How to Pass the Series 65 Exam
and become an Investment Adviser Representative

What is the best way to prepare for the Series 65 exam?

We get asked this question all the time. The answers is that, while everyone learns in a different way, there are certain steps that everyone must take to pass the Series 65 exam. Reading the Series 65 textbook is absolutely essential to passing the exam. You must read the book completely and fully. Read the book, take notes and highlight the key points. Once you have completed the textbook, take as many Series 65 practice questions as you can. The Series 65 exam prep software is designed to help you master the application of the knowledge. The article that follows will provide you with additional insight on how to pass the Series 65 exam.

Passing the Series 65 Exam

By Trace Fasano, Director of Education, The Securities Institute of America

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m just a really good test taker” and wondered “What do they know that I don’t?” Well as it turns out, there are certain things you can do to improve your test taking. And the best part is you don’t have to know any more of the technical information in order to do this. All standardized, multiple choice tests have certain things in common; here’s how to out-test the test, and help you become a better test taker and ace your Series 65 exam prep!

Read the full question. Sounds really simple right? But most people don’t. Most of us are conditioned to skim through information to find the one little nugget we are looking for. If you’re approaching Series 65 exam questions this way you’re sabotaging yourself. So let’s be clear. When you are answering Series 65 exam questions, read the entire question and read all the answer choices. Then read the last sentence of the question again. That last line is the punch line in all Series 65 exam questions, “what do they want from me?”

Use “process of elimination”. Always get rid of the answer choices you know can’t be correct.

If you have used process of elimination, have two choices left, and you’re still not sure answer is right; go with the statistics. If one of the choices you haven’t eliminated is “all of the above”, choose it! This is one of the keys to outsmarting the Series 65 exam. Statistically it’s probably the correct choice. On the other hand, if you’ve used process of elimination and one of the choices you have left is “none of the above”, don’t pick it. Odds are it’s not the correct answer. The test writers for the Series 65 exam like include a correct answer.

If a question gives you an answer choice that reads “not enough information to determine”, do not choose that answer. There is always enough information to answer a Series 65 exam question. Chances are there is more information than you need to answer any question on the Series 65 exam. Consider it a gift, now you have a one in three chance of getting the question correct!

The cardinal rule in taking the Series 65 exam is Don’t Change Your Answers. If you have taken your time, read the full question, used process of elimination, and made a decision; do not second guess yourself. Statistically, when you change an answer, you change it to the wrong answer more often than not, so stick with your gut! The Series 65 exam will not give you a lot of information that you can go back and use to answer a question better the second time.

Keep your head in the game. That means you should do the questions you are sure of first. Leave the ones that cause you grief for last. Makes sense right? But here’s the rub: you need to answer each question in order for the computer to generate the next one; there is no “skip” button. So here’s how we skip questions in on the Series 65 exam: First, read the full question. If the question is confusing or asking about an area that you are unfamiliar with (really, whatever the reason, its ok) pick an answer, and click on “record and review”. The computer will then bring up the next question on your Series 65 exam. When you are done with all the questions, the computer will show you the questions you clicked record and review on. These are the ones you skipped. Now you can answer those questions. Since you didn’t answer them earlier, you chose a random answer, you don’t have to worry about the statistics of changing your answers, and you’ll have plenty of time to work on the difficult questions. The Series 65 exam is not a speeded test. A speeded test is one that is designed so that only the brightest students will have enough time to finish. The Series 65 exam is designed to provide enough time for all students to complete each question on the exam.

Taking is the Series 65 exam is stressful, even if you are a good test taker. By following this simple advice you will be able to tip the scales a bit more in your favor. Coupled with diligent test prep, you are well on your way to passing the Series 65 exam!

A Series 65 agent is licensed to represent an Investment Adviser in all states that require the Series 65. The Series 65 exam will be presented in a 130-question multiple-choice format. Each candidate will have three hours to complete the exam. A score of 72% or higher is required to pass. The Series 65 is as much a knowledge test as it is a reading test. The writers and instructors at The Securities Institute have developed the Series 65 textbook, exam prep software and videos to ensure that you have the knowledge required to pass the test, and to make sure that you are confident in the application of the knowledge during the exam. The writers and instructors at The Securities Institute are subject matter experts as well as a Series 65 test experts. We understand how the test is written and our proven test-taking techniques can dramatically improve your results

Taking the Series 65 Exam

The Series 65 exam is presented in multiple-choice format on a touch-screen computer known as the PROCTOR system. No computer skills are required and candidates will find that the test screen works in the same way as an ordinary ATM machine. Each test is made up of 130 questions that are randomly chosen from a test bank of several thousand questions. The test has a time limit of three hours and is designed to provide enough time for all candidates to complete the exam. Each Series 65 exam will have 10 additional questions that do not count towards the final score. The Series 65 comprises questions that focus on the following areas:

# Questions
Ethics and legal guidelines
Investment strategies
Investment vehicles
Economics and analysis


How to Prepare for the Series 65 Exam

For most candidates, the combination of reading the textbook, watching the video and taking practice questions proves to be sufficient to successfully complete the exam. It is recommended that the individual spend at least 50 to 60 hours preparing for the exam by reading the textbook, underlining key points, and answering as many practice questions as possible. We recommend that a student schedule their exam no more than one week after finishing their Series 65 preparation.

Why do I need to take the Series 65 exam?

In order to conduct fee-based securities business, most states require that an agent successfully complete the Series 65, in addition to obtaining a Series 6, 7, or 62 registration.

What score is needed to pass the Series 65 exam?

A score of 72% or higher is needed to pass the Series 65 exam.

Are there any prerequisites for the Series 65 exam?

A candidate is not required to have any other professional qualifications prior to taking the Series 65 exam.

How do I schedule my Series 65 exam?

Ask your firm’s principal to schedule the exam for you, or for a list of test centers in your area. You may be self-sponsored to take the exam. You must fill out and submit form U10 prior to making an appointment. The Series 65 exam may be taken any day that the exam center is open.

What must I bring to the exam center?

A picture ID is required. All other materials will be provided, including a calculator and scratch paper.

How long will it take to get the results of my Series 65 exam?

The exam will be graded as soon as you answer your final question and hit the Submit for grading button. It will take only a few minutes to get your results. Your grade will appear on the computer screen and you will be given a paper copy from the exam center.

Series 65 test-taking tips!

  • Read the full question before answering
  • Identify what the question is asking
  • Identify key words and phrases
  • Watch out for hedge clauses, for example, except and not
  • Eliminate wrong answers
  • Identify synonymous terms
  • Be wary of changing answers


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