The Investment Banking Representative Exam (Series 79 exam), administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is used to assess your knowledge and abilities to perform adequately as an investment banking representative.
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Series 79 Exam Eligibility
To be eligible for this exam, you must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm or other applicable SRO member firm.
Series 79 Exam Outline
The Series 79 exam contains 85 multiple-choice questions, ten of which are unscored, and you are given a time limit of 2.5 hours. The unscored questions, which are called “pretest” questions, are used by the exam administrators to evaluate questions for future versions of the exam. The pretest questions are unmarked and mixed amongst the scored questions, so you will not know which are the pretest questions.
The exam is split into three sections.
1. Collection, Analysis, and Evaluation of Data (49%)
The 37 scored questions in this section test your knowledge and abilities in the following:
- Collection of data
- Analysis and evaluation of data
- Due diligence activities
2. Underwriting/New Financing Transaction, Types of Offerings, and Registration of Securities (27%)
The 20 scored questions in this section test your knowledge and abilities in the following:
- Public offerings
- Activities of the underwriting syndicate
- Execution and distribution
- Post-execution activities for financing deals
- Securities and transactions exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1993
3. Mergers and Acquisitions, Tender Offers, and Financial Restructuring Transaction (24%)
The 18 scored questions in this section test your knowledge and abilities in the following:
- Sell-side transactions
- Buy-side transactions
- Fairness opinions
- Signing to closing
- Tender offer regulations
- Financial restructuring/bankruptcy
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Series 79 Exam Registration
If you are employed or associated with a FINRA member firm, the firm can register you for the exam via a U4 form. If you are not employed or associated with a FINRA member firm, you can open an enrollment window via FINRA’s Test Enrollment Services System (TESS). The exam fee is $300 regardless of which method of registration you choose.
Once your registration request is processed, you will be notified and given a 120-day window to take the exam.
The Series 79 exam is administered at Prometric testing centers across the country. You should arrive at the testing center 15-30 minutes before the scheduled exam time. If you arrive late, you will not be able to take the exam.
Once you arrive at the testing center, you will be asked to provide a valid, government-issued photo ID. If you forget to bring your ID or if your ID is invalid, you will not be allowed to take the exam.
Before you enter the testing room, you will be asked to leave all personal items in an assigned locker. Personal items include your cell phone, bags, keys, wallet, food, books, and pencils. You will be asked to roll back your sleeves and pull up your pant legs.
Once you are in the testing room, you will be given a four-function calculator, a small whiteboard, dry-erase markers, and noise-canceling headphones. After the exam begins, you will be allowed to take a break. However, the timer will not be paused during your break.
How the Series 79 Exam is Scored
Your test score is placed on a scale with all other test-taker’s test scores, and adjustments are made to the score to account for variations in difficulty. You will receive a preliminary score report as soon as you finish the exam.
The passing score is 73.
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How to Study for the Series 79 Exam
How to Study Effectively
Your success on Series 79 test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see whether your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking Series 79 practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a free Series 79 exam practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:
- The questions you got wrong
- The ones you had to guess on, even if you guessed right
- The ones you found difficult or slow to work through
This will show you exactly what your weak areas are and where you need to devote more study time. Ask yourself why each of these questions gave you trouble. Was it because you didn’t understand the material? Was it because you didn’t remember the vocabulary? Do you need more repetitions on this type of question to build speed and confidence? Dig into those questions and figure out how you can strengthen your weak areas as you go back to review the material.
Additionally, many Series 79 practice tests have a section explaining the answer choices. It can be tempting to read the explanation and think that you now have a good understanding of the concept. However, an explanation likely only covers part of the question’s broader context. Even if the explanation makes sense, go back and investigate every concept related to the question until you’re positive you have a thorough understanding.
Comprehend Each Topic
As you go along, keep in mind that the Series 79 practice test is just that: practice. Memorizing these questions and answers will not be very helpful on the actual test because it is unlikely to have any of the same exact questions. If you only know the right answers to the sample questions, you won’t be prepared for the real thing. Study the concepts until you understand them fully, and then you’ll be able to answer any question that shows up on the test.
Strategy for Series 79 Practice
When you’re ready to start taking practice tests, follow this strategy:
- Remove Limitations. Take the first test with no time constraints and with your notes and Series 79 study guide handy. Take your time and focus on applying the strategies you’ve learned.
- Time Yourself. Take the second practice test “open book” as well, but set a timer and practice pacing yourself to finish in time.
- Simulate Test Day. Take any other practice tests as if it were test day. Set a timer and put away your study materials. Sit at a table or desk in a quiet room, imagine yourself at the testing center, and answer questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
- Keep Practicing. Keep taking practice tests on a regular basis until you run out of practice tests or it’s time for the actual test. Your mind will be ready for the schedule and stress of test day, and you’ll be able to focus on recalling the material you’ve learned.
How hard is the Series 79 exam?
This exam is harder the corequisite SIE exam and is slightly more complex, but it is not considered to be an extremely difficult exam.
How many questions are on the Series 79 exam?
There are 85 multiple-choice questions on the exam.
How long is the Series 79 exam?
The time limit for the exam is 2.5 hours.
What is the passing score for the Series 79 exam?
To pass the exam, you must achieve a score of at least 73.
How much does the Series 79 exam cost?
The examination fee is $300.