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Best Stock Game for Students

If you are a teacher or professor looking to find the best stock game for your high school/middle school or college students you have come to the right place. Our review of the best virtual stock market trading sites will give you some insights into the pros and cons of the more popular stock games out there.

There are a few that have been around for a decade or more. And as always, there are a few that pop onto the scene and quickly fade away. If you are a teacher or professor you definitely don’t want to use one of those that might disappear in a month or two. Trust me, I have scene many that have just disappeared over night and left their students hanging.

The terms stock games, stock market games, stock simulations, paper trading, virtual trading, etc are all the same. You get a virtual cash balance and get to pretend to buy and sell stocks. These are different than the best financial literacy games for students.

Features of the Best Stock & Investing Games

Some of these sites trade at end of day prices, some at 15 minute delayed prices, and some at real-time prices. You definitely want one that trades at real time prices AND has real-time rankings. Your students will absolutely LOVE the ranking page during market hours as they see their portfolios rise and fall throughout the day! The rankings also serve to motivate all the students to get involved and do better. One comment we hear frequently from teachers and professors is that asking students to play a stock game levels the playing field for all students–meaning that the “straight A” students don’t have any advantage or do any better than the other students.

Some of these sites allow just U.S. stocks, some allow stocks and bonds, some allow stock and mutual funds, and some allow stocks, bonds, options, futures, funds, cryptos, global stocks etc. So keep reading and you will learn which might be the best for your class and students. The best stock market game sites for students (and for teachers and professors) allow you to choose which type of securities you want to allow your students to trade. For example, if you want your student to trade bitcoin, then do so. If you don’t want them, then don’t turn that on.

When you are selecting a site to use for your class, please consider the following key features and differentiators:

  1. Types of Securities Traded
    • Do you want your students to trade U.S. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures, cryptos, currencies, or global equities?
  2. Prices Used to Fill Orders
    • Which price is used to fill orders: end of day, delayed, or real-time prices?
  3. Student Data Collected
    • Some sites ask for user SSN; some require student email address.
  4. Teacher/Professor Reporting
    • Can you see the student performance, rankings, etc?
    • Are students ranked by percentage return or risk-adjusted returns (Sharpe ratio, Jensen’s alpha)
  5. Customer Service for both Students & Teacher/Professor
    • What if a students says a trading is missing, or the price is wrong, or the split/dividend wasn’t paid?
  6. Customization of Trading Rules
    • Can the teacher/professor set the dates and length of trading, set commission rules, forbid day trading, trade on margin, short sell, etc.
  7. Diversification Requirements
    • This is so important. Can students “put all their eggs in one basket” or does the site force them to diversify?
  8. Accuracy of Prices and Accounting
    • Nothing can ruin your class faster than bad prices allowing students to cheat.
    • Some sites don’t record dividends or splits and students accounts are just plain wrong.
  9. Cost
    • You get what you pay for. Some are free and some have a small cost.
    • Hint: The paid sites have customer support and the free ones don’t.
  10. Compliant with National and State Student Privacy Laws
    • This is become more of an issue every year. What data is gathered on your students and what is done with that data.

In this review, we’ll list our favorite stock games for both high school and college students, as well as individuals that want to learn. We used the above 10 features to come up with this list.

Ranking of the Best Stock Games for Students

  1. – Best Stock Game for High School Students
  2. – Best Stock Game for College Students (includes options, futures, bonds, global equities, cryptos)
  3. – Best FREE Stock Game for High School Students
  4. – Best Stock Game for Adults
  5. MarketWatch – Best International Stock Game

Ok, there you have it. Above is the list of the best stock games for students, including high school and college students, and adults.

Now below we will give you the details on each…

Best Stock Game for Students (High School): PersonalFinanceLab

PersonalFinanceLab has been around for quite a while but it is quickly becoming the industry leader for high school personal finance, business, economics and CTE classes.

It is the ONLY site that features a stock game, a budget / financial literacy game, curriculum, and certification all in one platform.

Also, it is fully customizable so you can use or skip whichever feature you want.

Take a look at the pros and cons of PersonalFinanceLab….

  1. PersonalFinanceLab – PROS
    • Allows teachers full customization of trading rules
    • Real-time prices for US and Canadian stocks, bonds, mutual funds
    • Includes investing lessons and a personal budgeting game
    • Teacher and students email and phone support
    • Very accurate prices and accounting for splits/dividends
  2. PersonalFinanceLab – CONS
    • It is not free. $10 per account but price drops down to just $6 with volume discounts.
    • It is fully customizable which is both a curse and a blessing. Takes a few minutes to set up.

