SIE Exam Difficulty – How to Pass the Exam

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a comprehensive exam administered by FINRA, a not-for-profit organization authorized by the government to oversee U.S. broker-dealers involved in the financial industry.

This entry-level exam is a required qualifications test that examines the candidate’s knowledge of the risks, functions, products, and regulatory agencies’ structures. Besides, it covers rules, regulations, practices, and practices. What is it like to take the SIE test, how to prepare for the SIE and what is the SIE exam difficulty?

SIE Exam Prep 2022-2023

  • 3 Full-length practice tests

  • Tips and strategies

  • Overview of the regulatory Framework

  • Detailed answer explanations

SIE Exam Overview

All interested individuals aged 18 and older can take the SIE exam. New, prospective candidates and students are also able to take the exam. It is a valuable way to demonstrate the tester’s basic industry knowledge, which is attractive to prospective employers.

Once a candidate passes the SIE exam, after careful exam prep, they may apply to take the appropriate qualification exam for the type of business they will be working in and then engage in a securities business. The candidate must be associated with a firm to take the qualification exam. However, no association is required for the SIE exam.

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a comprehensive exam with material that may be new or difficult. It contains a wide range of questions in four different areas of knowledge.

The SIE exam contains 75 multiple-choice questions. The questions are classified into four areas or functions. Function 1 is Knowledge of Capital Markets and is 16% of the test. 44% of the test comprises Function 2-Understanding Financial Products and their Risks.

Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts, and Prohibited Activities, Function 3, comprises 31% of the test. Lastly, Function 4 covers an Overview of the Regulatory Framework and is 9% of the test questions.

Testers have 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish the exam. The passing SIE exam score is 70, and the results are valid for four years. With an average pass rate of 74%, the SIE exam difficulty is very challenging. For a passing pass rate score, candidates must answer 53 out of the 75 questions correctly.

Individuals 18 or older are eligible to take the SIE FINRA exam. Candidates interested in the securities industry should take this exam at the start of their careers. To be sure, the SIE exam difficulty and the questions and answers to the SIE exam’s multiple-choice questions can be hard. With all-new topic information, the test is difficult, not so much because of the nature of the questions but because the content is novel to the candidate.

If candidates have no experience with the topics, it is similar to learning another language, with nuances, terms, definitions, and contexts. Appropriate and adequate study time is key, and it may take a period of months to prepare for the SIE exam. 50 days seems to be the standard time to prepare for the exam. However, with the appropriate amount of study time, plenty of practice exams, and effective study techniques, this is an important exam that can be passed.

Exam Prep

Due to the SIE exam difficulty, how do you study for the SIE? Because the SIE exam difficulty is a huge challenge to test-takers, proper preparation should be of utmost priority.

If you’re looking for a great resource to pass the FINRA SIE, you should check out Achievable, which is written in clear language and uses real world examples to make the SIE exam as easy as possible. Achievable’s FINRA SIE exam course is rated #1 by multiple industry publications, and includes an easy-to-read online textbook, video explanations, thousands of review questions, and full-length practice exam sections. Their program has industry best pass rates, and you can try it for free before you buy it.


Since passing the SIE exam is crucial to a career in the financial industry, and because of the SIE exam difficulty, candidates must allow adequate, quality time to study all four factors included on the test.

Candidates should allow 20 to 50 hours or more to study for the exam. Various resources are available for candidates, including study manuals like Pass the SIE and Securities Industry Essentials Examination Course: SIE Exam Prep, written and produced by STC.

Some techniques that may help test takers include making flashcards with terms and definitions, having friends or family quiz you, and taking practice tests before exams. Various online practice tests are available and should be utilized as much as possible before taking the SIE.

When taking practice tests, candidates should set goals for their results. For example, aim to receive a score of 70, then 75, then 80, etc., gradually. By taking several practice tests, testers can prepare to receive a top score on the actual SIE exam.

Mometrix Study Guide

Due to the SIE exam difficulty, Mometrix University offers study materials that candidates need to prepare to take the SIE exam. These study materials were created by testing experts who understand the SIE exam difficulty. They created preparation materials to help candidates understand the key concepts and important information to pass an excellent score.

