Series 63 is an examination that, when passed, allows the holder to sell and solicit orders for any type of financial securities in a particular state. Most states, but not all, require a person to pass the Series 63 exam to become a licensed securities agent. (Series 63 is also the name of the license awarded after passing the exam.)
A person can retake the Series 63 exam (along with the Series 65 or 66 exams) an unlimited number of times, so long as applicable waiting period requirements have been met, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), which oversees the test.
Retaking the Series 63 Exam
After a person fails the Series 63 exam the first time, there is a waiting period of at least 30 days before the second taking of that exam can be scheduled. After a second failed attempt, there is another waiting period of at least 30 days. If an exam is failed three times or more, there is a waiting period of at least 180 days for scheduling each subsequent retaking of the test.
Waivers of the 180-day waiting period are granted only rarely. The reason: The test questions are selected at random from an existing database of queries, and if a test is taken enough times, the same questions recur. The exam then becomes a test of memorization rather than competency.
The waiting periods, however, are exclusive to each of the NASAA exams. This means that if a person fails the Series 63 exam, formally known as the Unified Securities State Law Examination, there is no waiting period for taking either the Series 65 test (NASAA Investment Law Examination) or the Series 66 test (NASAA Uniform Combined State Law Examination). While the time frames for re-dos are the same for the Series 65 and 66 tests, the waiting period applies only to the specific exam a candidate did not pass.
Background on the Series 63 Exam
The Series 63, 65, and 66 exams are administered on behalf of NASAA by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is a regulatory body created after the National Association of Securities Dealers merged with the regulation committee of the New York Stock Exchange. FINRA is vested with responsibility for governing business between brokers, dealers, and investors.
Current fee (as of 2021) to take the Series 63 exam.
Series 63 is considered an entry-level exam. There are 60 multiple-choice questions on the exam. The passing score is 72% or 43 of the 60 questions.
Covering the principles of state securities regulations, the exam was developed to qualify candidates who want to work in the securities industry within a state and to sell investment products, such as mutual funds, variable annuities, and unit investment trusts.
Most states and U.S. territories require the Series 63 of broker-dealer representatives. Only Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico do not.