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How to Practise Trading as a Beginner

Trading can be a difficult arena to enter as a beginner. Accessing the right tools and learning materials can be critical, as the world of trading is exceedingly complex and holds risks as well as rewards. This being so, practicing trading can be crucial.

An illustration of a beginner trader

Essential Trading Basics

Understanding Financial Markets

Much like roads have different rules, terrains, and conditions, financial markets have their dynamics. They can be volatile, stable, bullish, or bearish. To navigate them effectively, one needs to understand these dynamics.

Financial markets play a crucial role in supporting the smooth functioning of capitalist economies, facilitating the allocation of resources, and generating liquidity for businesses and entrepreneurs. These markets provide a convenient platform for the exchange of financial assets between buyers and sellers. Through the creation of various securities products, financial markets offer returns for investors/lenders with surplus funds and make these funds accessible to borrowers in need of additional capital.

The world of financial markets is large and complex, and stock trading represents just one of its many facets. These markets come into existence as individuals engage in the buying and selling of diverse financial instruments, such as equities, bonds, currencies, and derivatives. Informational transparency is paramount in financial markets to ensure that prices are set efficiently and appropriately.

Financial markets vary in size and activity levels, with some being relatively small and less active, while others, like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), witness the daily trading of vast amounts in securities. The equities (stock) market, specifically, serves as a financial market where investors can trade shares of publicly traded companies. Initial stock issuances take place in the primary market, whereas subsequent trading occurs in the secondary market, where investors buy and sell securities they already possess.

Different Types of Markets

Various financial markets exist, each with a focus on specific types and classes of instruments. Understanding these markets is crucial for participants seeking to navigate the complex landscape of global finance.

Stock Markets

Stock markets are perhaps the most widespread financial markets where companies list shares, traded by investors and traders. These markets, also known as equities markets, serve as a means for companies to raise capital and for investors to pursue returns. Stocks can be traded on exchanges like the NYSE or Nasdaq, or in over-the-counter (OTC) markets, providing avenues for capital flow in the economy.

Forex Market

The foreign exchange (forex) market facilitates the trading of currency pairs, allowing participants to buy, sell, hedge, and speculate on exchange rates. With its decentralized nature, the forex market involves a global network of computers, banks, companies, central banks, hedge funds, and retail forex brokers and investors.

Bond Markets

Bonds represent loans from investors to borrowers for a defined period at a pre-established interest rate. Issued by various entities, including corporations and governments, bonds finance projects and operations. Treasury notes and bills, which institutions like the U.S. Treasury issue, make up the global bond market.

Money Markets

Money markets deal in highly liquid short-term instruments with a focus on safety. Trading occurs at both wholesale and retail levels, involving large-volume trades between institutions, as well as money market mutual funds and accounts accessible to individual investors.

Derivatives Markets

Derivatives markets involve contracts whose value is based on an underlying financial asset or set of assets. Unlike direct stock trading, derivatives trade in futures, options contracts, and other financial products, providing exposure to various asset classes such as equities, commodities, and currencies.

Over-the-Counter Markets (OTC)

OTC markets operate without physical locations, relying on electronic trading where participants directly trade securities without intermediaries. While some stock trading occurs in OTC markets, they are more commonly associated with certain derivatives, offering less regulation and transparency compared to exchange-based markets.

Commodities Markets

Commodities markets bring together producers and consumers for the exchange of physical goods, including agricultural products, energy, precious metals, and soft commodities. While spot commodity markets involve direct exchanges, the majority of trading occurs on derivatives markets through forwards, futures, and options.

Understanding the dynamics and characteristics of these financial markets is essential for investors, traders, and other participants navigating the diverse world of global finance.

Choosing the Right Trading Platform

Selecting the appropriate online trading platform is a critical decision for individuals venturing into the world of financial markets. The abundance of options available can be overwhelming, making it essential to consider various factors to ensure a seamless and effective trading experience.

First and foremost, assessing the reputation and reliability of a trading platform is paramount. Research user reviews, industry ratings, and testimonials to gauge the platform's credibility. A well-established and trustworthy platform is more likely to provide a secure environment for your investments.

