How to Pass the NASAA Series 63 Exam

Thinking about taking the Series 63 exam? Keep reading to learn what the Series 63 qualifies you to do, what the exam covers, and how you should prepare for it. Continue reading

The Series 63, also known as the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, is the state law test for broker-dealer representatives. Passing the Series 63 is required by most U.S. states if you want to register in a state as a registered representative. However, to be fully registered, you may also need to pass the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and the Series 6, 7, 22, 52, 79, 82, or 99. For example, if you plan to sell securities for a broker-dealer, you must pass the Series 6 or 7 (plus the co-requisite SIE) in addition to the Series 63.

The Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 exams were all created by NASAA, which represents state securities regulators in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The goal of NASAA is to protect and educate investors to promote the integrity of financial markets. In terms of content, there is a fair amount of overlap between the exams, but each one qualifies individuals a bit differently.

What’s the difference between the Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 exams?

Of the three exams, the Series 63 is the shortest, at 65 questions. The Series 63 exam covers the registration of persons and securities under the Uniform Securities Act and ethics in the securities industry. As mentioned above, passing the Series 63 permits you to sell securities in a particular state, but you must also pass a FINRA exam (often the Series 6 or 7) in order to become fully registered. For instance, if you pass the Series 6 and Series 63, you are qualified to become a financial adviser or insurance agent who also sells mutual funds and works at a brokerage, investment firm, bank, or insurance company. On the other hand, with the Series 7 and Series 63, you can work as a stockbroker at a brokerage, investment firm, or bank.

If you want to register as an investment adviser representative (IAR), you will need to pass the Series 65 or 66, depending on the state. Some states allow registered brokerage representatives to act as IARs. In these states, if you’ve passed the Series 7, then the 66 will qualify you to become a licensed IAR. If you have NOT passed the Series 7 and want to become an IAR, then you’ll need to take the Series 65 exam. The Series 65 exam contains much of the same information as the Series 7, and it also tests your knowledge of the state laws governing investment advisers. The Series 66 does not cover much of the information from the Series 7, but it does test your knowledge of state laws governing investment advisers. As result, the Series 66 is shorter than the Series 65 (100 questions compared to 130).

If you’re not sure whether you need to pass the Series 63, 65, or 66 for a particular state, check with the state regulator for specific requirements. This page on the NASAA website lists contact information for all state regulators.

About the Exam

The Series 63 exam consists of 60 scored and 5 unscored multiple-choice questions covering the eight topic areas of the Series 63 Content Outline. The 5 additional unscored questions are ones that the exam committee is trying out. These are unidentified and are distributed randomly throughout the exam.

Note: Scores are rounded down to the next lowest whole number (e.g. 71.9% would be a final score of 71% – not a passing score for the Series 63 exam).

Topics Covered on the Exam

The questions on the Series 63 exam cover the following content areas, as determined by NASAA:

Series 63 exam topics

NASAA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations. Solomon recommends that you print out the current version of the NASAA Series 63 Content Outline and use it in conjunction with the Solomon Series 63 Study Guide. The Content Outline is subject to change without notice, so make sure you have the most recent version.

Question Types on the Exam

The Series 63 exam consists of multiple-choice questions, each with four options. You will see these question structures:

Closed Stem Format:

This item type asks a question and gives four possible answers from which to choose.

Typically, how long must an investment adviser keep records?

    1. Three years
    2. Five years
    3. Six years
    4. For the lifetime of the firm
Incomplete Sentence Format:

This kind of question has an incomplete sentence followed by four options that present possible conclusions.

A broker-dealer registered in one state whose only office is located in that state does not need to register in another state if it has:

    1. Less than $50,000,000 in assets
    2. Over $100,000,000 in assets
    3. No non-institutional clients in that state
    4. Five or fewer non-institutional clients in that state
“EXCEPT” Format:

This type requires you to recognize the one choice that is an exception among the four answer choices presented.

All of the following are exempt from registration under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 except:

    1. A broker-dealer that charges a fee for investment advice
    2. A publisher that charges a fee to write a column about investments
    3. A lawyer that gives investment advice as part of overseeing a client’s estate
    4. A teacher who is paid to teach a class that offers instruction on how to construct a portfolio
Complex Multiple-Choice (“Roman Numeral”) Format:

For this question type, you see a question followed by two or more statements identified by Roman numerals. The four answer choices represent combinations of these statements. You must select the combination that best answers the question.

Which of the following are types of orders issued by an administrator?

    1. Stop order
    2. Cease and desist order
    3. Resume order
    4. Criminal order
    1. I only
    2. II only
    3. I and II
    4. III and IV
  1.  

Answers: 1. B   2. C   3. A   4. C

For an even better idea of the possible question types you might encounter on the Series 63 exam, try Solomon Exam Prep’s free Series 63 Sample Quiz.

Taking the Series 63 Exam

The Series 63 exam is administered by FINRA and can be taken at a Prometric test center or remotely online using Prometric’s ProProctor system. If taking the exam at a test center, you will be given a dry erase pen and whiteboard or a pen and scratch paper, and a basic electronic calculator. You cannot bring notes, paper, or your own calculator. Phones and watches are not permitted either. Due to COVID-19, you are required to wear a mask the whole time you are at the test center. Solomon recommends taking timed practice exams in the Series 63 Exam Simulator while wearing a mask to get used to this added discomfort.

If you’re thinking about taking the test from the comfort of your own home or office with ProProctor, it’s important to be aware of the strict procedures you must follow. See this user guide for complete details. And for a first-hand account of the remote testing experience, read this Solomon blog post.

Test-Taking Tips

Whether you take the exam in person or online, it helps to keep some test-taking strategies in mind. Don’t spend too long on one question—this may cause you to run out of time and not get to other questions you know. If you don’t know the answer to a question, guess at the answer and “flag” it. There is no penalty for guessing, so it is beneficial to answer every question.

