Ways to Pass the Series 7 Exam


I Passed my Series 7 yesterday and I thought it would be helpful to share my experience in efforts to shed light on this exam. I'll cut to the chase, its a BEAR no pun intended. However, Its not impossible. I have a masters degree, got excellent grades in school, but never did well in standardized state tests. I only share this because if you know about these kinds of tests you know that it doesn't measure an ounce of intelligence. It measures if you have taken enough Ginkgo Biloba to retain the information.

Guide to Passing the Series 7 Test

Back to business. I used Kaplan for this test and let me just say that it was exactly what I needed. I did about 2000 questions read the book twice. Here is what worked for me. READ THE BOOK! yes the whole 667 pages. Twice if you can if not at least skim through it the second time. Next, buy the Q-Bank! the questions in the Q-Bank are exactly what is needed to get this monster tamed. I created 100 questions exams covering all topics, then did a simulation exam of 125 random computer selected questions.

Then I focused on the weak areas by doing 200 questions on each weak area and I re-read the chapter I was weak on. This will improve your scores very quickly. I didn't get any other supplements they are unnecessary, also don't waist your time going to that Kaplan class its a waste of time, I went to it and I felt like the person teaching it was a robot reading off the book. I left the third day and studied more. If you are getting 85% PLUS on simulation exams YOU ARE SOLID!

CAUTION!: I want to caution you on the following, don't take the Practice Exams and Mastery exams** IF **you happen to skip them (like me for some odd reason) and are already on the 'taking the question bank train', the purpose of those tests are to give you an idea of where you should focus your efforts moving forward right after you finish the book and do a minor amount of questions. If after doing 2000 questions and scoring mid 80's you take the "Practice Exam or Mastery Exam" and If you score say a 70 on those tests but are scoring mid 80s on the simulation expect to pass. Those tests are stupid difficult and in my opinion completely unrealistic.

Remember to focus on suitability, Debt securities, Munis, options and variable annuities. They are all huge.

Lastly, I passed with an 85 and yes , (spare the smart ass comments), I did bust my ass and yes I did study hard. No such thing as studying "too hard" when your job is on the line. Kaplan is the way to go Qbank is on point. I would say that the Kaplan Q Bank is in line with what you will see on the test.

Check out the below video to learn more.


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Comments (50)

Aug 9, 2017 - 6:31pm

I will counterpoint that for someone with significant financial industry experience, the testing experience can be completely different. I had over half a decade in a non-sales role, had my Charter, and was basically ready to sit for the CFP when a job opportunity that required the 7 fell into my lap. I was going to get a raise once I passed, and wouldn't have much in the way of other responsibilities until then, so I decided I wanted to get it as quickly as possible. I spent the first seven days on the job studying from 9-5, sat on day 8, was done in a bit over three hours, (including the annoying mandatory break) scored in the low 90s, and managed to make it to the local bar before the lunch specials were over.

The 7 is tough because it is a healthy volume of materials that might as well be a foreign language for most people who end up taking it. There are investment vehicles the average guy on the street doesn't know, and a lot of it also tries to explain the legal ethical requirements of someone in the industry. For someone who has dealt with those vehicles, and seen scumbags convince retiring teachers give up their pensions in order to buy a VA, it may not be that difficult.

I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
Aug 9, 2017 - 7:45pm

I agree with those points. Thats a very fair statement. The issue with this test is also which provider to select as trainers for the exam. It is not a hard exam in terms of math or vocabulary difficulty it's a lot to memorize. I didn't have the good fortune to have my employer let me study, I had to work and study at night and weekends and having small children at home it made it twice as hard. Glad it's over. Thanks for proving sound advice and commentary.

Aug 9, 2017 - 8:43pm


I agree with those points. Thats a very fair statement. The issue with this test is also which provider to select as trainers for the exam. It is not a hard exam in terms of math or vocabulary difficulty it's a lot to memorize. I didn't have the good fortune to have my employer let me study, I had to work and study at night and weekends and having small children at home it made it twice as hard. Glad it's over. Thanks for proving sound advice and commentary.

Kids make stuff a lot tougher. Two guys in my department have stopped working towards their Charter because of them, including a fund PM. I had a 'get it in a month or get a new job' mandate for the 7, so I figured that sooner was the better option. If I failed, I could give it a second shot, if not I got the raise.