Fees and commissions are significant considerations. Different platforms have varying fee structures, including transaction fees, spreads, and withdrawal charges. Understanding these costs upfront is crucial to prevent unpleasant surprises.

Ease of use and the platform's user interface should not be underestimated. A user-friendly interface enhances the overall trading experience, making it easier for different types of traders to navigate the platform efficiently. Look for features such as real-time market data, Insights from other traders around the world, and simple trading screens.

Security features are non-negotiable when it comes to online trading. Ensure the platform implements robust encryption protocols and two-factor authentication to safeguard your financial information and transactions. Reputable platforms invest in top-notch security measures to protect their users from potential cyber threats.

Accessibility and customer support are also vital considerations. A reliable trading platform should offer accessibility across various devices, ensuring you can trade seamlessly from desktops, laptops, or mobile devices. Furthermore, an effective customer service team is important in case of any issues that may arise.

In conclusion, choosing the right online trading platform requires a thoughtful evaluation of factors such as reputation, financial instrument offerings, fees, usability, security, and customer support. By prioritising these aspects, traders can make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and risk tolerance.

Steps to Begin Trading

Starting with a Demo Account

During registration, opt for a Demo account by selecting "Demo Mode" in the "Select Account Mode" window. Conversely, you can transition from Real Money mode to Demo mode by clicking "Switch to Demo Mode" on the platform's main screen or within the app's menu. Utilising a Demo account allows traders to practise trading strategies and familiarise themselves with the platform's features without risking real money.

This risk-free environment enables users to gain confidence, refine their skills, and experiment with different techniques before committing to live trading. Additionally, Demo accounts provide an opportunity to test new trading ideas or instruments, assess market conditions, and understand the potential impact of various scenarios on their trading performance.

By leveraging the benefits of a Demo account, traders can enhance their learning curve and make more informed decisions when transitioning to live trading with real funds. For novice investors, it's advisable to spend ample Demo trading before transitioning to Live Trading. Experiment with various strategies and explore new ideas to build confidence. Our Demo Mode is designed to help you familiarise yourself with trading and shorten your learning curve.

Setting a Budget

Before making your first deposit and trading for real with Plus500, it’s advisable to begin with a Demo Account and practise with the sum you intend to trade with when you move to the real thing.

Once you’ve sharpened your skills with our free demo and you are ready to open your Real Account, its crucial for you to set your budget in order to manage risks effectively. Begin by assessing your financial situation and determining the amount you can comfortably afford to invest without jeopardising your financial stability.

Set a clear budget that aligns with your trading strategy and goals, considering factors such as initial deposit requirements ($100), and potential losses. You may consider to start with a modest amount until you gain confidence and experience in navigating the platform and understanding market dynamics.

Regularly review and adjust your budget as needed, keeping in mind that any form of trading involves inherent risks, and capital preservation should always be a priority.

By setting a budget conscientiously, you can approach trading on Plus500 with a disciplined and strategic mindset in order to reach your trading goals.

Picking Your Trading Style

During the initial stages of your trading journey with Plus500, you may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of different possible strategies. Exploring various trading styles is essential to find one that suits their preferences and risk tolerance.

Day trading involves executing multiple trades within a single day, aiming to capitalise on short-term price movements. It requires keen attention to market fluctuations and quick decision-making.

Swing trading, on the other hand, focuses on capturing price swings over a few days to weeks, allowing traders to take advantage of both upward and downward trends.

Position trading involves holding positions for an extended period, often weeks to months, based on fundamental analysis and macroeconomic trends.

Each style has its merits and challenges, and beginners should thoroughly research and practice with paper trading accounts before committing real capital to any strategy. Developing a solid understanding of different trading styles empowers beginners to choose the approach that best aligns with their goals, personality, and available time commitment.

Key Strategies for Beginners

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis involves assessing historical price and volume data of financial assets like stocks, currencies, or commodities. In contrast to fundamental analysis, which centres on intrinsic value, technical analysis focuses on observing share volume and price fluctuations over time. Practitioners of technical analysis often perceive markets as inefficient, aiming to exploit price patterns and trends for potential profit.