After you have finished all the questions, you can come back to any flagged questions. Not only does this strategy allow you to efficiently answer the ones you know, but it can also help because you might learn something later in the exam that may help you answer an earlier question. Just remember to save enough time to return to the questions you didn’t answer. However, it is not a good idea to simply skip all of the difficult questions with the intention of answering them later. You should make a serious effort to answer each question before moving on to the next one, as your thoughts are often clearer early on in the exam-taking process than they will be later.

How to Study for the Series 63 Exam

Follow Solomon Exam Prep’s proven study system:
    • Read and understand. Read the Solomon Study Guide, carefully. The Series 63 is a knowledge test, not an IQ test. Many students read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam. To increase your ability to focus while reading, or as an alternative to reading, listen to the Series 63 Audiobook, which is a word-for-word reading of the Study Guide.
    • Answer practice questions in the Exam Simulator. When you’re done with a chapter in the Study Guide, take 4–6 chapter quizzes in the Solomon Exam Simulator. Use these quizzes to give yourself practice and to find out what you need to study more. Make sure you read and understand the question rationales. When you’re finished reading the entire Study Guide, review your handwritten notes once more. Then, and only then, start taking full practice exams in the Exam Simulator. Aim to pass at least six full practice exams and try to get your Solomon Pass Probability score to at least an 80%; when you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the Series 63 exam.
Use these effective study strategies:
    • Take handwritten notes. As you read the Study Guide, take handwritten notes and review your notes every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies show that the act of taking handwritten notes in your own words and then reviewing them strengthens learning and memory.
    • Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning. Solomon also offers digital flashcards for the Series 63 exam.
    • Research. Research anything you do not understand. Curiosity = learning. Students who take responsibility for their own learning by researching anything they do not understand get a deeper understanding of the subject matter and are much more likely to pass.
    • Become the teacher. Studies show that explaining what you are learning greatly increases your understanding of the material. Ask someone in your life to listen and ask questions. If you don’t have anyone, explain it to yourself. Studies show that helps almost as much as explaining to an actual person (see Solomon’s previous blog post to learn more about this strategy!).
Take advantage of Solomon’s supplemental tools and resources:
    • Use all the resources. The Series 63 Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful study tools, including documents that summarize important exam concepts. There is also a detailed study schedule that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
    • Watch the Video Lecture. This provides a helpful review of the key concepts in each chapter after reading the Solomon Study Guide. Take notes to help yourself stay focused.
  • Good practices while studying:
    • Take regular breaks. Studies show that if you are studying for an exam, taking regular walks in a park or natural setting significantly improves scores. Walks in urban areas or among people did not improve test scores.
    • Get enough sleep during the period when you are studying. Sleep consolidates learning into memory, studies show. Be good to yourself while you are studying for the Series 63: exercise, eat well, and avoid activities that will hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

You can pass the NASAA Series 63 Exam! It just takes focus and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you on your path to becoming qualified to sell securities within a state!

Explore all Solomon Exam Prep Series 63 study materials, including the Study Guide, Exam Simulator, Audiobook, Video Lecture and Flashcards.

Looking for more support as you prepare for the Series 63 exam? Solomon offers Live Web Classes for the Series 63

For more helpful securities exam-related content, study tips, industry updates, and promotional offers sent directly to your inbox, join the Solomon email list. Just click the button below:

How to Pass the FINRA Series 79 Exam

What can you do with a Series 79 license? What is the exam like and how should you prepare for it? Solomon answers your top Series 79 questions. Continue reading

What does the Series 79 exam permit me to do?

The Series 79, also known as the Limited Representative Investment Banking Exam, was developed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to assess the skills and competency of entry-level investment bankers. If you work for a FINRA member firm as an investment banker, you must pass the Series 79 exam and register as an Investment Banking Representative. Although the Series 79 is designed for junior-level bankers, it proves to be one of the most difficult exams offered by FINRA, particularly for test-takers who do not have education and work experience in accounting and finance. In addition, the Series 79 exam requires a broad knowledge of the rules, regulations and industry practices that govern US capital markets and investment banking.

Passing the Series 79 exam qualifies you to advise on and/or facilitate the following:  

    • Debt and equity offerings (private placement or public offering)
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Tender offers
    • Financial restructurings
    • Asset sales
    • Divestitures or other corporate reorganizations
    • Business combination transactions
Do I need to take any other securities licensing exams?

According to FINRA, the Series 79 does NOT cover sales or marketing of debt or equity securities to investors or potential investors. In order to make investor presentations, an investment banker with the Series 79 registration would also need to be “registered as a General Securities Representative (Series 7), Corporate Securities Representative (Series 62), or Private Securities Offerings Representative (Series 82) depending on the type of offering being made.”

You are also required to take the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, unless you have passed certain other licensing exams (such as the Series 7 or Series 82) before October 1st, 2018.

Additionally, in order to comply with state securities regulations, most individuals with the Series 79 registration pass the NASAA Series 63 exam as well. Check with your firm’s compliance officer to determine if this registration applies to you.

About the Exam

The Series 79 exam consists of 75 scored and 10 un-scored multiple-choice questions covering the three main sections of the FINRA Series 79 content outline. The exam itself is not divided into three sections, so questions from each section appear randomly throughout the exam. The 10 additional un-scored questions are ones that the exam committee is trying out. These are unidentified and are distributed randomly throughout the exam.

Note: Scores are rounded down to the next lowest whole number (e.g. 72.9% would be a final score of 72% – not a passing score for the Series 79 exam).

Topics Covered on the Exam

The questions on the Series 79 exam cover the major job functions of entry-level investment bankers, as determined by FINRA:

FINRA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations. Solomon recommends that you print out the current version of the FINRA Series 79 Content Outline and use it in conjunction with the Solomon Series 79 Study Guide. The Content Outline is subject to change without notice, so make sure you have the most recent version.

FINRA and SEC Rule Numbers: What Should You Remember?

The Solomon Exam Prep Series 79 Study Guide introduces you to several different rules instituted by both FINRA and the SEC. While learning about these rules is important, the exam will not ask for specific FINRA rules, so you do not need to memorize those rule numbers. Instead, you should learn and understand the content of those rules. FINRA rules are generally distinguished by having four numbers (i.e., Rule 1250 or Rule 2241).

