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Groundhog Day: Great Movie, Bad Reality…But News from FINRA

Groundhog day

Groundhog Day was a great movie. Life isn’t too much different living through a pandemic. It’s as if we are on an endless loop. Similarly, it seems as if the testing centers for the FINRA exams are too.

This loop indefinitely circles as follows: Prometric extends when they will reopen, our students schedule a test date, Prometric extends when they will reopen.

Given that we are living through the worst global health crisis seen in the last 100 years, they can obviously be forgiven. Many of our students however, continue to ask the question, so when will we actually get to take our tests?

Well, it looks like an answer is finally starting to present itself.

 

There’s An Internet for That

FINRA recently announced on their website that online testing is in the works. According to FINRA, they are working with Prometric to accelerate the development of online exam testing. This is relatively exciting news for our students. On one hand we are glad to see Prometric and FINRA teaming up to use the Internet. On the other hand, we are receiving all sorts of raised eyebrows. The question du jour is mainly: How are they going to do this without a ton of cheating?

 

How Will It Work?

First, FINRA plans to roll out the online testing for specific exams. Namely, the SIE, Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, and Series 66. Next, you and your employer should know that on Friday May 1, 2020, FINRA will have additional details on the process. Keep an eye out on their website. This may answer a lot more questions.

The rough details that they have provided so far give us a glimpse of what to expect. The computer you use will need to be camera-equipped and can be a personal computer, or a work computer. Prometric staff is then going to proctor your exam using the camera or “other online tools”. What “online tools” is rather unclear.

Feedback from our students so far is varied. Most (like us) have a hard time understanding how anyone will be able to take the exam without having the ability to have notes (cheat sheets, etc.) on the other side of the camera where they can’t be seen by a proctor…maybe there is a plan for that. In any event, we expect to hear more shortly.

 

In-Person Delayed Again

Similar to last week’s blog post, we again wanted to share the news that Prometric’s in-person testing center closure has been extended through May 31.

As testing for the coronavirus ramps, it appears that more people than suspected have had, or have, the virus (see the estimates generated due to New York City’s antibody testing). As a result, it may be difficult to gain any real clarity around when society returns to normal – at risk of more exposure. As such, we don’t put any faith into the new dates but remain hopeful. Some testing centers in specific geographies are expected to reopen as of May 1, however the exact locations remain unknown to us.

In short, when Groundhog Day ends is hard to predict.

All of that said, we anticipate that the online testing will be rolled out shortly. Some of our students have already indicated that Fidelity is in talks about testing the program on their employees. Being one of the first “guinea pigs” for a novel testing approach would not be our first choice. However, it certainly offers hope that testing will resume soon and employees can begin advancing their career.

As always, we will keep you up to date. Stay healthy out there!

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