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How to ace the grueling Series 65 exam and keep your wits and your nerves intact in the process

All-nighters are not recommended for the 130-page, FINRA-administered test but up to 45 hours of study is

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 – 5:47 PM by Guest Columnist Sheri Mushel
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Sheri Mushel: There are good reasons it has a bad reputation as a tough exam.

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RIA Registrar, LLC
Compliance Expert, RIA Set-up Firm, Regulatory Consultant
Top Executive: Sheri Mushel




Robert J. Martorana, CFA

Robert J. Martorana, CFA

May 7, 2014 — 7:49 PM

Sheri,
I enjoyed the article, and I look forward to more compliance tips for RIAs.
Robert J. Martorana, CFA
Right Blend Investing, LLC

Jack O'Hara

Jack O'Hara

May 12, 2014 — 10:56 PM

Hello Sheri,
All good advice for Series 65 candidates.
Jack O’Hara
NCS, National Compliance Services

van

van

October 8, 2014 — 4:40 PM

could I connect with Sheri or equivalent to get some advice on whether series 65 would be appropriate for my background. I have a degree in business administration, economics and political science.

Vicki Royer

Vicki Royer

March 14, 2015 — 8:22 PM

Thanks Sheri! I certainly enjoy working with you. At least you know I’m at home doing my homework and studying…...... kid free weekend! I’ll let you know when I’m ready.

Joseph

Joseph

February 19, 2016 — 4:29 PM

Hello Sheri,
Great read!! I know this article was posted in 2014, but I’m studying for my series 65 and I haven’t had success in passing the test. I’ve used Testeachers and have scored 90-100% on all 19 (1,477 questions) of their tests. I felt very confident when I started my test,but I was blindsided and thought they accidentally keyed in the wrong test. I failed the test. In your article you mentioned Robert Walker’s “Pass the 65” program, does his course have a high success rate? I’ve thought about Kaplan, until I read this article. Please advise. Thanks

Michael Grinnell

Michael Grinnell

May 4, 2016 — 6:05 AM

I’m concerned now about my study course from testeachers.com. Joseph, what happened?
Sheri, should I get a refund and use a different system?

Carol

Carol

May 30, 2016 — 4:55 PM

Don’t Know

Andrew A.

Andrew A.

October 23, 2016 — 12:52 AM
I just passed the Series 65 with an 83% on my first attempt. All I used was the TesTeachers online course. I felt very prepared and confident in the exam.
Brian Kolins

Brian Kolins

November 18, 2016 — 11:12 PM
I have actually started offering webinars and tutoring for the Series 65 along with the Series 6, 63, and 26 exams. I hold a 7/66/24 and try to break down the complicated issues into more management ideas. If people are having trouble, or looking for help in passing these exams, please check out www.TheSecuritiesGuys.guru.
Penny Arnold

Penny Arnold

January 15, 2017 — 9:58 PM
Joseph....I did the same thing. I used TestTeachers and felt very confident going in to take the test. I could explain why the answers were what they were. Then, taking the test-----WHAM! Nothing like the practice test. You took yours in February of 2016; what did you use to pass?
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February 9, 2017 — 12:00 PM
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Ethan

Ethan

June 7, 2017 — 9:46 PM
16 hours for the practice final exam? Is that a typo, or how is that broken down exactly? The practice exam itself can't take more than 3 hours or so, so are you suggesting another 13 hours of studying for it after the initial 24-30 hours are completed? To me it seems like that would just be written as roughly 40 hours of studying plus the practice exam, but maybe I'm missing something. Also, would you recommend the Kaplan online program if cost is not an issue? I see TesTeachers has merged with ExamFX, so I'm not sure if their content is the same anymore. I am trying to schedule a trip to Europe immediately after passing the exam and I'm not sure how long I need to budget for that. I have a 5-year CPA-track education and no current job to distract me, so I can focus on studying. Thank you for the helpful information!
Sheri Mushel

Sheri Mushel

June 12, 2017 — 1:58 PM
Ethan, The 16 additional hours for the practice exam was for studying for the questions you got wrong. Most people study for this a total of about 40 hours. If you want to email me directly, please do so at smushel@riainfo.com. I am pretty sure I work with the advisor you are going to work with. I received an email this weekend from our client who was talking about a new hire named Ethan who is studying for the 65 and is going to Europe. If you are located in Oregon, I am sure it is you and would be happy to talk to you about the whole process.
Richard Lethbridge

