For aspiring financial professionals, the Series 63 exam, formally known as the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, is a stepping stone on the path to a career in investment sales as a Series 6 or Series 7 registered representative. The 60-question, 75-minute exam covers information on state securities rules and regulations, as well as ethical practices and fiduciary obligations. While candidates don't have to be sponsored by a securities firm to sit for the exam, many take the Series 63 in combination with the Series 6 or 7 exams, which do require sponsorship.
Although the exam is not as difficult as the Series 6 or 7 exams, a Wall Street Journal study found that 14% of candidates failed the exam on their first attempt. The mistake some candidates make is to underestimate the Series 63 exam after having passed the more difficult Series 6 or Series 7 exam. Series 63 exam prep courses are designed to help their students better absorb the minutiae of rules and regulations, which tends to confound test-takers.
We reviewed the top 15 Series 63 exam prep course providers, so you don't have to, narrowing down the list based on cost, question banks, study materials, and more. Here are our top choices.
The 6 Best Series 63 Exam Prep Courses of 2020
- Best Overall: ExamFX
- Best Comprehensive Offering: Securities Training Corporation
- Best Value for Basic Self-Study Package: Kaplan Financial Education
- Best Question Bank: Pass Perfect
- Best Comprehensive Self-Study Package: Securities Institute of America
- Best Value for All-Inclusive Offering: NRS FINRA Training
Best Overall: ExamFX
ExamFX offers three reasonably priced, feature-stacked study packages backed by reliable instructor support and a money-back guarantee, making it our choice as the best overall Series 63 exam prep course.
Comprehensive offering of study packages to match learning styles
Reasonably priced, full-featured packages
Mobile "quick knowledge" app
Adaptive learning simulation exams
Course access limited to 90 days
For more than 30 years, ExamFX has been on the cutting edge of providing feature-packed, tech-infused exam study courses. With its Series 63 exam prep course, ExamFX has managed to combine its resource-rich study packages with exceptional instructor support and a money-back guarantee—all at a reasonable price—to create the best overall Series 63 exam prep course.
ExamFX's $69 Self-Study package compares favorably with other providers' mid-tier packages, offering an interactive learning portal along with a digital textbook, chapter quizzes, online exam simulations, readiness exams, and a Guarantee Exam. Students have access to an extensive question bank to create an unlimited number of practice quizzes and tests. Through ExamFX's proprietary adaptive learning technology, students are provided with real-time feedback on their testing to help guide their course of study.
At $99, the Video Study package may be the best value, including everything from the Self-Study package and adding online flashcards and on-demand video lectures. For just $30 more, the Live Online package adds live online training for students who could use the extra help.
Students are introduced to instructors at the beginning of the study process and have access through an instructor hotline six days a week. Instructors have access to students' learner profiles and exam results, so they are at the ready to provide real-time advice.
All students are given the opportunity to take the Guarantee Exam, which, if they pass with an 80% or better score within three days of sitting for the exam, makes them eligible for a full refund if they fail the exam on their first attempt. However, with a pass rate of 94%, most students won't need it.
ExamFX also offers a mobile app, purchased separately for $6.99, that provides students with on-the-go access to practice exams with immediate scoring and answer rationales to pinpoint areas of needed improvement.
Best Comprehensive Offering: Securities Training Corporation
With a high-quality study package to meet every need and budget, unlimited access to an instructor hotline, and a money-back guarantee, Securities Training Corporation makes our list as the best comprehensive offering.
50-year track record
Course packages to match most learning styles
Unlimited access to instructor support
No mobile app
Money-back guarantee not available with standard package
Top package is a little on the pricey end
As one of the first exam prep providers, Securities Training Corporation has harnessed more than 50 years of experience in creating high-quality exam prep courses. Backed by unlimited instructor support and a money-back guarantee, its three-tiered offering of Series 63 study packages is designed to meet the resource requirements of any learning style, making it our choice for the best comprehensive offering.
It starts with the $85 Standard package for more self-directed students. The package includes both offline and online textbook versions and a study calendar that responds to your study needs. STC's Crunch Time Facts is a popular study tool that helps students focus on the key concepts they have to know for the exam. Students can choose from a databank of questions to create up to seven final exams that accurately reflect the actual Series 63 exam.
For $125, the Premier package adds online flashcards, on-demand video lectures for students who need more guidance. The package also includes six progress exams that pinpoint areas that need work. The STC pass guarantee also kicks in at the Premier level. For students who can benefit from face-time instruction, STC's $175 Premier Plus package adds live online instruction that includes a four-hour live review session.
All packages have a six-month enrollment period and include unlimited instructor support access. STC starts all students off with a diagnostic exam to assess their study needs and recommend a course of action and timeline that's built into their study calendar. After each progress or final exam, the recommendations and timeline are updated on the study calendar.
