Hi guys, welcome to this unique write-up on the Series 65 Exam.

We guarantee you that at the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what this exam entails, the exam structure, the pass rate, and answers to frequently asked questions.

In particular, we will look at:

  • An overview of what Series 65 is all about
  • The pass rate for the actual exam
  • Passing score needed for the Series 65
  • Series 65 frequently asked questions

There’s a lot of information to get through here and all of it is worth your attention, that’s for sure. 

Other free series 65 study materials:

  1. Series 65 exam prep
  2. Series 65 study plan
  3. Series 65 study guide
  4. Series 65 practice exams
  5. Series 65 flashcards
  6. Series 65 cheat sheet
  7. Series 65 Exam FAQ
  8. Best Series 65 study materials

Introduction to Series 65 Exam

A licensing exam that’s found throughout the United States, the Series 65 is a pretty big deal.

So today, we take an in-depth look at this test that all investment advisers will have to face to be able to give investment advice to others.

Series 65 Exam Overview

Starting out, let’s take a quick overview of this FINRA exam.

Well, to start, technically it’s not a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority test.

It’s only administered by that organization. 

The exam is actually from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and is also called the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination.

It’s a requirement for investment advisor representatives through the United States as decreed by state law. 

It’s very different from the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) qualification exam, for example, in the fact that you don’t need sponsorship from a FINRA member firm.

In fact, test-takers could register and take the exam before they’ve passed any FINRA exam. 

A form U4, however, is needed to write the exam for those employed by FINRA-member firms.

Those candidates who aren’t will need a form u10.

Series 63 license v Series 65 license

 So how are these two securities exams different?

Well, if you want a state license as a broker-dealer, you would take the Series 63 exam.

And as we’ve already mentioned, the Series 65 exam is for candidates who need a license to become investment adviser representatives.

Most state securities laws say that candidates with a Series 65 license are allowed to not only provide investment advice but also provide guidance on general financial issues, much like a financial advisor or financial planner. 

Registered investment packages are not something that can be sold if you hold this license, however. 

What’s covered in the Series 65 exam?

Lots of word-heavy coursework, that’s for sure.

Four main sections will form part of this exam, however.

Let’s break down not only what those are but also how many questions each section contributes to the overall exam.

  • Recommendations and Strategies (30% of all questions)
  • Regulations and Guidelines (30% of all questions)
  • Investment Vehicles (25% of all questions)
  • Economic Factors and Business Information (15% of all questions)

Other quick facts you need to know about the Series 65 exam

The Series 65 exam is far longer than the Series 63.

Where that is just 60 questions, with candidates given 75 minutes to complete it, the Series 65 is a little over double the amount.

Candidates will have 180 minutes to finish 130 multiple-choice questions and that equates to around 90 seconds for each of them or thereabouts. 

When it comes to pricing, to register for the FINRA Series 65, a candidate will have to pay $187.

With such word-heavy course work, it’s advised that candidates not only focus on that but effective test prep as well, especially if they want to pass on their first attempt. 

Should a candidate fail, they can retake the test but you need to consider several rules.

For a second attempt at the exam, you must wait 30 days from your initial date.

That counts too if you fail the second time and try for a third.

That’s a wait of 30 days as well.

The penalty, however, gets significantly harsher if you fail a third. 

From that point on, every failure means a candidate will have to wait 180 days or six months to attempt the exam once again.

And that’s not something anyone would want, right?

That’s where proper preparation is key to ensure you give yourself every chance of passing the first time.

Other than studying the coursework, I’d encourage you to use other study materials.

Choose what’s worked for you before, for example, flashcards, study guides, or prep courses.

What you shouldn’t miss out on, however, is practice questions or even full practice exams.

Without a doubt, this is the best way to test if you understand the coursework fully or not.

If not, it will expose those areas that you need to work on, that’s for sure. 

There are many excellent extras available when it comes to adding to your preparation.

These include:

  • Series 65 Study materials such as flashcards, practice questions, prep courses, or other online courses
  • Full Series 65 practice exams
  • Series 65 study guides
  • Finding a Series 65 tutor 
  • And more

So make sure you use extra study materials, Series 65 practice tests, and study guides to ensure your study time helps you prepare efficiently. 

Series 65 Pass Rate

What is the pass rate for this exam?

Well, I wish I had passing scores for you, but that’s not the case, unfortunately. 

That’s because it’s simply impossible to get the passing rate from state to state.

 Ultimately, however, the pass rate is not something that any candidates should worry about.

The real concern is the overall pass mark for the exam.

And that’s 72% just like the Series 63.

If you want to achieve that, a score of 94 out of 130 is what you are aiming for on the test. 

