Heads up on the Series 63

Modified on by Andrew Cohen

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If you’re preparing to take the Series 63 Exam, chances are you have recently passed another exam like the Series 7, Series 79 or Series 6. Congratulations. Getting any Series exam out of the way is a major accomplishment. But, just because that longer test is out of the way, does not mean you can take the much shorter Series 63 for granted. This 60 question-exam is often more of challenge than expected.

When preparing for the Series 63, do not assume that the information you’ve already learned for another exam will pull you through. This test is just different. Whether or not you’re using the premium Knopman Marks web & mobile Series 63 flashcards in Brainscape, knowing what you’re dealing will help you improve your prep process.

Ten Tips for Series 63 Prep

  1. The text is shorter but not easier to read. The material covered by the Series 63 exam is dense and legalistic. To prepare for the regulatory nuances you will see when you test, this book should be read twice. It can be painful, but this is a first step for putting candidates in a strong passing position. It is not a long book, but every page will count. Choose a proven text that is up-to-date to start strong.
  2. Exemptions and Exceptions play with your mind. Most of the rules include caveats, or situations to which they do NOT apply. In some questions, instead of focusing on what is true, your task is to identify what is false. This often presents “double negative” reasoning, which adds complexity. It’s not uncommon to see a question that is phrased like this: “All of the following are not exempt EXCEPT ….”. These questions require discipline. Break them down slowly and rephrase them so they make sense. If something is not exempt, it is subject to the rule, so this question is really asking for the one choice that IS NOT subject to the regulation being tested.
  3. There’s no consistency in the numbers. Some of the rules you’ll be tested on apply differently to broker-dealers than they do to investment advisory firms. Be ready for different numbers in the exemptions that apply to these types of firms. You’ll also see differences in numbers between federal and state regulations. Be mindful, these nuances will be tested.
  4. Hardly any of the material is familiar. The regulations and details that you are tested on in Series 63 are just not familiar. You have had no reason to learn about these matters in the past, so the test is information that will be new to you, and frankly, quite irrelevant to your daily practice.
  5. The question writers seem to believe longer is better. Be prepared for long and wordy question stems, and long and wordy answer choices. Discipline yourself to read questions twice before you answer them so you don’t miss any key words. Test takers often improve their score by several points just by reading carefully.
  6. There are no math questions to mix things up. With all the lengthy scenarios you’ll address in Series 63 questions, some of you would welcome the objectivity of a math question. No math on the S63, just lots of wordy and seemingly subjective questions.
  7. What used to be a representative is now an agent. The writers of the Uniform Securities Act — the singular focus of this test — used different terminology than the other federal regulations. As an example, an individual acting on behalf of a broker-dealer in customer transactions is an agent for Series 63, and was a representative for Series 7. You have to re-train yourself on some very basic concepts and terms to interpret the questions correctly.
  8. Two of the four answers are nearly identical. The process of eliminating wrong answers is powerful in test taking. But most Series 63 test takers find that it gets difficult to decide between two remaining answers. You need to know substantial detail to make your final choice, and your ability to discern will improve through completion of hundreds of quality practice questions, along with careful reading of the textbook.
  9. Multiple-multiple question style is not dead. Many of the standardized exams have abandoned the types of questions that present I, II, II and IV in the stem, and give answer choices like: I and III are true, or II, III and IV are true, etc. Series 63 continues to use this question style, and these questions can be complicated. Practice will improve your skill, so use your question bank well.
  10. Time is of the essence. Most candidates find that the securities exams they’ve taken allow plenty of time for completion. The Series 63 allows only 75 minutes for completion of 65 questions (60 are scored and 5 are experimental and unscored). If you get stuck in a long and wordy question, the time can fly by. So, pace yourself carefully to get through all questions, and then come back to deal with the baffling ones after you’ve made it through the entire exam.

Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the Series 63. Knopman Marks Financial Training delivers priceless insights to get you through this exam. By following their method which continually delivers first time pass rates for more than 98%, you can be confident of a passing score. Learn more about recommendations for your Series 63 prep process at www.Knopman.com.


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