On the other hand, it is essential that you remember the content, and sometimes the names, of the SEC rules and regulations covered in the Solomon Series 79 Study Guide. In general, SEC rule numbers consist of either (1) three numbers (e.g., Rule 144) or (2) two numbers and a letter, followed by another number or a dash (e.g., Rule 10b-9, or Rule 15c1-3). Also, remember the names of regulations with letters associated with them, such as Regulation A.

Math and Accounting on the Series 79 Exam

Questions on the Series 79 exam do require you to use arithmetic, ratios, and basic algebra. Also, because the Series 79 exam requires you to understand and be able to analyze financial statements, a basic understanding of financial accounting is very helpful.

Question Types on the Exam

The Series 79 exam consists of multiple-choice questions, each with four options. You will see these question structures:

Closed Stem Format:

This item type asks a question and gives four possible answers from which to choose.

Which type of SEC filing would you look at to determine the holdings of a large investment manager?

    1. Form 13F
    2. Schedule 14A
    3. Form 4
    4. Form 8-K
Incomplete Sentence Format:

This kind of question has an incomplete sentence followed by four options that present possible conclusions.

If a company were to liquidate all its assets and pay off all its liabilities, the amount that would be left is:

    1. Shareholders’ equity
    2. Retained earnings
    3. Paid-in capital
    4. Long-term debt
“EXCEPT” Format:

This type requires you to recognize the one choice that is an exception among the four answer choices presented.

All of the following are characteristics of a hedge fund, except:

    1. They often do not need to register with the SEC.
    2. They are a highly liquid form of investment.
    3. They are generally lightly regulated when compared to other types of investments.
    4. Their members or investors are institutions or wealthy individual investors.
Complex Multiple-Choice (“Roman Numeral”) Format:

For this question type, you see a question followed by two or more statements identified by Roman numerals. The four answer choices represent combinations of these statements. You must select the combination that best answers the question.

You are analyzing a public company and your analysis requires you to compile LTM (last 12 months) financial data for the company. Which of the following SEC filings would you typically look to for such data?

    1. Form 10-K
    2. Schedule 13D
    3. Form 10-Q
    4. Form 3
    1. I and II
    2. II and III
    3. III and IV
    4. I and III

This format is also used in items that ask you to rank or order a set of items from highest to lowest (or vice versa), or to place a series of events in the proper sequence.

In marketing a proposed acquisition, a sell-side investment banker typically provides the following materials to prospective buyers in which order?

    1. Confidentiality agreement
    2. Teaser
    3. Bidding procedures letter
    4. Confidential information memorandum
    1. I, II, IV, III
    2. III, II, I, IV
    3. II, III, I, IV
    4. II, I, IV, III

Answers: A, A, B, D, D

For an even better idea of the possible question types you might encounter on the Series 79 exam, try Solomon Exam Prep’s free Series 79 Sample Quiz.

Test-Taking Tips for the Series 79 Exam

If taking the test at a test center, you will be given a dry erase pen and whiteboard or a pencil and scratch paper, a basic electronic calculator, and an Exhibits Book. The Exhibits Book may be presented on your computer or as a physical pamphlet. You cannot bring notes, paper, or your own calculator. Phones and watches are not permitted either. Many of the questions will refer to tables or charts in the Exhibits Book, and some questions will require you to perform calculations.

The exam is administered electronically, but the computer format can be tricky. Before the exam, you will be able to take a tutorial on how the electronic system works. You should take the tutorial, since some people find the system awkward to use at first, and you don’t want to use valuable test time dealing with technical issues. There is no scheduled break during the test; you’re allowed to take an unscheduled break, but the clock doesn’t stop.

Due to COVID-19, the Series 79 exam can also be taken online. Candidates must submit an Online Exam Administration Request Form to FINRA. Be sure to review the online system requirements for online testing before submitting the form.

Pacing

The Series 79 exam has 85 questions to answer in 150 minutes, which is a little under two minutes per question. This means you’ll need to work at an average pace of about 105 seconds per question. Keep in mind that 105 seconds per question is an average speed that you must maintain over two and a half hours. This would be challenging even if every question was short and straightforward. Unfortunately, a number of questions are detailed and time-consuming, and will certainly take more than 105 seconds. You’ll need to work faster on the remaining questions to maintain the necessary pace.

Read and Understand the Question Before You Answer 

Questions on the Series 79 exam can be intentionally confusing. You should carefully read each question before you answer it and understand exactly what the question is asking. While it is important to make a serious effort on each question, avoid spending a large amount of time on any single question. In general, you should dedicate no more than five minutes to any one question. If you find yourself spending more than five minutes, give it your best guess, flag the question, and move on.

Getting to the Point of the Question

As many of the questions on the Series 79 exam are paragraph length, it is often a good idea to read the last line or two of the question before reading the whole question. This technique will allow you to focus on the aspects of the long-form question that are most relevant, thereby saving you time.

Predict an Answer Choice if Possible

Many test-takers quickly read the question and immediately skip to the answer choices. A better technique is to formulate what you believe is the correct answer before going through the answer choices. If your pre-phrased answer is one of the choices, you should be comfortable in selecting that answer. This technique will also help you increase your speed.

Read Every Answer Choice

You should always read every answer choice. The exam is full of attractive but incorrect answers. Also, if you notice several correct answers, you may have missed an “except” or “not” in the question. If you consider every answer choice before making your selection, you are less likely to be tricked into picking a wrong but superficially appealing answer.

Answer Every Question, and Don’t Dawdle

There is no penalty for guessing. If you honestly don’t know an answer, pick an answer choice and move on. Don’t dawdle. Even a random guess has a 25% chance of being right. If you spend too long trying to narrow down answer choices on one question, you’ve lost precious time on later questions.

