Looking to boost your financial career?

Here’s something to consider:

With a Series 99 license, you could be earning up to $110,000 a year. According to ZipRecruiter, it’s a game-changer.

But how do you get there?

The answer is clear: ace the FINRA Series 99 Exam.

And don’t worry, you’re in the right place for that. The study guide you choose can make a world of difference, and we’re here to guide you to the best ones.

Completing a Series 99 prep course will give you everything you need to pass the test on your first try. In order to help you pick out a good one, I’ve taken a look at the 5 best prep courses on the market. Each of these has something valuable to offer to any aspiring industry professionals. Let’s take the next step towards that salary leap together.

1. Securities Institute of America

Securities Institute of America Exam Prep

Not only are SIA courses written by highly trained test prep professionals, but they also have the highest pass rates in the industry.

Course Review

The Securities Institute of America is entirely focused on self-study— that means you set the pace and can work through the materials in any order you please. You can follow the course’s recommended schedule to complete everything, but you’re also given free reign to approach your test prep however you want.

In addition to videos and exams, SIA also offers a series of ebooks and study guides. These are a more traditional learning tool and serve as a great way to learn offline. All of these are very easy to read and understand, with individual lessons short enough that you can squeeze in a quick study session when taking a break from something else.

This is also a fantastic choice if you’re trying to fit a specific budget for your prep materials. Purchasing the full course costs just over $200, but each aspect can be purchased individually if you prefer. Typically, these range from $60-120 for each set of materials. You can also buy a combined SIE Exam+Series 99 course for just $249, which can help you move forward with the next stage of your finance career.


  • Detailed Study Guide
  • Multiple Full-Length Practice Exams
  • 13 Hours of Video Lessons
  • Bonus Ebook
  • 6 Months of Access

Pros and Cons

  • Video Classes: SIA’s series 99 class is one of the best exam preparation courses I’ve seen on the market. Lessons are direct and easy to understand; each major point is highlighted by important visuals or formulas on screen. As a result, you’ll use different parts of your brain while studying, which increases the amount of information you’ll memorize in a shorter period of time.
  • Mobile Friendly: All materials included with this course are available on mobile devices. As a result, you can take your learning on the go. Whenever you have free time, just pull out your phone and complete a couple lessons— no need to set aside a huge chunk of time whenever you want to study!
  • Exam-Based Training: SIA courses come with several types of practice tests. Each exam tests your progress in different ways, such as how well you understand each section or gauging if you’re ready to take the qualification exams yet. These tests are issued at key intervals of the course so you can shift your study schedule around based on the results.

  • No Live Content: SIA’s course is entirely based on independent study. If you’re looking for tutoring or any interaction with teachers then you’ll need to check elsewhere. But as long as you know what you’re getting into, the lack of live materials is not that big of a deal.

Bottom Line:

Securities Institute of America has the best online study course for Series 99. Thanks to that, it’s natural that they would end up on the top of this list. Make sure to check them out today!


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2. Securities Training Corporation

Securities Training Corporation Exam Prep

Securities Training Corporation’s FINRA prep courses rely heavily on content that’s as realistic to the actual exam as possible. Completing this course will familiarize you with both the content and the format of the Series 99 test.

Course Review

STCUSA wants their students to be prepared for every aspect of the Series 99 exam. That’s why they’ve gone out of their way to offer as many practice tests as possible. Each type of exam they offer has a purpose: progress exams gauge how well you understand what you’ve learned, and green light exams tell you when you’re ready to pass a section of the real Series 99 test. Completing all of these will leave you uniquely prepared for the real thing.

If the tests aren’t enough for you, STCUSA also includes a series of video lectures. These are available both live and on demand. Watching these can give you extra context to everything you’ve learned. Plus, they’ll allow you to interact with other people and benefit from their knowledge.

