So you’ve decided to pursue an occupation in the financial services industry. Great! That means you’re probably getting ready to take the SIE exam. The purpose of the SIE exam is to assess a candidate’s basic knowledge of securities industry topics fundamental to working in the field. Formerly known as the Series exams, the SIE exam has streamlined qualification tests for financial services jobs into one single test. We’re going to teach you more about this exam and outline the best prep courses available so you can be prepared come test day.
About The SIE
The SIE exam is a one-hour and 45-minute test that consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. It costs $60 to take and in order to pass you need a score of 70 percent. You also have to be at least 18 years old to qualify but don’t need to be associated with a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). That said, if you do decide to pursue a career in financial services you will need to pass a top-off exam depending on the exact position you’re going after. For these top-off exams, you will need a FINRA member sponsor.
You can take the SIE exam as many times as you’d like, but as with all FINRA exams, you must wait at least 30 days to retake each time Your passing score will be valid for four years from the date of your exam. This means that If you take the SIE and don’t find a job at a FINRA-member firm within four years, you’ll have to retake the test.
This is what the content of the exam consists of, along with a practice test you can take here.
A Full List of Every SIE Prep Course Worth Considering
Even though the SIE exam is relatively new, there are several test prep options available for prospective test-takers.
|Get SIA SIE Review Now||$109||Go To SIA|
|Get Surgent SIE Review Now||$95 - $255||Go To Surgent|
|STC (Securities Training Corporation)||$119||Go To STC|
|Get Achievable SIE Review||$40 - $146||Go To Achievable|
|Get ExamFX SIE Review Now||$99 - $209||Go To ExamFX|
|Get Knopman Marks SIE Review Now||$250 - $475|
|Get Kaplan SIE Review Now||$99 - $229|
Full Reviews of the Best SIE Prep Courses
1. Securities Institute of America SIE Prep Course
What To Expect
In a partnership with John D. Wiley & Sons, the largest publisher of financial information in the world, the Securities Institute of America (SIA) offers digital courses and guides and has been in securities exam training since 2003. SIA’s Complete SIE Exam Review course costs either $131 or $146 depending on whether you choose the e-course or the print version. The course includes:
- 20 hours of video training
- SIE exam review text
- SIE test bank
- Exam planner
You can also individually purchase a review guide for $40 and prep software for $75. The course comes with a “Partner Until You Pass” guarantee which entitles you access to the course until you pass the exam. SIA has a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the SIE exam after taking their “Greenlight Exam” and offers support, both via online class and over the phone.
SIE materials are available in a bundle with their Series 6 and Series 7 prep packages, as well.
Pros and Cons
- Multiple Exam Types: Practice exams are a major component of SIA’s platform. Their exam types test you for initial knowledge, progress tracking, SIE exam readiness, and more.
- Video Training: Every student gains access to 15 hours of video training. Completing this will help you understand the more difficult concepts on the SIE exam.
- Study Books: This course comes with a set of e-books, study guides, and textbooks. Reading these will reinforce what you’ve learned in your lessons.
SIA Prep Course Details
|Securities Industry Essentials Exam Review Guide||$40|
|Securities Industry Essentials Exam Prep Software||$75|
|Complete SIE Exam Review Course||$149|
|SIE Exam and Series 6 Top Off Exam Complete Self Study Solution||$239|
|SIE Exam and Series 6 Top Off Exam Complete Self Study Solution||$299|
2. Surgent SIE Exam Training Course
What to Expect
Surgent SIE prepares you for the SIE exam through a mix of practice exams and bite-sized video lessons. These are made available to you as you move along an adaptive study schedule. Using this schedule allows you to save a ton of time when preparing for the SIE exam. Other courses want you to spend an equal amount of time on each lesson. Surgent understands that you’re going to naturally excel in certain areas and will need less study time there.
This course comes with the following set of features:
- Award winning adaptive learning technology
- 4 months course access period
- 2400 multiple choice questions
- 2 full length practice exams
- ReadySCORE performance indicator
Most of what you learn comes via bite-sized video lectures. These are kept intentionally short so you don’t burn out when watching them. Everything you’ve learned is then applied and reinforced by practice problems and exams. Completing these ensures that you understand everything about the SIE exam.
All of your course information feeds into your ReadySCORE. This is a resource that tells you exactly what score you’d get on the exam if you took it right away. It also tells you how many more hours of studying you need before you’ll reach your preferred score.
- ReadySCORE: Surgent uses their ReadySCORE performance indicator to tell you exactly when you’re ready to pass the SIE exam.
- Custom Study Plans: You can easily shift your course calendar as you move through the course. Simply cut down on the areas you need less help in and focus on the difficult topics.
