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June 13, 2024


Last updated: June 29, 2024

How To Pass The Series 3 Exam

By: Securities Institute Staff

Key Series 3 Test-Taking Tips Covered Below:

  • Read the full question before answering
  • Identify what the question is asking
  • Identify key words and phrases
  • Watch out for hedge clauses, for example, except and not
  • Eliminate wrong answers
  • Identify synonymous terms
  • Be wary of changing answers

How to Pass the Series 3 Exam
and become an Associated Person

What is the best way to prepare for the Series 3 exam? We get asked this question all the time. The answer is that, while everyone learns in a different way, there are certain steps that everyone must take to pass the Series 3 exam. Reading the textbook is absolutely essential to passing the exam. You must read the book completely and fully, take notes and highlight the key points. Once you have completed the textbook, take as many Series 3 practice questions as you can. The exam prep software is designed to help you master the application of the knowledge. The article that follows will provide you with additional insight on how to pass the Series 3 exam.

Pass your Series 3 exam guaranteed or your money back with our Greenlight guarantee.

Passing The Series 3 Exam

By Trace Fasano, Director Of Education, The Securities Institute Of America

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m just a really good test taker” and wondered “What do they know that I don’t?” Well as it turns out, there are certain things you can do to improve your test taking. And the best part is you don’t have to know any more of the technical information in order to do this. All standardized, multiple choice tests have certain things in common; here’s how to out-test the test, and help you become a better test taker and ace your Series 3 exam!

Read the full question. Sounds really simple, right? But most people don’t. Most of us are conditioned to skim through information to find the one little nugget we are looking for. If you’re approaching Series 3 exam questions this way you’re sabotaging yourself. So let’s be clear. When you are answering exam questions, read the entire question and read all the answer choices. Then read the last sentence of the question again. That last line is the punch line in most exam questions, “what do they want from me?”

Use “process of elimination”. Always get rid of the answer choices you know can’t be correct.

If you have used process of elimination, have two choices left, and you’re still not sure answer is right; go with the statistics. If one of the choices you haven’t eliminated is “all of the above”, choose it! This is one of the keys to outsmarting the Series 3 exam. Statistically, it’s probably the correct choice. On the other hand, if you’ve used process of elimination and one of the choices you have left is “none of the above,” don’t pick it. Odds are it’s not the correct answer. The test writers for the Series 3 exam like to include a correct answer to trick you.

If a question gives you an answer choice that reads “not enough information to determine,” do not choose that answer. There is always enough information to answer an exam question. Chances are there is more information than you need to answer any question on the Series 3 exam. Consider it a gift, now you have a one in three chance of getting the question correct!

The cardinal rule in taking the Series 3 exam is Don’t Change Your Answers. If you have taken your time, read the full question, used process of elimination, and made a decision; do not second guess yourself. Statistically, when you change an answer, you change it to the wrong answer more often than not, so stick with your gut! The Series 3 exam will not give you a lot of information that you can go back and use to answer a question better the second time.

Keep your head in the game. That means you should answer the questions you are sure of first. Leave the ones that cause you grief for last. Makes sense right? But here’s the rub: you need to answer each question in order for the computer to generate the next one; there is no “skip” button. So here’s how we skip questions in on the Series 3 exam: First, read the full question. If the question is confusing or asking about an area that you are unfamiliar with, pick an answer, and click on “record and review.” The computer will then bring up the next question. When you are done with all the questions, the computer will show you the questions you clicked record and review on. These are the ones you skipped. Now you can answer those questions. Since you didn’t answer them earlier, and you chose a random answer, you don’t have to worry about the statistics of changing your answers, and you’ll have plenty of time to work on the difficult questions. The Series 3 exam is not a speeded test. A speeded test is one that is designed so that only the brightest students will have enough time to finish. The Series 3 exam is designed to provide enough time for all students to complete each question on the exam.

Taking is the Series 3 exam is stressful, even if you are a good test taker. By following this simple advice you will be able to tip the scales a bit more in your favor. Coupled with diligent test prep, you are well on your way to passing the Series 3 exam!

The Series 3 exam will be presented in a 120-question multiple-choice and true / false format. Each candidate will have two hours and 30 minutes to complete the exam. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass. The Series 3 is as much a knowledge test as it is a reading test. Your textbook and software from The Securities Institute will ensure that you have the required knowledge to pass the test and that you are confident in the application of the knowledge during the exam. Our writers are subject matter experts as well as test experts. We understand how the test is written and our proven test-taking techniques can dramatically improve your results.

What to Expect When Taking The Series 3 Exam

The Series 3 exam is presented in multiple-choice format on a touch-screen computer known as the PROCTOR system. No computer skills are required, and candidates will find that the test screen works in the same way as an ordinary ATM machine. Each test is made up of 120 questions that are randomly chosen from a test bank of several thousand questions.

Part One# Questions
Future Trading Theory and Basic Functions Terminology19
Futures Margins, options Premiums, Price Limits, Settlements, Delivery, Exercise and Assignment15
Types of orders, Customer Accounts, Price Analysis11
Basic Hedging and Hedging calculations9
Financial Hedging10
Speculation in futures3
Part Two
CFTC / NFA Rules and Regulations35

How To Prepare For The Series 3 Exam

For most candidates, the combination of reading the textbook and taking as many practice questions as they can proves to be enough to successfully complete the exam. It is recommended that you spend at least 60 to 70 hours preparing for the exam by reading the textbook, underlining key points and completing as many practice questions as possible. We recommend that students schedule the exam no more than one week after completing their Series 3 exam prep.

What Type Of Business May Be Conducted By Series 3 Registered Person?

Individuals who have passed the series 3 exam may register as an associated person with an NFA member and may transact business in futures contracts. Individuals who have passed the series 3 exam may apply for NFA membership as any of the following:

  • Sole Proprietor
  • FCM
  • RFED
  • IB
  • CPO
  • CTA

What Score Is Needed To Pass The Series 3 Exam?

A score of 70% or higher in both exam sections is needed to pass the Series 3 exam.

Are There Any Prerequisites For The Series 3 Exam?

There are no prerequisites for the series 3 exam

How Do I Schedule My Series 3 Exam?

Ask your firm’s principal to schedule the exam for you or for a list of test centers in your area. You are NOT required to be sponsored by a FINRA member firm prior to making an appointment. The Series 3 exam may be taken any day that the exam center is open.

What Must I Bring To The Exam Center?

Picture ID is required. All other materials will be provided, including a calculator and scratch paper.

How Long Will It Take To Get The Results Of My Series 3 Exam?

The exam will be graded as soon as you answer your final question and hit the Submit for Grading button. It will take only a few minutes to get your results. Your grade will appear on the computer screen and you will be given a paper copy from the exam center.