It's worth repeating that the pass guarantee is not available with the Standard package. However, for $40 more, students can upgrade to the Premier package that does include the guarantee along with on-demand lectures.
STC publishes a pass rate of 95%, but that is inclusive of all its securities exam courses.
Best Value for Basic Self-Study Package: Kaplan Financial Education
All of Kaplan Financial Education's study packages are stacked with industry-leading study tools. But, at just $59, its Basic Self-Study package has the essentials students need to pass the exam, making it our choice as the best value for a basic self-study package.
Feature-packed study options for any learning style or budget
Robust question bank and practice test application
Course access for five months with a five-month extension for $49
Free, real-time content updates
No money-back guarantee
Instructor support only available on premium package
No mobile app platform
For more than 50 years, Kaplan Financial Education has been stacking its exam prep courses with essential learning tools, making it a contender each year for the best overall exam prep course provider. But, when you look at its Series 63 Basic Self-Study package, you have to wonder how Kaplan manages to pack so much value in a $59 course.
The Basic Self-Study package includes Kaplan's highly acclaimed License Exam Manual, performance tracker, and study calendar, as well as the very popular SecuritiesPro™ QBank that can feed an unlimited number of practice exams.
The interactive QBank is updated regularly with hundreds of questions to allow students to create exams tailored to their study needs. The QBank enables students to review their performance on exams, track time spent on questions or an exam, and review in-depth rationales for each question while pointing them to resources to learn more about a topic. It does the same for building simulated exams that provide a comprehensive test review of all material.
The QBank is also available in the Essential Self-Study package, which, for $99, adds additional checkpoint exams and a video library. At $126, the Premium Instruction package is also a great value, adding class notes, InstructorLink™, and on-demand video instruction.
The three drawbacks that keep Kaplan out of the running for the best overall provider are its lack of a money-back guarantee and mobile app, as well as the lack of instructor support for the self-study packages.
Kaplan does not publish a pass rate for its Series 63 exam.
Best Question Bank: Pass Perfect
Boasting three times more questions than their competitors, Pass Perfect's question bank can fuel unlimited practice exams, making it our choice as the Series 63 exam prep course provider with the best question bank.
Extensive question bank for unlimited simulated practice exams
Live online review classes
Instructor support (not available for self-study package)
A little on the pricey end
Money-back guarantee only available with Pass Promise package
No published passing rate
For more than 30 years, Pass Perfect has prepared its students for securities exams through the application of extensive simulated test practice. A cornerstone of its Series 63 study packages is an extensive question bank that can feed 30 unique, full-length practice exams and an unlimited number of quizzes targeting each of the four main subject areas, making it our choice as the provider with the best question bank.
Because Pass Perfect's versions of the questions are purposely more challenging than the actual exam, students are better prepared when they sit for the exam. Pass Perfect provides students with instant feedback from each simulated exam and updated guidance on where to direct their efforts. The question bank also includes a hyperlinked glossary to keep terms close by so you don't have to keep going back to the textbook.
Each of Pass Perfect’s three study packages includes the question bank along with an interactive dashboard, audio tutorials, and chapter intro videos. At $99, the starter Pass Plus package is a little pricier than other starter packages, but it does include the tutorials and intro videos. Its $139 Pass Plus Pro may be a better value because it includes digital flashcards, instructor support, and on-demand virtual review. But, at $179, the Pass Promise package is the only one that offers a money-backed guarantee. The Pass Promise package also provides four hours of live virtual review sessions.
Pass Perfect doesn't publish a pass rate for its Series 63 exam.
Best Comprehensive Self-Study Package: Securities Institute of America
For students who want to go the self-study route, no other exam prep course is as complete as the Securities Institute of America's, making it our choice as the best comprehensive self-study package.
Extensive test bank with six-month access
Big bang for the buck
All materials can be accessed on any mobile device
Live chat and phone instructor support
No mobile app but online videos are accessible on mobile devices
Backed by one of the largest global publishers of financial information—John Wiley & Sons—Securities Institute of America has been packing their study packages with quality materials for nearly 25 years. It's Series 63 self-study package has all the tools and resources students need to pass the exam, making it our choice as the provider with the most comprehensive self-study package.
The Series 63 Complete Self-Study package comes with a 215-page textbook, a test bank with 800 questions, and four hours of online video instruction. The test bank, which can generate an unlimited number of unique practice exams, is accessible for six months on any device, as is an e-book, which provides mobile access to all course materials. At $149, this package offers a fairly big bang for the buck. The money-back guarantee available on all study packages makes this an even more attractive package.
For students who don't need access to online video instruction or the e-book, SIA offers an $87 package that still includes six-month access to the test bank. Or, you can purchase the exam prep software with the test bank for just $55.
Students who pass SIA's Greenlight guaranteed pass exams will receive a refund if they don't pass the exam on the first attempt. SIA has an average 90% pass rate on all of its securities exams.
