First you need to understand the exam format. The exam consists of 250 multiple choice questions and is divided into two 185 min sections (3 hrs and 5 mins). Each section is actually 130 questions. The 5 extra are survey questions randomly included in the exam that do not count for or against you, but are for future exam purposes. The exam is taken on a computer at a testing site.
To begin, you need to purchase your study materials. There is a number of textbooks for the Series 7, your employer will probably provide them for you.
Before you start studying, make a calendar for yourself. You usually have four months to study for the exam. Set goals for yourself on specific dates in the future.
After recently taking the exam, I noticed certain topics that are tested more heavily than others. A basic breakdown of these areas are:
Debt – 20%
Options – 15%
Customer Accounts/Cust. Basics- 20%
Trading Markets – 8%
Regulations – 15%
Investment Companies – 5%
The rest – 17%
*Remember, the majority of the exam is testing you on the principal of “Knowing your customer and customer service.” The exam is testing you on the assumption that you will one day be their personal stock broker!
Read through your text books first, only reading the first time! Don’t worry about taking notes or highlighting. It’s important that you get familiar with the information first and try to retain the basic topics. This step should take you 1 to 1 1/2 months, depending on how fast of a reader you are.
Read your textbooks again all the way through, only this time being sure to take notes and/or highlighting information. You should be “studying” the material now while you’re reading. Take notes, read things out loud to yourself, and make sure you understand the basics behind all the topics. Complete any end of chapter questions that are in your books. This will make sure you are retaining the information and understand it. This step should take you around 1 1/2 months to complete.
I recommend purchasing the Practice Exam software from Training Consultants (www.trainingconsultants.net or toll-Free:(800)339-3445). They have, from my experience, the best practice exams to prepare you for the real exam. The software is amazing and trust me, it works! The questions you will see on these Practice Exams are extremely accurate, up to date, and similar to the questions on the actual exam. By purchasing Training Consultants’ Practice Exam software, you will get access to online, custom generated practice exams that will simulate the real exam experience on the computer. This will let you practice taking the exam, timing yourself and focusing on the information which is VERY important.
For the last month before your exam, take some practice exams. Take at least three of them (one practice exam is two 125 halves). Sit down and time yourself during the exam. Getting familiar to the 185 minute time limit is critical. After taking the practice exam, go over every question and see why you got it wrong or right. Go back and study the sections where you struggled. If you are taking the Training Consultant’s practice exams, they will give an explanation for each question.
Also during the last month, you can purchase an Audio Review for the Series 7 (this is completely optional, I picked up a CD on Ebay for $20). Put the audio CD on your iPod or in your car CD player, and listen to it when ever you get a free second. This will place the information into your sub-conscience memory, making correct answers easier to come by on the test.
On the day of the exam, go into the testing site with a positive attitude. Have the mind set that the test is just like what you practiced and you are going to breeze through it. Say to yourself “I am going to pass this exam.” I know it sounds silly, but it works! Lastly, Good Luck.