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How to Pass the Series 65/66 Exams

If you plan to be in the business of providing investment advice for a fee, either the Series 65 or 66 is a must. But which one do you need?  Both allow advisors to receive fee-based compensation, but each serves a unique audience.  Knopman Marks provides its industry leading exam prep processes for both of these exams.

What’s the difference between the Series 65 and Series 66 Exams?

The Series 65 and 66 exams are NASAA (North American Securities Administrators Association) exams that are administered by FINRA. Persons who work as representatives of investment advisors or broker-dealers, and receive fees for investment advice or investments under management, must qualify with one of these requirements for registration.

The Series 63 is also a NASAA exam. It is required for persons that are associated with BDs to show competency in state securities regulation and to become registered with state securities commissions.

The Series 65 is typically taken by persons that are associated with investment advisor firms that wish to provide investment advice for a fee, or by individuals who are not taking Series 7. The Series 63 is not required with this exam unless the individual taking it is associated with a broker-dealer.

The Series 66 is appropriate for individuals that hold or are taking the Series 7. It does “double duty”, because persons that pass this exam do not have to take the Series 63. The tested information does not duplicate the product, strategy and analysis questions covered by the Series 7. Instead, it focuses on investment advisor regulation and state law for investment advisor and broker-dealer representatives. The Series 66 is sometimes viewed as the “easier” exam between Series 65 and 66 because its focus is more narrow.

Exam Criteria

The Series 65 exam includes a broad range of product, analysis, strategy and economics questions. Its breadth of topics makes the test challenging. The exam includes 130 scored and 10 randomly placed unscored experimental questions, and must be completed in 3 hours.  The passing scores is 72%, and candidates must answer 94 questions correctly to pass.

The Series 66 exam is comprised of 100 scored and 10 unscored experimental questions. The time limit for the exam is 150 minutes – 2 ½ hours. To pass the exam, a candidate must score 73% or better, answering at least 73 questions correctly.

Series 66 Exam Tips

In this video two Series 66 experts weigh in on how to prepare.

Advice from Series 65 and Series 66 Instructors

To get off to a strong start with your exam prep, be sure to follow the advice provided in the Series 65 and Series 66 At-A-Glance guides (download below). In addition, take advantage of these four exclusive instructor tips that will give you a definite edge as you study:

  1. Don’t underestimate either the Series 65 or 66. They are equally or even more challenging than the Series 7. Plan on reading the textbook at least twice to ensure exam success.
  2. You need to understand “the why” on calculation and return questions. In addition to running the numbers, you must be able to interpret what these calculations show and don’t show for application questions.
  3. Err on the conservative side. When making investment recommendations, exam candidates tend to select answer choices that are more aggressive than what the regulators are looking for.
  4. The textbook’s callouts, appendixes, and glossary are all valuable study tools.  Don’t miss these important nuggets as you study.

We are here for YOU

Success on any Series exam requires significant commitment and effort. Knopman Marks simplifies the process with expert materials and study strategies. We are fully committed to your success and are available to provide help when you need it. Contact us at [email protected] for support at any time.

Marcia Larson is Vice President, Faculty, at Knopman Marks Financial Training, New York, NY. She has extensive experience in financial licensing and regulatory training, having authored, developed and presented courseware for numerous securities and insurance exam preparation and continuing education and compliance programs. Before joining Knopman Marks, Marcia was Director of Annuity Products and Business Development at CUNA Mutual Group, where she developed and marketed industry-leading annuity products and retirement solutions and implemented distribution relationships. She was previously VP, Securities Products for Kaplan Financial, managing securities training products and subsequently, international training and businesses development. Marcia has trained thousands of financial industry exam candidates throughout their careers, and also college students as an adjunct professor. Marcia was a summa cum laude graduate of Wartburg College with degrees in Business Administration and Piano Performance. Marcia also holds the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS), and Fellow Life Management Institute™ (FLMI®). She currently teaches the SIE, Series 6, 7, 24, 50, 52, 63, 65, and 66 exams.