The Mometrix course also provides all the flashcards candidates need, focusing on the SIE exam. Flashcards have been proven to be an effective study technique.

The Mometrix SIE study guide includes extensive, in-depth explanations of regulatory agencies’ aspects, security products, and market structure. This much-needed material offers help and many options for studying best, effectively, and in different ways for the recommended 50 hours. The material also provides information to avoid confusing trick questions and gives secret test-taking strategies to help test-takers gain the upper hand and build confidence.

Take Care of Yourself

Listen to your body. Adequate sleep—at least eight hours per night, a healthy diet—which may include blueberries, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, green tea, and fatty fish, are all foods to enhance brain health. These can all help to boost alertness, support brain function, and enhance energy and mood.

Don’t Cram!

Procrastination is the downfall of many test-takers. However, with the SIE exam, procrastination is not an option. It is best to begin preparing weeks and months before the test. Utilizing resources like PrepAway can significantly enhance your preparation strategy. However, with the SIE exam, procrastination is not an option. It is best to begin preparing weeks and months before the test. Read all information thoroughly and then reread it. Use various study methods—flashcards, videos, readings, and practice tests-will help candidates prepare so that test day won’t loom quite so ominously.

Plan Enough Time to Study for the SIE

Making adequate time for studying is crucial. Candidates should set aside regular, scheduled time to achieve a high test score. Scheduling study time in a busy work schedule can be difficult, so planning is key. Sticking to keeping that study time is even more important. Past candidates and experts recommend that at least 50 hours are necessary to study all the exam content to know the subject matter truly.

Practice Exams

Various SIE exam practice exams are available online. They provide practice exams with 75 multiple-choice questions similar to the questions candidates may see on the exam. Unlike the real test, practice tests are not timed.

The actual SIE exam has a time limit of 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Practice tests provide helpful feedback following the test, ensuring the test-taker knows what functions must be studied and what areas to focus on. When test-takers take the real test, many questions may be similar or familiar, while others may not be included on practice exams.

Pass the SIE Exam

The SIE exam is a good starting point for individuals who want to work in the financial industry insecurities. Future employers view it as a way for a candidate to learn the rules and regulations, distinguish themselves from peers, and stand out from others in the increasingly competitive job market.

Once a candidate has passed the SIE test, they will find that they have increased marketability in the financial realm and are more sought after than other candidates. A passed SIE exam can be the springboard to a long and distinguished career in the financial securities industry.

On Test Day-Taking the SIE

Arrive Early

Candidates must arrive 30 minutes early to have enough time to check in and prepare for testing.

Use the Restroom and Stay Hydrated

Before the test, make sure to use the restroom. Please avoid using the bathroom during the test as it will waste valuable test time. At some testing sites, candidates can not leave the room during testing. Food for thought—it may be tough to concentrate and test the candidate’s true potential with a full bladder.

Additionally, hydration helps test performance, bringing a water bottle with a closing top on test day. However, check with the testing staff, as some do not allow liquids in the computer testing area. Now, it’s on to the real exam.

Proper Identification

On test day, test-takers must provide valid, government-issued identification. This identification must include a photograph and a signature. Examples of acceptable identification include a driver’s license, military ID, or an active passport.

What NOT to Take in the Testing Room

Candidates may not take personal items in the testing area. Notes, books, briefcases, study materials, cell phones, and backpacks are just a few items the candidates can not bring into the testing area.

Items Provided

Test takers will be given two dry-erase boards, dry erase pens, and a four-function calculator to be utilized during the test.


In conclusion, the SIE Exam difficulty may be daunting, and passing the SIE exam is challenging, but passing is achievable with time, plenty of studying, and determination. Mometrix University’s Study Guide and materials can be an effective tool in the test-takers arsenal, providing candidates with valuable information they need to know.

Leaping forward into a new career can be an intimidating time. However, with proper tools and materials, practice tests and flashcards, and plenty of other resources, candidates can breathe a sigh of relief and walk in on exam day feeling confident and in control.

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