No calculator?

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Aug 14, 2008 4:21 pm

I spent some time with ye ole search button before posting this, and found several posts, but I am looking for a little more precise info.  I am taking the FIAT test next week and was startled to hear that there will be no calculators allowed!  Holy Shnikey!  So off I trundled to the local book purveyor and bought some brush up materials and workbooks, etc, focusing mainly on fractions, decimals, word problems, etc.  I am starting to stress out here, I cant believe you cant use a calculator!  I learned how to write Excel formulas just so I wouldnt have to do math on my spreadsheets!  Any feedback on where to spend the bulk of my time would help, I have a week.  I am smarter than your average bear, college educated (that English degree is really helpful right about now), run a successful business, yadda yadda yadda, but the thought of doing even slightly complicated math without a calculator is causing varying degrees of stress.  What about an abacus, will they allow that?  Can I take my shoes off and count on my toes?  Any help or kind words here? 

Aug 14, 2008 4:35 pm

Use your common sense and answer the questions.  These questions sound like they should be very basic for anyone looking for a financial career to pass.
If you think THIS exam will be hard, try a FINRA exam.
Aug 14, 2008 6:13 pm

It's really not that bad.  I grabbed a kiddie math book to remind me how to do long division.  Between that and being mindful of the wording on logic it got me a mid 90% score.

Aug 14, 2008 9:10 pm

This is probably the easiest test ever. It is basic math (fractions and decimals _as in adding them, dividing them, subtracting them, and multiplying them). Also, there are some generic economic in know what GNP means--Know different things about the business cycle. I know they have variations of the exam that they give out but that is what I encountered. The test is 55 questions and for a place like Merrill you need to score a 40 or better. Not having studied at all, I scored a 50 out of 55 but it did help that I was a finance major. I do not think that an English degree is going to help you here but you should still do fine.


Aug 14, 2008 11:55 pm

If you don't do well this may not be the right profession for you anyway.

You should do well though. Any college educated person should pass.

you only need to get a 31 of 55 for the local BOM to be able to consider you for the job.
Obviously it would be good to do better, but that is the minimum score to move forward with the interview process.
If its under 31 they have to stop the interview regardless of your other accolades.
Aug 15, 2008 2:05 am

You could hire a 3rd grader to tutor you.

Aug 15, 2008 7:52 am

...anyone know of a smart 3rd grader looking to earn some walking around money by tutoring?  Thanks for the responses, the math books I picked up are making me feel better, I actually remember a lot more than I gave myself credit for.  Here's a strange one, I actually through the excercises...god, am I really getting that old and lame?  I also had to call my parents and let them know that they were right, and I was wrong...I actually am using the math I didnt want to learn, way back when!

Aug 15, 2008 9:10 am

The original post says it all about the current state of education!!!! The subject is called :

                      " ARITHMETIC SKILLS "
Aug 15, 2008 9:33 am are you bagging on (a) me?  (b) my poor arithmetic skills?  or (c) the current state of education? responses are, (a) yes, I spent more time as a kid surfing, skating and snowboarding than I did working on my arithmetic skills, and I wouldnt give up those experiences for anything, (b) see previous response, and (c) I was supposed to honing the razors edge of my arithmetic skills about, oh, 20 to 25 years ago, so I dont see what that has to do with the "current state of education".  More importantly, I am spending 2 to 5 hours a day for the next week brushing up, so I can ace this thing.  My arithmetic skills may be lacking, but my determination, drive and work ethic, which came from my parents and the Army, not the government school system, are second to none. 
Aug 15, 2008 10:02 am

If you can balance your checkbook, you're more than 1/2 way there.

Aug 15, 2008 10:06 am


you're going to look back on this post after the test and wonder why you stressed so much about it.
There are no variables... just basic addition, subtraction, division, etc
Real test example:
a) 5
Aug 15, 2008 10:16 am

Vancheesey - Not a commentary on either your parents work ethic or your stint in the military.

Just use Spell Check and most likely have not made reference to the Concise Oxford Dictionary
I will bet that you have seen ie. an e-mail or letter that rambles on that has but one paragraph , no capital letters when required and little proper puncuation
Education System , you are absolutely correct. The new system is more of an entertainment program and God forbid ......." Never Fail Someone " it may damage their fragile state of mind.
Aug 15, 2008 10:50 am

Hey Norway, my apologies if I got my feathers a little ruffled, lots of poop going on here at work.  I really appreciate everyones response, I am really calming down over this test thing, I am sure it is nothing compared to licensing tests.  The stress is coming more from excitement over this possibility, I really dont want to screw this opportunity up!  This thing has a spell checker?  I had no idea.  What would be really helpful, is if I could get a 'thought checker', some sort of filter between what I am thinking and what I say.  While age brings about some level of 'thought checking', I dont seem to be aging quick enough to keep up.  Leads to some interesting situations!

Aug 15, 2008 10:54 am

No problem Vancheesey With age also comes the ability to " Stress Down ".

Aug 21, 2008 7:42 pm

So I am resurrecting this thing from its shallow grave to say that I took the FIAT for Merrill today...pretty much sucked all the way around, will get the results thing that confuses me is this...every wirehouse manager I have interviewed with has told me unequivically that this is a sales job first and foremost...I am a great, hard working salesman who enjoys finding and servicing clients, and I have excelled at some fairly high level consultative selling...none of which required me to do fairly random division without a friggin calculator...I have closed million + dollar sales, and guess what, I used a calculator at least once or twice, never had to use a pile of scratch paper...oh well, what will be, will be...I tell you what, Merrill has some really nice offices!  Merrill, UBS, Smith Barney, and a host of others, all in the same building...pretty heady stuff...if you never hear from the cheese again, you should be able to figure out what happened...

Aug 21, 2008 8:10 pm

The Fiat has nothing to do with your ability to close sales. You missed the point.

ML doesn't want to sink time and money into someone who is going to fail the S7.
You could have Trump in your future AUM, but fail the S7 and your a waste of space for ML.
Aug 21, 2008 10:35 pm

I know your'e right Bull, Im just a little grumpy and I really dont like being told I cant do just rubs me wrong, know what I mean?  so, you got Trumps number?

Aug 22, 2008 10:33 am


Aug 22, 2008 11:13 am

For future reference just remember whenever you see the formula Pi R squared, that's it's wrong. Everybody knows cake are square, and Pi are round.

Hope this helps!
Aug 22, 2008 12:29 pm

Between that and Trump's phone number, you're set!