To join the complex and sometimes exciting world of selling stocks, you must first pass the Series 7 exam. The test has a reputation for difficulty, but passing it opens the door to a potentially lucrative career.
If you want to become a stockbroker, buying and selling securities, you must score at least a 70 percent on the Series 7 exam. Securities are essentially debts packaged in the form of stocks and bonds. You cannot legally sell securities without passing the test.
Administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Series 7 consists of 250 multiple choice questions over six hours. Covered topics include analyzing portfolios, Securities Exchange Commission regulations and economic theory. To take the test, you must obtain the sponsorship of a company that belongs to FINRA.
FINRA regulates security companies in the United States and aims to protect investors. Besides regulating markets for the nation's largest stock exchanges, FINRA oversees 4,700 brokerage firms and roughly 635,000 registered securities sellers. The organization also helps educate investors with its Investor Education Foundation.