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Total Posts: 284
Joined: Jun 2004
Posted: 2005-04-28 21:47

Can somebody recommend me a good preparation manual for the Series 3 exam

Sorry if it was discussed before (I searched this and the other forum but couldn't find much, searching under "series 3"). Quick google search gave me this and I found this book on amazon. I just don't know how good those books are, so if somebody can speak from personal experience your advice will be highly appreciated


Total Posts: 1596
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2009-09-17 02:13
This has come up with me now because one regulator just isn't enough.  Any recommendations for decent self-learning materials?


Total Posts: 174
Joined: Feb 2005
Posted: 2009-09-17 14:55
YMMV, but I found the print study materials and practice exam from STCUSA covered everything fine. Looks like the prices are the same as the aitraining one.

I wouldn't get too worked up about it, though. This is hardly the CFA.

"Plausible regularities may be present but swamped by changes in attendant circumstances." Ole Peters


Total Posts: 328
Joined: May 2006
Posted: 2009-09-17 20:02



Total Posts: 1596
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2009-09-20 12:54

Thanks.  I'm not getting worked up, I just want to blast through it once and do it right.  Beer

EDIT: In the end I used stuff from here for both the Series 3 and Series 30 tests together.  (Series 30 is just a repeat of the regulatory section from Series 3, so it may be worth doing both while your mind is there without adding anything more to your study load.)


Total Posts: 414
Joined: May 2012
Posted: 2017-04-19 19:06
Esteemed forumites, 8 years after the latest post in this thread, I come up with the same question:

where would you get TODAY (2017) the best material for passing the Series 3 Exam?

(also considering that some things have changed in the regulatory landscape in the last few years, post-2008, this thread was started in 2005)

The only thing that counts: can you make money?


Total Posts: 477
Joined: Apr 2005
Posted: 2017-04-19 23:29
I took it earlier this year - and I bought

Wasted 2 weekends of my life reading - then long forgotten...


Total Posts: 414
Joined: May 2012
Posted: 2017-04-21 12:30
Thank you for the answer.
2 weeks is a very short time for preparation for this exam, I have heard people that studied for 3 months!

The only thing that counts: can you make money?


Total Posts: 235
Joined: Dec 2010
Posted: 2017-04-21 16:11
The rule for any of these exams is that you just need to be above the pass mark. There is zero upside in anything more than that. That's the word on the street.


Total Posts: 414
Joined: May 2012
Posted: 2017-04-21 19:29
Agreed, for sure I ain't trying to pass with flying colors.

The only thing that counts: can you make money?


Total Posts: 80
Joined: Dec 2014
Posted: 2017-05-10 09:36
This was one of the easier exams. Got by with about 20 hours of study time and passed with a lot of room to spare based on my score.

If you've traded futures and did a Hull-based derivatives course you could probably blaze through the 'technical section' in under 5 hours of review time. Cut that down if you are accustomed to thinking of FIC prices in fractional parts. I thought the more difficult part was the regulatory section, which you separately needed 70% on to pass when I did it. A lot of the info in the regulatory section seemed more intuitive to an introducing broker or 'CTA program' than someone with a prop background or a HF professional.

Heard decent things about STC's guide. No color on Wiley's.

I used Kaplan's guide, which was riddled with errors in both the content and question sections, about 2-3 per chapter, and too repetitive, at the time. It was OK. It came with this Qbank login which had access to a good number of questions which were a lot more valuable than the guide. Would recommend the Qbank.


Total Posts: 414
Joined: May 2012
Posted: 2017-05-10 13:06
Thanks for the pointers, I find them quite useful: I have not started to study yet, my partner started already with the Kaplan's guide, but after what you said I may be having a look into STC before I commit to one course or another.

Qbank: will keep that in mind.

Thanks again.


Total Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2017
Posted: 2017-05-19 17:03
I used

For about a month, I studied several hours a day, and did the quiz bank software till I was getting 90+ on each section. I got a 97 on the regulatory and a 94 on the market knowledge in the real test. It's really excellent preparation, and I wouldn't worry too much about the Series 3 exam. It's an easy test.


Total Posts: 414
Joined: May 2012
Posted: 2017-10-10 09:52
I have studied on the Kaplan's book , I agree there were a lot of errors in it.

Now I am about to start with the exam simulations and besides the Kaplan's Qbank, I have heard some people used this:

it has a free simulator test here:

any color on it or how does it compare to Kaplan's Qbanks?


Total Posts: 99
Joined: Sep 2015
Posted: 2017-11-14 19:02
I have a number of flashcards and questions loaded onto quizlet. reach out if interested.


Total Posts: 414
Joined: May 2012
Posted: 2017-11-14 20:54
Thanks, just PMed you.

In case anyone is interested: I am using STC USA and find it MUCH better than Kaplan, mostly because Kaplan's Series 3 book it's quite chaotic in its format:

- quiz questions through chapters are asking things that will be discussed in later chapters (you can't answer properly because you do not know the answers yet!)

- many, many repetitions

- many errors

- seems to lack a path to bring you from A to B

- poor teaching method: pouring onto you a ton of info at once and then dig into it in the next pages, often repeating the same concepts several times.

- "For Dummies" graphical format, very different types of text fonts, pop ups, special marks, "pay attention to this" windows, etc. - really annoying

I find that STC USA is more dry, essential (there are absolutely no images, no graphs, nothing) but it has a method, there is some logic in the progression through the topics.

I have also found some free material online, these are flashcards to test the full exam, in case someone wants to save on qbanks or other test simulators:

[EDIT: I've passed the exam with a 92% score in December 2017, I insist STC was key to prepare, as their exam simulator contained questions very similar to what I've found at the exam]
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