I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
Jan 9, 2018 - 5:58pm

That is what I like to hear about: someone who read the book twice!. Lots of people do not even want to read the book once. Those who look for short cuts are less likely to succeed on any exam than people who work hard.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:05am

this is common in the uk. a variety of lecturers time is taken up by way of writing lecture notes so that scholars are not required to purchase textbooks. the amount of money students are paying from their schooling, it is the least we are able to do

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:06am

Series 7 - am I studying TOO much? (Originally Posted: 11/04/2016)

Hey everyone, I'll keep this short so I can get straightforward responses.

Started my job on Wall St this week (graduated college a few months ago. Started my own equity research biz in college which was a big factor in landing the job)

They want me to get the normal array of licenses 7 first.

I have a better LT memory, so I can't "cram" the nigh before.

  • Read Barrons book on the 7, did all chapter quizzes and one practice test (September, before I got hired or knew I would get a job).

  • Started the Kaplan Q bank. I've done 1919 / 2771 questions. Average score is 65.5%, but I am only using 0.44 seconds a question, like half of whats allowed so I'll have literally way more time on the exam.

(65.5% isnt the best, but remember I kind of just started with this cold so it does include whatever the amount of questions is until you get a slight grip on this)

  • Test is 4 weeks away.

Am I studying too much? I'm working so its harder now. I was going to listen to some of the STC mp4 lessons and do like 25 Q bank Q's a day or something.

Thanks in advance!

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:08am

Best way to Prep for Series 7? (Originally Posted: 10/05/2016)

I am a career swapper and need an angle to get attention from more firms. I am considering taking the Series 7 to make myself a more attractive hire, any suggestions on any classes/books to purchase. I will have weekends/ after work to prep so time is limited.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:11am

Series 7 - Knopman Study Materials (Originally Posted: 01/03/2018)

Does anyone have experience and feedback using Knopman study materials for the Series 7? I have been looking at STC and Kaplan but this one just came up. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:12am

I've never used Knopman. With that being said, I've used Kaplan for 3 exams (including the 7) and am currently using it for a fourth. I have had a positive experience with their books, online exams, live classes, and support staff. I tried STC through a friend's account to give it a shot, and I would not recommend it. Maybe I was too used to Kaplan at that point, but STC felt archaic.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:13am

Series 7 - How to begin preparing? (Originally Posted: 02/10/2013)

I currently work for a large banking institution on the consumer end. Our financial adviser asked if I would be interested in applying for the FA assistant position. I know I would have to pass the Series 7 exam, along with other exams. I know how difficult these exams are and I have been out of school for a long time and was never a strong test taker to begin with. I would love to accept the position but don't know how to begin preparing for it. I would like to get a head start studying before I apply for the position. Can anyone give me some good advice. Thanks.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:14am

I took it three years ago and I thought it was actually pretty easy. A large part of it was based on options and fixed income (don't know if that's still the case). The options questions were very basic too. I remember the hardest part was memorizing some of the laws. If you study a good 2-3 weeks you should be able to pass it even if you have no knowledge with investments. If you already do have a decent amount of knowledge, then you could probably get by on a week or less. There is a series 7 for dummies book that is pretty good. I would get that if I were you!

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:15am

Series 7 is a piece of cake. The only way you'll fail it is if you don't take it seriously during the 2-3 weeks you'll need to study.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.
Jan 19, 2018 - 5:16am

Get the STC study materials and crush all of the quizzes and practice tests over and over until you start scoring in the 80s or 90s on everything. They also provide a big binder with 20+ chapters and hundreds of pages but I never touched it because its just way too much to read thru and provides little benefit. The actual test questions are VERY similar and many times identical to the practice questions.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:21am

I scored a 91 on the Series 7 exam. The material on the exam is not difficult but there is a lot of material to get through and you need to know how to use your time. Make sure you are using solid review materials (not all are created equally) and have a good strategy for how to study for it.

There's not enough room to write all my thoughts about the exam here, but in case anyone finds it helpful, I've shared in great detail my approach to preparing for the exam on the website Personal Finance Insider dot com. I believe anyone could pass the exam on their first try by following a similar approach. Best of luck to everyone on their exam!

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:25am

Series 7 material (Originally Posted: 08/29/2010)

Selling my STC material for Series 7 including notes and 10+ practise exams. The material is in two neat folders which are currently in NYC.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:27am

Does anyone have access to online on-demand lectures for Series 7 instruction? It's an emergency. I have to requalify for the exam after letting it lapse. Already have print book and tests, I just need virtual instruction. Anyone have any experience with these online classrooms. I prefer on-demand rather than virtual.

