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Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Keir Review Experience


For those studying for the Certified Financial PlannerTM examination, the word “overwhelming” often comes to mind.  Not only is there a large volume of information to study- three volumes to be exact, but students also need to be aware of how the information will be presented and how to spot potential tricks within the questions.


Attending a live or virtual review class with Keir Educational Resources’ expert instructors can make a big difference in how well the study experience goes, and can be invaluable in assisting students with passing the exam.


Students are strongly encouraged to complete the Keir Volumes 1 and 2 prior to class.  That typically requires at least 100 hours of study before the review.  This is key!  The class is a review – not a first teaching of the topic.   An unprepared student will be lost in this fast paced and tightly structured program.  Students attending the review can expect to discuss each of the 72 exam topics during the 32 hours of class.


Instructors will provide examples to help students better grasp difficult concepts, provide some tricks and tips for remembering various ideas, guide students regarding which items are likely to be tested and how, and which items are less likely to be tested.  In the classes, students are receiving training on how to THINK LIKE A PLANNERSM and incorporate the practice standards into the study process. This will prepare the students with the right thought system to analyze any question.  A student can expect to be challenged and also to have a good time in class.  Instructors are very good at creating absurd examples that are just off-the-wall enough to make them stick in the minds of students.


The review experience will also involve teaching some test-taking skills to assist students in how to approach various types of questions and how to work through the exam time limitations.   In addition, instructors will help students learn how to overcome their own biases and experiences to make sure they are answering questions correctly.  For example, there are common industry practices that students may employ in their firms. Students must learn to answer questions according to the industry standard and not according to their specific company practices.


Live reviews also allow students to interact with other students, sometimes creating support groups. Both live and virtual reviews, students have easy access to instructors who will answer any exam related questions students may have.  These relationships can go a long way in helping to calm nerves and to be able to focus on what is needed to pass this rigorous exam.


The review can have the added benefit of separating students from the stressors of their everyday lives and giving them the environment in which they can  focus on what needs to be done to be successful passing the exam.  It is a commitment worth making for a goal that is worth achieving.

Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE EXAM) 2016

exams concept

You may have heard that FINRA is going to be changing several exams to reduce redundancy and streamline the Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE EXAM) 2016 process.  They are proposing to offer a core exam covering:

  • the structure and function of the securities industry
  • the regulatory agencies and their responsibilities
  • basic economics
  • product knowledge, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • practices that are regulated and prohibited
  • professional conduct

This exam will have 100 questions, and individuals need not be sponsored by a company to take it.  Candidates will not be required to complete a U-4 or to be fingerprinted for this test.   Because of the minimal requirements, companies may encourage their employees to take the exam to increase their level of professionalism.   In addition, individuals who are still in school may take the exam, and persons thinking of making a job change or unemployed may take the exam to assist their job search.  If these candidates pass the exam, they will have four years in which to find employment with a sponsor before the passing grade expires.  If candidates fail the exam, they must wait 30 days to re-test.  A second failure requires a 30 day wait, and a third failure requires a 180 day wait.

Once the individual is hired by a sponsor company, he or she will be required to complete a “top off” exam containing specific material for Series 6, 7, or several of the more specialized FINRA exams.  Using Series 7 as an example, the specialized exam is likely to consist of 150 questions.  With the core exam of 100 questions, the total of 250 questions will be exactly the same number as contained in the Series 7 exam today.

At the November National Society of Compliance Professionals Annual Conference, it was suggested that the core exam would be released in late 2016, and the “top off” exams would be added in early 2017.  No outlines have been released for any of the exams, so we will be watching developments very carefully during the year to bring you the latest information.

NASAA has just announced that they will implement changes to the Series 63, 65, 66,  exams as of July 1, 2016.  Please see our articles on these separate exams so you are prepared!