Qualifications Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Examinations

  1. When were the various examinations implemented?
  2. Do you have a list of examination fees, number of questions, and the amount of time allowed for each examination?
  3. How are the examinations graded?
  4. Can the section scores on the exams be averaged to obtain the overall score?
  5. What examination is required to trade certificates of deposit?
  6. What examination would be required to trade unit investment trusts and closed-end funds?
  7. If I pass the Series 7, will I be able to trade municipal securities?
  8. Does Series 7 serve as a pre-requisite to the Series 53 (Municipal Securities Principal Exam)?
  9. What is the limited registered representative examination (Series 17)?
  10. What is the difference between Series 7 and Series 62?
  11. Who is required to pass the Equity Trader's Exam (Series 55)?
  12. If I pass the Series 17, 37, or 38 examination, will I be able to trade municipal securities?
  13. Will the Series 17, 37, or 38 satisfy the prerequisite requirement for principal registration?
  14. What is the difference between the General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam (Series 9/10) and the General Securities Principal Exam (Series 24?)
  15. Since the Series 9/10, General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam, covers options and municipal securities, upon passing the Series 9/10, can I function as a registered options or municipal securities principal?
  16. What is covered on the Series 9 and Series 10 components of the General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam?
  17. How does a candidate register for the Series 9 and Series 10?
  18. Must a candidate take both the Series 9 and Series 10 on the same day?
  19. How are the Series 9 and Series 10 graded?
  20. What is the difference between the Series 27 and Series 28?
  21. What are the prerequisite requirements to the principal examinations?
  22. Do I have to pass the representative examination before I may function as a principal?
  23. What is the difference between a Municipal Securities Principal (Series 53) and a Municipal Fund Securities Principal (Series 51)?
  24. Is there a pre-requisite requirement for the Municipal Fund Securities Principal (Series 51) Examination?
  25. If I pass a FINRA examination, do I still have to take the Series 63?
  26. What happens if I late-cancel my appointment?
  27. If I fail my examination, is there a waiting period before I can take the examination again?
  28. How long is the valid enrollment period for an exam and how often can I take a test during this period?
  29. What happens if I fail, or don't take my examination, before the expiration date?

 

 

1. When were the various examinations implemented?
See Implementation Dates of Qualification Examinations.
2. Do you have a list of examination fees, number of questions, and the amount of time allowed for each examination?
See FINRA Administered Qualification Examinations.

[Schedule A to NASD By-Laws Section 2 - Fees]
3. How are the examinations graded?
Generally, you must score at least 70 percent to pass an FINRA examination. PROCTOR automatically truncates (rounds down) the scores to whole numbers.
4. Can the section scores on the exams be averaged to obtain the overall score?
No. The section scores cannot be averaged because each section has a different number of questions. The overall test scores are calculated by dividing the number of questions answered correctly by the number of questions on the test.
5. What examination is required to trade certificates of deposit?
An individual associated with a broker/dealer must register with FINRA and possess either a Series 7 or a Series 62 license to effect transactions in certificates of deposit (CDs) that are structured as securities. In general, an ordinary CD issued by a regulated financial institution and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is not considered to be a security. However, the marketing and distribution of a CD may create a security under the federal securities laws, which, as noted above, would require an individual associated with a broker/dealer to possess either the Series 7 or Series 62 license to effect transactions in such products.
6. What examination would be required to trade unit investment trusts and closed-end funds?
To trade unit investment trusts or closed-end funds on the initial offering, a candidate must pass either the Series 6 or 7. Only Series 7 qualifies a representative to trade those securities in the secondary market.
7. If I pass the Series 7, will I be able to trade municipal securities?
If an individual took and passed the Series 7 prior to November 7, 2011, he or she will be able to trade municipal securities, structure municipal securities underwritings and perform certain other activities involving municipal securities.  If an individual took and passed the Series 7 on or after November 7, 2011, he or she will be qualified to engage only in municipal securities sales to, and purchases from customers.  If an individual wants to be qualified to structure municipal securities underwritings or perform activities involving municipal securities that are beyond the scope of selling municipal securities to and purchasing municipal securities from customers, that individual would have to take and pass the Series 52 (Municipal Securities Representative Exam).
8. Does Series 7 serve as a pre-requisite to the Series 53 (Municipal Securities Principal Exam)?
If an individual took and passed the Series 7 prior to November 7, 2011, he or she is qualified to sit for the Series 53 examination.  If an individual took and passed the Series 7 on or after November 7, 2011, he or she would have to take and pass the Series 52 (Municipal Securities Representative Exam) as a pre-requisite to taking the Series 53 examination.
9. What is the limited registered representative examination (Series 17)?
The Limited Registered Representative Examination (Series 17) is a subset of the General Securities Registered Representative Qualification Examination (Series 7).  It is a 100-question, 150-minute test, designed to address the duplication of certain qualification requirements in the United States and the United Kingdom.  To be eligible to sit for the Series 17 qualification examination, the candidate must be in good standing with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), employed and sponsored by a FINRA member firm and have satisfied the prerequisite examination requirements by passing appropriate Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) examinations.
10. What is the difference between Series 7 and Series 62?
The General Securities Representative Examination (Series 7) is an entry-level examination that qualifies the individual for registration with all self-regulatory organizations to trade:

