Passed SIE on 1st Attempt. 1st time w/ no prior knowledge. Here are some tips!

I passed my SIE exam on first try. This is for any other first time takes with no prior knowledge. Here are a few notes for anyone up next:

Read all the course material thoroughly. There are some questions that cover material only a couple sentences long that you may deem insignificant, but they can catch you off guard.

Keep a level head

Take a practice exam an hour or two before to keep the material fresh in mind and to start the exam in full stride.

The actual questions on the exam are differently worded than the achievable practice questions. Some more or less. So you must understand the concepts more so than getting all of the questions right on the practice exams and the Review questions.

How I recommend preparing for this sudden change of question wording is to go to FINRA’s website and take the practice test on their website, take free practice exams from reputable online sources, and also check out free practice exams from your local library(you’d be surprised how much free content your library has).

I was very much rapidly firing off answers while going through all of the review questions, but I always had a note book and wrote down all of the terms and concepts that I did not answer correctly.

Over time I attacked my weak points by selecting them from the Review questions’ settings until I felt comfortable. In conjunction with the adaptive learning technology I think this helped.

Stay consistent. Hope this helps. Happy to answer Q’s.


Hi @Jose_Cassin, congrats on passing your SIE, and thanks for sharing your tips!

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I noticed on Achievable tests there are a LOT of math questions. I have been told there are only a few on the SIE exam. I use another study guide( kaplan) and they say not to worry too much about the equations as the SIE is more focused on industry and definitions etc…
Just curious what your thoughts are on that? Thanks and congrats!


I took the SIE and recall very few math-related questions


In general, it seems like the SIE is moving away from calculations and focusing more on the big picture.

However, we still have learners saying that their exams did contain a lot of math questions - so we cover everything in our material. If you skip the math questions, you’re putting yourself at risk!

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Hi @Denise_Considine - I agree with @Justin’s take. These exams are not heavy on math-based questions, but they still can show up. Even then, it’s quite possible to encounter a question on an equation that doesn’t require a calculation (e.g., what are the components of the current yield calculation)?

Most of our questions are conceptually based, which matches the exam. If you are having trouble with a tough math-based question, it’s likely not something you need to worry extensively about. However, we don’t have material in our program that isn’t potentially testable. You could encounter any of the material we present.

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Yeah there weren’t too many math questions. Should definitely know the fundamentals of options contracts and know the lower and upper limits to things like educational savings accounts, accredited investors, calculating yields, time value. Parity bonds. So a few calculations, but for the most part recognizing where the numbers matter for thresholds.

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