Changes coming to taking FINRA exams online, and how to get special testing accomodations

Tyler York

Starting on June 9th, 2023, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) will only allow testing candidates to schedule certain online exams with an approved testing accommodation. In this blog, we’ll cover online testing, what is changing, and testing accommodations.

As of June 9th 2023, only the SIE can be taken online (unless you have a testing accommodation).
All other FINRA/NASAA exams must be taken in-person at a testing center.

Online testing

Historically, all FINRA test takers were required to sit for FINRA licensing exams in-person at a testing center. However, FINRA instituted its first-ever online testing system at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This new system allowed candidates to take their licensing exams virtually and from the comfort of their own homes.

Test takers using FINRA’s online system were required to follow several protocols. We outlined those requirements in a previous Achievable blog, but candidates were asked to download testing applications and work with online proctors to ensure they were in a secure testing environment. Once the security checks were completed, an individual took the exam like they would in a testing center.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

What’s changing

FINRA is taking away online testing from most of its general testing population for securities licensing exams. This new policy aligns with North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) testing protocols, which removed general online testing for the Series 63, 65, and 66 exams last year. Once the policy is implemented, most securities licensing candidates will be required to sit for the exam in a Prometric testing center.

Beginning June 9th, 2023, only those qualifying for testing accommodations are eligible to take online exams. The new policy applies to almost all FINRA and NASAA exams, including the Series 6, 7, 63, 65, and 66. However, this change does not impact the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Candidates sitting for this exam may continue to choose between online and in-person testing.

Try some SIE practice questions to get a feel for the exam.

Testing accommodations

As discussed above, only candidates with approved testing accommodations may be eligible for online testing (except for the SIE). Now, let’s discuss how to apply for one. Testing accommodations have traditionally been available to those with disabilities or learning impairments:

FINRA in compliance with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides testing modifications and aids to individuals with disabilities and/or learning impairments that substantially limit a major life activity, such as learning, speaking, hearing and vision. FINRA makes arrangements to offer exams in a place and manner appropriate to persons with disabilities.

FINRA offers the following testing accommodations:

  • Extra administration time
  • A reader/recorder (to provide visual and/or computer navigational assistance)
  • Large print exam booklet
  • Private testing room
  • Online testing

Candidates that wish to obtain testing accommodations must follow specific protocols and involve a licensed professional (e.g., doctor, psychologist). This three-step process must be followed:

  1. Testing Accommodations Eligibility Form – must be filled out by candidate or sponsoring firm
  2. Testing Accommodations Eligibility Questionnaire – must be filled out by licensed professional
  3. Both forms submitted to FINRA for approval (via email or fax)

After both forms are received, FINRA will determine if approval is warranted. If the accommodation is approved, the candidate will be eligible to schedule an online exam.

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