Testing and Qualifications
Testing and Qualifications
As part of the registration / licensing process, FINRA administers qualification examinations on which you must demonstrate proficiency in the areas in which you will work, prior to engaging in the activity. These mandatory tests cover a broad range of subjects on the markets, as well as the securities industry and its regulatory structure (including knowledge of FINRA rules and those of other self-regulatory organizations), ensuring a minimum level of understanding and expertise. FINRA provides content outlines of the subject matter covered on all qualifying tests to help you prepare and provides a brief description of the responsibilities for registered representatives and principals.
Before scheduling an appointment to take a test, your employing firm must file the proper application form through the CRD system. Upon approval, FINRA will post a scheduling window of 120 days in CRD. In order to secure an appointment on a desired date, schedule your test as far in advance as possible. The test center will need to know:
- your name and CRD number;
- the test name, or its identifying series ID;
- a telephone number for you or your employer; and
- an email address to send confirmation of your appointment.
Upon scheduling a test, you will receive a confirmation email from the vendor outlining the details of your appointment, including the scheduled date/time, test center location and security requirements. The length of your appointment will include a 30- minute time block to allow you sufficient time to complete the computer tutorial and the post-test survey. The additional time for these activities cannot be used towards completing the test itself.
You may accept any appointment time available within the 120-day enrollment period. However, if you attempt to schedule an appointment at one of your area testing centers at least 10 business days before your enrollment expires, and there are no appointment times available with the testing vendor (Prometric), FINRA may extend your enrollment to the next available appointment. You cannot schedule an appointment past the expiration date of your 120-day window, nor will extensions be granted. Extensions will also be denied if:
- you call before your enrollment window expires, and there are appointment times available before the expiration date, but you are unable or unwilling to accept the available opening(s); or
- you call before the enrollment expires, and there are no appointments available before the expiration date, and you are unable or unwilling to take the first available appointment after the expiration date.
It is important to note that FINRA does not have a hardship policy regarding your inability to take a test. If you miss your scheduled appointment, for any reason, the cost of the test will not be refunded or applied to another appointment. Additionally, if your enrollment expires, FINRA will require your firm to submit a new request, along with applicable fees.
To avoid cancellation or rescheduling fees, candidates seeking to alter a scheduled FINRA test must do so a minimum of 10 business days in advance of their appointment. Appointments cancelled or rescheduled within 10 business days will result in additional fees. Please review FINRA’s website, for more information on the cancellation and rescheduling policy.
You should arrive at the testing center 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. To gain admission to the center, you must provide one valid form of identification issued by a government agency with your signature and your picture, such as a valid driver’s license, passport or military ID. You are also required to sign the center’s “sign-in log,” agree to the FINRA Test Center Rules of Conduct and provide an image and/or biometric capture (e.g. candidate photograph, finger print). Candidates refusing to abide by a vendor’s test center security guidelines and/or protocol will be refused entry to the test center, and a late cancel fee will be charged to the candidate’s firm.
You are not permitted to bring personal possessions, such as mobile devices, cameras, any communication or recording devices, and notes into the testing room; these items must be placed in the center-provided storage locker. Only authorized material issued by center staff is permitted in the testing room. The center staff will provide an erasable note board, dry erase markers and a calculator for use during the test. You will not be allowed to use your own calculator during the test.
Severe penalties may be imposed for cheating on a FINRA-administered test. Any violation of the FINRA Test Center Rules of Conduct will subject you to possible disciplinary action by FINRA, another self-regulatory organization or the SEC, and could result in being barred from employment/association with any securities dealer and forfeiture of your test results. Cheating on tests is forbidden (NASD Rule 1080 (Confidentiality of Examinations) and FINRA Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade)).
For more information on FINRA’s computer administered test, see the Testing page.
FINRA, in compliance with the provisions of ADA, provides testing modifications and aids to individuals with disabilities and/or learning impairments that substantially limit a major life activity (e.g., learning, speaking, hearing, vision). FINRA makes arrangements to offer tests in a place and manner appropriate to persons with disabilities according to the ADA. Please review FINRA’s website, for more information on ADA accommodations.
FINRA provides individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) additional time to complete a qualifying test that certifies an individual for registration with FINRA or to engage in securities business, provided they follow certain protocols. Individuals with LEP are persons who do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English. Individuals and their sponsoring firm must follow specific protocols to request the additional time due to LEP before scheduling an appointment. Please review FINRA’s website, for more information on requesting LEP.