FINRA Exam Tips and Career Advice 7 – How to build a study plan for FINRA exams

Tyler York
Achievable FINRA Exam Tips podcast

Getting ready to pass a FINRA exam? Perhaps your job even depends on it? Have no fear – Brandon Rith shares advice that helped thousands of students prepare for and pass FINRA exams during his time as a Lead Instructor at Fidelity Investments.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive course to pass the FINRA SIE exam with a 98% first-time pass rate, check out Achievable’s FINRA SIE course.

FINRA Exam Tips and Career Advice 7 – How to build a study plan for FINRA exams

Hey there, I'm Brandon rith lead content writer for achievable. Welcome to the achievable Financial exam podcast where we help you efficiently and effectively pass difficult finra and nasaa exams. Today's topic of conversation is what's the best study plan whether you're exploring the possibility of sitting for an exam like the SIE, Series 6 7 63 65 or 66 or you're approaching your test date the contents of this podcast will help you form the best possible study plan. I will be discussing how to implement your study plan using achievable platforms, but the advice provided today is applicable to any study program. If you want to try out achievable, which is the best learning program for finance licensing exams. Click the links in the podcast description or head over to and gainax.

It was free trial. We currently have programs for the s i e exam in the series 7 and plan to have a series 63 program by the end of February 20-21 and you can try out each without a credit or debit card. All we need is your email. Alright, we're done with the promos. Let's jump into the podcast creating and sticking to a good study plan can be the difference between passing and failing Finance licensing exams. Let's start first with a big picture of you and will drill down from there the first part of building your study plan will involve determining how long your study. Should be or another way of saying when do you actually want to sit for the exam? It's important to be realistic here as much as you might want to be done with these exams and just a few days most will need a minimum of three to four weeks of preparation if not more.

Of course the amount of time you dedicate to your studies influences this for example a person that can dedicate 8 hours of quality time to their studies will have a shorter study. Then someone who can only dedicate an hour every other day for purposes of building an example. We will create a 30-day study plan for today's podcast. Let's first creates the overall big picture frame of our plan. The learning process will involve reading all your learning materials taking notes and testing your knowledge with plenty of practice questions. Once you're through all your learning materials, you'll din shift over to final exams. Most test-takers will need at least one to two weeks of final exams to put the big picture together and consistently pass their practice exams. Let's take the average in assume you will need 10 days of practice exams. Now we have the initial frame for Arthur.

Day study. 20 days for the learning process and 10 days for final exams. We will now dive into each subdivision starting first with the learning process. The name should be pretty self-explanatory. The learning process is where you learn the material the best way to approach it. Is this read take practice questions and repeat until you're through all the material. It sounds easy, but many test-takers will deviate from this plan by skimming the reading material skipping practice questions or simply jumping automatically to final exams while cutting Corners may not be a problem for a small percentage of test-takers. It will result in more work in headache for the vast majority. I can't tell you how many people have reached out to me for tutoring thinking may need professional help when in fact the problem was skipping past material and not having a good study plan. Don't do this as specific.

Is possible here's what I recommend you do most learning materials are broken up into chapters and sub chapters. In fact, this is how it Achievable is broken up first read through all the sub chapters of a full chapter. For example, achievable first chapter 4. The SIE exam is common stock. There are 19 subchapters in this chapter including rights of stockholders cash dividends and stock risks. Each subchapter requires somewhere between five and fifteen minutes to read read through each and if you're using achievable Mark completed at the bottom of each subchapter marking a section completed won't tell the system to add to your reviews which adds practice questions to your workload. I do recommend taking notes as you're reading through each subchapter, but don't rewrite the book if it's something especially emphasized are discussed thoroughly. Absolutely right down the important parts.

But if you're noticing yourself writing pages and pages of notes after reading just a few chapters, it's probably a good idea to roll that back a bit. Once you're done reading through a chapter. This is a good time to reinforce what you've learned with practice questions. If you're using achievable, the reviews function will filter questions your way on material. You've been through additionally our system filters practice questions to you right when you're likely forgetting these Concepts. So if you're using our system correctly, you'll see practice questions on topics you took today again in about a week every time you log into achievable. You should first go through the assigned reviews, then go back to the reading if you're using a program other than achievable you should have access to chapter quizzes. Be sure to take a reasonable set a practice questions after every chapter. This could mean 20 to 30 practice questions after a smaller chapter or

50 to 100 practice questions for a larger chapter. If you notice yourself scoring low on these chapter quizzes, it might be worth it to go back into the reading materials reread. The sections are having trouble with and take additional practice questions. But at the same time don't feel like you need to aim for Perfection most Financial licensing exams require a

So there's no need to aim for a super high score if you're averaging around is 70 plus or minus a few points you're doing just fine. And if you're scoring consistently above that Mark great and that's the general approach. You'll want to follow during your learning. Read a chapter take practice questions a name for a square around a 70 or higher and move on to the next chapter in repeat do this until you're at the end of your learning materials. Also, make sure that you're following a good Pace to finish your learning process on time with the original 30-day study. That we built we dedicated 20 of those days to the learning process before you even start your learning process. You should determine how many chapters are in your materials and do some quick math to determine how much time you have for each chapter. For example, achievable Series 7 program has 16 chapters with

