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How to Get Your Series 6 License


Series 6 Exam: A Snapshot 

  • Number of questions: 55 (only 50 are graded) 
  • Format: Multiple choice 
  • Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes 
  • Passing Score: 70% 
  • Co-requisite: SIE 

Get to Know the Series 6 Exam 

Whether you’re a new or seasoned financial or insurance professional, you likely passed the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. While you’re off to a great start, taking the Series 6 exam could help you deepen your client relationships as you will be able to assist them with even more of their financial needs. 

For example, once you pass the Series 6, you will be able to add mutual funds and variable annuities to the product lines you represent.  

Ready to get started? Here are the Series 6 basics you should know and sample questions to prepare.  

What Are Series 6 Career Paths? 

When you gain a Series 6 license, your career path might include the following: 

  • Financial advisor or planner 
  • Retirement plan specialist 
  • Insurance agent 
  • Customer care representative in a home office call center 
  • Investment advisor representative 
  • Financial consultant in a bank 

How Hard Is the Series 6 Exam? 

If you’ve heard that the Series 6 is hard, we have good news for you—if you passed the SIE, then you have a good shot at passing the Series 6. However, the Series 6 exam questions can be lengthy and filled with significant and sometimes distracting detail, which adds to their complexity. The Series 6 exam has unique challenges, and you’ll need to prepare the right way to ace it the first time around. 

Because the Series 6 exam is only made up of 55 questions (only 50 of which are graded), you can only miss 15 questions to receive a passing mark. 

How Does the Series 6 Exam Compare to the SIE? 

Most people who plan to take the Series 6 exam have already completed the SIE, so the SIE can be a useful benchmark. Here’s how to two exams compare: 

An exam with narrow focus that requires more in-depth subject matter competence. A broad test of foundational industry concepts. 
Requires more rule application and knowledge of practices and protocol regarding the sale of the primary products that Series 6 registrants can sell. Questions are more definitional in nature. 



A Series 6 license allows you to sell mutual funds, unit investment trusts (UITs), variable products, 529 plans, and local government investment pools (LGIPs). Passing the SIE alone does not qualify an individual to engage in the securities business. 
When you are licensed, you’ll be assisting customers with important financial decisions, so the exam asks you to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the products than the SIE Exam. This introductory-level exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information. 
Questions will require you to apply critical thinking to make inferences from fact sets, draw conclusions from situations, and identify types of prohibited practices in specific examples. Questions cover specific rules, regulations, and securities laws, as well as broad characteristics and features of securities products (such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) and investment objectives (such as growth, income, and preservation of capital). 


Sample Series 6 Exam Questions 

The three sample questions that follow highlight some important Series 6 concepts. These examples can give you an idea of the structure and complexity of the test questions. 

You will find the Answer Key at the end of the post. 

Question 1: An affluent 35-year-old professional wants to purchase $100,000 of mutual fund shares in a taxable account. The investor would like to own stocks with strong appreciation potential at a low price. Which type of fund is most appropriate for the customer? 

  1. A global equity fund
  2. A domestic value fund
  3. A small cap fund
  4. A technology sector fund

Question 2: In which of the following situations does an investor face no tax consequences? 

  1. The investor reinvests mutual fund capital gains distribution to purchase additional shares.
  2. The investor exchanges shares in a growth mutual fund for shares in a balanced fund within the same fund family.
  3. The investor surrenders a variable life insurance policy that has an outstanding loan that exceeds the policy cash value.
  4. The investor receives a death benefit as a beneficiary to a relative’s life insurance policy.

Question 3: An angry customer sends an email demanding that his registered representative reimburse his account for recent losses on a transaction he claims was unsuitable for his account. Which of the following statements is true? 

  1. The representative should respond to the customer and attempt to set up a meeting to discuss the situation.
  2. The representative must report the customer’s email to FINRA because it is considered a complaint.
  3. The representative should not contact the customer but should report the matter to his supervisor for resolution.
  4. The representative’s supervisor must immediately report the complaint to FINRA, and the rep may offer to set up mediation to resolve the matter.

Download a Series 6 Practice Exam 

Looking for more Series 6 exam questions? Download our Series 6 sample test—and get bonus tips for how to prepare for the exam. 

Answer Key 

Question 1: Answer: 2. A value fund is a stock fund comprised of stocks that are selling at a relatively “cheap” price and have a strong potential for price appreciation. This recommendation is most appropriate for an investor who is looking for low-priced shares with growth potential.  

Question 2: Answer: 4. Death benefits from life insurance policies are not taxable when paid to a beneficiary. 

Question 3: Answer: 3. This situation describes a complaint because it was directed to the representative in writing. Representatives must report complaints to their supervisor, who will follow company procedures in resolving the complaint. The complaint will be included in the firm’s quarterly report of customer complaints, which must be filed with FINRA. A U-4 update must also be made if a letter from FINRA is received to announce an investigation into the rep’s activities.  

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.