Just Passed SIE on 1st attempt! Some helpful insights

For soon to be test takers:

  1. SIE is a passable exam.
  2. The questions on the SIE are nothing like the Exam Questions or Quiz questions in the course. However, the constant drilling down on the different securities, characteristics, risk and uses, gives you the edge to eliminate obvious incorrect answers.
  3. TEST, TEST, TEST, TEST…Do at least 50 finals and a minimum of 1000 quiz questions…I’m glad I did not settle for mid 80’s on the finals…I have been scoring mid 90’s on the finals for some time and glad I pushed to that level. It gave me confidence.
  4. It is not an easy exam. It took me an hour to complete. You have Plenty of time.
  5. Slow down, read the whole question, read all of the answer choices, eliminate the obvious wrong answers.
    Read the question again, the answer becomes obvious or at least makes more sense.
  6. The test was all over the place and was deeper than I thought. Definitions alone won’t get you a passing score, you need to know the product.
    7.There were about 5 gimme’s… funny, they are the ones I double checked, they seemed too easy compared to the other questions.
  7. I did 2 calculations on a calculator, only because I was nervous and didn’t want to make a stupid mistake.
  8. TAKE THE PRACTICE TEST THAT FINRA HAS ON IT’S WEBSITE. IT’S not even like the actual test. But, if you can pass that, you have a pretty good shot.
  9. Last, the Achievable platform allowed me to test, read, practice ,anywhere anytime.

Because of the virus, my testing was pushed back 4 months…so I started and nearly finished my series 7…heads up…if you don’t know this stuff, the series 7 is going to be a nightmare.

Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope that this helps you. And thanks Achievable for a well thought out platform.


@Rob - thanks so much for your great insights! Congratulations on your success! In regards to the test questions, people have a wide variety of experiences on the SIE exam. It sounds like you were given a really tough exam, which happens fairly often. We model our questions after publicly available information, like the FINRA SIE practice exam. Unfortunately, it seems the FINRA practice exam was very different from your exam questions as well.

A relatively unknown aspect of FINRA exams is the fact each exam is “scaled” for difficulty. Meaning, some people take very easy exams, while some people take very difficult exams (sounds like this was your experience). This is directly from FINRA’s website:

The passing score for the SIE is 70 (on a scale of 0 to 100). This test score is placed on a common scale with all other candidate test scores for that exam and statistical adjustments are made to the score to account for slight variations in the difficulty that may exist among different sets of exam questions. This method allows for a fair comparison of scores and ensures that every candidate is held to the same passing standard regardless of which set of exam items they received.

In plain terms, FINRA takes the difficulty of each person’s exam into consideration when providing the final score. You may have actually scored below a 72 in terms of “real” grade, but were given a pass due to the difficulty of your exam. We don’t know the level or amount each exam is scaled as FINRA keeps this information closely guarded. Regardless, a very common form of feedback we receive is “the real exam was very difficult, but I passed!”

In the face of adversity and a very difficult exam, you still did what was necessary to pass. Congratulations again!

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