The Series 66 exam was created by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to address the licensing needs of Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) candidates who also want to hold the Series 7 license. Generally, anyone who wants to be registered as an IAR need only pass the Series 65 exam. But, if they're going to also hold a Series 7 license as an IAR, they must instead take the Series 66 exam, which is essentially a combination of the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
Although you don't have to be sponsored to take the Series 66 exam, you must first pass the Series 7 exam as a prerequisite. While FINRA or NASAA don't publish pass rates for the Series 66 exam, candidates tend to underestimate the exam's difficulty, having recently passed the very challenging Series 7 exam. In looking at a few online forums, the general consensus among Series 66 test-takers is that it's an exam that should be taken seriously.
That's why it's essential to find a Series 66 exam prep course that best matches your learning style and study needs. In this roundup, we did the legwork for you by reviewing a dozen top exam course providers to find the best in six categories.
The 6 Best Series 66 Exam Prep Courses of 2020
Best Overall: Securities Institute of America
With its reasonably priced, comprehensive offerings of high-quality study materials with a money-back guarantee, the Securities Institute of America is our choice as the best overall Series 66 exam prep provider.
Complete lineup of course offerings
Six-month access to 1,800-question test bank
Strong instructor support
Backed by the renowned financial publisher Wiley & Sons
No mobile app but online tools are responsive to mobile devices
As a division of renowned financial information publisher John Wiley & Sons, one would expect the 25-year-old Securities Institute of America to produce high-quality, comprehensive study courses. However, its ability to deliver them at a very reasonable price with a money-back guarantee makes SIA our choice as the best overall Series 66 exam prep course provider.
For $179, the top-tier Complete Self-Study Solution has everything you need to prepare for the Series 66 exam successfully—a 322-page textbook (online and offline), eight hours of online video instruction, 1,800-question test bank for unlimited practice exams, an e-book that lets you access all course materials online or offline, and unlimited access to phone or live chat instructor support—all with six-month access.
Its $99 Text and Exam Prep Software package includes everything in the Complete package except online instruction and the e-book, making it an ideal choice for self-directed students. Students who only want access to the 1,800-question databank and practice quizzes can pay $45 for the exam prep software, which can be accessed on any device.
That's as complete a lineup of course offerings as you can find, allowing you to select an option that best matches your learning style and study needs.
All their Series 66 course offerings include the Greenlight Exam Guarantee, promising a full refund for students who pass the Greenlight Exam yet fail the exam on their first attempt. SIA boasts a 90% pass rate average for all its securities exams.
Best Premium Course Offering: Securities Training Corporation
For students looking for the best top-tier course, Securities Training Corporation's Premier Plus study package is stacked full of tools and features to match any learning style, making it our choice as the Series 66 exam prep course provider with the best premium course offering.
50-year track record
Comprehensive learning tools and training methods
Six-month access to all materials
Course materials are mobile responsive
Money-back guarantee not available with the standard course
Securities Training Corporation has a 50-year track record of preparing students to pass securities exams, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it knows how to design a top-tier course. Its Series 66 Premier Plus study package is as comprehensive as you will find, and, right now, it is selling for the same price as its mid-tier package, making it our choice as the best premium course offering.
For $194, STC's mid-tier Premier package provides six-month access to a wide range of best-in-class study tools and resources, including an online and printed study manual, online progress exams, customized practice exams, eight final exams, on-demand video lectures, online flashcards, and unlimited access to instructor support. Their on-demand video lectures are very high quality and worth the cost of a premium course for visual learners. While that is an impressive study package, the Premier Plus package adds live virtual or in-person classes, Series 66 Q&A sessions, and recorded live virtual courses—all for the same $194 price!
For some students, these feature-rich study packages may be overkill. But, for students who don't want to leave any stone unturned in their preparation for a challenging exam, the Premier Plus package is a great option.
STC also offers a basic self-study package for $135 consisting of its online and offline study materials and final exams. But it doesn't include the STC Pass Guarantee.
STC claims a 95% pass rate on all its securities exams.
Best Value Self Study Package: ExamFX
ExamFX has an impressive lineup of Series 66 exam prep courses, but its Self-Study package offers the best bang for the buck, making it our choice as the best value self-study package.