Technical and fundamental analyses represent the two primary approaches to market analysis. Technical analysis relies on various tools to interpret market data and predict future price movements. These tools include technical indicators, which are mathematical calculations based on price, volume, or open interest, often indicating momentum or mean reversion. Volume analysis examines the number of shares or contracts traded within a specified period, while relative strength compares asset performance to a benchmark to assess momentum.

Additionally, chart pattern analysis identifies recurring price patterns that may indicate future market activity, while candlestick pattern analysis discerns investor sentiment, market trends, or potential reversals. Support and resistance levels are horizontal lines drawn on price charts, indicating where a security's price is likely to stall or reverse. Trend analysis involves interpreting past and present market movements to forecast future asset prices, typically utilising historical prices and trading volume.

Each of these elements enables investors to analyse market behaviour and make informed decisions about individual shares or overall market trends.

Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis is a cornerstone of finance, aiming to evaluate the intrinsic value of securities or broader sectors and markets. In the context of company stocks, this analysis delves into income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, typically favoured by those seeking long-term value. The goal is to assess how a company's future earnings compare to its current net worth, with stocks trading below their intrinsic value often seen as promising, while those trading above it may be less favourable. The insights gained from fundamental analysis inform decisions on whether to buy, hold, or sell a security.

To conduct fundamental analysis, several key tools are utilised. Financial statements offer a snapshot of a company's financial health, including profitability, liquidity, and solvency, aiding in the calculation of financial ratios and multiples. Economic indicators, such as GDP growth, inflation, and unemployment rates, provide insights into the broader economic environment's impact on a company's performance. Interest rates set by central banks influence investment value, with higher rates often leading to lower stock prices and vice versa.

Market events and announcements related to business strategy and success, such as earnings, mergers, and even legislation can affect stock value. Additionally, qualitative data, such as management quality, industry cycles, and competitive advantages, offer nuanced insights beyond numerical analysis.

By leveraging these tools, investors can determine whether a security is undervalued or overvalued, guiding their investment decisions accordingly.

Keeping Emotions in Check

While venturing into the world of trading, in order to achieve the best possible results, it is important to keep a cool head and try to avoid allowing emotions, whether positive or negative, to influence your judgement.

Understanding your risk tolerance and implementing risk management tools like Stop-Loss or Guaranteed Stop orders can help mitigate emotional reactions during trading, thus preventing certain biases from interfering with your trading decisions. Creating a comprehensive trading plan serves as a roadmap to navigate market uncertainties, keeping traders grounded amidst volatility. Although trading plans may require adjustments over time, they provide a structured approach to decision-making.

Developing emotional intelligence involves reflecting on trading decisions and outcomes to gain insight into one's behaviour, thus enabling better risk management. Traders and investors can employ various psychological tools to enhance their trading activities.

Practices such as mindfulness and meditation foster awareness during trading, aiding in risk mitigation and error avoidance. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps traders identify and challenge negative thought patterns, promoting logical decision-making. Utilising visualisation and positive affirmations reinforces constructive thinking patterns, aligning actions with desired outcomes.

Behavioural finance underscores the significance of emotions in trading decisions, emphasising the need for self-awareness and emotional regulation. Implementing risk management strategies, adhering to trading plans, and understanding personal risk tolerance are essential components of successful trading. By incorporating psychological tools and techniques, traders can cultivate a mindset conducive to disciplined and rational trading practices, ultimately achieving their financial goals.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Keeping Up-to-Date

Staying up-to-date with market news is crucial for anyone venturing into CFD trading. The financial markets are highly dynamic, influenced by a multitude of factors ranging from economic indicators to geopolitical events.

By staying informed about these developments, novice traders can make more informed decisions regarding their positions, helping them anticipate potential market movements and mitigate risks.

To this end, the articles in our News & Market Insights section provide valuable insights into trends, allowing traders to adapt their strategies accordingly and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Ignoring market news can lead to significant losses due to unexpected market shifts. Therefore, staying abreast of market news is not just beneficial but essential for those starting out in CFD trading, providing a foundation for making informed and strategic investment decisions.

Trading Academy

For those new to trading, understanding the complexities of financial markets can be daunting. Plus500 recognises the importance of education and we therefore offer resources via our Trading Academy — a valuable resource available on our website and app. It's all about empowering novice traders like you with the skills and confidence needed to navigate the markets, especially at the beginning of your trading journey.