Mark for Review and Return Later

If you’re struggling with a question or have no idea what the answer is, mark the question and return to answer it later. Not only does this strategy allow you to efficiently answer the ones you know, but it can also help because you may learn something later in the exam that may help you answer an earlier question. Just remember to save enough time to return to the questions you didn’t answer. However, it is not a good idea to simply skip all of the difficult questions with the intention of answering them later. You should make a serious effort to answer each question before moving on to the next one, as your thoughts are often clearer early on in the exam-taking process than they will be later.

How to Study for the Series 79 Exam

Follow Solomon Exam Prep’s proven study system:
    • Read and understand. Read the Solomon Study Guide, carefully. The Series 79 is a knowledge test, not an IQ test. Many students read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam. To increase your ability to focus while reading, or as an alternative to reading, listen to the Solomon Series 79 Audiobook, which is a word-for-word reading of the Study Guide.
    • Answer practice questions in the Solomon Exam Simulator. When you’re done with a chapter in the Study Guide, take 4–6 chapter quizzes in the Solomon Series 79 Online Exam Simulator. Use these quizzes to give yourself practice and to find out what you need to study more. Make sure you read and understand the question rationales. When you’re finished reading the entire Study Guide, review your handwritten notes once more. Then, and only then, start taking full practice exams in the Exam Simulator. Aim to pass at least six full practice exams and try to get your Solomon Pass Probability™ score to at least an 80%; when you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the Series 79 exam.
Use these effective study strategies:
    • Take handwritten notes. As you read the Study Guide, take handwritten notes and review your notes every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies show that the act of taking handwritten notes in your own words and then reviewing them strengthens learning and memory.
    • Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning. Solomon also offers digital flashcards for the Series 79 exam.
    • Research. Research anything you do not understand. Curiosity = learning. Students who take responsibility for their own learning by researching anything they do not understand get a deeper understanding of the subject matter and are much more likely to pass.
    • Become the teacher. Studies show that explaining what you are learning greatly increases your understanding of the material. Ask someone in your life to listen and ask questions. If you don’t have anyone, explain it to yourself. Studies show that helps almost as much as explaining to an actual person (see Solomon’s previous blog post to learn more about this strategy!).
Take advantage of Solomon’s supplemental tools and resources:
    • Use all the resources. The Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful information, including a detailed study schedule that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
    • Watch the Video Lecture. This provides a helpful review of the key concepts in each chapter after reading the Solomon Study Guide. Take notes to help yourself stay focused.
  • Good practices while studying:
    • Take regular breaks. Studies show that if you are studying for an exam, taking regular walks in a park or natural setting significantly improves scores. Walks in urban areas or among people did not improve test scores.
    • Get enough sleep during the period when you are studying. Sleep consolidates learning into memory, studies show. Be good to yourself while you are studying for the Series 79: exercise, eat well, and avoid activities that will hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

You can pass the FINRA Series 79 Exam! It just takes focus and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you on your path to becoming a registered investment banking representative.

To explore all Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 79 study materials, including product samples, visit the Solomon website here.

For more helpful securities exam-related content, study tips, industry updates, and promotional offers, join the Solomon email list. Just click the button below:

How to Pass the NASAA Series 66 Exam

What can you do with a Series 66 license? What does the exam cover and how should you prepare for it? Keep reading for answers to your Series 66 questions. Continue reading

What does the Series 66 exam allow me to do?

The Series 66, also known as the Uniform Combined State Law Exam, is created by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), which represents state securities regulators in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Passing the Series 66 exam is like passing both the Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination) and the Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination). However, to register as an investment adviser representative with the Series 66, you must also pass the FINRA Series 7 General Securities Representative exam. In conjunction with the Series 7 license, the Series 66 license qualifies you as both an investment advisor representative and a securities agent.

As an investment adviser representative, an individual can perform the following tasks:  

    • Make recommendations and render general advice regarding securities
    • Manage accounts or portfolios of clients
    • Solicit, offer, or negotiate for the sale of investment advisory services
    • Supervise employees who perform any of the above tasks.

Note that the Series 7 exam is a co-requisite to the Series 66, so you can take the exams in either order. However, Solomon recommends passing the Series 7 before the Series 66 since much of the information tested on the Series 7 is likely to appear on the Series 66 exam.

About the Exam

The Series 66 exam consists of 100 scored and 10 unscored multiple-choice questions covering the four sections of the NASAA Series 66 exam outline. The 10 additional unscored questions are ones that the exam committee is trying out. These are unidentified and are distributed randomly throughout the exam. The NASAA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations.

About the Series 66 exam

Note: Scores are rounded down to the next lowest whole number (e.g. 72.9% would be a final score of 72% – not a passing score for the Series 66 exam).

Topics Covered on the Exam

The NASAA divides the Series 66 exam into four sections:

Topics on the Series 66 exam

The Series 66 exam covers many topics including the following:

    • Business Cycles and Economic Factors
    • Fundamental Analysis
    • Types of Risk
    • Equity and Debt Securities
    • Investment Companies
    • Discounted Cash Flow
    • Derivatives
    • Alternatives and Insurance Products
    • Clients and Client Profiles
    • Capital Market Theory, Portfolio Management, and Taxation
    • Taxation of Debt and Equity Securities
    • Retirement Plans, ERISA, Special Accounts
    • Trading and Performance Measures
    • Regulations of Securities Professionals
    • Regulations of Securities and Issuers
    • Remedies and Administrative Provisions
    • Recordkeeping Requirements
    • Net Worth/Net Capital Requirements
    • Business Practices for IAs and IARs
    • Performance-based fees
    • Wrap fees
    • Custody
    • Communication with Clients and Prospects
    • Compensation and Client Funds
    • Conflicts of Interest

Question Types on the Exam

The Series 66 exam consists of multiple-choice questions, each with four options. You will see these question structures:

Closed Stem Format:

This item type asks a question and gives four possible answers from which to choose.

Which of the following is not a current asset?

    1. Inventory
    2. Accounts receivable
    3. Cash
    4. Trademarks
Incomplete Sentence Format:

This kind of question has an incomplete sentence followed by four options that present possible conclusions.

