If you want to work as a research analyst for a broker-dealer, you’re required to pass the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 86 exam.

Studying for such a crucial exam can be nerve-wracking, but having a good study plan can improve your confidence. 
On average, it’s recommended that you study for 80 hours over the course of four weeks. This time commitment may seem like a lot, but there are tons of different study options available to assist you. Keep reading to discover the best FINRA Series 86 study guides for you.

#1 Securities Training Corporation Series 86 Review Course

Securities Training Corporation Courses

The Securities Training Corporation consistently provides students with new and modern courses. You are guaranteed to earn a passing score if you study with their multifaceted FINRA exam study course.

Course Details

Securities Training Corporation has a few different study packages on offer. Depending on your budget and self-study needs, each package offers something different.

Starting at $275.00, the Series 86 Study Package is ideal if you’re a self-motivated student on a budget. This course includes access to the instructor hotline for extra assistance, as well as 24-hour tech support. Unlike many online services, STCUSA goes to great lengths to ensure all support needs for their students are met as quickly as possible— even for their lowest-priced courses.

They also include Crunch Time Facts, free course updates, online and printed study manual, and access to practice final exams. Considering all that it includes, this package is a great deal at only $275.00 and is an excellent choice to get you through your exam.

However, the STCUSA Series 86 Examination Premier Package is why Securities Training Corporation has the top spot on this list. For $395.00, you get everything the standard package offers, plus four progress exams, the green light exam, on-demand lectures, and flashcards. Most importantly, this package comes with STC’s pass guarantee— so you don’t have to worry about wasting your money on this course.

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  • Instructor Hotline & 24-Hour Tech Support
  • Flashcards and Crunch Time Facts
  • Six Month Enrollment Period with Free Updates
  • Both Print and Online Study Materials
  • Practice Final Exams, Progress Exams, and Green Light Exams
  • On-demand Lectures
  • Pass Guarantee

STC Series 86 Pros & Cons

  • Pass Guarantee: Incredible resources such as the pass guarantee and green light exams.
  • Great Offers: Even the base package is effective if you are a disciplined student.
  • Materials: It offers both printed and online material so you can choose how to study.
  • A La Carte: You can purchase the lectures and flashcards separately from the packages.

  • Premier Package: The majority of the best features only come with the premier package.
  • Practice Tests: Limited practice test options.

Bottom Line: You can’t go wrong with the Securities Training Corporation, no matter which package you choose. They believe in their product to the point where they guarantee you a passing score, so there’s no downside to trying it out!

#2 Mometrix Test Preparation Series 86 Study Material

Mometrix Courses

Mometrix Test Preparation is different from traditional study guides such as the Securities Training Corporation. The Mometrix Series 86 and 87 Exam Secrets Study Guide is a coursebook for research analysts that identifies the best way to study for the Series 86 exam.

They claim to reveal the secrets to passing the exam with minimal effort by teaching the best strategies and how to apply the material to pass the exam. Here’s what you need to know:

Course Details

Retailing at $72.99, the study guide is available in a traditional printed book or e-book format. The upside is that you’ll always have unlimited access to this resource— unlike an online course, there’s no access period or expiration date!

Registered research analysts wrote the Mometrix study book, but they focus more on teaching the test instead of teaching the material. This may be a benefit to some students, but others might be disappointed in the lack of real-world examples of how to use this knowledge in your career.

The book includes a detailed study plan to conserve your studying efforts, instructions on preparing for the exam, explanations on how to guess correctly, and their exclusive 5-step calibration strategy.


  • Money-Back Guarantee & Pass Guarantee
  • Covers exam material and test-taking tips
  • Implements study strategies to help you learn efficiently

Mometrix Pros & Cons

  • Unlimited Access: Unlimited access to the material.
  • Pass Guarantee: Guarantee to pass or your money back.
  • Study Strategy: Focuses on effective studying strategies
  • Expert Methods: Teaches you how to pass the actual test— not just the exam material

  • Study Guide: Not a traditional study guide.
  • Material: Little focus on the actual material.
  • Practice Exams: No practice exams or additional resources.

Bottom Line: The Mometrix Series 86 and 87 Exam Secrets Study Guide is an excellent option if you’re not a great standardized test taker. After all, standardized test results aren’t always an accurate reflection of our capabilities and intelligence, and some of the strategies people use on them can be very ineffective.

Luckily, Mometrix teaches you strategies to help you succeed on the exam, even if you already know the exam material back to front.


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Honorable Mention: Quizlet Series 86 Exam Prep

Quizlet Exam Prep

If you’re an independent student, making your own study materials might be the best way to prepare for the exam— especially if you know exactly what you need to study.

So if you want to save some money and don’t mind putting in some extra work, we recommend using Quizlet to supplement STCUSA’s Series 86 Study Package. If you get the Premium Package instead, you probably don’t need to supplement it with anything— but you may still want to use Quizlet in this case too.

How to use Quizlet - Official tutorial for new users

Course Details

Quizlet is an online platform where people can create their own study materials and share them with others. This means you’re not restricted to just using materials you make— feel free to compare your notes with other securities exams students! For example, if you search the Series 86 exam on Quizlet, you can access a lot of flashcards and questions already made by other people studying for the same exam. 

Here’s the best part— about 90% of their materials are completely free!


  • Tons of free study material
  • Create your own flashcards/practice questions or use what other students have created
  • Variety of study materials included such as flashcards, questions, courses, study guides, textbooks, and diagrams

Quizlet Pros & Cons

  • Free Content: Majority of the content is free.
  • Access: Only need an account to access the material.
  • Extensive Materials: Many people have contributed to creating the materials so that you will have a ton of options.

  • Accuracy of Materials: Impossible to verify whether the information is accurate or not.
  • Premium Content: No premium content for the series 86 exam yet.

Bottom Line: Quizlet is a great resource to be used in conjunction with an actual course such as STC. You won’t have a great time if you use them as your only study aid, but it’s a great resource for a last-minute cram session.

Series 86 FAQs

What is the passing grade for the Series 86 exam?

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the passing grade for the series 86 exam is 73%.

How long is the Series 86 exam?

You have four hours and 30 minutes to write the exam. You are permitted to take bathroom breaks, but the clock doesn’t stop.

What are the co-requisites for the Series 86 exam?

You must pass the Securities Industry Essentials exam to be considered a qualified research analyst.

Are there exemptions to taking the Series 86 exam?

You can ask for an exemption if you have successfully passed both stages of the Chartered Financial Analyst or passed both phases of the Chartered Market Technician exam.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.