Series 7 Exam Difficulty: Self-Imposed Challenges and External Pressures

As many of you know, the end of this month brings the end of the current Series 7 exam format. On October 1, 2018 a new Series 7 exam is replacing the current exam. This time crunch is partly to blame for the perceived Series 7 exam difficulty of late, in my view. That said, the perceived Series 7 exam difficulty is frequently due to test takers racing to “beat the deadline” and pass the exam.

In this post I will attempt to shine a light on the core issues that I see from my students. These issues can lead to failed exams, or more stress around the exam than is necessary. In many cases this stress comes from external pressures (e.g., bosses/supervisors/compliance officers/HR) that push test takers to prematurely take the exam, and doom them to failure. In other cases self-imposed pressures do the same.

A failed Series 7 exam is neither something the employer, nor the test taker prefers.

Series 7 Exam Difficulty: Little Help From My Friends

One of the main reasons that I see the Series 7 exam difficulty inflate beyond its true measure is typically due to external pressures. In the last two months, I have heard from over a dozen students. Many feel pressure from their bosses, compliance officers, human resource employees, and supervisors (e.g., Director of Research, upper-management, etc.). Any experienced person in power (that is paying attention) will know that the Series 7 exam takes time to study for.

Passing it is not a matter of simply reading a book, then taking the test. Series 7 test prep can take over 100 hours, and even then some students may not be ready. The supervisors and management that want their employees to pass as fast as possible should set a deadline for the test-takers, but then offer a realistic amount of time for studying. You can’t expect 16 hour workdays and then be surprised that your employee failed his/her exam.

Series 7 Exam Difficulty: Tripping Over Your Own Feet

I also often see test takers trip over their own feet. Sometimes they even tie their own shoelaces together. What I mean here is that the Series 7 exam difficulty is also often ballooned by self-sabotage (whether admitted/intended or not). I love my students, and help them to the greatest extent that I can. But the old saying “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him/her drink” comes to mind.

The Series 7 exam difficulty is significantly reduced, the more you study. While that may sound as obvious as “water is wet”, you might be surprised by the many reasons that I hear as to why someone could not study on a particular week, or day. I will readily admit that focus is a challenge. A busy social life, the desire to please, and paying the bills are things we all grapple with. However, I can only help you when you help yourself. And, I really want to help. If you hire me as a CFA tutor, or a Series 7 tutor, you can be sure that I will try my hardest to help you pass. First things first though. Be realistic. Clear your schedule the best that you can to give yourself a fair shake at passing.

Wrapping up: Remember to push back against unreasonable requests on your time (whether it’s friends, family, or your employer). It’s an important tactic (maybe the MOST important tactic). This will boost the odds you pass the Series 7 exam. Of course, some of you will have employers with unreasonable requests/demands on your time. Do the best you can if you are given an impossible situation. Most importantly, don’t sacrifice your health (mental or physical). If your employer can’t accept realty, then just remember that there are plenty out there that will (I’ve seen them 🙂 ).

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