Comprehensive offering of study packages to match learning styles
Reasonably priced, full-featured self-study package
Adaptive learning simulation exams
Course access limited to 90 days
Since 1996, ExamFX has leaned on its parent company, Ascend Learning, for its best-in-class, technology-based learning solutions. ExamFX's tech-infused lineup of feature-rich Series 66 exam prep courses is impressive, but, for the price, its Self-Study package is our choice as the best value self-study package.
Self-directed students, who prefer to study at their own pace with no need for on-demand or virtual instruction will find everything they need in ExamFX's Self Study package, including instructor support, an interactive learning portal, online exam simulations, readiness exams, and a Guarantee Exam.
The best feature of all ExamFX courses is the simulated exams, which are infused with proprietary adaptive learning technology that steers students down the right learning path for their needs. It's fueled by an extensive question bank that provides a continuous stream of questions for an unlimited number of practice exams.
The Self-Study package also includes a Guarantee Exam with the promise that, if you pass it with a 90% score, ExamFX will refund your money if you fail the Series 66 exam on your first try.
The only downside is the short access period—90 days—which could be a tight timeframe for busy people self-studying during their free time.
ExamFX doesn't publish a passing rate for its Series 66 exam prep course.
Best Question Bank: Kaplan University
Most students studying for securities exams will tell you that an exam prep course's essential component is its question bank. With the SecuritiesPro™ QBank, Kaplan University has the one that best mimics the actual exam.
Long track record of successful Series 66 exam prep
Comprehensive offerings for any learning style
Robust question bank and practice test application
Course access for five months with a five-month extension for $49
No money-back guarantee
No mobile app platform
Kaplan University has had more than 50 years to perfect its question bank, which most students contend is an essential component of an exam prep course. With its 1,000-question SecuritiesPro™ QBank and its ability to create unlimited, customizable practice exams, Kaplan has come close to perfection, making it our choice as the best question bank.
Many students studying for securities exams rely heavily on a question bank to produce as many simulated exams as they need to master the material. If you were to select an exam prep course provider strictly for its question bank, you couldn't go wrong with Kaplan's SecuritiesPro™ QBank. It contains more than 1,000 questions that are continuously updated to reflect the most current Series 66 exam. Users can pull questions based on topics, modules, or areas of need to create unique practice exams. QBank tracks your progress and recommends a course of action based on your exam results.
QBank is included in all of Kaplan's study courses, including the $149 Basic package, the $189 Essential package, and the $269 Premium package. All packages come with Kaplan's highly acclaimed study manual, study calendar, performance tracker, and practice exams. The two upper-tier packages come with a video library and checkpoint exams. But only the top-tier Premium package comes with instructor support.
While Kaplan's pricing is a little on the high end of the spectrum, they are known for producing high-quality study materials. Plus, the QBank, which can be purchased separately for $70, adds a lot of value.
The QBank and all of Kaplan's study packages come with five-month access, but additional five-month access can be purchased for $49.
While Kaplan does not offer a money-back guarantee, 88% of its students pass the Series 66 on their first attempt.
Best Value for All-Inclusive Offering: NRS FINRA Training
While National Regulatory Services (NRS) only has one Series 66 course offering, it is one of the most complete packages you can find for $200, 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
With its purchase of exam prep powerhouse FIRE Solutions in 2016, National Regulatory Services competes with the best exam prep course providers. Recognizing that many students prefer a straightforward way to study for an exam, NRS has mastered the art and science of creating a complete course, providing students with everything they need for just $200 without extraneous tools or material. That represents the best value we've seen for an all-inclusive course.
The study package is divided into 10 modules delivered in a mobile-friendly and engaging format. A 20-question quiz follows each module to test your comprehension. You also have access to on-demand tutorials for each module to be used as necessary.
An embedded status indicator tracks your course progress and exam scores and lets you know where you stand. It continuously updates your study plan based on your progress and study needs. It will ultimately let you know when you're ready for the practice final exams. When students complete their practice finals, they have access to a test bank to generate unlimited 20- or 50-question exams for any module. Along the way, students have phone and email access to instructors during business hours.
For a study on the run, NRS offers a free FIRE Drill Quiz app for iOS and Android devices.
Nothing spells value more than a money-back guarantee, which NRS offers through its No Pass/No Pay plan. NRS has a published pass rate of 90% for students who strictly follow their course regimen.
Best Comprehensive Offering: Training Consultants
Training Consultants offers one single study package, but it has everything any student needs, regardless of learning style or study preference, to successfully prepare for the Series 66 exam, making it our choice as the best comprehensive offering.