With user-friendly tools like video Trader’s Guides and detailed FAQs, the Trading Academy allows beginners to understand the fundamentals of trading. By taking advantage of these resources, you'll not only gain knowledge but also the ability to make informed decisions and manage risks effectively. By using the vast range of information available via our Trading Academy, you'll have the necessary tools to get the best start possible on your journey into the world of trading.

Common Beginners’ Mistakes

Emotional Trading

Reacting impulsively to market fluctuations driven by emotions such as fear, anger, or anxiety can lead to irrational decisions. For instance, trying to recoup losses by increasing positions or chasing missed opportunities can exacerbate losses rather than mitigate them. It's crucial to maintain emotional discipline and focus on risk management amidst market volatility.

Moving the Goalposts

Avoiding acknowledgement of trading mistakes and altering strategies or stop orders to rationalise poor decisions can compound losses. It's essential to adhere to predefined trading plans and indicators and accept small losses promptly rather than prolonging losing trades in hopes of a turnaround.

Playing Earnings

Relying solely on speculation or strong convictions about a stock's performance during earnings season can lead to unpredictable outcomes. Trading around earnings announcements carries inherent risks, as market reactions may not align with expectations. Practising caution and potentially avoiding trading during volatile earnings periods can mitigate risks.

Trading the Wrong Time Frame

Choosing a trading pace that does not align with personal preferences can impede decision-making and yield suboptimal results. Whether it's the fast-paced nature of day trading or the slower dynamics of swing trading, aligning the trading approach with one's temperament enhances clarity and fosters better decision-making.

Trying to Pick Tops or Bottoms

Fixating on capturing market tops or bottoms may lead to excessive risk-taking and poor decision-making. Emphasising storytelling or sensational narratives over sound trading strategies can divert focus from consistent profitability. Prioritising prudent risk management and adherence to trading strategies is essential for long-term success in trading.

The Path Ahead: Setting Your Goals

When embarking on trading with Plus500, setting clear and achievable goals is fundamental for guiding your journey in the financial markets. Begin by defining specific objectives, such as profit targets, risk tolerance levels, and timeframes for achieving your desired outcomes. You should establish realistic expectations aligned with your trading experience and available resources.

Additionally, consider setting goals related to learning and skill development, focusing on improving your understanding of market dynamics, technical analysis, and risk management strategies. Regularly review and adjust your goals as you gain experience and adapt to changing market conditions. By setting meaningful and attainable goals, you can stay motivated, disciplined, and focused on your path to success with Plus500.


In the world of trading, much like learning to ride a bicycle, starting on the right foot is paramount. Just as one wouldn't venture onto a busy road without first mastering the basics in a safe environment, entering the financial markets without proper preparation can be equally perilous.

Recognizing the intricacies and risks inherent in trading, Plus500 has taken a proactive approach by offering a comprehensive Trading Academy. This resource, accessible through our website and app, serves as a guiding light for novice traders, providing essential knowledge and tools to navigate the markets with confidence. Alongside the Trading Academy, Plus500 emphasises the importance of choosing the right trading platform.

By assessing factors like reputation, fees, usability, security, and customer support, traders can ensure a seamless and effective trading experience. Additionally, Plus500 highlights the significance of continuous learning and adaptation in the fast-paced world of trading.

Staying up-to-date with market news and trends is essential for making informed decisions and capitalising on emerging opportunities. With a commitment to empowering traders with knowledge and resources, Plus500 equips beginners with the skills and confidence needed to embark on their trading journey successfully. So, whether you're exploring the Trading Academy, evaluating trading platforms, or staying informed with market news, leverage the comprehensive suite of resources provided by Plus500 to start your trading journey on the right foot.


How can I practise trading for free?

By opening a Demo account, you can practise trading without committing real money.

How can I improve my trading skills?

While results cannot be guaranteed, following market events and learning with the resources offered on our Trading Academy, you can build a solid foundation of knowledge before you begin trading.

Are there any tools to help me make better trading decisions?

In addition to our vast array of learning materials, the Plus500 platform is also equipped with charts and analysis tools enabling you to better track potential market movements.

Put Your Knowledge to the Test

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