Series 65 Exam

The Series 65 Exam is computer-based, and includes 180 multiple-choice questions. Of the 180 questions, 130 will be scored. You will have 3 hours to complete the exam.

There are specific health conditions that are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, that require special testing accommodations. You can make this request in writing by having a licensed professional complete the verification request form. Formal documentation of your disability must be included with the request form.

Some available accommodations are extra time, a reader, large print exam book, and separate testing room.  All of the testing centers are accessible for wheelchairs, so if you require this, there is no need to submit a form for this accommodation.

What topics and sub-topics are covered on this exam?

  • Economic Factors and Business Information – 14%
  • Investment Vehicle Characteristics – 24%
  • Client Investment Recommendations and Strategies – 31%
  • Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines, including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices – 31%

Economic Factors and Business Information

The sub-topics addressed in “economic factors and business information” are basic economic principles, financial reporting, quantitative methods, and risk types.

Investment Vehicle Characteristics

The sub-topics addressed in “investment vehicle characteristics” are cash and cash equivalents, fixed income securities, determining value with regard to fixed income securities, equity securities, figuring out the value of equity securities, pooled investments, how to determine the worth of pooled investments, derivative securities, insurance products, hedge funds, and limited partnerships.

Client Investment Recommendations and Strategies

The sub-topics addressed in “client investment recommendations and strategies” are clients and their profiles, Capital Market Theory, the styles, strategies, and techniques of portfolio management, tax issues, and retirement plans, ERISA, accounts such as 529s and UTMA/UGMAs, trading, and performance measures.

Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines, including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices

The sub-topics addressed in “laws, regulations, and guidelines, including prohibition on unethical business practices” are state and federal Securities Acts, ethical practices, and fiduciary obligations.

What is the most convenient way to schedule my exam?

Your sponsoring firm will apply for the exam and pay online. Once your application is complete, a 120-day testing window, in which you can take your exam will be provided.

If completing the application online is not possible, it can be done over the phone, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST. This excludes national holidays.

When applying, your name, FINRA ID number, phone number of your firm, and name of the exam for which you are applying will be required.

What is the cost of taking this exam?

The cost of taking this exam is $175.

What are the testing dates and locations?

The Series 65 Exam is offered year-round, and can be taken at various sites throughout the United States. There are also locations outside of the U.S. where the exam may be taken.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Report to the testing center early so you can check-in by signing the test center’s log. Arriving 30 minutes early, should be sufficient. It is important not to arrive at the center 30 or more minutes late, as you will not be allowed to take the exam.

You will receive a whiteboard and dry erase marker, as well as a basic calculator to use during the exam. These items must be returned after the exam. Since these items will be provided by the testing center, you are not allowed to bring your own.

Bring a form of identification. Your identification must include your name, signature, and photo. Your ID must not be expired. Examples of acceptable forms of ID include a government-issued driver’s license, passport, or military identification card.

Items such as a cell phone, other electronic devices, and study materials, are prohibited from the testing area. If you bring to the test center any items that are not allowed in the testing area, you will be required to store them in a locker. The test center will not be responsible for these items.

Can I take a break during the exam?

Although there are no scheduled breaks for this exam, you can take a restroom break if necessary. The exam time clock will not stop when taking a break.

What happens after I take the exam?

Immediately after taking the exam, you will receive a notice on the computer screen of whether you have passed or failed the exam. Before leaving the center, you will also receive a printed copy. This printed copy will serve as your official report, as you will not receive a formal copy via email or mail.

If you fail the exam, your score report will provide information on how you did on the exam overall, as well as an analysis of how you did on each section.

What is the minimum passing score on this exam?

In order to pass this exam, you must get 94 out of 130 items correct, which is about 72%.

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

After waiting 30 days, you can schedule the second attempt at the exam. If you fail the second time, you must wait an additional 30 days in order to take the exam for the third time. If you fail the third time, you must wait 180 days to take the exam for the fourth time. If you still do not pass, you must wait an additional 180 days for each subsequent attempt.

There is no maximum to the number of times you can take this exam.

How Can I Prepare for the Series 65 Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023