How to Pass my Series 31 Exam -- Futures Managed Funds Exam

What is the Structure of my Series 31 exam?

The Series 31 exam is 45 true/false and multiple-choice questions. The test is divided into 7 sections but graded on a percentage of total correct answers.  70% is required to pass.

An individual may use the Series 31 Exam if:

  • You are registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative with a FINRA member firm;
  • That FINRA member firm is also an NFA FCM or IB Member firm or an applicant for NFA FCM or IB membership and is sponsoring the individual for AP registration; and
  • The Series 31 Exam is designed for registered representatives of FINRA registered broker-dealers to have a limited activity in the futures markets by only selling interests in commodity pools, limited partnership shares, or have client’s funds managed by a commodity trading adviser. It allows the registered representative to receive trailing commissions apart from any up-front sales commission. It is also required for supervisors of those representatives who do perform these same limited activities.

What’s the rough break-down of Series 31 exam topics?

Test Topics Approximate Test Questions
General Market Knowledge 12
General Regulations 9
CPO/CTA Regulations 5
CTA/CPO Disclosure Documents 8
Know Your Customer Rule (NFA Rule 2-30) 2
Disclosure by CPOs/CTAs Required for Upfront Fees 7
Promotional Material (NFA Rule 2-29) 2
***Total Questions*** ***45***

What is the passing score I need for the Series 31 Exam?

You must achieve 70% of the total number of questions to pass the 60 minute exam.   In addition, if English is not your first language you can ask for additional time. Sometimes extra questions are added to the data bank by NFA to see how the candidates score; these are just beta questions and do not count against your score.

How does the Series 31 relate to the Series 34 exam?

There are no ForEx questions on the Series 31 exam. If you are going to trade ForEx you must pass the Series 34 exam and the Series 3 exam. The Series 34 exam is a 60-minute 40 question true/false and multiple-choice test with a 70% correct to pass. After that, if you are going to operate a branch office, you must sit for the Series 30.

How do you prepare for the Series 31 exam?

Most students put in 15 – 20 hours of study time to prepare. For instance, 15 hours of study time at about 2 hours a day is about 7 days from when you begin studying to the day you take the test; that gives a rough time horizon.

The goal is to hit about 80% on the chapter quizzes and finals and then take the actual exam.

Are there any hints to taking the Series 31 exam?

The biggest danger is answering a question too quickly. Students have generally passed the Series 7 exam before sitting for the Series 31 exam and they often find many of the FINRA rules similar to those of CFTC/NFA. Since the topics are similar, there’s a tendency to read the question fast and answer too quickly.

In addition, the exam doesn’t test on the rule number, e.g., ”What is NFA Rule 2-30?” but will ask a question like “According to NFA Rule 2-30 Know Your Customer, it’s important for the AP to gather sufficient client information to determine if the client has the suitability to trade futures. True or False”.

The other point is that most of the questions are true/false and those questions are generally answered more quickly than multiple choice questions.

How do I schedule an exam date for the Series 31 exam?

Once you have applied for a test “ticket” with FINRA and have an ID number you contact the Prometric Test Centers and arrange a test date. Your test ticket is good for 120 days and you can sit once for the exam any time during that period if the center you choose has an open date.

What do I bring to the Testing Center?

Bring one valid form of official identification bearing your name, signature and a recent photo. You must present one of the following as the primary form of identification: valid passport, driver’s license, or military ID card.

All personal items must be placed in a locker that is provided for test security purposes while you take the exam.  Arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment to allow time for check-in procedures. You may be allowed to start your exam early if a seat is available. Candidates arriving late may not be allowed to test or may not receive their full-allotted exam time.

The test center will provide a calculator and dry-marker and work board for calculations.

What if I have to reschedule or cancel a test date?

FINRA has a tough policy on rescheduling. If you reschedule or cancel an appointment within 2 business days of the appointment they’ll charge you another Series 31 test fee ($ 85.00).  Similarly, if you cancel or reschedule within 3 to 10 business days there will be a fee of one-half the regular fee, or $42.50. If greater than 10 business days of the appointment there is no penalty.

When do I get my score on the test and is there a certificate?

After you finish your exam the computer will show you your results. The test administrator should give you a printout of your scores with an official seal on it. There is no certificate or diploma given. Make sure you keep extra copies of the form for future reference.

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