- No Live Learning: Surgent’s SIE course is entirely self-study. You can still contact teachers for help, but they won’t teach any live lessons.
Surgent Prep Course Details
|Surgent SIE Review Essentials Pass||$149|
3. STC SIE Prep Course
The Securities Training Corporation specializes in its namesake, and they’ve been doing it since 1969. The STC offers a wide array of study materials and you can purchase them individually or in a package. They also offer pairings with other top-off exams like the Series 7. The most popular option STC offers for the SIE exam is the class, which is either in-person or virtual depending on your location.
What To Expect
In addition to the class, STC offers:
- Practice exams
- 21 hours of video lectures
- “Final Check” Green Light exams
The price for the SIE Premier Package is $119, which includes the live class.
- Print Materials: Some of the study guides and flashcards are available as print materials. This makes offline learning a viable option for people with inconsistent access to the internet.
- Crunch Time Facts: Near the end of your course you’ll be able to review a set of crunch time facts, These serve well as a final review.
- Singular Focus: STCUSA focuses heavily on exams above all else. That’s great for people who need practice, but can alienate students looking for more traditional lessons.
STC Prep Course Details
|Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Premier||$119|
|Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Premier Plus||$249|
|SIE/Series 7 Top-Off Standard||$310|
4. Acheivable SIE Prep Course
What To Expect
The SIE test prep course offered by Achievable SIE has helped professionals earn employment at some of the top financial institutions, including Blackrock and Fidelity. Their online course includes:
- 2,000+ practice questions
- 20+ full-length practice exams
- Online textbook
- Full compatibility with mobile and tablet
It’s not the most comprehensive review course, but it offers a solid foundation of exam-realistic practice materials and learning resources that can help students who prefer this method of studying. It’s missing video content or lectures of any kind, but the low cost for this course makes it an appealing supplement to Surgent or another of our top picks.
- Online Textbook: Achievable has a very easy-to-read and understand SIE study guide and online textbook. Reading this will help you brush up on your SIE knowledge while preparing for the test.
- Modern Platform: This test prep platform has a very clean and easy-to-read design. This tends to save time as students are able to easily navigate the course and complete it at their leisure.
- Self Study Only: This course is designed strictly around self-study materials. Live learners will need to look elsewhere.
Achievable Prep Course Details
|Self Study Package||$74.00
5. ExamFX SIE Training Course
What To Expect
ExamFX also touts their Trustpilot rating and has an “Excellent” review of 4.5 out of 5 stars. There are three pricing tiers, starting with their SIE exam study guide.
- Self Study Package ($99.95)
- Video Study Package ($139.95)
- Live Online Package ($209.95)
ExamFX offers a clear “study path” that all their students take which has garnered impressive results in the past.
The material offerings are what you’d expect to see in an SIE test prep (practice tests, instructor support, and interactive learning portals), but they also have something not every test prep service has, called the Guarantee Exam. If you take the SIE exam within three days of getting at least an 80 percent on their Guarantee Exam, ExamFX will refund the cost of your materials. Of all the reviews we’ve conducted, this is seemingly the best (and actually, only) guarantee available.
Pros & Cons
- Mobile Friendly: Course materials can be accessed on any device. Plus, your progress is automatically saved so you can switch devices as much as you please.
- Affordable: ExamFX understands that not everyone can break the bank when preparing for exams. That’s why they’ve set their prices at a reasonable level.
- Limited Exams: Each lesson has a set of practice questions linked to it. However, there are no full-blown practice exams for you to study with.
ExamFX Prep Course Details
|Self Study Package||$99.95
|Video Study Package||$139.95|
|Live Online Package||$209.95|
6. Knopman Marks SIE Exam Prep Course
What To Expect
Knopman is another company that focuses exclusively on FINRA exams. It has an impressive 97 percent pass rate for those who take the test and offers two options – the course, or the course paired with live training. This means that the cost of Kopman is either $250 or $475. Some of the features included in the course are:
- Textbook (physical or digital)
- Online and printable exams
- 17 hours of video lectures
- 1,100+ flashcards
- 4 diagnostic exams
- Personal instructor access
Something that Knopman does offer, that no other test prep service has, is the ability to demo their training center which you can do here. You can bundle this course with other top-off courses which would save you a little money if you know which top-off exam you’re going to be taking.
While Knopman might be a bit pricier than other services, their 97 percent pass rate might make it well worth it, especially if you can pass the test on the first try.
Knopman Prep Course Details
|FINRA SIE Exam Prep & Study Materials||$250|
|Add Live Training||$475|
6. Kaplan SIE Study Materials
Founded in 1938, Kaplan is one of the oldest, most trusted test prep companies in the world. Kaplan test prep offers preparatory materials for just about every kind of test you can think of in just about every medium you can think of – in-person, online, and in books.
