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A Series 66 is an examination designed to test a candidate's knowledge of standards and practices in the financial industry. This examination is used by people who want to apply for licenses to become securities agents or investment advisors. Successful passage of the Series 66 allows people to apply for licensure in individual states. Applicants will also need to pass a background check administered to confirm they do not have conflicts of interest or prior criminal history with a potential to interfere with their ability to work in the financial industry.
In order to take the Series 66 exam, people must have successfully passed the Series 7 exam, a general knowledge test. The Series 66, developed by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is equivalent to taking two other exams: the Series 63 and 65. This test is administered on a national level in the United States.
There are 110 questions on the exam, 10 of which are included as test questions for possible use on future exams. People have two and a half hours to take the test and may not bring outside tools or aids into the testing environment, although they can ask for scratch paper if they feel it will be helpful. Testing centers across the United States administer the Series 66 on a regular basis and usually have appointment slots available. If a test taker fails, scoring less than 75% on the exam, there is a 30-day waiting period requirement before the test can be taken again.
Test questions cover a variety of subjects designed to ensure test takers are familiar with the law, as well as the ethical guidelines for the securities profession. Taking the Series 66 requires basic knowledge of standards and practices in the financial industry, including knowledge of some specific laws and legal requirements for financial professionals.
People interested in pursuing careers in the financial industry may be sponsored by their employers as they make their way through the examinations required to work. Employers can hire people directly out of college or high school, giving them work experience and training opportunities while they take their examinations. Test preparation materials for the Series 66 and other examinations are readily available, including classes for people who want to work with a mentor, and employers may provide employees with these tools or compensate employees who choose to purchase test preparation materials.