  • corporate stocks and bonds
  • rights
  • warrants
  • real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  • collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs)
  • municipal securities 
  • options-equity, index, and foreign currency
  • investment company products/variable contracts
  • direct participation programs
  • exchange traded funds (ETFs)


The Corporate Securities Limited Representative Examination (Series 62) satisfies a FINRA qualification requirement for individuals who will trade corporate securities only. These include:

  • corporate stocks and bonds
  • rights
  • warrants
  • REITs
  • collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs)
  • exchange traded funds (ETFs)


[NASD Membership and Registration Rules 1032(a) and 1032(e) - General Securities Representative and Limited Representative Corporate Securities]
11. Who is required to pass the Equity Trader's Exam (Series 55)?
Representatives who trade equity securities in The NASDAQ Stock Market and/or over-the-counter market are required to register as equity traders. Therefore, a representative who is engaged in proprietary trading or the execution of transactions on an agency basis in equity, preferred, or convertible debt securities must pass the Series 55 exam. For more information on this requirement, refer to Notices to Members 98-17, 98-60, and 00-46, and the Fall 1999 issue of the Regulatory & Compliance Alert. (Note that the prerequisite requirement for the Series 55 is either the Series 7 or the Series 62.)

[NASD Membership and Registration Rule 1032(f) - Limited Representative - Equity Trader]
12. If I pass the Series 17, 37, or 38 examination, will I be able to trade municipal securities?
No, neither the Series 17, 37, 38, nor the foreign examination prerequisites cover municipal securities. Therefore, you would have to pass the Municipal Securities Representative Examination (Series 52) in order to engage in the solicitation, purchase, and/or sale of municipal securities as defined in Section 3(a)(29) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
13. Will the Series 17, 37, or 38 satisfy the prerequisite requirement for principal registration?
These examinations will satisfy the prerequisite requirement for the Series 24 and the Series 4. However, because they do not qualify the candidate for municipal securities activities, they do not satisfy the prerequisite requirement for the Series 9/10, Series 51, and Series 53.
14. What is the difference between the General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam (Series 9/10) and the General Securities Principal Exam (Series 24?)
The General Securities Sales Supervisor Examination is a limited principal examination. It qualifies an individual to supervise sales activities of a broker/dealer. It satisfies the testing requirements of the American Stock Exchange LLC, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Inc., the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, FINRA, the Pacific Exchange, Inc., and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.  The Series 9/10 qualifies the branch manager to supervise sales activities in corporate securities (equity and debt), investment company products and variable contracts, municipal securities, options, government securities and direct participation programs The General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam does not allow the sales supervisor/branch manager to supervise other areas of a member's securities business, such as underwriting, trading, advertising, or overall firm compliance with financial responsibilities.

The Series 24, on the other hand, qualifies a candidate as a general securities principal for FINRA only. By passing the Series 24, the candidate can supervise all areas of the member's investment banking and securities business, such as underwriting, trading and market making, advertising, or overall compliance with financial responsibilities.  While the scope of the general securities principal's supervisory authority is broader than the Series 9/10,  the Series 24 is limited in the products that it covers.  The general securities principal qualification does not cover municipal securities or options.