Comprehensive offering of learning tools and methods
High-quality, exam-focused, on-demand video lectures
Strong instructor support
Unlimited practice and final exams
No money-back guarantee
Training Consultants has helped students pass securities exams for more than 40 years, so they know a thing or two about what students need in a study course. Drawing on their vast experience, Training Consultants has designed their single course offering with all essentials, making it our choice as the best comprehensive offering.
At $225, Training Consultants is not the cheapest study package out there, but it's also not the most expensive. For a comprehensive offering with all the essential studying resources, it's priced just about right. For students who value high-quality online video instruction, the Series 66 Online Course package is worth the cost.
The online courses are studio-recorded, multi-media lecture presentations featuring a seasoned subject matter expert for each chapter. The online courses can be accessed on-demand and viewed, paused, and repeated as needed. Students can also sign up for live online tutorial classes on a rotating calendar basis.
Students are introduced to the courses through a personalized study calendar that maps out a customized study plan containing links to the study tools they will need along the way. It monitors and measures progress, so students know exactly where they stand and the areas that need focus.
As students move through the course lectures, they are given spot check quizzes to increase retention and practice question sets to gauge their progress on their way to the Standard Finals. The Standard Finals simulate the actual exam's look and feel while providing a detailed breakdown of the answers. Students can also access an unlimited number of Random Final Exams and test themselves until they are ready to take the exam.
Students have unlimited phone and online access to instructor support throughout their six-month enrollment.
Training Consultants does not offer a money-back guarantee, nor does it publish a pass rate for students using its Series 66 exam prep course.
What Is the Series 66 Exam?
Like the Series 65 exam, the Series 66 exam qualifies candidates to act as an IAR, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or individual states. However, because the Series 65 exam duplicates many questions from the Series 7 exam, NASAA created the Series 66 exam for Series 7 license holders who want to become an IAR. Essentially, the Series 66 is a combination of the Series 63 and Series 65 exams, with the duplicative questions from the Series 7 exam removed. Candidates who want to become an IAR without holding a Series 7 license can take the Series 65 exam.
While the Series 66 exam does not require sponsorship, it does require the successful passing of the Series 7 exam as a corequisite. Typically, a securities firm will sponsor a candidate for the Series 7 exam.
The 150-minute exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering four broad topics:
- Economic factors and business information
- Investment vehicle characteristics
- Client investment recommendations and strategies
- Laws, regulations, and guidelines including the prohibition of unethical business practices
A passing score is 73 out of 100.
Is the Series 66 Exam Difficult?
Relative to other securities exams, the Series 66 exam is considered more difficult than the SIE and Series 63 exams, but not as difficult as the Series 65 exam. The challenge for many candidates who take the Series 66 exam following the very challenging Series 7 exam is they tend to underestimate the study requirements of the Series 66.
Many candidates have difficulty grasping the many industry rules and regulations, which is more about memorization than anything else. Couple that with the double- and triple-negative format of many questions, and it can trip up all but the best test-takers.
It takes a highly disciplined approach to study for the Series 66 exam, making investing in the right exam prep course all the more worthwhile.
How Long Does It Take to Study for the Series 66 Exam?
The length of time it takes to study for the Series 66 exam can vary widely based on a person's study habits and discipline level. Most exam prep providers recommend setting aside 50 to 80 hours, which should be spread out over four to five weeks for a person working full time.
What Is the Pass Rate of the Series 66 Exam?
FINRA and NASAA don't publish official pass rates for the Series 66 exam. However, anecdotally, the online forums are full of comments from candidates who underestimated the exam and failed on their first attempt. As with any securities exam, if you fail the Series 66 on your first attempt, you are allowed two more retakes, waiting 30 days between exam dates. If you fail on the third attempt, you can retake the exam after a 180-day waiting period.
How We Chose the Best Series 66 Exam Prep Courses
Finding the right exam prep course to match your particular learning style, study needs, and budget is critical. But most people have neither the time nor inclination to exhaustively review the more than two dozen Series 66 exam prep course providers. We did just that for this roundup, narrowing the field to 15 providers that warranted a closer look to eventually identify the best exam prep course providers in six categories.
We first used baseline criteria such as track record, pricing, and range of offerings to narrow the field down. Then we considered the technology, quality of materials, and unique features that each provider offered. We then identified the best providers in terms of comprehensiveness, value, and the range of learning tools to give students options based on learning styles.