Futures and Forex Proficiency Examinations FAQs

Any individual who is applying as an associated person or NFA Member must provide evidence of passing the Series 3 exam within the past two years.

All individuals who solicit retail forex business or who supervise that activity must have taken and passed two exams—the National Commodity Futures Examination (Series 3) and the Retail Off-Exchange Forex Examination (Series 34), which is an exam focusing exclusively on forex-related questions. However, individuals who were registered as APs, sole proprietors or floor brokers on May 22, 2008, do not need to take the Series 34 exam unless there has been a two year gap in their registration since that date.

No. However, NFA's Study Outline for Futures Industry Examinations provides information on the material that is covered on each of the exams. Training classes are available from entities that are not affiliated with NFA, and you can locate them by searching the Internet.

To sign up for any of the futures industry exams, the applicant must submit an online application and applicable fee to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The applicant must pay the exam fee by credit card or electronic (ACH) payment. 

To access the online application, visit FINRA's website.

To schedule your proficiency examination, contact Thompson-Prometric. Locations for this exam vendor can be found by visiting FINRA's website.

There is no limit on the number of times you may take the Series 3 or any of the proficiency exams. However, if you fail an exam you will be subject to a waiting period before you may take the exam again.

Yes, individuals will be subject to the following waiting periods between exams if they have failed the Series 3, Series 30, Series 31, Series 32 or Series 34 within the past two years:

  • A minimum of 30 days after failing the exam the first time before the second taking of the exam can be scheduled.
  • A minimum of 30 days after failing the exam the second time before the third taking of the exam can be scheduled.
  • A minimum of 180 days after failing the exam for the third time before the fourth taking of the exam (and each subsequent taking) can be scheduled.

Once you take and pass the Series 3 exam and/or Series 34, you have two years from the date you passed the exam to register. The exam will not expire unless you have a break in registration as an AP, floor broker or FCM, IB, CPO, CTA  or LTM that is a Member of NFA for more than two years.

Yes, but registration will not be granted until NFA receives evidence from FINRA that the applicant has passed an appropriate proficiency examination. Under the temporary licensing rules, a temporary license that was granted pending receipt of the proficiency examination results will be withdrawn if the results are not received within 20 days of the filing of the application.  In addition, the application will be withdrawn and a new application must be filed if the examination results are not received within 90 days of application filing.

NFA Registration Rule 402 provides for a waiver "under circumstances approved by the Board of Directors." Currently, the only waivers involve CPOs or CTAs that deal primarily in securities. For more information, review the NFA Interpretive Notice (for CPOs) or the NFA Interpretive Notice (for CTAs).

If you are (or will be) a branch manager, you must pass an appropriate examination. If your sponsor is dually registered as a broker-dealer, NFA will accept the Series 8, 9, 10 or 24. Otherwise, you must pass the Series 30 exam unless you meet certain exceptions. See the Branch Manager Proficiency Requirements section of NFA's Proficiency Requirements page. Designated security futures principals for notice-registered broker-dealers must also pass the Series 30 exam.