If you’ve done any research into becoming a professional research analyst, you’ve probably heard about how confusing the Series 87 exam can be. Given alongside the Series 86 exam, about ¼ of test takers fail this exam, so you may want to look for extra study resources if you don’t want to be one of them!

Keep in mind that this securities exam tests your knowledge of a research analyst’s job functions more than asking you to solve clever puzzles. Because of that, the best way to prepare for this test is through a repetitive study schedule— such as the kind included with several online Series 87 exam study guides.

Here’s a short list of our favorite prep packages to help you ace your exam!

#1 Securities Training Corporation Series 87 Study Guide

STC Exam Prep Courses

STCUSA’s study guides for FINRA securities exams are popular among former students who went on to become industry professionals. Their website offers study tools that utilize modern technology, a substantial catalog of study materials, and a great support team to resolve any unexpected issues you may encounter.


Because students learn best in different ways, STCUSA embraces different learning methodologies. These include a range of study materials from physical textbooks to video explanations and targeted study plans. The standard version includes all the essential elements, but the Premier course adds on-demand packages, flashcards, and exam questions to the pack.

STC Has Been The Go-To in Securities Training for Over 50 years

STC even offers a money-back guarantee on their premier package— so you won’t have to pay anything if it doesn’t help you pass on your first try!


  • Enrollment valid for six months
  • Over 1,000 Flashcards & On-demand Online Lectures 
  • 24/7 Tech Support & Instructor Hotline
  • Free Course Updates 
  • Final Exams & Crunch Time Facts
  • Money-Back Guarantee

STC Series 87 Pros & Cons

  • Lectures: Includes on-demand online lectures.
  • Support: Commendable support features and fast response times.
  • Functionality: You can turn off answer explanation for a more realistic exam simulation.

  • Pass Guarantee: No pass guarantees for the standard package.
  • Compatibility: The online lectures require the latest browser versions.


STCUSA offers two different exam prep packages: the standard version at $125 and the premier package at $250. You can also access a combined Series 86/87 standard package at $380 or an on-demand online course at $145. When compared to other study resources available for research analysts, it’s impressive that these courses are so affordable without sacrificing quality.


Students who have enrolled in STCUSA’s courses describe their prep materials as short, clear, and straightforward. In some cases, they were able to read the materials, do some practice questions, and pass their exams with high scores in under two weeks.

Still, some students have said the material is boring with lots of memorization and zero cheat sheets. It fails to capture the tricks for the actual exams.

Bottom Line: Besides comprehensive study materials, STC provides the industry’s best instructors. Their materials are the Wall St. standard, and we highly recommend them as our top pick!

#2 Mometrix Series 87 Study Guide

Mometrix Test Preparation Review Courses

Mometrix took the Series 86 and Series 87 topics and cut them down to 100 must-know concepts. They then researched to determine specific weaknesses you can exploit to better your exam scores. Finally, they combined these and other learning concepts to create an easy-to-use yet comprehensive study guide to guarantee success. 


Mometrix study guides rely heavily on repetition, since it’s scientifically proven to be an effective form of learning. They seek to engage more of your senses to keep you actively learning. Essentially, this is a study book that teaches you how to make the most out of your testing time, guess or speculate the correct answer, and more exam day tips.

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Besides learning, Mometrix provides a chance to test yourself beyond sample exams. Comprehensive materials, written in short paragraphs coupled with bullet lists, are designed to help you easily memorize the most important content on the exam. They also sell a separate pack of flashcards for even more memorization.


  • Textbook/eBook
  • Set of flashcards 
  • Unlimited Tests  
  • Test preparation bonuses (test anxiety, study skills, and more.)
  • No-questions-asked one-year money-back guarantee

Quizlet Pros & Cons

  • Entertaining Learning: Make repetitive learning fun and fast.
  • Interactive: Keep you actively involved in the learning process.
  • Content: In-depth explanations on main content areas.
  • Easily Consumed: Small and digestible bits of information.

  • Test-Taking Strategy: Over-emphasizes “test-taking strategies” which may not help people who are already good at taking exams.


The comprehensive Exam Secrets study guide costs approximately $39.99, and the flashcard study system retails for $72.


Most test-takers find Mometrix’s flashcards and other material guides useful. However, their exams, tests, and examples could be more comprehensive and descriptive. In case of tight deadlines, you’re better off skipping the guide and hammering as many practice questions from Knopman Marks or STCUSA instead.

