How to Pass the Series 65 Exam

Last Thursday I passed the Series 65 exam.  This is the exam required to start up a hedge fund in the state of Connecticut.  You're allowed three hours to take the test and it is composed of 140 questions with 10 practice questions thrown in there (you don't know which ones are the practice ones).  A passing score is 72% or higher.  It costs $135 and anyone can take it; you don't need to be sponsored like other exams.  Here's a quick run through of what you need to do in order to sign up for it, and pass it:

Signing Up for It:
This can be done by going to Finra.org and filling out the Form U10.  Create an account, fill out some simple information, and pay the $135 fee.  Then, you'll get a couple of email confirmations, saying that the application has been received and that soon you'll be able to make an appointment at a testing center.  A day or two later you'll receive another email saying that you can schedule you're appointment.

Choose your appointment date based on the following:

  1. Give yourself ample time to study for it (at least 3 weeks).
  2. Pick the earliest time possible so you don't have time to worry throughout the day prior to the test
  3. Go on a Thursday or Friday so you're able to celebrate your success over the weekend.    

Now that the appointment is set it's time to study

4 Ways to Study for the Series 65 for Free:

  1. This NASAA Exam Specifications and Outline was the key to the success.  It outlines each and every topic on the exam, how much each section is weighted, and enables you to study in a way that is clear, direct, and succinct.
  2. Also, there is  http://www.investopedia.com which has definitions and explanations for every topic on that outline as well as simulator practice exams that replicate the real test.  You can take the test in guest mode, but if you register with the site there's some extra features.They save your prior tests for you, and when you take the test multiple times you can choose an option that ensures that the same questions aren't repeated.  Don't memorize questions when taking practice test.
  3. With all of these definitions and topics create Flash Cards that you can run through every day and keep in your pockets for whenever you have free time.  Also, when you study these read everything out loud.  Not only will you absorb the information through your eyes, you will speak out the information and hear it all at once. 3 senses used during studying. That's how Abraham Lincoln studied and it will work for you.
  4. When reading out loud, record yourself. Record key facts, and definitions you don't know. Put them on your iphone, and when you sleep, listen to it.  Listen to it in the car.  You have to live in this test if you want to have the confidence to pass it.  You have to walk in there already knowing that you passed the test.
I encourage you to take as many practice exams online and read as many definitions as possible.  There are many sites out there that at least give you a free sample of questions that you can use.  Quickly here are some more:

Test Day:
The test can make you nervous.  If you don't pass the exam the first time you have to wait 30 days to take it again (if you fail it three times you have to wait a longer period but you can take it as many times as you'd like).  They scan you're palms, take a picture of you, and put all of your belongings in a locker.  They give you a marker, glossy paper, and a simple calculator for test materials and then they sit you down at a computer with noise blocking headphones.  There's a quick tutorial on how to use the test and then you're off:  

Things You Can Do to Ease Stress on Testing Day:
  1. Wear casual clothes.  Don't worry about how you look. Go in there and feel comfortable.
  2. Eat well beforehand. Before the test eat fruit and drink water to get the mind going.
  3. Tell yourself, "if I fail, who cares. it's not the end of the world. I'll take the test again. At least I'll learn from the experience and I'll be better prepared for next time"

Finally once you pass it, celebrate!

You only need to pass this test once in you're life and when you do, congratulate yourself on it. It's an accomplishment.

I hope some of these tips helped you out and I know you're going to pass the Series 65 exam too. If you have any questions, please ask.

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