This study guide is designed to provide an overview of the exam’s general content and format.
The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination was developed by NASAA in cooperation with representatives of the securities industry and industry associations. The examination, called the Series 63 exam, is designed to qualify candidates as securities agents. The examination covers the principles of state securities regulation reflected in the Uniform Securities Act (with the amendments adopted by NASAA and rules prohibiting dishonest and unethical business practices). The examination is intended to provide a basis for state securities administrators to determine an applicant’s knowledge and understanding of state law and regulations.
The study guide is designed to provide an overview of the exam’s general content and format. Candidates should educate themselves about the Uniform Securities Act, as well as Statements of Policy and Model Rules adopted by NASAA, in preparation for the Series 63 exam. The study guide may also be useful as a final review checklist prior to taking the examination.
Examination Structure and Procedures
The Uniform Securities Agent Law Examination consists of 65 multiple-choice questions covering the topics listed in the study guide. Of the 65 questions on the exam, 60 will count toward the final score. The remaining 5 questions are being pre-tested for possible inclusion in the operational question bank. These questions may appear anywhere in the exam and are not identified. In order for a candidate to pass the Series 63 Exam, he/she must correctly answer at least 43 of the 60 scored questions. Applicants are allowed 75 minutes to complete the examination.
The examination is conducted as a closed book test. Although not necessary, scratch paper, if desired by the candidate, will be provided by the proctor. Upon completion of the examination, the score for each section and the overall test score will immediately be made available to the candidate.
The examination is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, (“FINRA”). To schedule a candidate for the examination, a firm should file an electronic Form U4 or an individual not employed by/or associated with a FINRA member firm should open an enrollment window via FINRA.org and pay the $125 examination fee ($135 as of January 1, 2018) to FINRA.
Questions regarding exam content should be directed to:
North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc.
750 First Street N.E., Suite 1140
Washington, DC 20002
Please visit FINRA’s “Enroll for a Series Exam” page to register for a state licensing exam. Once registered, FINRA will open a 120-day window within which an individual may schedule the exam. More information on sites to take the exams can be found on the FINRA website.
The Series 63 is a “criterion based” minimum competency examination. This exam is administered to professionals within the investment industry. Criterion based means that a minimum passing criterion is established. Those candidates who pass the exam are considered to have met the minimum competency level and those who fail do not meet the minimum competency level. The items for the exam were drafted to clearly differentiate those candidates who qualify as minimally competent from those who do not.
The Series 63 is assembled by FINRA using a process called “on the fly.” Each question in the pool has two parameters that are used as part of the assembly, a difficulty parameter and a content parameter. Each exam is assembled to meet the exam specifications for content and to have the same difficulty level as all other exams in the same Series.
NASAA or one of its committees has approved the questions in the examination, the weighting of the composite examination, the examination study guide, and the method by which the examination is administered. In addition, each examination question is statistically analyzed to insure reliability.
Any attempt to compromise the examination may serve to destroy its validity and usefulness. Therefore, NASAA intends to bring appropriate action against persons who attempt to compromise the examination in whole or in part. In addition, such conduct may subject a candidate to further action by state administrators.
The following waiting periods apply for individuals needing to retake the Series 63 following a failed attempt:
(1) a minimum of 30 days after failing the first exam before the second taking of the exam can be scheduled;
(2) a minimum of 30 days after failing the exam for the second time before the third taking of the exam can be scheduled; and
(3) a minimum of 180 days after failing the exam for a third time before the fourth taking of the exam (and each subsequent taking) can be scheduled.
These waiting periods mirror those already in place for FINRA-sponsored examinations.
Successful completion of the Uniform Securities Agent Law Examination does not relieve a candidate of the personal responsibility to know and to abide by the specific requirements of the securities laws and regulations of the states in which the candidate transacts business. Furthermore, although successful completion of the examination may satisfy a portion of the requirements of a particular state, it does not convey the right to transact business prior to being granted a license or registration by that state. NASAA believes that the Uniform Securities Agent Law Examination will significantly benefit the industry and state regulators alike by such uniformity. The investing public will be afforded a greater degree of protection through enhanced uniform qualification standards.