Todd Talks STC Pass Guarantee

STCUSA has 3 plans for you to choose: Standard, Premier, and Premier Plus. The $125 standard course includes one set of exams and study guides. By contrast, the $319 premiere plan includes on demand lectures and far more tests. Finally, the $370 premiere plus option adds in live classroom content.


  • Instructor Hotline
  • Crunch Time Facts
  • 24/7 Tech Support
  • Study Manuals
  • Practice Tests
  • Video Lectures

Pros and Cons

  • Study Manuals: Before each test, you’ll be asked to complete a study manual. This gives you the information you need to take each test. Each guide has been written by a working professional and conveys everything clearly and concisely. Once you’ve learned everything, the tests will reinforce that knowledge and ensure that you understand it.
  • Video Lectures: If you pay for the second tier of this Series 99 exam prep course, you’ll also gain access to a series of video lectures. These mimic a traditional classroom format and allow you to learn everything about the Series 99 exam in a structured format. For many students, explanations from a teacher work much better than simply reading from a piece of text.
  • Live Content: You can access a live online course if you need one. Much like the video lectures, this mimics a classroom. But since it’s live, you can interact with the teacher and other students. Feel free to ask for clarification on key aspects or hear insights from everyone involved in the course.

  • Price: STCUSA gates off their best study materials behind higher payment tiers. This includes both classroom-based content and tests. As a result, anyone who can’t afford higher tiers will find a far worse learning experience. If you’re interested in an effective budget-friendly course, Securities Institute of America is a better choice.

Bottom Line:

If you excel when using test based content, then STCUSA is the course for you. Their course will uniquely prepare you for both the content and format of the Series 99 exam.

3. Kaplan Financial Education

Kaplan Financial Education FINRA

Course Review

Unlike the other courses on this list, Kaplan is much more structured. You’ll be asked to follow a study calendar and complete tasks based on your study time frame and exam date. As a result, you’ll need to put in a lot more work than you would with other courses. However, you’ll also see a much higher payoff when it comes to your exam score— simply follow the schedule to completion and you’ll easily pass the Series 99 exam.


  • Practice Exams
  • Performance Tracker
  • Checkpoint Exams
  • Video Library
  • License Exam Manual
  • Exam Tips and Content Updates

Pros and Cons

  • Frequent Updates: Whenever anything changes about the Series 99 Exam, Kaplan will provide you and all their other students with instant updates to reflect these changes. This way, you can focus on your immediate concerns — passing your practice exams — without having to constantly keep an eye on the big picture.
  • Track Your Performance: Some of the best online review courses for different exams, licenses, and career paths will use modern technology to accurately gauge your progress as you study. Kaplan is one such company, and their performance tracking tech is embedded in every aspect of their Series 99 review course.

  •  Instructor Access: Although Kaplan offers students the ability to send questions directly to their instructors for several of their FINRA review courses, no such option is available for students enrolled in their Series 99 exam prep program. This means you’re better off with a company like Knopman Marks if you want extra guidance from your teachers.

Bottom Line:

Kaplan is a good choice if you prefer a more structured study schedule. However, if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to studying every day then I’d recommend ExamFX or Securities Institute of America instead.


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4. ExamFX

ExamFX Study Guides

Course Review

Much like STCUSA, ExamFX focuses heavily on test-identical content. This can be seen in their multiple exam formats, including readiness and guarantee exams. Completing these can be helpful, but you only have 90 days to get through them all— no big deal if you’re trying to save time, but it could lead to some anxiety towards the end of that 3-month training period.

Each exam prep course comes with limited customer support but no tutoring or live learning options. They may not have as much to offer, but ExamFX is a far cheaper alternative to more expensive options.