Bottom Line: While the study guides make it easy to revise and repeat, they fall short on hands-on testing. The book, for instance, provides no room to do exam-like examples. Your only option is memorization, which can take longer. Ultimately, the guide offers comprehensive test-taking strategies which can supplement your knowledge from other courses.


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#3 Knopman Marks Series 87 Study Guide

KnopmanMarks Financial Courses

It’s not as popular among professionals as our top choice, but Knopman’s study guides effectively summarize the most testable points from complex and lengthy FINRA rules. It’s also regularly updated, and the Knopman team provides last-minute nudges and tips when you need them.


Knopman’s premium content is a comprehensive guide. It consists of everything you need to study and ace the Series 87 exam. The easy-to-follow study plan “orders” your steps to eliminate any guesswork. At the same time, Knopman’s digital hub supplies the videos, flashcards, and guides needed to understand tough topics. 

The Growth Mindset: Our Secret to Success for FINRA Exams

You also get proactive follow-ups from a team of experts and real-time updates from instructors with last-minute nudges and tips. If you’re interested in seeing more, you can take a free test run of the training center, use the available Action Plan, and track your progress.


  • Textbook/eBook
  • Video Lectures With Downloadable Notes/Supplements 
  • Online Question Bank (2,000+ FINRA Questions)
  • iOS Mobile App With Offline Access
  • Excellent Support From Client Success Team

Knopman Marks Pros & Cons

  • Expert Tips: Includes resourceful last-minute nudges and tips.
  • Study Plan: An easy-to-follow study plan.
  • Expert Team: Proactive check-ins from their expert team.

  • Course Options: Limited options include only one prep package.


The Knopman series 87 study guide costs $300, which can be limiting for test-takers on a budget. However, its comprehensive guides, videos, tips, and frequent check-ins from experts make it worth the cost.


Test takers are particularly thrilled with Knopman’s general test-taking tips. For instance, they encourage people to read the last sentence of a long quiz, project what answers they might find, and always trust their instincts.

Bottom Line: Besides the premium content, Knopman uses data-driven approaches to ensure success. Their materials are up-to-date and reflect the tricky nature of FINRA’s series 87 exam— making it an excellent option for future finance professionals.

Honorable Mentions:

Securities Training Organization and Knopman Marks are the two best options currently available, but what if you need a little more help? Whether you’re trying to save some money or just want some extra credit, these picks may be exactly what you need:

#4 Serdemy Series 87 Free Study Guide

Serdemy Review Courses

Serdemy helps you prepare for your exam free of charge. Although you shouldn’t use it as your only source of study material, it’s a great way to get some extra practice tests with informative answer explanations outside of a full prep course.


The Serdemy study guide contains extra materials, but it’s intended to actually reduce your overall study time. This is accomplished through a straightforward, no-frills interface that lets you easily jump into practice quizzes after setting up a free account. It also features a mobile app that allows you to study offline— so you can use any of your free time to squeeze in a quick session.


  • Hundreds of Free Practice Questions 
  • Mobile App With Offline Access
  • Simple Interface

Serdemy Pros & Cons

  • Free Materials: Free prep materials.
  • Practice Questions: Detailed practice questions.
  • App: Online app for offline studying.

  • Content: Less comprehensive than the paid courses.


The practice quizzes and study guides are available for free!


Test takers seem to love the detailed test quizzes. Although they’re definitely not as effective as the materials included in the premium packages, it’s incredibly helpful as a free study aid.

Bottom Line: Serdemy is an excellent supplement to Mometrix or STCUSA, but less helpful if you’re already enrolled in Knopman Marks. But if you only choose one website to visit when studying for your exam, you have nothing to lose if you choose this one!

Series 87 FAQs

Can I take the Series 87 exam if I’m not sponsored? 

No. A FINRA-member broker/dealer must sponsor you to take the series 87 exams.

How many practice questions should I complete before taking the Series 87 exam?

Experts recommend completing over 450 practice exam questions before taking the actual tests. 

How much time should I dedicate to the series 87 exam?

If working full time, you should allow yourself 3-5 weeks to complete the recommended number of practice questions and thoroughly study the study materials. 

Are “sell-side” equity analysts required to pass the series 87 exam?

Yes. The qualification and registration requirements of Rule 1220(b)(6) don’t distinguish between “buy-side” and “sell-side” analysts, so you still have to take this exam to work as a research analyst in any professional capacity.

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.