Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Test World vs. Real World for Series 65 and Series 66

One of the most frequently heard sayings in the securities test prep industry is, "there is the test world . . . and then there is the real world." While it's also one of the most universally accepted truths about the Series 65 and Series 66 license exams, upon closer look, there's not much there there. In fact, after teaching this material for around 10 years now, I still cannot come up with a good example of something you learn for the Series 65 or 66 that is not also true in the so-called "real world." The fact that a candidate might know something about financial planning issues does not make an answer like "$10,000 indexed for inflation" incorrect when he or she was really looking for the more precise and up-to-date number of $14,000 for the annual gift tax exclusion. If you know the precise number for the lifetime estate credit, that does not make an answer like "$5 million indexed for inflation" wrong. In fact, it makes it a lot more workable than some precise number that goes up at some point during the year--exactly when, no one really knows.

Some folks seem to take comfort in assuming that the test is stupid, stupid, stupid. However, I've taken the 65 four times and the 66 once, and I can tell you there is nothing stupid about these exams. These exams expect you to know the vocabulary terms inside out, and understand important concepts about fraud, registration, securities risk, and economics . . . all of which relate to the so-called "real world." My impression is simply that you have to study and do some critical thinking in real-time at the testing center. That's it.
So, complain about the test if you must, put it down if it makes you feel better, but if you study with due diligence and avoid a meltdown at the testing center, you will pass the Series 65 or Series 66 exam. Pass your Series 65 exam