  • 90 Day Course Access
  • Interactive Learning Portal
  • Online Exam Simulations
  • Readiness Exam
  • Guarantee Exam
  • Instructor Support

Pros and Cons

  • Inexpensive: If you only have $100 to spend on your education, ExamFX is a great fit for your budget. You’ll get a well-made library of study materials that are designed to prepare you for a passing grade quickly and efficiently.
  • Accelerated Pace: If you’re pressed for time, ExamFX is an excellent way to get up to speed on essential concepts covered on the Series 99 exam as quickly as possible. It manages to cover all the relevant subjects in three months— with a guarantee that you will be able to earn your license on one attempt at the end of those 90 days.

  • Limited Catalog: Unfortunately, you only have one course to choose from if you want to study with ExamFX. And while it’s not too expensive and comes with some decent study tools, it’s not as open and welcoming to the inexperienced test taker when compared to Securities Institute of America.

Bottom Line:

If you can’t afford STCUSA, then this is a solid fallback option. They still offer several types of exams but aren’t quite as effective as alternatives.


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5. Knopman Marks Financial Training


Course Review

Knopman Marks sets itself apart by offering a wide variety of materials instead of focusing on one aspect of studying. Their course comes with video lectures, flashcards, training exams, and more. Because of that, it’s easy to avoid burnout with this course. Just switch up study methods whenever you start getting bored— it’ll also help you think on your feet and understand multiple approaches to similar ideas.

FINRA Series EXAM Study Tips - Art of Answering Questions


  • 6+ Hours of Video Lectures
  • Benchmark Exam
  • Digital Flashcards
  • Textbook/Ebook
  • Downloadable Supplements
  • iOS Mobile App

Pros and Cons

  • Mobile Support: Most online classes offer mobile support as an afterthought— usually just a phone-friendly version of their dashboard that can be accessed on your device’s web browser. In comparison, Knopman doesn’t neglect their mobile audience; they designed a mobile app for Apple devices that’s intuitive and allows for offline access.
  • Amazing Support Network: It can be tough to study by yourself, and most online learning solutions can make you feel isolated. To prevent this, Knopman Marks includes regular email updates from your instructors as part of all their Series 99 review courses.

  • Android Users: Unfortunately, Knopman currently doesn’t provide any mobile apps for Android or Samsung devices. This means you’ll have to stick with your device’s web browser or keep all your studying to a desktop or laptop computer.

Bottom Line:

Knopman Marks is an excellent choice for a no-nonsense self study program. They offer a wide range of effective materials for a great price.

What is the Series 99 Exam?

The Series 99 Exam, formally titled the Operations Professional Qualification Examination, is a specialized test overseen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It’s crafted to evaluate whether an individual possesses the foundational knowledge required for operational roles within the securities industry. The exam covers a broad spectrum of topics, from the basics of the securities industry and its regulatory agencies to the ethical considerations and obligations of operations professionals.

For example, a candidate might encounter questions on the structure and functions of the securities markets, types of products and their risks, and the regulatory agencies that govern the industry. This ensures that those holding the Series 99 designation are well-versed in the critical aspects of securities operations and compliance.

Exam Structure

The Series 99 exam is a detailed assessment consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions, to be completed within 1 hour and 30 minutes. It covers operations-related responsibilities, including basic knowledge of the securities industry regulations and the functions performed in operations.

Question Types

Questions range from basic concepts of securities and financial markets to complex scenarios involving compliance issues. For example, you might encounter a question like, “What is the standard settlement cycle for most securities transactions?” or scenario-based queries involving conflict resolution in brokerage operations.

Time Management

Given the breadth of the exam, it’s vital to balance your time. Allocate approximately 1 minute per question, reserving extra time for more challenging or scenario-based questions. Practice tests can help you gauge and improve your time management skills.

Focus Areas for Study

Key topics include understanding the trade lifecycle, from order execution to settlement, and the regulatory requirements for different types of accounts and transactions. Familiarize yourself with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules and the basics of risk management in brokerage operations.

Why Is the Series 99 Exam Important?