20 days learning process that allows one day for each chapter with four extra days for brakes or extra time on specific areas. Of course, every chapter is unique one way or another summer longer and more intense and summer shorter in Fairly intuitive in the example study. That were utilizing the for buffer days should be utilized as brakes or opportunities to spend extra time on more challenging chapters. You could also build additional buffer Days by going through multiple chapters in one day, for example, the preferred stock chapter in achievable Series 7 program. It should take roughly an hour to read through with maybe another hour to take several practice questions on that chapter use the extra time you have left over to continue for through the material and build those additional buffer days. They will be very valuable, especially if you need extra time on chapters or

Something unexpected like getting sick occurs in your personal life. Let's go ahead and summarize the study. That we just discussed read through a chapter take practice questions on that chapter and then repeat that until you're through all the material if your study process is longer say over two or more months. Be sure to take practice questions on older chapters that you've already completed maybe once a week. You don't want to lose track of the concepts that you've already learned that good news. If you're using achievable the review system we have in place is automatically assigned to do that for you everyday before you start your reading there will be a number of reviews that are assigned to you and those reviews are meant to keep you knowledgeable on the topics as you continue for through the material. Okay. That was the learning. Now, let's talk about the last and final part of your study plan, which is the final exam.

At the very least I recommend giving yourself at least a week to take a review practice exams in our example. We've allocated 10 days of our 30-day study plan to final exams. One of the biggest mistakes people make when prepping for finance exams is not taking enough practice exams. It's one thing to score well on practice questions along the way right after you read each chapter, but it's a whole different process to put it all together and obtained a good score when tested on all the material in one sitting not only are you being asked to demonstrate the knowledge and all parts of the exam, but you're also required to have a fair amount of test stamina the series 7 for example is a 135 question exam over a maximum of 3 hours and 45 minutes. It is not an easy task to sit down for a prolonged. Of time almost 4 hours.

Series 7 continually answer difficult Finance questions. Would you ever want to run a marathon without any practice you might be able to do it, but it'll be pretty difficult without any pre-built endurance Finance exams work the same way if the actual exam is the first or second time, you're sitting for a full exam this will work against you and drive your score downward. No question. Most test-takers should aim for a minimum of 5 practice exams. Preferably more like 10 or more. This will not only help you build test in during but it'll also help calm your nerves practice makes perfect the more that you stimulate the real exam the last that the real test date will feel like an awkward or a first-time event when I say simulate the exam. I really mean it every time you sit for a practice exam. You need to put all your notes away and treat it like the real exam if you want to create.

A dump sheets, which is a cheat sheet. You can create from memory with some formulas and quick tidbits to know for the exam. You can absolutely do this. Be sure to create that dumb sheet after you begin the exam the test center when you actually take the real exam will not allow you to utilize your scratch no pad until your exam actually starts in the timer is ticking if you're looking for an example dump sheet for the siac or Series 7 Exam. We have both on achievable forums, which you can find the links to in this podcast description taking your practice exam without any external help other than maybe a dumb sheet is extremely important to your success. I cannot stress that enough if you look up answers on your Praxis exam in your learning materials are through a Google search you are setting yourself up for failure. Not only will your final exam score be inflated, but you're also subconsciously building a system of dependents.

Not going to have access to those resources on the real exam and trust me that will have some kind of psychological effect on you. When you come across a difficult question that you don't know the answer to one of my biggest pieces of advice for anyone preparing for these exams is don't ever use outside resources on a practice exam ever. Trust me. It's in your best interest. Although it is nice to get instant feedback by looking up answers take the exam without any unfair resources and be sure to do a thorough review immediately after doing it this way will also help you commit the material to long-term memory more efficiently and effectively when the human brain Encounters of foreign topic or concept, we are more likely to commit it to long-term memory when we see that topic or concept on multiple occasions when you originally see the question and think it through that's occasion. Number one when you review it an hour or two later that's occasion number.

Otherwise if you're getting the answer immediately, you really only seen the concept once another good recommendation is used good test taking skills as you make your way through your practice exams and also on the real exam first stick with your gut don't change answers. Maybe if you go back and review some of the questions you've gone through and you see you miss something or something else came to mind, of course change the answer then but don't just change answers on a whim your gut is usually a part of your brain telling you that, you know the topic and trying to remind you of something that you learned a while back and that gut feeling you're getting is pointing. You most likely to the best answer that's in front of you second be confident in your abilities. Don't talk yourself out of right answers a lack of confidence usually spirals into anxiety and and the more anxious you are an exam. The less brain power. Your dad came to each question. So confidence is important. Third you got to be

Constantly aware that most of the questions you're seeing are built a trick you by either providing too much information or through vague language came to point you to a wrong answer the more, you know that they're trying to trick you the less that their tricks will work on you and last Quick Test taking skill, make sure that your timing yourself on your practice exam and on the real exam keep track of how much time you spent. There'll be a timer on your screen at all times. You want to make sure that you're going to finish the exam on time because on the real exam for any question that you don't finish within the time allotted is automatically counted as a wrong answer. You have to finish the test on time. Once you finish your practice exam, you'll get a score most Finance exams require a low 70 score to pass and your practice exam scores are your best indication of your ability to pass the actual test the higher and more consistent your practice exam scores the more likely

