FINRA announced on January 12, 2018, that the content outline for the Securities Essentials Exam (SIE) will be filed with the SEC.  This means that after several years in the making, FINRA is moving forward with its exam restructuring program on October 1, 2018.  FINRA’s SIE content outline is available for review at

The new content outline supersedes a draft outline that was part of the preliminary SIE exam notice from May, 2015.  This new version has grown substantially in page length from the first version! Exam candidates will be accountable for demonstrating knowledge from a large body of industry rules, product and market information. Although FINRA expresses that the exam will require general knowledge only, we expect exam candidates will find the breadth of information covered in this exam of 75 questions to be challenging.

SIE Exam Facts

Number of Items 75
Format Multiple Choice
Duration 105 Minutes
Cost $60
Passing Score TBD

SIE Topics and Question Count

Knowledge of Capital Markets 16%, 12 Questions
Understanding Products and Their Risks 44%, 33 Questions
Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities 31%, 23 Questions
Overview of Regulatory Framework 9%, 7 Questions

Top-off Exam Outlines – Coming Soon

To become fully licensed after October 1, 2018, individuals must pass both the SIE and a specialized top-off exam tailored to their area of practice (e.g., investment banking, securities trading, operations). Though the SIE can be taken by persons that aren’t associated with firms, the top-off exams will be available only to associated persons of FINRA member firms.

The top-off exam outlines have not yet been released by FINRA, but are expected soon.  Like the SIE, these exams will be effective on October 1, 2018.

Knopman Marks will Keep You Informed

Check back regularly for updates on the SIE exam and top-offs.  We are committed to delivering the best exam prep material for these new exams, and are happy to help with any question you have about this new process.