The Series 99 Exam plays a pivotal role in the securities industry. It acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring that only those with a thorough understanding of operations and regulatory requirements can take on roles that are essential to the functioning of the financial markets. By mandating this exam, FINRA aims to uphold the highest standards of practice and to protect investors from potential harm caused by operational errors or unethical behavior.

For instance, a strong grasp of the rules surrounding anti-money laundering (AML) is crucial for operations professionals, as lapses in these areas can lead to significant legal penalties for financial institutions. The Series 99 Exam tests for this knowledge, among other things, to ensure that operations professionals can effectively contribute to AML efforts.

Who Is the Series 99 For?

The Series 99 Exam is tailored for individuals in operational roles within broker-dealers, such as those responsible for the processing and recording of transactions, client onboarding, and the maintenance of accounts. Specific job titles might include operations manager, trade support specialist, or client services representative. These roles are critical in ensuring the smooth execution of trades, the accurate handling of customer accounts, and the adherence to regulatory and compliance mandates.

For example, a trade support specialist would need to understand the details of trade execution and settlement to troubleshoot and resolve issues that may arise during the trade life cycle. The Series 99 Exam confirms that the individual has the necessary knowledge to perform these tasks effectively.

What are the Career Benefits of Passing the Series 99 Exam?

Achieving a passing score on the Series 99 Exam can open doors to a variety of career paths within the securities industry and is often a requirement for continued employment in operational roles. It signifies to employers that the individual is committed to professional development and has a solid understanding of the operational aspects of the industry.

The benefits extend beyond just job qualification; individuals with the Series 99 certification often have access to higher-level positions and can command a higher salary. Moreover, the knowledge gained from studying for the exam provides a foundation that can enhance job performance and contribute to the individual’s long-term career growth.

For instance, a compliance officer with a Series 99 certification will not only be able to ensure that their firm is adhering to regulations but also may have the opportunity to influence the development of compliance policies and procedures, thanks to their comprehensive understanding of regulatory requirements.

Series 99 Study Strategies and Tips

Effective Study Habits and Schedules

Creating a personalized study plan is crucial for success on the Series 99 Exam. Start by assessing your current knowledge and setting realistic goals. For instance, if you’re juggling a full-time job, you might dedicate two hours each evening to study, with longer sessions on the weekends. Consistency is key, so try to stick to your schedule as closely as possible.

Tips on Memorization and Retention

Active learning techniques, such as teaching the material to someone else or applying concepts to real-world scenarios, can significantly enhance memorization and retention. Flashcards for key terms and regulations can also be effective, especially when used in conjunction with spaced repetition—a study technique where you review the material at increasing intervals.

Advice on Practice Exams and Self-Assessment

Practice exams are a window into the actual test-taking experience. They help you identify areas of strength and weakness. After each practice test, take the time to review incorrect answers thoroughly to understand your mistakes. Our top choice, Securities Institute of America, includes the most realistic practice tests for passing the Series 99 exam.

Resources Beyond Study Guides

Additional Resources for Learning

While study guides are invaluable, diversifying your resources can reinforce your learning. Websites such as FINRA provide up-to-date information on regulations and compliance. Forums like Wall Street Oasis and books like “Securities Operations: A Guide to Trade and Position Management” by Michael Simmons offer practical insights into the industry.

Study Groups and Communities

Joining a study group can provide motivation and different perspectives on the material. Communities, whether online or in-person, offer support and can clarify complex topics. LinkedIn groups and local finance industry meetups are great places to start looking for study partners.

Maintaining Knowledge Post-Exam

How to Stay Updated with Industry Knowledge

The financial industry is constantly evolving, and staying informed is essential. Regularly reading industry publications such as The Wall Street Journal and subscribing to newsletters from regulatory bodies can keep you abreast of changes and developments.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

After passing the Series 99, consider pursuing further certifications or attending workshops and seminars. Organizations like the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) offer continuing education opportunities that can enhance your career and ensure you remain a valuable asset to your firm.