John C.
Jan 19, 2018 - 5:28am

Selling my STC material for series 7 including notes and 10+ practise exams. The material is in two neat folders which are currently in NYC.

Do you have STC access to online on-demand lectures for Series 7 instruction?

John C.
Jan 19, 2018 - 5:30am

Need Advice TODAY!! question about series 7/ private investment firm (Originally Posted: 03/31/2011)

Hello fellow chimps! i'm quite new here and need some guidance.

i currently hold my Series 7/66 in southern california but was found a job at a somewhat different firm that looks much more promising than my current employer.

here is the situation

the scenario: the business mainly rents commercial property, but is expanding to business acquisitions. the firm is privately owned by a father-son is in the process of acquiring 3-5 private companies within the next months (revenues around 10 mil for each of them), once acquired, he plans to take the parent company public. the parent firm is not registered with finra or the SEC as a brokerage firm, and they use their own capital for their business acquisitions (most of their profits are from the commercial real estate)

if i accepted, what would i be able to offer with my Series 7? i know i would need a principal license like the series 24, but is there a more specific license i would need? (for example, the series 24 does not make me an options principal, could that be necessary?)
the owner plans to go public this year, and once public would acquire more companies through stock purchases and buyouts. he would need help overseeing these purchases and managing the subsidiary firms. if i had my series 24(or whatever other necessary principal licenses) with my 7, and had the owner register his firm with the SEC, could this be beneficial?

bottom line: the owner will hire me if i can show that i can add value with my Series 7 to his firm, i just need help explaining how it will do that. =]

thank you all!!!
(and i am sorry if this is in the wrong forum, its my first post and this forum is the most active)

Your rating:

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:31am

The series seven in and of itself isn't going to help you without actual experience working on IPOs, I'm afraid. Yes, you do know how the process of registering and marketing a security works, but IMHO, he really needs a good securities lawyer first.

Smaller deals and IPOs often just involve management, a lawyer, and an accounting firm IIRC. My Dad worked on a few small mergers way back in the day as an accountant.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:32am

he already has a law firm working on all of the legal aspects. he basically needs an assistant to deal with brokers of other firms he buys and deciding when to purchase these companies and also make sure the subsidiary companies properly reported their statements monthly.basically do the minor stuff so the owner could focus on the "big picture" stuff.

I'm trying to figure out if there is any material benefit the Series 7/66 can add to his firm though? (even after he is public) Is there a benefit to an in-house broker? or if he registered with the SEC and i registered as the principal? lets say if he only wanted to buy minority stakes in companies, could doing ^^^ allow for a cheaper cost of stock acquisition then going through a third-party?

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:35am

Series 7 Study Materials (Originally Posted: 01/03/2012)

I am selling the Series 7 study material from the Securities Training Corporation. Package comes with the actual study material as well as 14 practice tests.. No notes and very minimal highlighting. They are in great condition but they take up space on my book self and I never look at them. They are going for $240 on the STC but I'm only asking for $150. NYC only.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:38am

FREE Series 7 Materials (Unused) (Originally Posted: 01/15/2012)

FREE STC Series 7 materials, unopened. My bank bought us the materials not realizing that we needed to take the 79 (not the 7), so I have it sitting in my apartment unopened. I am moving out of town, so need to get rid of the bulk. Pick up either tomorrow or next Sunday or Monday (Jan 22 or 23).

Also have some other random crap I need to get rid of (power drill or 19'' LCD TV anyone? $10 each).

Also, apartment is available for sublet! February through end of August (already posted this a few days ago): http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/apartment-sublet-in-soho

Asking $1,700/mo (actually is $1,900, but I'm subsidizing just to get someone in quickly, and giving up my bedroom furniture, including my badass queen size Simmons BeautyRest).

PM me if any of this is of interest.

Jan 19, 2018 - 5:44am

I used the text books mostly although I had some web-based access, as well. Skim the sections you are less familiar with and use most of your time taking the practice tests and reading the explanations of the answers. Focus on the sections with the greatest weight, e.g. Debt, Options, Muni Regs, etc.

Chance favors only the prepared mind.
Jan 19, 2018 - 5:45am

For Sale: STC Series 7 Material (Originally Posted: 05/30/2013)

I have the latest STC Series 7 study guide for sale - $150 OBO shipped. Access to the online tests lasts for another few months.

May 6, 2019 - 3:22am
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