The United States is not at a loss for investment agencies – over 17,000 of them are in the country. Yet, there are only a handful of big-name companies you’ve likely heard of before: Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs – the list goes on and on.

Since the industry has been around for several decades now, it’s become extremely competitive. For those who are looking to become an independent contractor in the field, prepping for your broker dealer exams is an integral part of attaining new employment.

The good news is that there are a wealth of resources to help you out. FINRA provides free practice exams, which can be found on their website. In addition, many online communities have been created for the sole purpose of prepping for broker dealer exams. You can find practice exams, questionnaires filled with hundreds of questions each, even entire study guides available online.

On top of that, your employer may also provide resources to you, such as prep courses or additional practice broker dealer exams.

Here are a few more general tips to keep in mind as you prepare:

1. Familiarize yourself with the exam content outline

The FINRA exam content outline provides a broad overview of the topics that will be covered on the test. Make sure you are familiar with all of them and don’t try to memorize the entire thing. You should, however, closely examine each topic to determine which one(s) requires the most study time.

2. Review practice exam questions ahead of time

While it’s probably impossible to predict exactly what will be on the actual test, you should see if there are any similarities between sample questions and those included in the real exam.

3. Practice makes perfect

No matter how much you’ve studied up until this point, nothing will prepare you as well as taking practice exams and questionnaires to hone your skills and discover which areas need further study time. While it may be tedious and difficult at first, the more work you put into it, the better you’ll be when test day arrives.

4. Get organized

To help keep track of everything, create a study schedule and stick to it. This will help ensure that you don’t miss any important points, and that you have enough time allotted to each topic.