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Frequently Asked Questions about the Series 63 Exam

By: Kaplan Financial Education
May 7, 2020
Series 63 FAQ - stockbroker

The questions most frequently asked about the Series 63 exam—such as exam difficulty, passing score, pass rates, questions, and topics—are answered in this article. Read on to get all the information you need to understand what the license is for and decide if you have to take the exam.

What is the Series 63 License? How long is it good for?

The Series 63 license, also known as the Uniform Securities Agent license, enables you to sell securities in a particular state. If you have a Series 6 or a Series 7 license, and you want to sell securities in the state where you live, work, or plan to work, you must also have a Series 63 license—except in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. None of these requires the Series 63.

The Series 63 license is good for the entire period that you work for a FINRA-member firm or self-regulatory organization (SRO). It only expires if you are terminated or leave a firm and do not find employment within two years at another FINRA-member firm or SRO.

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What is the difference between the Series 6, Series 7, and Series 63 licenses?

If you hold a Series 6 license, you’re called a limited representative, and you are entitled to sell mutual funds, variable annuities, and insurance premiums in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. If you’ve earned the Series 7 license, you’re called a registered representative, and you’re permitted to sell corporate stocks and bonds, municipal bonds, mutual funds, variable annuities, options, direct participation program partnerships, and collateralized mortgage obligations in the same states as Series 6. For all other states, you cannot sell any of these assets until you earn your Series 63 license, along with the Series 6, Series 7, or both.

What is the difference between the Series 63, 65, and 66 licenses?

The Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent, is a license for broker-dealer representatives. The Series 65 license, Uniform Investment Adviser, is for investment adviser representatives, which is anyone who works for an investment advisory company and provides investment-related advice for a fee. Holders of the Series 66 license are treated as if they earned both the Series 63 and Series 65 licenses. However, you cannot earn the Series 66 if you do not have a Series 7 license.

What jobs can I get with a Series 63 license?

If you have earned the Series 6 license and the Series 63 license, you can be a financial adviser or insurance agent who also sells mutual funds and works at a brokerage, investment firm, bank, or insurance company. If you have earned the Series 7 license, you can have a career as a stockbroker at a brokerage, investment firm, or bank.

How do I earn a Series 63 license?

Although you can earn the Series 63 license without sponsorship or any prerequisites, we suggest you approach the process in the following order:

  1. Take and pass the SIE exam.
  2. Secure a sponsorship from a FINRA-member firm, and register for the Series 7 exam, Series 6 exam, or both.
  3. Study for and pass the Series 7 exam, Series 6 exam, or both.
  4. Register for the Series 63 exam.
  5. Study for and pass the Series 63 exam.

What is the Series 63 exam? Why should I take it?

The Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, is the state law test for broker-dealer representatives. It is a North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) exam administered by FINRA. You should take the exam if you have a Series 6 license, Series 7 license, or both, and do not live or work in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Outside of those states, you cannot sell securities without passing the Series 63 exam.

What are the requirements to sit for the Series 63 exam? Do I need a sponsor?

To take the Series 63 exam, you do not need a FINRA-member firm or SRO to sponsor you. You can use a Form U10 (Uniform Examination Request for non-FINRA candidates) to register. However, if you have worked for a FINRA-member firm for four months or more, they can file a Form U4 (Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration) on your behalf.

There are no education requirements to sit for the Series 63 exam, although most candidates have a college degree in a finance-related field, and many choose to complete a Series 63 exam prep package prior to sitting for the exam.

Is the Series 63 exam paper or computer-based?

Like all other securities qualification exams, the Series 63 exam is administered by computer at a Prometric testing center.

What topics are covered on the exam?

The Series 63 exam topics are:

  • State securities acts and related rules and regulations
  • Ethical practices and fiduciary obligations

How many questions are on the exam?

The Series 63 exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. There are 36 questions about state securities acts and their related rules and regulations (60 percent) and 24 questions about ethical practices and fiduciary obligations (40 percent).

How much time does it take to study for the Series 63 exam?

Most candidates spend 30–40 hours studying for the FINRA Series 63. Best practices suggest that you spread those hours over about 10 days.

How hard is the Series 63 exam?

Expect the Series 63 to be challenging, mainly because of the short amount of time you have to complete the questions. You only have 75 minutes, so if you spend more than a minute and 15 seconds on each question, you can fall behind quickly. If you know the material and haven’t crammed, you have a good chance of passing.

How much does it cost to sit for the exam?

The exam cost is $125.

What is the passing score for the exam?

The passing score for the exam is 72 percent. 

What is the pass rate for the exam?

Because the Series 63 is a state exam, questions on the exam vary, and statistics are hard to capture. Therefore, no official pass or fail rate has been recorded. In 2014, the Wall Street Journal did a survey of 370,000 brokers and found that 86 percent passed on their first try. However, the exam changed significantly in 2016, so that percentage might not be accurate by today’s standards.

If I fail the Series 63 exam, what is the wait time before I can retake it?

Candidates who do not pass the exam must wait 30 days before taking it again. However, if you fail it three times in succession, you must wait 180 days.

Ready to earn your Series 63 license?

We hope this article answers all of your questions about the Series 63 exam and license. If you’re interested in taking the exam, check out our Series 63 exam preparation packages.

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