Callable preferred stock is more likely to be called when:

    1. Interest rates go up.
    2. Interest rates go down.
    3. The price of the common stock rises.
    4. The price of the common stock falls.
“EXCEPT” Format:

This type requires you to recognize the one choice that is an exception among the four answer choices presented.

An investor calculating the investing merits of a payment or payments not yet received might potentially use all of the following except:

    1. Present value
    2. Net present value
    3. Future value
    4. Internal rate of return
Complex Multiple-Choice (“Roman Numeral”) Format:

For this question type, you see a question followed by two or more statements identified by Roman numerals. The four answer choices represent combinations of these statements. You must select the combination that best answers the question.

Pick two statements that best represent time-weighted and dollar-weighted returns:

    1. Conceptually, the time-weighted return is the compounded growth rate of the initial investment over a given period of time, and is calculated using the geometric mean rather than the arithmetic mean.
    2. Conceptually, the dollar-weighted return is the compounded growth rate of the initial investment over a given period of time and is calculated using the geometric mean rather than the arithmetic mean.
    3. Conceptually, a time-weighted return is the internal rate of return on an investment.
    4. Conceptually, a dollar-weighted return is the internal rate of return on an investment.
    1. I and III
    2. I and IV
    3. II and III
    4. II and IV

This format is also used in items that ask you to rank or order a set of items from highest to lowest (or vice versa), or to place a series of events in the proper sequence.

Rank the following categories of mutual funds in order of volatility, from highest to lowest.

    1. Growth and income
    2. Balanced
    3. Growth
    4. Equity income
    1. I, III, II, IV
    2. III, II, I, IV
    3. III, I, II, IV
    4. III, I, IV, II

Answers: D, B, C, B, D

For an even better idea of the possible question types you might encounter on the Series 66 exam, try Solomon Exam Prep’s free Series 66 Sample Quiz.

How to Study for the Series 66 Exam

Follow Solomon Exam Prep’s proven study system:
    • Read and understand. Read the Solomon Study Guide, carefully. The Series 66 is a knowledge test, not an IQ test. Many students read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam. To increase your ability to focus while reading, or as an alternative to reading, listen to the Solomon Series 66 Audiobook, which is a word-for-word reading of the Study Guide.
    • Answer practice questions in the Solomon Exam Simulator. When you’re done with a chapter in the Study Guide, take 4–6 chapter quizzes in the Solomon Series 66 Online Exam Simulator. Use these quizzes to give yourself practice and to find out what you need to study more. Make sure you read and understand the question rationales. When you’re finished reading the entire Study Guide, review your handwritten notes once more. Then, and only then, start taking full practice exams in the Exam Simulator. Aim to pass at least six full practice exams and try to get your Solomon Pass Probability™ score to at least an 80%; when you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the Series 66 exam.
Use these effective study strategies:
    • Take handwritten notes. As you read the Study Guide, take handwritten notes and review your notes every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies show that the act of taking handwritten notes in your own words and then reviewing them strengthens learning and memory.
    • Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning. Solomon also offers digital flashcards for the Series 66 exam.
    • Research. Research anything you do not understand. Curiosity = learning. Students who take responsibility for their own learning by researching anything they do not understand get a deeper understanding of the subject matter and are much more likely to pass.
    • Become the teacher. Studies show that explaining what you are learning greatly increases your understanding of the material. Ask someone in your life to listen and ask questions. If you don’t have anyone, explain it to yourself. Studies show that helps almost as much as explaining to an actual person (see Solomon’s previous blog post to learn more about this strategy!).
Take advantage of Solomon’s supplemental tools and resources:
    • Use all the resources. The Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful information, including a detailed study schedule that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
    • Watch the Video Lecture. This provides a helpful review of the key concepts in each chapter after reading the Solomon Study Guide. Take notes to help yourself stay focused.
  • Good practices while studying:
    • Take regular breaks. Studies show that if you are studying for an exam, taking regular walks in a park or natural setting significantly improves scores. Walks in urban areas or among people did not improve test scores.
    • Get enough sleep during the period when you are studying. Sleep consolidates learning into memory, studies show. Be good to yourself while you are studying for the Series 66: exercise, eat well, and avoid activities that will hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

You can pass the NASAA Series 66 Exam! It just takes focus and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you on your path to becoming a registered securities agent and investment advisor representative.

To explore all Solomon Exam Prep’s Series 66 study materials, including product samples, visit the Solomon website here.

For more helpful securities exam-related content, study tips, and industry updates, join the Solomon email list. Just click the button below:

How to Pass the NASAA Series 65 Exam

What is the Series 65 exam and how should you prepare for it? Read Solomon Exam Prep’s guide to the NASAA Series 65 exam. Continue reading

What does the NASAA Series 65 allow me to do?

The Series 65, also known as the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, qualifies individuals to give investment advice for a fee. Investment adviser representatives (IARs) use their knowledge to give financial advice and help clients build investment portfolios. IARs might provide general investment advice or recommend a client to invest in a specific security. IARs can also manage client accounts and supervise other IARs.

The organization that creates the test—the North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA—works to protect investors in every state, territory, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Mexico. Requiring investment adviser representative candidates to pass the Series 65 is a key tool in the NASAA’s investor protection arsenal. Regulators want to make sure people who are giving investment advice in their state or jurisdiction are competent and will behave legally and ethically.

About the Exam

The Series 65 exam consists of 130 scored and 10 unscored multiple-choice questions covering the four sections of the NASAA Series 65 exam outline. The 10 additional unscored questions are ones that the exam committee is trying out. These are unidentified and are distributed randomly throughout the exam. NASAA updates its exam questions regularly to reflect the most current rules and regulations.

Note: Scores are rounded down to the lowest whole number (e.g. 71.9% would be a final score of 71%–not a passing score for the Series 65 exam).

