How to take the SIE exam online – a complete, step-by-step walkthrough

Tyler York

Looking for a complete guide to how to take the SIE exam online? Our founder Justin Pincar recently sat for the FINRA SIE Exam and passed on his first attempt thanks to Achievable’s FINRA SIE course. He documented the process thoroughly so that we could share the full breakdown with all of you. 

How to take the SIE exam online

How to sign up for the SIE exam

Navigate to the FINRA Registration page, scroll down to Enrollment Options, make sure Individuals is highlighted, and then click Get Started.

Accept FINRA’s privacy statement.

And now create your profile on their site. If possible, use your personal contact information as your primary contact, rather than your employee information. You may change jobs but still need to use your FINRA account.

When you’re done, you should see this confirmation screen.

Confirm your email address and set up your account security

You need to confirm your account email address by clicking the link in the email you received from FINRA. It should arrive within minutes of registering your account.

After confirming your user ID, you will need to activate your password. This is sent in a separate email. See above.

This link takes you to a password reset page where you enter your password.

If you have set your password successfully, it will give you this confirmation.

And you should receive an email confirming this as well. You can now log into your account on FINRA’s website.

How to register for the SIE Exam

The login page looks like this. Enter your user ID and the password you just created.

Now, you’ll be asked to enter three security questions and answers for each. Don’t worry, this is the last account setup step.

Once you’re on the dashboard, you should see an option to “Enroll For SIE” and start the checkout process. Click the Continue button on this screen.

Read and review the Rules of Conduct, which explains what you are allowed and not allowed to do while taking your FINRA SIE Exam. Not following these rules may result in disqualification, so be sure to read them carefully.

Then, read and agree to the Payment or Voucher Redemption Agreement. This one is pretty straightforward terms and conditions.

How much does it cost to take the SIE exam

You will then be taken to the checkout page. Enter your payment information and click Submit Payment. 

When your payment is successful, you’ll be shown this confirmation page.

And your dashboard will update to show “SIE > Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam” in My Exams under the Pending Exams category.

You will also receive a payment confirmation email from FINRA, followed by an enrollment purchase invoice.

Once you’re enrolled, start the scheduling process with Prometric

Once the payment has been fully processed (typically within fifteen minutes), you will receive an email that confirms your enrollment for the exam. Pay close attention to your ID number and the enrollment window. You can only take your SIE Exam within the enrollment window.

This email links you to the scheduling page, which is your next step.

How to take the SIE exam

Go to the FINRA SIE scheduling page. On that page, look under “How to Schedule an Appointment to Take Exams Online (Remotely)” and click on “Access Prometric’s scheduling page” to be taken to Prometric’s FINRA SIE scheduling page.

Once there, select “Option 2: Schedule your exam for online delivery”.

Schedule your exam with Prometric

You will be taken to the scheduling flow within Prometric’s website. In this, you will be briefed in the rules for using Prometric to take the FINRA SIE at home, and their policies. Again, read these carefully as breaking these policies may result in disqualification. Agree to these policies to begin scheduling your appointment.

This is the Schedule Appointment page. Enter your FINRA ID and name as it appears on your account profile with FINRA. Click Submit, and it will search for and find your appointment automatically.

This is what should appear once you search for your appointment. You can select the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam on this screen and continue by clicking on the right arrow in a circle at the bottom right.

Next, confirm your time zone. Continue by checking the confirmation box and clicking the right arrow.

Input a date range where you’d like to see the FINRA SIE to see available times. 

Select your exam time

Select a time to take the test. You should be able to arrive at least 30 minutes early and block out 135 minutes to complete the exam for a total of two hours and forty five minutes. Once you’ve picked your time, choose it using the Select button and then click the Reserve Test time button in the bottom right.

After reserving your time, you will be taken to select a sponsor and program. If you are not sponsored by a FINRA-member firm, you can put FINRA as your sponsor. In either case, your Program is to become a FINRA RP – FINRA Registered Professional. Click the right arrow to continue. 

The rest of the registration process is timed. You have 15 minutes to complete the registration and reserve your spot from this point forward.

Fill in the Prometric registration information

Agree to have your Biometric Data collected. This is required to take the test online from home.

Fill in your information accurately to complete the registration for your test appointment. Make sure to use the same name and email that match the ones you use for your FINRA account. It should match regardless due to you entering your test taker ID number, but it’s good practice to do that anyway. 

Click the right arrow at the bottom of the form to continue.

Confirm all of the appointment details

Once you complete the registration process, you should see this appointment verification screen. Double check that your registration info, date, time, and exam are all correct. Then click Complete Appointment to finalize your registration.