What To Expect
For the SIE exam, Kaplan features three different tiers: Basic, Essential, and Premium, with the latter being the most robust. The prices range from $99 to $229. The Kaplan suite offers materials like:
- License Exam Manual (also available in audio format)
- An in-depth book covering everything you need to know on the exam, broken down into different units. The content contains key topics and terms, multiple graphics, exercises, quizzes, and discussion questions.
- SecuritiesPro™ QBank
- A regularly updated database of questions which allows you to build personalized exams based on length and topic of your choice.
- Practice and Mastery Exam
- The “must know” definitions of the exam
It is worth noting that if you choose the premium tier, you will gain access to a private tutor either in person or online, depending on where you live.
Kaplan SIE Prep Course Details
|Basic Self Study Package||$99|
|Essential Self Study Package||$149|
|Premium Instruction On Demand Package||$199|
|Premium Instruction Live Online Package||$229|
|Premium Instruction Live Package||$229|
The Most Important Features: Price, Comprehensiveness, and Student Support
This is probably the most determining factor in selecting your SIE prep course, which is why we reviewed a wide gamut of courses to best suit your budget. Some of the courses offer bundles with other top-off exams, which might be worth it if you already know the top-off exam you’re going to be taking. But if you don’t there are still plenty of options available, which are outlined below.
We made sure each company reviewed had enough material to ensure that you would be prepared come test day. Practice questions, video lectures, and additional study materials were all taken into consideration when we reviewed the courses. This article is to give you a ‘heads up’ so you can select the course that best suits your learning needs. We also made sure that each of the courses was vetted and had positive reviews.
There should be support with any online course you purchase, and in the case of SIE, we made sure of it. Each company reviewed offers some form of support, and we hope that this article can serve as a springboard for you, as you do your research to find a course that best suites your needs, and learning aptitudes.
Choosing the Right SIE Course Delivery Type for You
SIE prep courses are taught in a variety of formats, and the one that suits you will depend on your schedule, budget, and individual needs. Here are the most common course formats, listed from least expensive to most expensive.
- Self-Paced: You study the course materials at your own pace when it’s convenient for you.
- Live Online: You join a virtual classroom at a designated time and learn from a remote instructor.
- Live In-Person: You attend a real classroom course at one of the company’s brick-and-mortar locations.
- Private Tutoring: An instructor works one-on-one with you to come up with a study plan that best suits your needs and goals.
- Cheapest programs
- Study when you want
- Can cover a lot in a short time
- Requires self-discipline
- Less personalized than a live course
- Little to no instructor support
Who It’s Best For
A self-paced course is a good fit for students who prefer working independently at their own pace. It also works well for those with busy schedules who may not be able to carve out the time to attend a live class.
- Attend anywhere
- More personalized instruction than self-paced
- Clear structure
- Not as interactive as live classroom
- Potential for technical issues
Who It’s Best For
A live online course is great for students who want the interaction of a traditional classroom, but don’t live near one of the company’s branch locations or would prefer not to travel.
- Full immersement
- Familiar environment
- Live interaction with instructor and classmates
- Must travel to location
- Less flexibility
- More expensive than online-only courses
Who It’s Best For
Live in-person classes work best for students who live near a test prep facility and prefer a traditional classroom setting. It offers a high degree of interaction between students and instructors, making it easier to get individualized attention than in an online-only course.
- Tailored instruction
- Custom study plans
- Can learn online or in person
- More time-consuming
Who It’s Best For
Private tutoring is the way to go if you value one-on-one attention and want a personalized study plan targeting the areas where you need improvement. Unfortunately, the high cost of private tutoring may put it out of reach for some students.
SIE Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the SIE.
You must be a minimum of 18 years old to take the SIE exam.
There is no association with a broker-dealer required to take the SIE.
You must have a score of 70% to pass the SIE exam.
After the first and second failed attempts, there will be a 30-day waiting period. After the third failed attempt, there will be a 180-day waiting period. For any attempts after the third attempt, there is also a 180-day waiting period between each exam.
There are many other people just like you, who need to study for the SIE exam. We searched high and low, to find the best SIE prep courses available so you can select one that fits your budget, learning style, and schedule.
If you plan to enroll in one of these courses, we know that you will be more prepared come test day, and we want to wish you the best of luck when that day arrives!
Bryce Welker is an active speaker, blogger, and regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business.com where he shares his knowledge to help others boost their careers. Bryce is the founder of more than 20 test prep websites that help students and professionals pass their certification exams.