Thursday, February 24, 2011

Series 7 Study Materials

Some of the large, long-established test prep companies have done a great job of creating the illusion that they are somehow plugged directly into FINRA and put out "official" FINRA-approved series 7 study materials. Truth is, FINRA approves of no materials and provides no company with any access not provided to other companies. So, how does anyone know what you'll see on your Series 7? They don't. Not really. We all see the FINRA Series 7 outline. We all get feedback from customers as to the kinds of things showing up on the test. And maybe some of the instructors on board have taken the exam in the not-so distant past.
That's it. To illustrate the point, understand that FINRA actually has exams that people take for which no materials have been written. Seriously. FINRA doesn't think you necessarily need a test-prep company in the first place. In their mind, that's just one option available. The other options? Not FINRA's problem to come up with them.
The other day a customer asked how my book compares to the "FINRA/NASD manual" that he currently had. See what I mean? One of the big firms had convinced him that their stuff was the "official, FINRA/NASD-approved license exam manual." Nice marketing campaign that happens to be based on pure BS. My book is as "official" as any other book out there. It's just that my book is written in English. Kind of funny that Series 7 candidates reward the big companies for writing pedantic, elitist, opaque materials not only by continuing to buy them but also by interpreting that approach as a seal of approval from the regulators.
Oh well. The other license exam manuals out there are helpful, but, please, don't assume that some companies put out "official FINRA" materials and others are just winging it. We're all winging it, some more sucessfully than others.

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