Richard Lethbridge

June 20, 2017 — 11:57 PM
I just had the same experinece with <a href="http://Testeachers.com" rel="nofollow">Testeachers.com</a> and WHAM!!!! It was nothing like what they we coaching me on. I scored a 69%.....so close. I'm looking for another course; Robert Walker...here I come.
Mike McNulty

Mike McNulty

June 22, 2017 — 2:34 PM
Just saying this with immense pride, my 18 year old son just passed the exam. He self taught himself the material after his high school graduation and will be attending college this year to pursue his finance major. He scored 80%.
Sheri Mushel

Sheri Mushel

June 22, 2017 — 2:36 PM
Congratulations to your son! Tell him to be in touch when he graduates.
Mike McNulty

Mike McNulty

June 22, 2017 — 2:46 PM
Thank you so much for your reply. I will let him know to get in touch, he will be thrilled.
Brian Kolins

Brian Kolins

June 23, 2017 — 2:09 AM
Mike, congrats! Very impressive, both in age and score! He should start working towards that CFP next ;)
Mike McNulty

Mike McNulty

June 23, 2017 — 4:05 PM
That is a great suggestion. We just did a weekend trip (last weekend) to celebrate in NY, his first time there, and he loved it. My hope is that he just enjoys his freshman year at school but I think he has additional goals. Thank you again for all of your help because there is so much he has to learn and this community, with all of your experience, can offer some great ideas.
John Turner

John Turner

June 29, 2017 — 12:31 PM
Don't listen to Andrew A. regarding his passing score of 83%. He sounds like he think he is smarter than everyone else so don't believe him. I just took the test yesterday and passed with a 73% but I tell you it was the hardest test I ever took. The exam questions are not straight forward questions which make the exam tough. Out of 140 questions, maybe I had 25-30 easy questions. I used Kaplan and although the prep book put me in the ball park, the exam was much more difficult than the material. Good luck to all!!!
Michael

Michael

December 22, 2017 — 1:44 AM
If you are on your second or third try, you might want to consider working with a tutor. <a href="Http://www.series65examtutor.com" rel="nofollow">Http://www.series65examtutor.com</a> has been helping students with the series 65 exam for several years.
Barry, CPA

Barry, CPA

June 26, 2018 — 8:12 PM
The Series 65 Exam was different than what I learned using TestTeachersOnline but they got me through it. This was my second attempt at it with a 69 the first time and now a 73. The questions are designed to trick you. I thought maybe there were 40 easy questions and that's it! This is a difficult exam but not like the CPA exam which was a b*tch!!!
Dave

Dave

August 5, 2018 — 10:52 PM
Mike, congrats to your son but something about this doesn't make sense. How was your high school son able to sit for the exam as to do so requires a financial institution opening the gateway through FINRA (filing a U-10 is required). Anyone can study for it, but to actually take the exam requires employment with either an RIA, Registered Broker/Dealer, or another financial institution. It is my understanding that FINRA does not allow anyone to just sign up and take the exam (unless I am greatly mistaken). Thanks!
Michael Weiss

Michael Weiss

August 6, 2018 — 12:15 AM
Dave, you do not need to be sponsored to take the series 65 exam.
Dave

Dave

August 6, 2018 — 12:46 AM
Thanks Mike. How is he dealing with the 2-yr window restriction? Unless employed by Broker Dealer or like within 2 yrs his 65 license will lapse and he’ll be retaking the exam. Also there is the CE requirement. Thanks!
Michael Weiss

Michael Weiss

August 6, 2018 — 10:16 AM
Dave, there is no CE requirement for the 65.
Michael Weiss

Michael Weiss

November 9, 2018 — 11:20 PM
If anyone is interested in getting a discount on Kaplan materials for the series 65/66 and other exams, you can use this link: <a href="https://portal.kaplanfinancial.com/partner/examtutor/portal" rel="nofollow">https://portal.kaplanfinancial.com/partner/examtutor/portal</a>
Jo

Jo

July 14, 2019 — 4:15 PM
What is the thing that is hard about the test. What topics ? Law (Acts) or products ( options or bonds )
Michael Weiss

Michael Weiss

July 15, 2019 — 9:40 PM
Jo, it depends on your back ground. Many of my students think the regulations are the most challenging. It is difficult to remember all of the exemptions and exclusions. Also people think the derivatives part including options is difficult.

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