Exam structure

While we covered the basic exam structure a little earlier, let’s look at it in more detail.

While doing so, we can break down each of the four major sections a little more, all of which are covered in the exam questions. 

Economic Factors and Business Information

In total, 20 questions out of 130 will come from this section.

They will cover:

  • Economic concepts
  • Financial reporting
  • Analytical methods
  • Types of risks

Investment Vehicle Characteristics

In total, 26 questions out of 130 will come from this section.

They will cover:

  • Types of and characteristics of cash and cash equivalents
  • Types and characteristics of fixed income securities
  • Types of equity securities
  • How to value equity securities
  • Types and characteristics of pool investments
  • Kinds of derivative securities
  • Alternative investment options
  • Types of insurance products
  • Other types of assets

Client Investment Recommendations and Strategies

In total, 39 questions out of 130 will come from this section.

They will cover:

  • Client types and profiles
  • Theory of capital markets
  • Strategies for portfolio management
  • Various tax considerations
  • Types of retirement plans/accounts
  • Fiduciary requirements
  • Special account types
  • Techniques for estate planning and ownership
  • Securities trading
  • Measures to gauge portfolio performance

Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines 

In total, 39 questions out of 130 will come from this section.

They will cover:

  • Regulation of investment advisors, investment advisor representatives, broker-dealers as well as their agents.
  •  Securities and issuers regulation
  • Administrative provisions and remedies
  • Client communication
  • Fiduciary obligations and ethical practices

What we’ve outlined above gives you a fantastic insight into the subject of test questions you will face on the Series 65 exam. 

Series 65 Exams FAQs

What does a Series 65 allow you to do?

Should you wish to provide non-commission-based financial advice to clients, you will need a Series 65 license. In other words, it’s needed by financial planners or advisors giving investment advice. It’s also for registered representatives and broker-dealers that work with managed-money accounts. 

Can I sell stocks with a Series 65?

Yes, those with a Series 65 license can sell stocks. You can also sell other types of individual securities, such as call and put options, bonds, and other fixed-income investments. You cannot sell products that require a life insurance license.

Is the Series 65 exam hard?

Yes. This is a tough exam, without a doubt. You will have to get through 130 questions in 180 minutes. The coursework is text-heavy, too, and to prepare, you will need at least 60 hours. That’s not over and above taking practice exams. 

Should I use extra Series 65 exam prep?

You should. Exam prep can help you clarify areas of the coursework you struggle with. It will also help identify the key concepts you must know that may come up in the exam. It’s an invaluable asset, that’s for sure.

What is the Series 65 passing rate?

Unfortunately, those numbers aren’t available as this is a state exam. That means the passing rates will vary. Further, states or FINRA don’t release the pass rate. To pass the exam, you will need to score 72% overall. That means answering 94 out of 130 questions correctly.

What happens if you fail Series 65?

You can write it again. There is a period you have to wait, and that’s 30 days. If you fail it for a third time, your fourth attempt can only take place 180 days after your third attempt. But you don’t really want to get there, right? So prepare properly.

What is the Series 65 exam?

Series 65 exam is known as the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination. The exam is designed by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). Series 65 is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Series 65 license is a requirement for investment advisor representatives in the USA.

What is the passing score for Series 65?

The passing score for the Series 65 exam is 72%. That means test-takers must answer correctly 94 out of the 130 scored questions in the exam. You must commit at least two to four weeks to study and go through the practice exams to reach the passing score.

What is the most difficult FINRA Series exam?

There’s conflicting information about the hardest FINRA exam. Some say Series 7 is the most difficult. Others are adamant that Series 79 is the toughest. The Series 79 exam questions are detailed. It majorly focuses on analysis and data. Series 7 is text intensive, focusing on various securities and financial instruments.

Is the Series 65 or 66 harder?

Most test-takers find Series 65 more difficult than Series 66. Series 65 exam is longer, taking 180 minutes to answer 130 test questions. Its pass rate is 72%. Series 66 has 100 exam questions and takes 150 minutes to complete. The Series 66 pass rate is 73%.

Are there other FINRA exams I must complete as a prerequisite to attempting Series 65?

There’s no FINRA Series exam you need to complete to take the Series 65 exam. Further, you don’t need sponsorship from a FINRA member firm or SRO to enroll. You can sponsor yourself. Once registered on the website, you have up to 120 days to schedule the exam.

How long should I prepare for the Series 65 exam?

Those who’ve taken and passed the Series 65 exam recommend 50-100 hours over a two to five weeks period. Your study time should be dedicated to reading the text and reviewing the other study materials. As you progress, take full-length practice exams to test your exam readiness.

