Private Securities Offerings Representative – Series 82 is to qualify one to sell private placement securities. 100 multiple-choice questions must be answered in two hours and 30 minutes.

Series 86: Research Analyst – Four hours are given for this exam which covers valuation of equity securities and fundamental analysis. One hundred multiple-choice questions are asked in this exam, which is for those who will analyze equity securities or individual companies through written or electronic communication.

Series 87: Research Analyst – Fifty multiple-choice questions are asked in this section, which cover FINRA and New York Stock Exchange rules, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. As with Series 86, this exam is aimed at those who will develop written or electronic communication analyzing equity securities and individual companies.

Other Exams

Series 5: Interest Rate Options Examination – All registered options principals, general securities representatives and general securities sales supervisors must take this exam if they plan to trade options contracts on US government securities. Fifty multiple-choice questions must be answered within 90 minutes.

Series 3: National Commodity Futures Examination – This exam is a requirement for those who wish to be registered with the National Futures Association. The exam includes 120 multiple-choice questions for which two hours and 30 minutes are given.

Series 30: Branch Managers Examination-Futures – This exam is required for branch managers to become members of the National Futures Association. Fifty multiple-choice questions must be answered within an hour.

Series 31: Futures Managed Funds Examination – This exam is also required by the National Futures Association for fund managers. An hour is given to answer 45 multiple-choice questions.

Series 32: Limited Futures Exam-Regulations – For registration with the National Futures Association, 35 multiple-choice questions must be answered within 45 minutes.

Series 65: Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination – This exam is used to qualify one as an investment adviser representative. Three hours are given to answer 130 multiple-choice questions.

Series 14: Compliance Officer – This exam is required by the New York Stock Exchange for those who will be responsible for the day-to-day compliance of their firm. Three hours are given to answer 110 multiple-choice questions.

Very detailed content outlines for each exam are provided at www.finra.org. Exam fees range from $65 to $325. Each exam bears its own requirements, such as work experience or prerequisite exams.

Exams are hosted nationwide at Prometric and PearsonVUE Test Centers. Candidates may locate their nearest test center at http://apps.finra.org/testcenter/1/locations.aspx and then use the registration link provided with each individual test center to register for their chosen exam. All FINRA exams are computer-based, and immediately following completion of the exam, test takers will be provided a score report which details scores for each section and provides a total score.

For more on FINRA exams and test preparation, visit Tests.com’s FINRA Test Directory.