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Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam Information for Students

Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam Information for Students

Your First Step to a Career in the Securities Industry

The Security Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam is a FINRA exam for anyone considering a career in the financial services industry. This introductory-level exam assesses knowledge of basic industry information, including fundamental concepts such as types of products and their risks; the structure of the markets, regulatory agencies and their functions; and prohibited practices.

The SIE is open to individuals aged 18 or older. You may take the exam before receiving a job offer, and the results are valid for four years. Online and in-person testing is available for the exam.

On This Page

At a Glance
Essentials Exam Content Outline
  • Number of Questions: 75
  • Format: Multiple Choice
  • Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Passing Score: 70
  • Cost: $80

Taking the SIE

Passing the SIE shows prospective employers that you’ve mastered fundamental concepts and you’re ready to take that first step into a new career.


  • Ability to distinguish yourself from your peers seeking internships or jobs
  • Opportunity to jumpstart your career goals
  • Immediate notice of your pass/fail status with performance feedback if you fail
  • Increased marketability in financial services industry

After Passing the Exam

When you pass the Essentials exam, you must take a few more steps before you can register with FINRA or engage in securities business. To become registered to engage in securities business, you must also pass a qualification exam appropriate for the type of business in which you will engage.

First, you must be associated with a broker-dealer to take a qualification exam. The broker-dealer then sponsors you to take an exam, such as the General Securities Representative (Series 7) exam.

In addition to passing exams, you must satisfy other requirements, such as completing a background check, before you can engage in securities business.

Learn more about the registration process and FINRA’s qualification exams.

Connecting With Opportunities in the Financial Services Industry

Taking the SIE is the first step. Then connect with industry firms through our Financial Industry Networking Directory (FIND). FIND is a FINRA service that looks to connect individuals with financial services firms that are recruiting for full-time employment and internship positions. Learn more about how you can join and benefit from FIND.