Guide To Passing the Series 65 Exam For An Individual

In November 2015, I took and passed the Series 65 Exam on my first attempt.

JFK Junior famously failed the NY bar exam twice before passing on his third try... of course, the bar exam is far more difficult than the Series 65
JFK Junior famously failed the NY bar exam twice before passing on his third try… of course, the bar exam is far more difficult than the Series 65

Here is a complete guide to registering for and passing the Series 65 Exam.

Why?

In the USA, a “pass” on the Series 65 exam (or: “Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam”) is a step to becoming a Investment Advisor Representative in most states.  Regulatory requirements vary state-by-state, so plan in advance by checking the laws for the states where you plan to conduct investment advisory business.

RegistrationThis information evinces the process for someone independent, not affiliated with an RIA firm (or any FINRA member firm).

  1. Register as a user with the FINRA Entitlement Program, creating a FINRA user account.   Here’s a link, https://ews.finra.org/selfservice2/RegisterUser.jsp?AppName=DR-OF
  2. Complete FINRA Form U10, expressing your intent to sit for the Series 65 exam, here: http://www.finra.org/industry/formu10.  Press the big red button that says “Submit Form U10 Online”.  You will be required to pay a processing fee.
  3. After FINRA completes processing Form U10, that should be within one business day, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with your FINRA ID number.  You will also receive information regarding the valid time window for you to schedule your exam.
  4. Go to Pearson www.pearsonvue.com or ProMetric www.pearsonvue.com and schedule an appointment to take the exam.  You will need your name and the FINRA ID number from Step 3.  Make sure you schedule the exam during the enrollment window!

I decided to take my exam with ProMetric because they had more availability and the testing center was conveniently located.  Arrive 30 minutes prior to the test so you can check in and store your items in the provided locker – no phones allowed!  They will provide you with a whiteboard that you can use as scratch paper.  I recommend that you take a few moments to “journal” all of your nerves onto the whiteboard – a proven technique for improving test performance.  You can then erase the whiteboard, removing your worries so you have enough scratch space for working in the exam.  The valuable part is in writing it down and “downloading” it out of your mind.

Studying

I spent a lot of time casually studying for the Series 65 exam, and then amped up preparation in the two weeks prior to the exam.  My strategy had three components.

  1. Mobile app: I used the (free!) FIRE Solutions Series 65/66 Exam Prep app to study.  It lets you go through 25-question or 50-question mock exams and gives you feedback after you answer each question.  The best part is that it works offline, so if you’re in the subway and you don’t have internet access, you can still be productive and study.  This is a great way to passively test and build your knowledge.  It is available for iPhone, Android & Kindle: http://www.firesolutions.com/apps.php

    Series 65 Practice – iOS AppSeries 65 Practice – iOS App

  2. Investopedia Exams:  Investopedia.com provides a “quizzer” tool (custom practice tests) for the Series 65 exam.  http://www.investopedia.com/accounts/login.aspx?returnurl=http://www.investopedia.com/quizzer/series65/ – You will need to create a free Investopedia account.  The quizzer is beneficial in that it learns what areas you’re weak on and gives you the power to emphasize practice there.
  3. Training Consultants:  TrainingConsultants.com offers a $275 web-based training module and practice exam solution.  You get video lectures, end-of-section quizzes, and 4-5 complete Series 65 practice exams.  It’s a more robust version of the free Investopedia Quizzer, and it’s extremely helpful.  The lectures aren’t too valuable (the lecturer is simply reading the slides aloud…gets boring quickly) but the ability to drill the concepts after reading the material is beneficial, and the practice exams are extremely similar  (in content; in presentation; in vibe) to the actual way the test is delivered via Pearson or ProMetric on test day.