After you Complete Registration, you’ll be taken to a very similar screen, but this one says Appointment Summary – not Appointment Verification. 

You should also receive an email confirmation from FINRA. 

That’s it! You’re registered! 🎉

FAQ: What happens if I idle and am logged out of the registration flow?

There is a 15 minute timer on the top of the Prometric scheduling page once you start scheduling. If you reach that time limit, it will log you out. If you are scheduling online, you cannot resume your registration from this screen! Go back to the FINRA page and click “Option 2: Schedule your exam for online delivery” to start the process over again. 

Prepare your computer and test environment before taking the exam

Prometric takes security extremely seriously, so we didn’t take any screenshots from this point on, and will only describe the process.

Do the Prometric Readiness Check

You can access Prometric’s readiness check page any time after your email confirmation and before the test itself. It is very important that you do this check well in advance of the test day. You want to know if anything is wrong now, so that you can make arrangements to use a different computer if necessary.

Once you’re on the readiness check page, agree to install their application. You will need this for test day anyway.

Open the application and do the normal setup steps:

  1. Input your confirmation code and last name from the confirmation email
  2. Accept the privacy disclosure
  3. Accept the confidentiality and environment requirements
  4. It will then show a bunch of system checks. You want all of them to say “Passed”. If they do not, contact Prometric support.

If you’re in the preparation stage, you can stop at this point. If you continue, it will put you into the exam queue and match you with a proctor to take the test immediately. 

WARNING: As of 2022-02-24, the Prometric proctoring app didn’t work on the new Macs with the Silicon M1 chip! It will install without error but will crash later in the process and will not proceed past the “secure your computer” stage. If you have a newer MacBook, you can check to see what processor it has by clicking the Apple icon and then About This Mac. If the “Chip” field says “Apple M1 Pro” or any “Apple” chip, you may run into this issue as well. Give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, contact Prometric support. This is why you need to prepare your computer early!

Review the environment requirements

As part of the Prometric readiness check, it will ask you to accept the environment requirements. Take a screenshot or take note of these requirements, and make sure your test taking space will meet the requirements on test day. This may require special arrangements, such as making sure roommates or family members will not enter the room you are taking the test in. Make those arrangements ahead of time to ensure they’re followed correctly.

On test day

What to bring to your SIE exam

30 minutes before your scheduled time, get your ID ready, go to the restroom, turn off your phone, clear your workspace, etc. Ensure you’re totally prepared! From this point on, you will not be allowed to step away from your computer.

Setting up your computer for the exam

Open the Prometric app that you should already have installed. It will have you go through some of the setup steps again, but they should be quick this time since you’ve already verified everything.

Then, Prometric will secure your device for the exam (we don’t know how, but we’ll take their word for it) and then automatically go to the next screen.

The Prometric app will first have you take a selfie. Then, it’ll have you take a picture of your ID. This is to confirm that you are really taking the test.

After that, you will wait for a “Readiness Agent”, who will do additional identity verification checks to ensure that you are you. 

After you pass the checks, you’ll be matched with a proctor. They will give you a tutorial on how to use the exam software. Do not worry – this does not count towards your time!

After completing the tutorial, take a deep breath, and start your exam!

Take the exam

(✨ The magic happens here ✨)

Get your SIE exam test results

After completing the exam, you’ll be given a provisional Pass / Fail result immediately. This is not guaranteed to be your final result, but it is extremely likely that if you get a Pass here, you have passed for real.

You’ll receive official confirmation of your result via email. Justin received his about an hour after finishing.

That’s it! You just passed your FINRA SIE Exam!

Bonus: Test taking tips

Expect the FINRA SIE exam to take close to the full amount of time, even if you’ve been completing practice exams much faster. Given the stress of this being the official exam, you want to take your time to slowly read every question and ensure you’re not making any silly mistakes due to rushing through.

Remember that although the FINRA SIE is a 75-question exam, there are actually 85 questions total! They give you an extra 10 unscored questions, mixed in with the real ones. There is no way to determine which questions are the unscored questions. They refer to these as “pretest” questions, but they are actually part of the real test and must be taken within the same time limit. 

If you’re struggling with a question because the language is particularly difficult or it feels like a topic you’ve never seen before, there’s a good chance it’s one of those unscored questions. Just do your best to answer it, take a second to regain your composure, and move forward to the next one with a clear mind. Remember that you only need a 72% to pass, and which means you can miss 20 out of 75 questions and still pass.

Good luck!

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