Best Value for All-Inclusive Offering: NRS FINRA Training
National Regulatory Services (NRS) only offers one Series 63 exam study package, but it is one of the more feature-packed courses we've seen for just $105, making it our choice for the best value for an all-inclusive offering.
Very reasonably priced all-in-one package
Mobile-friendly manual and practice exams
Unlimited custom practice exams
Unlimited access to instructors
Only one course offering
National Regulatory Services, a 30-year fixture on the compliance and registration landscape, bolstered its exam prep course authority with its purchase of FIRE Solutions in 2016. Staying true to its motto "Everything you need, nothing you don't” the NRS Series 63 study package might be the most complete course you can find for just over $100. There are no unnecessary add-ons, just a straightforward way to prepare for the exam successfully.
The $105 study package includes a five-chapter study manual delivered in mobile-friendly, online, and printable formats. Each module consists of a 20-question quiz to gauge your initial comprehension. The system-generated study plan is based on the answers on initial assessments, guiding students to areas that need improvement. A green light performance analysis keeps you apprised of your progress and lets you know when you're ready to take your practice final exam.
After completing the final exam, a test bank is unlocked, allowing students to create unlimited 20- or 50-question exams from any module. There are seven 60-question final exams weighted to simulate the actual Series 63 exam.
Students can layer on five mobile-friendly on-demand tutorials that can be accessed at any time or sign up for live instructor-led tutorials offered on a rotating calendar basis throughout the year. On top of all this, they have unlimited instructor access via email or phone.
What makes the NRS Series 63 study package an even greater value is its No Pass/No Pay guarantee. Students who achieve a designated Green Light average on their practice final exams are eligible for a refund if they fail to pass the exam on their first attempt.
NRS claims a 90% pass rate for students who strictly adhere to their course regimen.
What Is the Series 63 Exam?
The Series 63 exam (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam) is a 75-minute, 60-question multiple-choice exam administered by FINRA to test a candidate's knowledge of regulations that investment advisor representatives must follow as well as their ethical practices and obligations. Roughly 45% of the exam questions center on regulations, about 10% focuses on remedies and administrative provisions, 25% covers ethics and fiduciary obligations, and client communications make up 20%.
You must correctly answer 43 out of 60 questions (about 72 percent) to pass the exam. You are notified of your results as soon as you complete the exam (pass or fail), along with a breakdown of your performance in each of the sections.
Is the Series 63 Exam Difficult?
Generally, the Series 63 exam is not as challenging as the Series 6 or Series 7 exams. It's a shorter exam that covers a more narrow range of information. But therein lies the problem. For many Series 6 and 7 test-takers, the Series 63 exam does appear to be much less challenging, so they tend to underestimate it and spend less time studying for it.
In one sense, the material covered in the Series 63 exam can be more challenging to learn because it deals with the boring minutiae of rules, regulations, and administration. It takes time to absorb that information. It can be even more difficult for people who are generally not good test-takers. If you don't fully understand the material, the exam questions, many of which are asked as double negatives, can trip you up. With only about one minute and 15 seconds available for each question, you don't want to underestimate the time factor.
If you want to ensure you pass the exam on the first attempt, an exam prep course is always a good investment.
What Is the Pass Rate of the Series 63 Exam?
Although FINRA doesn't publish the official pass rates for securities exams, a Wall Street Journal study found that 14% of candidates failed the exam on the first attempt.
Even if you fail the exam on your first attempt, you are given three chances to pass the exam, but you must wait 30 days between attempts. If you fail on the third attempt, you must wait 180 days to retake it. For most candidates, that likely spells the end of their career in securities, which is why an exam prep course is a good investment.
How Much Does a Series 63 Exam Prep Course Cost?
Based on our review of Series 63 exam prep course providers, a study course can range from as low as $60 to as much as $180. The amount you might pay depends in large part on your learning style and study preferences. If you are a self-starter who can stay laser-focused on the materials, you could probably get by with a $60 or $70 self-study package. If you need more guidance or are a more visual learner, you may need a course with online or virtual instruction, which can cost between $130 and $180.
You don't need to be sponsored by a securities firm to sit for the Series 63 exam. However, many candidates are sponsored for the Series 6 or 7 exams, as well as the Series 63 exam, in which case the sponsoring firm will cover or reimburse the cost of exam prep for both licenses. If you aren't sponsored, the cost of an exam prep course is a tax-deductible expense.
How We Chose the Best Series 63 Exam Prep Course
For our review of Series 63 exam prep course providers, we looked at 15 course providers and then screened them based on such factors as track records, operating history, unique features, and cost. Then, looking through the eyes of the students with their various needs, preferences, and budgets, we narrowed the list to the providers who offered additional support and tutoring. We considered whether the company had basic and comprehensive options to fulfill a variety of students' study styles. Finally, we considered the pass rate and any guarantee that the course offers to help build confidence in the study materials.