[NASD Membership and Registration Rules 1022(g) and 1022(a)-Limited Principal General Securities Sales Supervisor and General Securities Principal]
15. Since the Series 9/10, General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam, covers options and municipal securities, upon passing the Series 9/10, can I function as a registered options or municipal securities principal?
No.  With the Series 9/10, the branch manager is qualified to supervise sales activities only.  The oversight responsibility of the registered options or municipal securities principal exams is broader.  In addition to sales supervision, the Registered Options Principal Exam (Series 4) and the Municipal Securities Principal Exam (Series 53) qualify a principal to supervise the member's overall securities business-including but not limited to trading, advertising, and compliance.
16. What is covered on the Series 9 and Series 10 components of the General Securities Sales Supervisor Exam?
Series 9 is made up of 55 options questions, based on the rules and regulations of the options exchanges. Series 10 is made up of 145 questions on FINRA, MSRB, and SEC rules and regulations.
17. How does a candidate register for the Series 9 and Series 10?
To register a candidate as a General Securities Sales Supervisor using the Web CRD system, the position(s) SU and/or BM must be requested. Valid windows will be opened for both the Series 9 and Series 10. The score for each exam will be posted on Web CRD and upon passing both, the candidate's SU and/or BM position(s) will be approved. A candidate who fails either examination will be able to reschedule only the failed exam by requesting either the Series 9 or Series 10.
18. Must a candidate take both the Series 9 and Series 10 on the same day?
It is up to the candidate. Therefore, the candidate may choose to take both exams on the same day or each part at different sessions. The candidate may also choose which exam to take first. Regardless of when each exam is completed, the General Securities Sales Supervisor registration will not be approved until the candidate passes both exams. Note however that if both exams are not passed within two years of each other, the one taken and passed will be invalidated.
19. How are the Series 9 and Series 10 graded?
A candidate must receive a score of at least 70 percent for each exam in order to pass the General Securities Sales Supervisor examination requirement.
20. What is the difference between the Series 27 and Series 28?
The Financial and Operations Principal Examination (Series 27) and the Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations Principal Examination (Series 28) are required by FINRA for the individual who prepares and maintains the books and records of the member as required under securities industry rules and regulations. Broker/dealers that have a minimum net capital requirement of $250,000 and municipal securities brokers that have a minimum net capital requirement of $150,000 under SEC Rule 15c3-1, must register as Series 27s. The Series 28 on the other hand is an abbreviated version of the Series 27. All other broker/dealers may use Series 28.

[NASD Membership and Registration Rules 1022(b) and 1022(c) - Limited Principal Financial and Operations and Limited Principal Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations]
21. What are the prerequisite requirements to the principal examinations?
The corresponding representative examination is always a prerequisite to the principal examination requirement. There are two exceptions to this requirement: first, there is no prerequisite for the Series 27 and the Series 28; second, the Series 24 or Series 26 will satisfy the prerequisite requirement for the Series 51.

[NASD Membership and Registration Rule 1021(d) - Application for Principal Status]
22. Do I have to pass the representative examination before I may function as a principal?
Yes. For each category of registration, the representative examination is a prerequisite to the principal examination. If you pass the principal examination first, you must wait until you also pass the registered representative test before performing principal duties. However, the prerequisite requirement does not apply to the Financial and Operations Principal Exam (Series 27) and the Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations Principal Exam (Series 28).

[NASD Membership and Registration Rule 1021(d)-Application for Principal Status]
23. What is the difference between a Municipal Securities Principal (Series 53) and a Municipal Fund Securities Principal (Series 51)?
Both the municipal securities principal and the municipal fund securities principal may manage, direct or supervise all activities of representatives; the processing, clearance, and safekeeping of municipal fund securities; and the maintenance of records with respect to such activities. While the municipal securities principal may undertake these responsibilities with respect to all types of municipal securities products, including municipal fund securities, the municipal fund securities principal may undertake such activities only with respect to municipal fund securities.
24. Is there a pre-requisite requirement for the Municipal Fund Securities Principal (Series 51) Examination?
An individual seeking to qualify as a municipal fund securities limited principal (Series 51) must be qualified as a general securities principal (Series 24) or investment company/variable contracts limited principal (Series 26).
25. If I pass a FINRA examination, do I still have to take the Series 63?
Most states require the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination (Series 63) of individuals who will transact a securities business. This qualification requirement adds onto FINRA's.
26. What happens if I late-cancel my appointment?
Your sponsoring firm will receive a statement from the FINRA registration system (Web CRD). It will advise that Web CRD has charged a late cancellation fee to the firm's account. This fee equals the examination fee. For candidates associated with non-FINRA members, the penalty is the invalidation of the candidate enrollment itself. Such candidates must then reapply for the exam and submit a new exam fee before the generation of another enrollment on the PROCTOR system.

[Schedule A to FINRA By-Laws Section 2(g) - Fees]
27. If I fail my examination, is there a waiting period before I can take the examination again?
Yes. You may take the examination again 30 days after the date of the prior examination. If you fail an examination three or more times in succession, you must wait until 180 calendar days have elapsed from the date of your last attempt to pass the examination.

[NASD Membership and Registration Rule 1070(f)]
28. How long is the valid enrollment period for an exam and how often can I take a test during this period?
The enrollment period is 120 days (4 months). You may take an examination once per PROCTOR enrollment.
29. What happens if I fail, or don't take my examination, before the expiration date?
Your firm must re-request the exam for you using the Web CRD system and another examination fee will be charged. You will then receive a new valid enrollment period. Non-member applicants must submit a new exam request Form U-10 and the exam fee to obtain a new valid enrollment.
Last Updated: 12/22/2011