Topics Covered on the Exam

The NASAA divides the Series 65 exam into four sections:

The Series 65 exam covers many topics including the following:

    • Economics
    • Financial reporting
    • Quantitative methods
    • Risks
    • Cash investments
    • Fixed income
    • Equities
    • Pooled investments, such as mutual funds, ETFs, and REITs
    • Derivatives
    • Alternatives
    • Annuities and other insurance-based investments
    • Client types
    • Client profiles
    • Capital market theory
    • Portfolio management
    • Taxes
    • Retirement plans
    • ERISA
    • Special accounts, such as college savings plans
    • Trading securities
    • Performance measures
    • State and federal securities acts and regulations
    • Ethical practices and fiduciary obligations

Question Types on the Series 65

The Series 65 exam consists of multiple-choice questions, each with four options. You will see these question structures:

Closed Stem Format:

This item type asks a question and gives four possible answers from which to choose.

Which of the following actions might the Federal Reserve take if it wishes to stimulate the economy?

    1. Buy Treasuries
    2. Raise the discount rate
    3. Raise the bank reserve requirements
    4. Raise the margin requirements
Incomplete Sentence Format:

This kind of question has an incomplete sentence followed by four options that present possible conclusions.

A recession is a protracted period of decline in the national economy, typically defined as:

    1. More than two quarters of decreasing GDP
    2. More than two quarters of decline in the housing market
    3. More than two quarters of shrinking M1
    4. More than two quarters of a falling PPI
“EXCEPT” Format:

This type requires you to recognize the one choice that is an exception among the four answer choices presented.

All of the following are tools that the Federal Reserve uses to implement monetary policy except:

    1. Open market operations
    2. Discount window lending
    3. Altering bank reserve requirements
    4. Altering the value of the dollar
Fill-in-the-Blank Format:

This question type has a missing word or phrase, which you must select from the four options provided.

A situation in which short-term securities pay higher yields than long-term securities is considered a(n) _____ yield curve.

    1. Normal
    2. Inverted
    3. Flat
    4. Barbell
Complex Multiple-Choice (“Roman Numeral”) Format:

For this question type, you see a question followed by two or more statements identified by Roman numerals. The four answer choices represent combinations of these statements. You must select the combination that best answers the question.

A stronger dollar benefits which group?

    1. U.S. exporters
    2. U.S. importers
    3. U.S. investors who want to invest in foreign assets
    4. Overseas investors who want to invest in U.S. assets
    1. I and II
    2. II and III
    3. III and IV
    4. I and IV

This format is also used in items that ask you to rank or order a set of items from highest to lowest (or vice versa), or to place a series of events in the proper sequence.

Order the following from lowest to highest:

    1. Broker call rate
    2. Federal funds rate
    3. Prime rate
    4. Discount rate
    1. I, IV, III, I
    2. III, II, I, IV
    3. IV, III, I, II
    4. II, IV, I, III

How to Study for the Series 65

Follow Solomon Exam Prep’s proven study system:
    • Read and understand. It’s simple: read the Solomon Study Guide, carefully. The Series 65 is a knowledge test, not an IQ test. Many students read the Study Guide two or three times before taking the exam. To increase your ability to focus while reading, or as an alternative to reading, listen to the Solomon Audiobook, which is a word-for-word reading of the Solomon Study Guide.
    • Answer practice questions in the Solomon Exam Simulator. When you’re done with a chapter in the Study Guide, take 4 – 6 chapter quizzes in the Solomon Online Exam Simulator. Use these quizzes to give yourself practice and to find out what you need to study more. Make sure you read and understand the question rationales. When you’re finished reading the entire Study Guide, review your handwritten notes once more. Then, and only then, start taking full practice exams in the Exam Simulator. Aim to pass at least six full practice exams and try to get your average score to at least an 80; when you reach that point, you are probably ready to sit for the Series 65 exam.
Use these effective study strategies:
    • Take handwritten notes. As you read the Study Guide, take handwritten notes and review your notes every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies show that the act of taking handwritten notes in your own words and then reviewing them strengthens learning and memory.
    • Make flashcards. Making your own flashcards is another powerful and proven method to reinforce memory and strengthen learning. Solomon also offers digital flashcards for the Series 65 exam.
    • Research. Research anything you do not understand. Curiosity = learning. Students who take responsibility for their own learning by researching anything they do not understand get a deeper understanding of the subject matter and are much more likely to pass.
    • Become the teacher. Studies show that explaining what you are learning greatly increases your understanding of the material. Ask someone in your life to listen and ask questions. If you don’t have anyone, explain it to yourself. Studies show that helps almost as much as explaining to an actual person (see Solomon’s recent post to learn more about this strategy!).
Take advantage of Solomon’s supplemental tools and resources:
    • Use all the resources. The Resources folder in your Solomon student account has helpful information, including a detailed study schedule that you can print out – or use the online study schedule and check off tasks as you complete them.
    • Watch the Video Lecture. This provides a helpful review of the key concepts in each chapter after reading the Solomon Study Guide. Take notes to help yourself stay focused.
  • Good practices while studying:
    • Take regular breaks. Studies show that if you are studying for an exam, taking regular walks in a park or natural setting significantly improves scores. Walks in urban areas or among people did not improve test scores.
    • Get enough sleep during the period when you are studying. Sleep consolidates learning into memory, studies show. Be good to yourself while you are studying for the Series 65: exercise, eat well, and avoid activities that will hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

You can pass the NASAA Series 65! It just takes work and determination. Solomon Exam Prep is here to support you on your journey to becoming a registered Investment Adviser Representative.

For more helpful securities exam-related content, study tips, and industry updates, join the Solomon email list. Just click the button below:

How to answer state registration questions on the Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66

Read Solomon Exam Prep’s expert guide for answering state registration questions on the Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 exams. Continue reading

If you’re planning to take the NASAA Series 63Series 65, or Series 66 exam, you can expect to see questions about when broker-dealers and their securities agents need to register in a particular state. You can also expect to see questions about when investment advisers and investment adviser representatives need to register in a state. Instead of feeling intimidated when confronted with such questions, you should relax, smile, and feel confident. That’s because if you follow the simple rules that we’re about to describe, you should get each of these questions right.

