FINRA Test Taking Tips

In this article We are going to show you some of the must know tips and tricks to help you pick the best answer on your FINRA exam. 

There will be times on your exam when you are not sure of the answer. There will also be times on your exam when you have No Idea what the question is asking.

We will address these In this article to help you  increase your chances of answering the question correctly and will help you guess intelligently on the exam. 

The reality of FINRA examinations is that the correct answer is on the screen. As a test taker, it is your job to select the one correct answer or in some cases the most correct answer among the four choices listed. FINRA tends to write questions and the answers that appear in the answer key using a format that can help test-takers identify the correct choice even if he /she is unsure of what the question is actually asking.

Three Red Ducks and a Blue Duck

The title is funny but the concept is simple and straightforward. When you have to guess because you do not know the correct answer and you cannot narrow your selection down to at least two, the one that is dissimilar is often the correct choice.  We will use a very short and simple question to illustrate this point.


When an investor is bearish on the market he can profit by:

A. Buying common stocks

B. Buying preferred stocks

C. Selling short common stocks

D. Buying long term bonds


Short selling is a strategy used by investors who are bearish on the market. The objective of this strategy is to sell borrowed shares at a high price and buy them back some time in the future at a lower price.

In the above question we have three “red ducks”. Choices A, B and D all have the choice as “buying” a security. Whereas the correct response choice C has the person “selling” a security. The correct answer choice C is the “blue duck” and the one that is different from the rest.   

The Longest Answer

If on your exam you come across a question that has you totally confused and you absolutely must guess, your guess is the longest answer. Test writers love to show off how much they know and can often be a bit lazy. In most cases test writers will not write out a very long answer unless it is the correct answer. The longest answer, is the answer with the most words, it goes the furthest across the screen and it tends to be the most complete answer.  We have a great example of this below.

Which of the following is true about the National Securities Market Improvement Act of 1996?

A. It was passed to ensure the duel registration of broker dealers  and investment advisers at both the state and federal levels

B. It requires that advisers with assets under management of $110,000,000 or more to register with the federal government only; they must notify the states where they do business and pay a state filing fee only

C. It sets  the level of assets at which a broker dealer becomes eligible for federal registration

D. It requires that federally registered broker dealers notify the state in which they do business and pay a state filing fee


The National Securities Market Act of 1996 requires that investment advisers with assets under management of $110,000,000 or more to register with the federal government, the SEC, and notify the state and pay a state filing fee.

Roman Numeral Questions

Roman numeral questions can be a nightmare or they can be a gift. If you use the answer key to your advantage, you may be able to get the correct answer with only being sure  that one of the Roman numerals is wrong. 

Here is an example of a short question stem with a real gift in the answer key.

 As it relates to the Uniform Securities Act, which of the following are securities ?

I.         An American depository receipt (ADR)

II.        A futures contract on light sweet crude oil

III.       A put contract on the S & P 500

IV.      A variable annuity’s separate account

A. II and III

B. II and IV

C. I, III and IV

D. I, II and III


Options, separate accounts, and American depository receipts (ADRs) are all considered securities. A commodity future is not a security. A commodity future is not a security, it is an agreement to take or make delivery of a commodity.

If you knew nothing about the above question except that a commodities futures contract is not a security you would have been able to eliminate ALL of the wrong choices that contained Roman numeral II. This would have allowed you to determine the correct answer only by knowing something was wrong.

If you have mastered these techniques you will be able to answer questions correctly even if you do not know the answer

 Another Mistake to Avoid

Don’t select a training provider just because the price of the material is the lowest. The internet is loaded with cheap exam training products created by people who have never been in the industry, and by those who skimp on the quality of the material. Cheap training materials are cheap for a reason. If the only way a publisher can compete is on price, then the quality of the product must be lacking. Our training products are of the highest quality. Our Wiley Exam Review guides are of the quality you would expect from a publisher dating back to 1807. Our exam prep software is the most advanced and can be used on all devices. Our videos are television quality, not a video made with a tripod and a camcorder.   Our prices are not the least expense and far from the most expensive. They are, however, the best value for a professional level product. The few dollars you save by selecting the lowest cost internet provider will be far less than the retest fee and the 30 day waiting period..

We hope that this article has helped you understand some of the tips and tricks that you can use to better identify the correct answer on your FINRA exam

Pass your exam or your money back with our Greenlight Pass guarantee

 Good luck on your exam!

 The Securities Institute of America 

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