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Proprietary trading firms

Proprietary trading firms, known as 'prop shops,' use their own capital to trade various financial instruments like stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, commodities, and derivatives. Noted for their sophisticated strategies, advanced algorithms, and technological infrastructure, they are actively involved in market making, arbitrage, and various speculative activities. Unlike hedge funds and investment banks, these firms do not manage external assets or provide advisory services. Instead, they take calculated risks with their own capital, making independent trading decisions and bearing the outcomes solely for their accounts. Explore our list to understand the scale and scope of these unique entities within the financial landscape.

There are many different trading firms, each with its unique characteristics and specializations. To learn more, please visit our comprehensive list of trading firms. This list serves as an extensive resource on proprietary trading firms, offering an overview of where the different players in the sector hold operations globally.

At trading firms, there are primarily three main functions that drive their operations: (Quantitative) Trader, Quantitative Researcher, and Quantitative Developer (Software Engineer). Each role plays a critical part in the firm's trading strategies and success.

Quantitative Trader:

Quantitative traders are responsible for managing and executing trades based on complex mathematical models and algorithms. They combine an understanding of the markets with a rigorous analytical approach to make decisions on buying and selling financial instruments. These professionals need to be adept in areas such as statistics, mathematics, and financial theory, and they must also possess strong decision-making and risk management skills.

Quantitative Researcher:

Quantitative researchers focus on developing new trading strategies and improving existing ones. They use statistical and mathematical techniques to analyze market data, identify patterns, and predict market movements. Their work involves creating sophisticated models and simulations to test the effectiveness of trading strategies. Quantitative researchers must have a strong background in mathematics, statistics, computer science, and financial engineering.

Quantitative Developer (Software Engineer):

Quantitative developers, also known as quant developers or SWEs, are responsible for implementing the trading models and strategies created by traders and researchers into working software. They develop, maintain, and optimize the technical infrastructure, including trading algorithms, data analysis tools, and risk management systems. Quant developers need to have strong programming skills, often in languages like Python, C++, or Java, and an understanding of financial markets.

Each of these positions requires a unique set of skills and expertise, and they often collaborate closely to drive the firm's trading activities. The synergy between these roles enables trading firms to effectively navigate and capitalize on opportunities in the fast-paced financial markets.

While the core functions of quantitative trader, quantitative researcher, and quantitative developer (Software Engineer) are fundamental across trading firms, the specific titles and responsibilities associated with these roles can vary slightly from one firm to another.

Test preparation

Firstly, we recommend starting your mental math practice early. Most applicants underestimate the difficulty of trading math tests and overestimate both their current ability and their ability to improve quickly. From experience we’ve learned that becoming competent enough (and more importantly, very fast) at mental math can take quite some time.

Next to that, your performance on the test also strongly depends on your ability to keep your head cool during the actual test. When you’ve made a habit of practicing daily for a long period then you will in time gain the confidence required to keep your head cool when the stakes are high.

Firstly, it is incredibly important to stay calm during the test. Most tests are long and require constant focus and hence being overly stressed will negatively impact your performance.

Secondly, familiarity with the test format and types of questions is very important to make sure you are not unpleasantly surprised as this can be very disruptive.

Managing time is also key, if at some point you find yourself spending too much time on one specific question (even more so if it is a very hard question), move on to the next one as there is a big chance that the next one will be simpler. This is specifically the case for the Flow Traders test because there you are not limited to completing the questions sequentially.

When posed with complicated multiple-choice questions that you do not know the answer for, try to eliminate one or more of the options so that your odds of guessing the correct answer increases.

The Red Test is intended to prepare you for the Flow Traders Math Test and consists of three different sections to be completed in 10 minutes. It contains a mix of open and multiple-choice questions.

The Orange Test is intended to prepare you for the Optiver Numerical Test and consists of 80 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 8 minutes. Note that the Optiver test is sometimes also referred to as the '80 in 8' or 'Graduate Quantitative Trader Assessment by Zyvo'.

The Blue Test is intended to prepare you for the Akuna Capital mental math test and consists of 80 open questions to be completed in 8 minutes. Note that the Akuna Capital test is sometimes also referred to as the 'US Campus Trader Math Test'.

The Black Test is intended to prepare you for the Susquehanna International Group (SIG) Quantitative Evaluation. Focusing on statistics and probability, it offers 16 questions to be completed in 20 minutes.

The Green Test is designed to help you gear up for the Da Vinci Trading Numerical Quiz. It features 19 diverse questions, with an emphasis on mental arithmetic, probability, and mathematics. The allotted time for this test is 10 minutes.

Tradermath has developed multiple types of tests not just due to the varied formats and time constraints employed by trading firms but also because the nature of numerical questions differs considerably among these firms.


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For each of our tests, we have made a free test available so that you can see what our product looks and feels like. You can take the free tests as many times as you like, but the set of questions in this test is fixed. If you want to have new questions every time you take a new test, you should subscribe.