Broker-Dealers and Their Agents

First let’s deal with questions about state registration for broker-dealers (BDs) and their agents. Rule number one here is that when a U.S.-based BD or one of its agents has an office located in a state, that BD or agent must register in the state. It does not matter which types of clients a BD or BD agent with an office in a state has or what types of securities those clients buy from the BD or agent. A BD or agent with an office in a state must register in that state. Period.  

What about a BD or BD agent that doesn’t have an office in a state? If a BD or BD agent without an office in a state has any non-institutional clients in that state, the BD or agent must register there. However, if the BD or agent without an office in a state has only institutional clients in the state, no registration in that state is required. Institutional clients include the issuers of securities involved in a specific transaction; other broker-dealers; and institutional buyers, which are big-money entities such as banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, and pension and profit-sharing plans.   

Key takeaway:

So when presented with a question about whether a specific broker-dealer or one of its agents must register in a given state or states, there are two potential questions to ask yourself. The first question is: “Does the broker-dealer or BD agent have an office in the state?” If the answer is yes, it’s simple: the BD or agent must register in that state. End of questions. However, if the answer is no, move on to the second question: “Does the BD or BD agent have any non-institutional clients in the state?” If the answer is yes, the BD or agent must register in the state; if the answer is no, they do not need to register in the state.

Here’s a flowchart to help you remember the question-answering process:

Investment Advisers and Their Representatives

Now let’s look at the state registration requirements for investment advisers that do not register with the SEC. If the investment adviser has an office in the state, it must register there. If the investment adviser doesn’t have an office in the state but has had more than five non-institutional clients in the state during the past twelve months, it also must register there. The rules are the same for investment adviser representatives who work for an investment adviser that does not register with the SEC.

Investment adviser representatives who work for investment advisers that register with the SEC — also known as federal covered advisors — may need to register with the state if they have an office in the state.

Key takeaway:

So if you see a question about state registration requirements for non-SEC registered investment advisers or their investment adviser representatives, the first question to ask yourself is: “Does the IA or IAR have an office in the state?” If the answer is yes, you know the IA or IAR must register there. If the answer is no, move on to the second question: “Has the IA or IAR had more than five non-institutional clients in the state during the preceding twelve months?” If the answer is yes, they must register in the state; if the answer is no, they don’t need to register in the state.    

Here’s another flowchart to help you with this type of question:

Remember that if an investment adviser registers with the SEC, it is a federal covered adviser and does not need to register in any state. Instead, a federal covered adviser must notice file to provide investment advice to residents of that state. When it comes to notice filing requirements for federal covered advisers, follow the same thought process as that described above. If the federal covered adviser has an office in a state, it must notice file there. If it has no office in the state but it has had more than five non-institutional clients in the state in the past twelve months, the firm must also notice file there.  

Practice question

Simple, right? So let’s put the suggested thought process into practice by looking at a question like one you may see on your exam.  

XYZ Broker Dealer has its main office in State A. It also has offices in States B and C. ABC has non-institutional clients in states A and B, but it only has institutional clients in State C. It does not have an office in State D, but it has three non-institutional clients there. In which states does XYZ need to register? 

A. State A only  

B. States A and B only  

C. States A, B, and C only  

D. States A, B, C, and D  

Remember the process to follow when you see questions about where a BD must register. There are two possible questions to address as part of that process.  

First question: Does the broker-dealer have an office in a state? Answer: XYZ has offices in each of States A, B, and C. Recall that if the answer the first question is “yes, the BD has an office in the state”, then the BD must register in that state. So XYZ needs to register in States A, B, and C.   

If the answer to the first question is no, as it is for State D, you move on to the second question: Does the BD have any non-institutional clients in the state? XYZ has non-institutional clients in State D, so the answer is yes to that question. If the answer to the second question is yes, this means the BD must register in the state. Thus, XYZ has to register in State D as well as States A, B, and C. So Choice D is the correct answer.  

So now you’re an expert, and you’re one step closer to passing your Series 63, Series 65, or Series 66 exam!

Want more exam tips?

Watch a video version of “How to Answer State Registration Questions on the Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66” on the Solomon YouTube channel, where you’ll find even more exam and study tips!

Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands pass their securities licensing exams, including the SIE and the Series 3, 6, 7, 14, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82 and 99.

Broker-Dealer vs. Investment Adviser: What’s the Difference?

Do your customers know the difference between an IA and BD? Do you know the importance of this distinction and how it may affect your registration status? Continue reading

Do your customers know the difference between an investment adviser and broker-dealer? Do you know the importance of this distinction and how it may affect your registration status? 

Investment Adviser or Broker-Dealer at work.

For many retail customers, the difference between an investment adviser (IA) and a broker-dealer (BD) may not seem important. A customer may have received an investment recommendation from a BD, or owned securities through an IA account. However, which kind of firm you work for is important for knowing which services you may provide, how you may provide them, and which qualification exams you must pass.

Investment Advisers

Investment advisers are usually firms, though they can be an individual operating as a sole proprietor, whose primary business is providing investment advice, and who are paid for the advice itself. Investment adviser representatives (IARs) are individuals who work for IAs and advise the IA’s clients on the IA’s behalf. IAs and IARs are not “stockbrokers” and cannot directly buy or sell securities for their customers. While many have IA accounts through which they own stocks, mutual funds, and other securities, in fact these are accounts an IA opens on the customer’s behalf with a BD. 

Broker-Dealers

Broker-dealers are usually firms, though they can be an individual operating as a sole proprietor, that execute securities transactions for customers. An individual who is employed by a BD to handle customer accounts is called an “agent of a broker-dealer” on some exams, or a “registered representative” (RR) on others. BDs can offer investment advice incidental to their work with customers but cannot be compensated for the advice itself. If a BD acts as an intermediary between a buyer and a seller, then the BD can charge a commission on the trade. If a BDs buys or sells from its own inventory, then the BD makes money by charging a markup on securities that they sell and taking a markdown on securities that they buy.

