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Exam Content Updates

Check this Page for Securities Exam Updates

We speak to test takers daily and we discover ways the test “changes” over time.  Yes, test emphasis changes!  We will post new tips here as soon as we discover them, so be sure to check this page just before you take your exam!

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Securities Exams UnMasked!

5 Secrets About Securities Exams no one will tell you.  What you know about the exams and how they work is almost as important as the content itself.  We’ve tracked Securities exams since 1998 and we share some incredible time-saving tips you won’t hear anywhere else.  Click here.  


Virus Markets: 5 Securities Exam Secrets You Must Know 22:23

You are living through significant Market-Virus Times, but do you know how the Securities exam tests these concepts?  In this short presentation, we cover 5 topics you must know to pass your examsClick here.

Virus Markets: 5 MORE Securities Exam Secrets You Must Know 18:53  Click Here

You are living through these 5 topics, too.  In this short video, we show you WHY the test covers these topics and how you can apply them now. 


IRA/401k Qualified Plan Required Distribution (RMDs) that were required after age 70 1/2 are now required at age 72. 

529 Plans: Some States allow withdrawals to pay for K-12 education.  While this may not be tested, be sure to check with your State for applicability.  Great website:

Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Updates

This exam is NEW and is likely to change “flavor” over time!  Please phone us at 719-278-3883 as you walk out of the exam so we can keep up with the changes.  Please know: we do not want you to share test questions with us (we already know what is on the test because FINRA publishes an outline).  Rather, we want to know the topics that were easy, surprising or difficult for you.

Recent reports:

“Lot’s of questions about “In-the-Money.”

3 Questions on Options.

Definition of a REIT. 

4 or 5 Long questions.  (Hint: to conquer long questions, see our FREE TEST SECRETS video)

Who is the owner of an UGMA or UTMA account?

Who can trade in an UGMA or UTMA account? Hint: POA may trade!

Must know Current Yield calculation.  Also, the relationship between a Premium Bond, Discount Bond and Current Yield.

Must know the meaning of Dividend Yield.

One candidate reported seeing a question asking for contribution limits on an IRA (2019: $6,000, 2020: $6000.).  (While these limits can be tested, they have not been extensively tested in the past because the limits change every year.) NOTE: “Catch-up Provision” on and IRA for persons over age 50 has always been $1,000.   

Must know the relationship between bond volatility and bond duration.

Annuity Pay-In and Pay-out phases: also Indexed Annuities.

From whom can a Representative borrow money without approval from their Compliance department?

Report of 3 questions about Regulation T.

A “Blue Chip” stock is a large, stable price and earnings company – suitable for conservative investors.

Series 6 Test Updates

A recent test taker, a candidate whose first language is Spanish, said she passed the exam by doing two things: getting approval for 1 additional hour because English is her second language and by taking online quizzes until she reached 80 percent consistently.  Note: this must be requested when you schedule and is subject to “first-language verification.”  She said that the actual exam questions were harder than the practice questions she saw.

Increased focus on USA Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act.  Be sure to review the chart in your outline that shows what dollar amounts trigger a Suspicious Activity Report.  What events (e.g., daily deposit amounts) trigger what actions by the firm or the representative?

Be sure to know the length of time records must be kept under each of these Acts.  

Candidate reports multiple questions about the Bond seesaw, and the relationship between bond rates and yields.

Know the differences between Common Stock and Preferred Stock.  Note: Preferred Stock prices are sensitive to interest rates: if interest rates rise, Preferred Stock prices may decline.

Mutual funds are purchased and sold (redeemed) by the mutual fund (often through a broker).  As such, they cannot be purchased on margin.  

Communications to industry professionals are often marked “For Broker – Dealer Use Only” and are considered to be Institutional Communications.  Industry professionals are considered to be sophisticated (educated) and able to evaluate the merits of these communications, e.g., “they don’t need to be protected from a sales pitch.” They are not limited as to the number of people to whom they may be sent. 

On the other side, RETAIL COMMUNICATIONS, sent to 25 or more retail customers in a 30 day period, must be approved by a Registered Principal prior to first use, filed with FINRA Advertising (read: pay a fee, too), kept on file for 3 years and meet other strict requirements.  

FINRA Rule 2210 makes clear that Institutional Communications must not be used with Retail Customers.

FINRA does not approve Advertising or Retail Communications.  Remember, FINRA is a regulatory organization!

New: Breakpoint Chart in the Exam. Remember: If a customer wants to qualify for a Breakpoint Sale discount, under the Letter of Intent, the total invested must be completed within 13 months.  If a customer has, say $10,000 today and $20,000 in 19 months, the customer would not qualify for the $25,000 breakpoint today.  The $10,000 would be charged the appropriate sales charge today.  

If the dollar is strong against the Euro, what is the result? (See the chart in your outline).

New question on the exam deals with Crowdfunding.  Know what it is.

New question about using a ghostwriter: Some publishers offer professionals the ability to put their name on the cover of a financial publication (book, pamphlet) as author, giving the reader the impression that the representative is the writer/expert on investing or other relevant topics, when, if fact, the representative did not write the book.  Under NASD Rules 2110, 2210, and 2120, such publications would violate many provisions. NASD Rule 2210 prohibits false, misleading or exaggerated communications with the public and the omission of material facts or qualifications that would cause a communication to be misleading. All communications must comply with principles of fair dealing and good faith. These publications appear to raise serious questions of compliance with these standards. If the publication is not the representative’s work or it uses an anonymous “ghostwriter,” it must disclose that it was prepared for use by the representative and that the representative is not the author.  In addition, firms must disclose their name if used as sales literature or advertising as required by Rule 2210. In addition, firms must supervise their employees to make certain they do not engage in the deceptive practices above.

Ghostwriter is also is attached to those who write articles (sometimes under false names) to promote a stock offering, that is, “you should by this new stock because it will increase exponentially due to …blah, blah, blah.”  In short, it is stock manipulation – prohibited under the rules.  The term has also been applied to two or more bad actors (brokers) who attempt to manipulate the price of a stock (up or down) by buying and selling large quantities of that stock and taking advantage of the difference in that stock’s price.  It is somewhat like “painting the tape” where someone attempts to create fake trading volume.  What to know: it is illegal conspiracy to manipulate the markets.

The term “Arbitrage” is showing up on the exam.  Arbitrage is the act of buying a security on one market (say, NYSE) and selling on another (say, NASDAQ) and making a profit on the price difference.  It is legal and ethical.  Think of it this way: say you bought something at a garage sale and sold it at a higher price on Ebay.  The idea is the same. 

Series 63

Candidate reports 10 long questions – a great deal of reading – and many Roman numeral type questions.

Key to beating long questions: Jump to the question mark.  Read the question BACKWARDS from the question mark.  Then read the other sentences in the question to get clarity.  Warning: often the correct answer is tied to a fine-point definition.  Read carefully!