Series 63 vs 66 Exam, Which is Harder, and What is the Difference?

Series 63 vs 66

I frequently get asked to explain the difference between the Series 63 vs 66 exam. In today’s post we will take a look at each, and then both together. Why would you take one over the other? And why might your employer want you to take both? What do they include?


Series 63 vs 66 Exam

When it comes to the Series 63 vs 66 Exam, let’s start with the basic differences.

Series 63 Exam:

  • Number of questions: 60
  • Test Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Test Type: Multiple choice
  • Number of Correct Questions Required to Pass: 43

Series 66 Exam:

  • Number of questions: 100
  • Test Time: 2 hour and 30 minutes
  • Test Type: Multiple choice
  • Number of Correct Questions Required to Pass: 73

The Series 63 is clearly the shorter exam. That said, even though it’s shorter we’ve seen many students have issues with the trickery imposed by the exam writers. Both the Series 63 and the Series 66 create issues for students given the use of double negatives, due to the grueling memory work, and the numerous rules and regulations.

That said, the Series 66 significantly overlaps with the Series 63 when it comes to the rules and regulations. If you end up having to take both, start with the 63, because the 66 won’t be that much extra work thereafter. However, the Series 66 certainly extends things. For instance, the Series 66 covers portfolio management and investment products – both aren’t covered in the Series 63.

Our students often find that the portfolio management section is relatively new ground. While a lot of the investment products (e.g., Options, annuities, etc.) are covered in the Series 7 Top-Off exam, portfolio management topics such as Sharpe Ratio, Behavioral Finance, and Portfolio Construction are not.

Finally, if you get lost on the Series 66 discounted cash flow (DCF) section – or present/future value sections – then don’t worry, you’re note alone. These are the hardest subjects for almost every one of our students. The Series 63 on the other hand, has fewer technically (or mathematically) challenging topics. Most are difficult due to complex wording, or heavy use of jargon. With enough focus definition look-up, you can get through it.


Which One Should I Take?

If you’re curious why your employer may want you to take one exam over the other, then let’s take a look. First, the Series 63 exam is for agents that work at broker-dealers and plan to transact (or make offers to transact) in different states. On the other hand, the Series 66 exam is for agents that plan to transact (or make offers to transact), but ALSO plan to offer advice, and get compensated for it.

The Series 66, also known as the Uniform Combined State Law Exam has corequisites, unlike the Series 63 exam. The corequisites for the Series 66 exam are the SIE Exam and the Series 7 Top-Off exams. The Series 63 on the other hand, does not have corequisites. What does this mean? You can take the Series 63 at any time, and it does not have to be paired with any other exams.

Although you will find a lot of content discussing state requirements, these exams are not state specific. You will find useful material from STC and Kaplan. We recommend both. They do an equally excellent job in covering the material. Many of our students prefer Kaplan’s more user friendly question bank, however STC is just as effective.

Overall, these exams are definitely doable if you can get through the Series 7 Top-Off exam. The Series 63 pass rate, and Series 66 pass rates are not officially published. Nevertheless, from our experience, the Series 7 Top-Off difficulty level is much higher for most students. With a little help and a little more perseverance, you’ll be among the successful. If you need a tutor book one here. If not, we wish you good luck all the same!

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