So, if you’re an IAR, you… 
  • …can provide advice
  • …can be paid for that advice
  • …cannot execute trades
  • …cannot charge commissions or markups on your customer’s trades
If you’re a BD agent (also known as a registered representative), you…
  • …can provide advice
  • …cannot be paid for that advice
  • …can execute trades
  • …can charge commissions or markups on your customer’s trades

Testing and Licensing

Finally, many firms, especially larger ones, maintain both IA and BD registrations. When working for these “dual registrants,” you may be asked to qualify as an IAR, BD agent, or both, depending on your role.

In fact, an increase in dual registrations is one of the note-worthy trends Solomon discusses in our recent white paper, “Optimizing On-Boarding in 2021: 7 Key Trends for the Securities Industry,” available for download from this blog post

To become an agent of a broker-dealer (registered representative), you must pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), and a “top-off” exam such as the Series 6 or Series 7, and for state registration usually the Series 63. To become an IAR, you must pass either the Series 65, or, if you work for a dually registered firm, the SIE, the Series 7, and the Series 66.

Portland, OR – Live, Series 6 & 63 Classes this March

Solomon Exam Prep will be holding a crash course for the Series 6 & Series 63 exams this March in beautiful Portland, OR. The classes will cover the major topics that will be encountered on these exams. Enroll now and reserve your spot! Continue reading

Looking for live Series 6 and Series 63 classes? Look no further!

Solomon Exam Prep will be holding a crash course for the Series 6 & Series 63 exams this March in beautiful Portland, OR. The classes will cover the major topics that will be encountered on these exams. Enroll now and reserve your spot!

The Live Class Package for the Series 6 & 63 also includes access to our digital Exam Study Guides and Online Exam Simulators. Class dates and times are as follows:

Live ClassSeries 6

Tuesday, March 1: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Wednesday, March 2: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Series 63

Thursday, March 3: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

 

Classes will be held across the street from Solomon Exam Prep at the George Fox Portland Center: 12753 SW 68th Ave, Portland, OR 97223.

New Series 66 Video Lecture – Now Available!

Solomon Exam Prep is pleased to announce the release of a new Series 66 Video Lecture. Updated for 2016, this 9.5 hour video lecture offers a complete overview of the NASAA Uniform Combined State Law Examination. Continue reading

Series 66 Video Lecture

Solomon Exam Prep is pleased to announce the release of a new Series 66 Video Lecture.  Updated for 2016, this 9.5 hour video lecture offers a complete overview of the NASAA Uniform Combined State Law Examination.

Jeremy Solomon breaks down each section of the exam into different topic areas so students can focus on individual topics or watch from beginning to end.

Topics covered include economics and business information, investment vehicle characteristics, client investment recommendations and strategies, state and federal securities acts and related rules and regulations, and ethical practices and fiduciary obligations.

Students get the added benefit of being able to download the slides from the Video Lecture to study at their leisure.

The Solomon Series 66 Video Lecture can be purchased alone, or as part of our recommended Total Study Package. Order online or give us a call at 503-601-0212!

Series 66, 2nd Edition, Now Available

Solomon Exam Prep constantly strives to produce the most up-to-date materials in order to give our students the best chance of passing their exam on the first try. Thus, we are proud to announce a new 2nd edition of our Solomon Exam Prep Guide to the Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination. Continue reading

Series 66 2nd EditionSolomon Exam Prep constantly strives to produce the most up-to-date materials in order to give our students the best chance of passing their exam on the first try. Thus, we are proud to announce a new 2nd edition of our Solomon Exam Prep Guide to the Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination. The second edition of the Solomon Series 66 Exam Study Guide includes more examples, visuals and practice questions, as well as additional information on the following topics:

  • Time value of money
  • Discounted cash flow method
  • Business structures
  • Trust and estate accounts, including the taxation of trust and estate accounts
  • Financial goals and strategies
  • Modern portfolio theory
  • Capital asset pricing model, including discussions of alpha and beta
  • Efficient market hypothesis
  • Options strategies
  • Fiduciary responsibilities
  • Investment policy statements
  • Suitability
  • Compensation, including comparisons of investment advisers and broker-dealers
  • Prudent investor standards

According to Solomon Exam Prep President Jeremy Solomon, “The NASAA Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is one of the most challenging securities licensing exams. After passing the Series 7, people underestimate the Series 66 exam and may not be successful on their first try. With this new edition we have greatly expanded our text and hope to convey the importance of the material the Series 66 covers.”

Regulators have set the bar high for this exam for a simple reason: the Series 66 exam, in conjunction with the Series 7 exam, qualifies you to be a securities agent and an investment adviser representative, so you must know what you’re talking about when giving investment advice or effecting securities transactions. This means that you need to know a lot of information, including the three types of securities registration, the nine types of investment risk, the difference between the strong, semi-strong, and weak forms of the EMH; when a securities professional is permitted to sell non-exempt unregistered securities (never); who may issue a stop order to deny, revoke, or suspend; when rescission is allowed and by whom; what contumacy is and how to avoid it; what prudent investor, suitability, and fiduciary mean—and more!

The comprehensive Solomon Exam Prep Guide to the Series 66 Exam works in three mutually reinforcing ways: it focuses on the most important aspects of the exam, provides you with plenty of practice questions, and continually reminds you why you have to take the test in the ­first place: to protect investors.

With practice questions at the end of each chapter, as well as a helpful glossary, the Solomon Exam Prep Guide will give you the knowledge to tackle the NASAA Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination with confidence!


Solomon Exam Prep has helped thousands of financial professionals pass their FINRA, NASAA, and MSRB securities regulatory exams including the Series 6, 7, 24, 26, 27, 28, 51, 52, 53, 55, 62, 63, 65, 66, 79, 82, and 99. The Solomon Exam Prep training system includes print and digital Exam Study Guides, Online Exam Simulators, Audiobooks, and Video Lectures to address the learning needs of all kinds of test-takers.

Solomon Exam Prep is led by founders Jeremy and Karen Solomon, both of whom maintain a lifelong commitment to advancing learning and education.  Solomon Exam Prep draws from a pool of seasoned educators, practitioners and communicators who are experienced in both investment education and the process of adult learning.