Pass the real exam. When one of my students begins scoring in the 60s on their practice exams. I know they have at least a chance of passing the real test. My best story was a former student that obtain the high score of 60 on a practice exam the night before the real test and went on to pass the next day while I was ecstatic and in super happy for the student. I need you to know that this is not normal. In fact, the majority people will scores in the sixties on practice exams. Go on to fail the real test even with the scores in the high 60s. The chips are stacked against you. It doesn't mean you can't pass. It just means probability is not on your side once someone begins scoring in the 70s there chances of passing rapidly start increasing and the higher your score goes in those practice exams the better the probability of you passing the test. If you want to be safe, I recommend aiming for a consistent score in the high 70s or low 80s and when I say

Assistant I mean average the last 3 to 4 practice exams that you've taken it if you're scoring a 77 or 78 on average than your most likely going to pass the actual test. It might take 10 15, maybe even 20 practice finals to get to that point. But once you get there your chances of failing decrease dramatically good news achievable allows for an unlimited number for a practice finals. If you're using a different Learning System that only provides a limited number of practice exam. It's probably worth it to consider using another platform. Unless you're very confident with material. Now, let's say that your obtaining practice final scores that you're happy with even when that's the case. It's very very very important to review every practice exam immediately after you take it. Maybe take a quick 10 to 15 minute break between the end of the exam in the review, but it's always more impactful to review right after versus waiting several hours or days when you review

Do a practice exam I recommend reviewing every single question. And yes, this will be a significant investment of time but trust me it'll pay off some people just review the Mist questions with which is somewhat valuable, but think about this what about those questions that you guessed on and randomly answered correctly. You're not going to increase your knowledge on those tests Concepts. If you only review the Mist will be lost in the wind when you review a specific question. You should be aiming to review beyond the specific focus of the question. Of course, you want to understand why you got a specific question right or wrong definitely figure that out. But also ask yourself this if I see this topic tested in a completely different way or in another unique scenario. Do I feel like I would get that question, correct? If you feel like you understand the topic fully after the answer explanation move on and review the next question if you still feel confused after reading through the

Question answer in explanation. Then you should cross reference the reading material and learn more about the topic if the topic still doesn't click at that point search out other resources, that could be YouTube videos Investopedia articles even talking to a colleague potentially and last if you still feel challenged by really important parts of the material it might be worth it to consider hiring a tutor. Another thing that I highly recommend during your review is to start taking notes and efforts to create a final review notebook. Now, this could be digital. It could be physical doesn't really matter. But the important point is that you're taking notes on the material that you're coming across that you didn't feel 100% comfortable with that notebook will grow quickly and keeping a good set of notes is important for two reasons first. We tend to remember things more often when we either write them down or type them out mainly because you're taking more time to write those notes and therefore devoting more brain energy to

Topic and second The Notebook will serve as a good refresher before every future practice exam in the actual exam itself before your next practice exam set aside 15 to 20 minutes to Simply review those notes and by doing so you're reminding yourself of the topics. You wear it challenge by previously those topics will be fresh in your head and you're more likely to answer questions on those topics correctly and you should do the same prior to the real test as well. Whether you're doing a virtual exam or going to the test center build-out 20 to 30 minutes to give or sell them confidence pep talk into review. Those notes go into the exam with those details fresh in your mind in your chances of passing will absolutely increase. Okay, that is a good study plan. Let's go ahead and summarize the big important points from today's podcast first always create a study plan and follow it build that study plan around the amount of time you have before the actual test.

30 days was the overall time frame. We used in today's example, you should dedicate 60 to 70% of your study. To the learning process where you'll read through the learning program and taking numerous practice questions, 20 days of our 30-day study. Was dedicated to that you should allocate the other 30 to 40% of your study. To practice exams 10 days of our 30-day study. In this example was dedicated to that. I recommend a minimum of a week with practice exams aiming for completing and reviewing 5 at the very least. Most test takers will need to take more like 10 to 15 practice exams to consistently a team scores in the seventies or higher start creating a book of notes as you review your practice finals and go through those notes prior to each future practice exam also spend 20 to 30 minutes prior to the real test reviewing that notebook to go into the exam with the material fresh in your mind. Follow this General plant structure and your

Clean yourself up for Success. Be sure to check out the links in the podcast description for you'll gain access to additional exam resources, including podcast videos and the dump sheet to be discussed earlier today plus links to achievable is learning platform as a reminder. You can try out achievable for the s i e in Series 7 Exam right now completely for free. All we need is your email. We will also have achievable for the series 63 available very soon. We're aiming for the end of February 2021. Thank you so much for listening to the achievable podcast. If you have any feedback or questions for me, check out my website basic wisdom. Net all of my contact information. Is there including details on my tutoring Services good luck with your studies and I'll see you next time.
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