Testimonials from Series 99 Test Takers

“Its not that bad. Use STC they explain the info basic enough. Expect about 3-4 weeks study time. Not a ton of math” – Reddit user

“The time frame until your exam will determine how you should approach each exam. If you have the time, for the SIE I would read a chapter, watch the lectures for said chapter, then take a full-length practice exam on only that chapter. Rinse and repeat for all chapters. Then, start taking a ton of full-length exams on all topics leading up to your exam date.” – Reddit user

“99 is a decent set up for the 7 if you take that later on (ethics is similar and let’s you feel how the finra tests are)” – Reddit user

Series 99 FAQs

How many questions are on the Series 99 exam?

According to the FINRA exam content outline, there are 50 questions covering 2 major functions.

How can I qualify for the Series 99 exam?

In order to qualify, you must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm. Once you get their endorsement, they will request the exam for you.

Does a Series 99 license expire?

Only if you leave a FINRA firm and aren’t hired at a new one within 2 years. If that happens, you’ll need to pass the test again.

Series 99 vs Series 7: Which is better?

The Series 99 license is necessary to work as an Operations Professional, but you can actually register as one if you’ve passed the Series 7 exam. Additionally, Series 7 licensure allows you to work as a General Securities Representative, which earns a higher average salary than an Operations Professional. For these reasons, we recommend Series 7 over Series 99.

Which Series 99 prep course offers the most comprehensive video lectures?

If you’re a visual learner and prefer comprehensive video lectures, the Securities Institute of America’s Series 99 Exam Prep stands out. With over 13 hours of detailed video content, it’s designed to cover all the exam topics thoroughly and is ideal for those who absorb information best through visual and auditory means.

I have a full-time job; which Series 99 prep course offers the greatest flexibility?

For those with demanding schedules, ExamFX offers a self-paced option that’s designed to fit around your commitments. Their course provides a streamlined study experience with a focus on core exam content, allowing you to efficiently prepare for the Series 99 exam without a significant time investment.

Which Series 99 prep course has the highest volume of practice quesitons?

STCUSA’s Series 99 prep course is renowned for its extensive practice question bank. If you’re someone who learns best through repetition and wants to ensure you’ve covered as many potential exam questions as possible, STCUSA’s offering could be the right choice for you.

Which Series 99 prep course provides the most interactive learning experience?

Knopman Marks is known for its interactive learning approach, which includes a mix of video lectures, flashcards, and practice exams. Their iOS app also supports learning on the go, making it a good choice for those who prefer a hands-on study method and need the flexibility to study anywhere.

Which course offers the most in-depth explanations if I’m concerned about the difficulty level of the Series 99?

Kaplan’s Series 99 prep course is structured to provide in-depth explanations and a methodical approach to studying. Their study calendar helps you plan your preparation, and their detailed content review ensures you understand the material deeply, which is crucial for tackling the more challenging aspects of the exam.

What Series 99 study course offers the most personal support?

If personalized support is what you’re after, Knopman Marks offers direct access to instructors for questions and clarification. Their personalized service can be particularly beneficial if you’re looking for guidance on complex topics or need additional help understanding certain areas of the exam content.

How do Series 99 online classes compare to traditional classroom settings in terms of exam success rates?

Online classes for the Series 99 exam, such as those offered by Securities Institute of America and Kaplan, provide flexibility and convenience that traditional classroom settings can’t match. These courses often boast comparable, if not better, success rates due to their adaptive learning technologies and the ability to revisit content as needed.

What is the pass rate for the Series 99 exam?

The average pass rate for the Series 99 exam is approximately 71%. This statistic indicates the level of difficulty of the exam and underscores the importance of thorough preparation.

How do Series 99 prep courses improve pass rates?

Several prep courses report significantly higher pass rates than the average. For instance, Kaplan’s online courses, which are widely used by candidates, boast a 93% pass rate for the Series 99 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.