Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE or Essentials) Exam is a new FINRA exam for prospective securities industry professionals. This introductory-level exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information including concepts fundamental to working in the industry, such as types of products and their risks; the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions; and prohibited practices. 

Key Features of the Essentials Exam


  • The Essentials exam is open to anyone aged 18 or older, including students and prospective candidates interested in demonstrating basic industry knowledge to potential employers.
  • Association with a firm is not required, and individuals are permitted to take the exam before or after associating with a firm.
  • Essentials exam results are valid for four years.

The Essentials Exam at a Glance


Number of Items 75
Format Multiple Choice
Duration 105 minutes
Passing Score 70
Cost $60

Content Outline


The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Content Outline provides a comprehensive guide to the range of topics covered on the exam, as well as the depth of knowledge required. The outline is comprised of the four sections. The table below lists the allocation of exam questions for each section.

Sections Percentage of Exam Questions Number of Exam Questions
(1) Knowledge of Capital Markets 16% 12
(2) Understanding Products and Their Risks 44% 33
(3) Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities 31% 23
(4) Overview of Regulatory Framework 9% 7
TOTAL 100% 75

Registration with a FINRA Member Firm


Passing the Essentials exam alone does not qualify an individual for registration with FINRA or to engage in securities business. In order to become registered to engage in securities business, an individual must pass the Essentials exam and a qualification exam appropriate for the type of business the individual will engage in. The individual must be associated with a member firm to take a qualification exam. The member firm then sponsors the individual to take an exam, such as the General Securities Representative (Series 7) exam. In addition, the individual must file a Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (U4), submit fingerprints and be approved for registration by FINRA. The following webpages provide additional information on FINRA’s qualification and registration requirements, including eligibility requirements: