Series 66 Exam FAQs – Exam Prep info, Pass Rate & More! 2023

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Hi all, welcome to the best write-up on FINRA Series 66 Exam.

After reading this write-up to the end, we assure you that you will have a better overview of what the exam is all about, what it entails to prepare for it, the pass rate, and the passing score needed to go through it successfully.

In this article we look at the following:

  • An overview of what the exam is about
  • Pass rates for the exam and the passing score needed to get through it
  • Registration information
  • Frequently asked questions

Let’s focus on the Series 66 exam.

Introduction to FINRA Series 66 Exam

Originated by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), this exam is administered through Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

And it’s super difficult.

So the more you know about FINRA Series 66 Exam before you tackle it, the better.

Don’t worry, you are in the right place for that.

If you would like to know more about this exam as a way to secure a Series 66 license, then this is a must-read. 

The FINRA Series 66 Exam Rundown

Also known as the Uniform Combined State Law Examination, this licensing exam covers material such as how to conduct securities transactions and giving investment advice. 

It has no prerequisites unlike the Series 6 exam, which requires candidates to pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam first.

It is, however, a necessity for candidates who want to operate with a Series 7 license as securities agents, investment adviser representatives, or broker-dealer. 

Therefore the Series 7 license is a corequisite. 

Therefore, if you want to sell the products below, you will need to pass this FINRA exam:

  • Mutual funds
  • UITs
  • Variable annuities 

Individuals do not need to be sponsored by a FINRA-member firm to take this exam. 

Note, however, that if you are not affiliated with a member firm and are not registered with Form U4, you will need to request a Form U10 when registering and paying for the Uniform Combined State Law Exam. 

Format Of The Series 66 Exam

The FINRA 66 exam covers the following: 

  • Economic Factors and Business Information: Five questions or 5% of the exam.
  • Investment Vehicle Characteristics: 20 questions or 20% of the exam.
  • Customer Investment Recommendations and Strategies: 30 questions or 30% of the exam.
  • Laws, Regulations, Guidelines (including Prohibition and Unethical Business Practices): 45 questions or 45% of the exam.

Further insight into the Series 66 Exam

Above, we’ve covered the four modules that the Series 66 coursework will cover.

Let’s look at those in a little more detail.

Economic Factors and Business Information

The main topic covered here has to do with analytical methods including:

  • Concepts relating to time value of money such as interernal rate of return and net present value
  • Various descriptive statistics such as mean, media, mode, range, standard deviations, as well as Alpha, Beta and Sharpe ratios
  • Various financial ratios and how they are used including quick ratios and debto-to-equity ratios
  • Valuation ratios

There are only five questions in total from this module.

Investment Vehicle Characteristics

Topics covered in this module include the following:

  • Valuation factors of fixed income securities including factors affecting fixed income valuations such as maturity, duration, yield-to-call and yield-to-maturity as well as conversion valuation, bond ratings, credit spread and more (5 questions in total)
  • Valuation factors of equity securities including technical and fundamental analysis, divident discoutn and discounted cash flow (3 questions)
  • Evaluation of pooled investment vehicles including liquidity, shared classes, tax implications and fee structures (5 questions)
  • Futures including definitions thereof, costs, risks and benefits (1 question)
  • Characteristings, risks and application of investment accounts including leveraged and inversed funds, exchange traded notes, structured products and life settlements (1 question)
  • Insurance based products such as annuities and life insurance (3 questions)
  • Other assets such as investment real estate, commodities as well as precious metals (1 question)

Customer Investment Recommendations and Strategies

Topics covered in this module include the following:

  • Types of customers such as sole proprietorship, individuals, natural person, business entities including general partnership, limited partnership, LLCs, corporations, trusts, estates, foundations and charities (2 questions)
  • Customer profile covering financial goals, current and future financial situations, risktolerance, non-financial investment considerations, data gather about the customer and more (6 questions)
  • Capital market theory such as investment theories and models (2 questions)
  • Portfolio management strategies, style and techniques (5 questions)
  • Tax considerations including income tax fundamentals for individuals and corporates, trusts and estates as well as estate and gift tax (2 questions)
  • Retirement plans including individual accounts, both traditional and Roth as well as qualified retirement plans and non-qualified retirement plans (3 questions)
  • ERISA issues such as fiduciary issues, investment policy statements and prohibited transactions (1 question)
  • Special types of accounts such as education related, UTMA/UGMA and health-saving accounts (1 question)
  • Ownership and estate planning techniques including methods of ownership transfer, beneficiary designation, trusts and wills and qualified domesticrelations order (3 questions)
  • Trading securities covering terminology, roles of broker-dealers, custodians, market makers and the cost of trading securities (2 questions)
  • Portfolio performance measures including returns, current yields and relevant benchmarks (3 questions)

Laws, Regulations and Guidelines including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices

  • Regulations of investment advisors including notice-filing requirements, registration/post registration, excemptions and investment advisor supervision (7 questions)
  • Regulation of investment advisor representatives including definition and registration/post registration (5 questions)
  • Regulation of broker-dealers including definition and registration/post registration (2 questions)
  • Regulation of broker-dealers agents including definition and registration/post registration (2 questions)
  • Regulation of sercurities and issuer including definition, registration/post registration, exemptions and state anti-fraud authority (2 questions)
  • Remedies and administrative provisions including authority of the state securities administrator, administrative actions and penalties (2 questions)
  • Communication with customers and prospects including disclosures, unlawful representation, performance guarantees, customer agreements and more (11 questions)
  • Ethical practices and fiduciary obligations including compensation, customer funds and securities, customer conditions and obligations, conflicst of interest, privacy, data collection and cyber sercurity (14 questions)

Series 66 exam question format and exam duration

In total, there are 100 multiple choice questions and candidates will have 150 minutes to complete the exam.

That works out to one-and-a-half minutes per question. 

Exam cost and pass rate

To register for and write the Series 66 exam, candidates will have to pay $177.

From the day that they register for the exam, they have a period of 120 days to write it. 

To pass, you will need to score 73%.

And that means getting 73 out of the 100 questions correct. 

To ensure a first-time pass, it’s highly recommended that candidates use extra study materials including full practice tests or practice questions. 

While official pass rate statistics aren’t available as they vary from state to state, experts say that the passing rate for this exam is between 60% and 70%. 

Series 66 Exam Registration

It’s simple enough and candidates can register online

The exam can be written at one of the numerous Prometric testing centers across the United States.

You can also take it online. 

Note, if that is your preferred option, you will need a personal computer or laptop with either a webcam or an attached 360-degree camera.

The software will also need to be downloaded to see if the computer and internet connection are sufficient to run the exam.

Cancellation policy

Candidates may reschedule the exam but there are certain rules in place.

  • If you cancel or reschedule more than 10 days before the exam, there is no additional cost
  • If you cancel or reschedule within 10 days of the exam, you have to pay $30 to secure a new date
  • If you cancel or reschedule within 72 hours of the exam, you will pay $60 for a new date.

The Day Of The Exam

Let’s just run through a few things that candidates should remember on the day that they write the exam, whether it is online or at a test center.

Writing at a test center

Prometric test centers that offer this exam are found across America.

So finding one to write at really shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Of course, should you not live near one, you do have the chance to write the test online.

Here are a few things you need to consider should you write at a test center

Always arrive early to get the administrative formalities out of the way so you can focus on the exam.

FINRA suggests that you arrive at least half an hour before your scheduled exam time at least.

If you finish with the administrative activities, you can start the exam early, provided there is a workstation for you.

If you are late, you have 30 minutes following your scheduled time, to arrive.

If you don’t, your exam will be canceled and you will have to reschedule it with costs.

Remember to bring the email you received as confirmation of the exam date as well as your identification or a driver’s license.

Everything else you need to complete the exam will be given to you on the day including pens, paper, and a four-function calculator should you request it.

Writing online

If your laptop or PC meets the requirements as set out by FINRA, you can take the test online.

This will all be determined beforehand, however, as you will need to download software that checks if it will work for testing purposes.

The online test also requires that your laptop has a webcam or attached camera so invigilators can check your surroundings for any coursework or notes.

Other than that, you may use a pen, paper, and four-function calculator to help you while you take the exam.

FAQs

What is a Series 66 license used for?

It’s a licensing exam for people who want to operate as investment advisors and securities agents who want to sell various securities products. These include UITs, mutual funds, and variable annuities.  A co-requisite for a Series 66 license is a Series 7 qualification.

 How difficult is the Series 66 exam?

This is a tough exam, that’s for sure, and using Series 66 practice exams, study guides, and exam prep is necessary to score 73% needed to pass. However, there are no official pass rate statistics, although experts suggest that only 60% to 70% of candidates pass the first time.

How many times can you take the Series 66 exam?

You can take Series 66 as many times as you need to pass. Of course, you will have to pay a new exam fee each time.  Candidates will have to wait 30 days between exam attempts. If you fail a third time, the waiting period shoots to 180 days.

What does the Series 66 exam cover?

There are four modules:

– Economic Factors and Business Information

– Investment Vehicle Characteristics

– Customer Investment Recommendations and Strategies

– Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines (including Prohibition and Unethical Business Practices)

The topics are weighted differently in the actual exam. Check the NASAA website for the content outline.

Can I take Series 66 on my own?

Yes, you can. You don’t need sponsorship to take the exam. However, once you’ve taken and passed the exam, you need to register to earn the license. Further, the only way to maintain the license is to stay employed. NASAA has also introduced IAR CE in some states.

How long is the Series 66 exam?

The exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have 150 minutes to complete the exam. That means you have one minute and three seconds to answer each question. It’s recommended you take practice exams to pace yourself and familiarize yourself with the actual exam.

How long is Series 66 good for?

It won’t expire as long as you are employed. If you leave your job, the license is valid for two years. In that period, candidates will have to find employment. The new employer will re-register them again. If they fail to get another job, their license will expire.

How many questions are on the Series 66 exam?

The Series 66 exam has 110 multiple-choice questions. The ten questions are unscored and are used as pretests. That leaves you with 100 questions, of which you must score 73 questions correctly. Passing the exam qualifies you as a securities agent or investment advisor agent.

Are there other FINRA exams I need to complete as a prerequisite to attempting Series 66?

The General Securities Representative exam, also known as Series 7, is a co-requisite for Series 66. That means you must pass both Series 7 and 66 to earn the Series 66 license. You can take these exams in any order. However, it’s recommended that you start with Series 7.

What does Series 66 qualify me to do?

The Series 66 exam qualifies you to become an investment advisor representative. It allows you to sell, buy, and provide financial advice on various securities products, including direct participation programs, corporate securities, variable contracts, investment company products, options, and municipal fund securities.

How much does the Series 66 exam cost?

The Series 66 exam costs $177. If you are sponsored by a FINRA member firm, the firm will file Form U4 and make the payment. Suppose you are self-sponsored. You’ll file Form U10 and pay for the exam yourself. You’ll pay the same amount if you fail and need a retake.

Do I need to be sponsored to take the Series 66 exam?

No! All three North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) exams administered by FINRA don’t require sponsorship. You can take Series 63,65, and 66 by sponsoring yourself, in which case you’ll file Form U10 and request payment. Once you’ve paid, you have 120 days to take the exam.

How do I schedule my Series 66 exam?

– Visit the FINRA website

– File Form U10 electronically to request and make the exam payment.

– If you are sponsored, your firm will file Form U4 and make the payment.

– You’ll have 120 days to schedule the exam

– Use this time to prepare

How many questions must I answer correctly to pass the Series 66 exam?

The passing score for this exam is 73%. That means you must answer 73 questions out of the 100 questions tested in the exam. Like with other FINRA exams, you’ll get your results immediately after you are done with the exam.

Does Series 66 require continuing education?

Yes. NASAA has recently introduced investment adviser representative continuing education requirements in several states. If you are within the jurisdiction that has adopted Series 66 CE, you’ll be required to take credits in the products and practices category. The credits are broken down into different categories.

How do I keep my Series 66 license active?

You maintain your Series 66 license by staying employed. If your employment ends, you have up to two years, within which you should get another job to maintain the license. Some states require IARs to take NASAA continuing education to maintain the certification.

How long is Series 66 valid if I haven’t been registered?

Once you’ve taken Series 66 and passed, you have up to two years to register in your state. If this period elapses before your registration, it expires. That means you must retake the exam, which translates to parting with $177.

If I stop working for my firm, how long will my Series 66 license remain valid?

You have up to two years. Once your contract ends, your employer will file Form U5 to terminate your registration. When you find a new employer, they’ll re-register you by filling out Form U4. You have two years in between jobs before your license expires.

Can I take Series 66 before the SIE?

Yes, you can. The SIE exam and Series 7 are co-requisites for the Series 66 exam. However, there’s no particular order to take these Series exams. But, it will be best to take the SIE, then Series 7, and finally Series 66.

How long do I need to study for the Series 66 exam?

You need to study for 55-60 hours over two weeks. The actual time will depend on your availability and familiarity with the exam content. To make the most of the study time, create a study plan. Distribute the topics evenly over your preparation time.

What is the passing score for the Series 66 exam?

The passing score is 73%. To pass this exam, you need to commit your time. Purchase Series 66 exam prep course materials and plan your studies accordingly. Use a study guide and flashcards to prep. Take practice exams to familiarize yourself with the actual test.

What can I do after passing the Series 66 exam?

Once you’ve passed Series 66, the next step is to seek employment is a FINRA member firm and get the Series 66 license. With the license, you can give securities-related advice to clients and transact. You can also work as IAR or securities agent.

Is Series 66 harder than the SIE?

Yes. SIE is an entry-level exam testing candidates on basic knowledge of the securities industry. Series 66 exam qualifies candidates as IAR. It tests candidates on the industry rules and regulations, investment vehicles, economic factors, and client investment recommendation strategies.

Who can take Series 66?

Anyone can take the Series 66 exam. You only need to be 18 years and above. Series 66 doesn’t require sponsorship from a FINRA member firm. So, you only need to pay and register for the exam. This exam is designed for financial professionals who want to become IAR.

What is the Series 66 pass rate?

According to Pass Perfect, the Series 66 pass rate is 65-70%. That means around 30% of test-takers fail on the first attempt. You can ace this exam if you put in the recommended 55-60 hours or even more if you work full-time.

What happens if I fail Series 66?

If you fail Series 66, you must wait 30 days to retake the exam. After the third failed attempt, you’ll be required to wait 180 days. Please note that you pay the full exam fee every time you take the exam.

Conclusion

That’s all the critical information that candidates need to know about the Series 66 exam.

Make sure that when you tackle it, you are fully prepared!

That’s the best advice we can give you.

Should you have any further questions, make sure you leave a comment below. 

References

1. Kaplan

2. FINRA

3. Investopedia

4. NASAA

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