How long is the Series 65 exam?

Series 65 takes 3 hours to complete. Test-takers are allowed restroom breaks, but the time will continue counting. Exam takers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before the exam time to allow time for check-in procedures. You will not be allowed to take the exam if you arrive late.

How do I schedule my Series 65 exam?

Series 65 exam is a NASAA exam administered by FINRA. Thus, to schedule your exam, visit the FINRA website. Self-sponsored students file Form U10. If you are sponsored, your firm will file Form U4. The next step is to make the payment and schedule your exam.

How many questions must I answer correctly in the Series 65 exam to pass?

The passing score for the Series 65 is 72%. That means you must score at least 94 out of the 130 exam questions. Passing the Series 63 exam is not a walk in the park. You need to start your exam prep on time.

How long is the Series 65 exam valid if I haven’t been registered?

If you haven’t been registered, you have up to two years to get your state license. Failing to apply for the license within two years will require you to sit for the exam again. On the flip side, your license remains valid as long as you are registered.

How much does the Series 65 exam cost?

The exam costs $187. The amount is paid once you’ve filled Form U10 if you are self-sponsored and Form U4 if you are sponsored by a FINRA member firm. Every time you fail the exam, you must pay the same amount.

Does Series 65 require continuing education?

Yes. Continuing education is applicable for financial professionals in the states that have adopted the NASAA IAR continuing education requirement. The CE requires investment advisor representatives to complete 12 credits per year. The credit hours are spread across the different topics in the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam.

How long will my Series 65 license remain valid if I stop working for my firm?

The license expires in two years unless you get another job. When you stop working, your employer files Form U5 to de-register you. If you get another job within two years, your new employer will file Form U4 again to re-register you.

How do I keep my Series 65 license active?

You can maintain your license by staying employed. Your Series 65 exam remains valid as long as you are employed. Suppose you lose your job. You have up to two years between jobs before you register again. As of 2022, some states require IAR to complete NASAA continuing education.

Is my Series 65 license transferable?

We hate to break it to you, but Series 65 is not transferable. If you change firms, your previous employer must terminate your Series 65 license. From there, your new employer must file Form U4 again to register you in the new firm.

Why should I get a Series 65 license?

You should get a Series 65 license if you want to expand your product offerings. It’s also a requirement for registered representatives who offer managed accounts to clients because these accounts charge a fee. Those who need employment or promotion in a stand-alone advisory firm need the license too.

Is Series 65 harder than the SIE?

The Series 65 exam is harder than the SIE exam. This is because the SIE is an entry-level exam that tests candidates on basic knowledge of the securities industry. Series 65 charters a new career path. It’s a requirement by states for financial professionals who want to offer investment advice.

What can I do after passing the Series 65 exam?

After passing the Series 65 exam, you can seek employment in the financial service industry in a FINRA member firm. The next step is for your firm to register you as an investment advisor representative. As an IAR, you can offer financial and investment advice to clients at a fee.

Who can take the Series 65 exam?

The Series 65 exam is open to anyone 18 years and above. You don’t need sponsorship from FINRA or NASAA member firms. The Series 65 license is a requirement if you are interested in marketing and selling investments. The license allows you to provide financial services on a non-commission basis.

Can I take Series 65 before the SIE exam?

Yes. You can. The securities industry essentials is not a co-request for the Series 65 exam. So, it doesn’t matter whether you take the SIE or the Series 65 first. Choose the license that best suits your career path and go for it.

What do I bring to take the Series 65 exam?

The Series 65 exam is a closed book. That means you can’t bring anything into the exam. Phones, calculators, smartwatches, pencils, pens, and paper are prohibited. The testing center provides scratch paper and a calculator if need be. Cheating is prohibited in the exam.

Can I use a calculator on the Series 65 exam?

You can’t bring your own calculator. The testing center will offer a calculator if need be since the Series 65 exam has few calculations. The exam, however, is mostly theory-based. It tests candidates on various topics that involve giving advice to clients.

Are there prerequisites for the Series 65 exam?

There are no prerequisites for the Series 65 exam. The only requirement is 18 years and above. You can sponsor yourself or get sponsorship from your firm. As long as you can afford the $187 exam fee, you can enroll and take this Series exam.


That’s it for our discussion about the Series 65 exam structure, pass rate, passing score, and frequently asked questions.

This is a tough cookie, and you need all the information you can get about the exam if you wish to pass it the first time.

The FAQs will help you clear any concerns regarding the Series 65 exam.

We hope you are now well-vast with what the exam entails.


1. Kaplan Series 65  

2. Investopedia



5. Solomon Exam Prep

6. The Securities Institute of America

7. Pass Perfect

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