Series 65 Exam Opinions Requested

Seeking Opinions on How to Pass to the Series 65 Exam

I am hoping readers of this blog would be able to provide some feedback on their experiences with the Series 65 exam. As a

little background, many of our firm's clients are managers who will be state registered investment advisers and therefor these groups will need to make sure certain individuals take the Series 65 exam in order to become registered in the state of principal residence.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is the group in charge of creating the Series 65 and the exam is administered by FINRA at any number of locations across the U.S. and in different countries. At the beginning of 2010 NASAA changed the grading of the Series 65 exam so that it was more difficult to pass. From that time forward we have anecdotally noticed that there were in fact less people who were passing the exam on the first try.  Accordingly, we are trying to gather information on the exam to help out those people who will be taking it in the future.

If you have taken the e

xam over the last year we are asking if you can provide us with a little information on your experiences and some thoughts on how you would prepare for the exam, given what you know now. For example, we think the following information would be helpful:

  • Date you took the exam (month, year)
  • Final score
  • Series 65 Exam prep / study guide(s) you used
  • Amount of time spent studying (approximate number of hours)
  • Number of practice exams you took? Scores on those exams?
  • Areas you did well on/ could have done better on
  • Overall impressions – was it similar to the practice exams?
  • How would you study for the exam differently?

If you have other comments or information that might be helpful, please feel free to post that as well.  Responses can be posted in the comment section below or you can contact us directly.


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is a boutique law firm focused on the hedge fund industry.  We help fund managers with investment adviser registration and hedge fund formation matters.  Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.


6 thoughts on “Series 65 Exam Opinions Requested

  1. Chip Moffatt

    Took the exam this morning and passed. Working as a full-time clinical physician and having a 6 year old son, my study time was at a premium. My particular needs are to start well in advance of any exam and have an opportunity to review the material. Cramming never worked well for me. I started my preparation 6 mos prior to the exam and my main resources were “Pass Perfect” (, “Pass the 65” and Investopedia. I took all the exams on Investopedia and would usually score around 75-80%. Pass Perfect has exams at the end of each section and I took each of those twice and there is a 2nd volume of questions alone, 130 each like the actual exam….I took 8 of the 10 exams in that text. For Pass Perfect I would usually hit around 70%. On the exam itself I scored 90% and found there to be many more “easy” questions than I anticipated. I was probably overprepared but that’s consisent with my nature. Hope this helps!!

      1. Carlos

        thanks.. I took it yesturday, April 27, 2012 and failed by 10 question using Kaplan book plus 1000 question cd. I will use “Pass Perfect” ( next time around. Lots of annuity questions which I did not know. Also, many long assay questions. I was able to finish the test but I feel I may have rushed on some questions in order to get through the full test. I also hate the fact that they remove 10 question from the total 140 questions and you do not know if those removed were correct questions you had answered; that may have crushed me but I will never know. Any help from you guys so that I can pass on my secound time around will be a blessing

    1. Donald Sanford


      I am currently studying with the Kaplan 6th edition book and also using the Investopedia, exam simulators. Could you recommend any additional resources that you believe may have helped you or studying techniques? I am currently passing the Investopedia tests at about a 75-80% range, but still don’t feel adequately prepared because when I find other sample exams the language tends to confuse me. Please let me know if you have any secrets to passing the exam and whether or not I should be prepared at a 75-80% range on Investopedia’s practice exams.

  2. Happy Blogger

    I took and passed the series 65 on 03/10/12. I used two study guides to prepare for the exam. I used the free study guide and prep quizzer on and I bought the text book and exam prep software from The Securities Institute of America. I studied for three months and I took three simulator exams averaging 84%. I took one stimulated exam on and two from The Securities Institute of America software.

    On the actual exam I passed with 76%. I scored 84% on Economic Factors and Business Information. I scored 82% on Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines. I scored 77% on Investment Vehicle Characteristics – note that I was averaging over 90% on this area in practice exams. I scored 67% on Client Investment Recommendations and Strategies – note that I was averaging over 90% on this area in practice exams. If I had to take the test again I would buy another simulator exam from a third company maybe Kaplan University? With that said, the series 65 is really a pass or fail type of exam and I passed. I am now ready to start my Hedge Fund.

    1. Donald Sanford

      Happy Blogger,

      I am trying to prepare myself for the series 65 do you still have your exam simulator? and would you be willing sell it? I have been using the Investopedia platform as well and wanted to see if you’d feel prepared with passing scores from the investopedia simulator. I clearly don’t want to fail and have to wait 3 months to take it again so I am open to any suggestions.

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