You can learn more about PersonalFinanceLab, the best Stock Game for High School Students by clicking here.

PersonalFinanceLab offers over 300 lessons teachers can assign that meet state and national standards for financial education. But you won’t be overwhelmed by these lessons. They are broken down into the appropriate category by class subject.

These lessons come complete with quizzes and help set students up to succeed in the stock game and the budgeting game (and in real life)!

The stock game lets students trade risk-free with virtual money. 

The teacher can change settings such as regular cash deposits, trading rules, and which lessons they want to correspond with the stock game.

The teacher can also track students’ performance and activity in their portfolios.

The Budget Game allows students to simulate the real-life responsibilities of managing income, paying bills, and dealing with unexpected life expenses. 

Students progress through a simulated calendar, with each day bringing new surprises.

Events in the game are random and decision trees are based on probabilities.

A student might be faced with a flat tire or a necessary clothing purchase.

They can choose whether to charge these expenses to a debit or credit card, which will effect their financial situation further on in the game.

Pricing for PersonalFinanceLab starts at $10 per student but quickly drops to $6 for larger classes.


Best Stock Game for College Students: StockTrak is not only the best stock game for college students, but it is also the stock game that has been around the longest. StockTrak was the first virtual trading tool for students. The company has been around since 1990, providing telephone-based virtual trading in the early 1990s. Their web page, was launched in 1996 making them the first online virtual trading tool.

We consider StockTrak a college site because of all the securities it trades. But it is also used by high schools, businesses and individuals who want to trade it all and pay the small fee.

StockTrak allows students to trade the widest range of securities of any virtual trading site. They allow students to trade stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures, global equities, forex, and cryptos. Accounts can be denominated in US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds, Euros, etc (about 50 currencies).

Take a look at the pros and cons of StockTrak….

  1. StockTrak- PROS
    • Allows professors full customization of trading rules
      • trading period, diversification, commission, interest rates can all be specified
    • Real-time prices for US and Canadian stocks, options, futures, future options, forex, cryptos, funds
      • delayed prices on global equities and bonds
    • Can be used for full Investment classes or Personal Finance classes (includes a budget game)
    • Class ranking can be by return, Sharpe Ratio, Alpha, Beta and others
    • Includes investing lessons and how-to videos
    • Professor and student email and phone support
    • Very accurate prices and accounting for splits/dividends
  2. StockTrak- CONS
    • It is not free. $19-$29 per account depending on how many weeks the professor sets the trading period to be.
    • It is fully customizable which is both a curse and a blessing. Takes a few minutes to set up.

You can learn more about StockTrak, the best Stock Game for College School Students by clicking here.

Best FREE Stock Game for High School Students: HowTheMarketWorks

HowTheMarketWorks is another great stock simulation game. And the best part about it is that it’s absolutely FREE!
When you sign up for HowTheMarketWorks you get a virtual portfolio worth $100,000 that you can trade with as you please.

You can also create custom contests to compete against your friends and family.

HTMW hosts national contests that you can enter to win real prizes!

The Education Center also helps you learn investing tips that can help your virtual portfolio as well as your real one.

Like Personal Finance Lab, HowTheMarketWorks can also be used by teachers and students in the classroom.

Teachers can customize their students’ trading parameters and lessons.

Best Stock Game for Quick Learners: MarketWatch

MarketWatch, the popular stock news platform, has a feature called the Virtual Stock Exchange that you can use to paper trade in real-time.

You can trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, fractional shares, and more.

You can also create or participate in custom games with unique rules.

The best part about MarketWatch is that it is a wealth of educational material on investing, personal finance, and more. 

So while you’re trading virtual money, you can also learn more about the stock market and the types of securities you’re trading.

It’s a win-win!


Teachers and professors can’t go wrong using any of the stock games reviewed on this page.

The above stock games are the best ones available for students based on the features we described above. High school teachers and college professors should be pleased with the quality of the site, the customization, as well as the reporting provided. The pros and cons we noted should really be considered when education is the main focus.

More and more research is coming out showing how games and simulations are a valuable addition to any classroom.

We applaud all the teachers and professors who want to bring real-world trading and financial education technology into their classrooms.