My insights on passing the 7 / 66
I've been reading the forums for months, basiclly since I started interviewing for the FA position with a wirehouse.
I have just recently passed the 7 and 66, both on my first attempt. Here are some of my insights:
Both of these test are extremly difficult. A few people will say they are not and for some people thats true but overall don't listen to these clowns. Assume the test will be difficult and over-prepare.
The 66 is the most difficult test I have ever taken and the 7 is the second-most difficult.
Chances are you are in my position where the 7 must be passed on the first attempt and the 66 must be passed within 2 attempts or you're fired. With that in mind, study for these test like your life depends on it, because, it kind of does.
I spent 8 weeks and 250-300 hours studying for the 7 and 4 weeks (150 hours) studying for the 66.
I passed the 7 by a very large margin and barely passed the 66 with a 76%
Material: For both the 7 and 66 my firm provided STC online materials (the online book, recorded lectures and practice test galore).
I also picked up "series 7 for dummies" and "Pass the 66" to suppliment the material. I could have done without the "series 7 for dummies" but I would have failed if not for Pass the 66. More on that later.
For the series 7, STC is excellent. I felt over-prepared for the test which is exactly how you want to feel. The later STC exams (basiclly practice exam with 7 through 13) put a lot of focus on the "hard" parts of the test where as the actual test seemed to have a lot of questions on the "basics" and realitively few on the hard questions. The problem with this is that I had not seen the "basics" in the last two months because so much of the content was placed on the hard sections.
I recommend learning the hard concepts but be sure to give the "basics" a once over the night before the exam.
For the 66 exam, STC sucks. Despite the numerous "updates" the STC material is very long, dry and outdated. If I had only the STC material for this exam I would have failed, no question.
I highly recommend "Pass the 66" by Robert Walker - make sure you get the updated for 2010 version (he references an updated for 2011 version on his website but I couldn't find it online). His book covers everything on the exam and is entertaining to read. I only had one question on the entire exam where I was like "wow, I have no idea" - it was probably one of the experimental questions.
I'm glad that I had access to both but "Pass the 66" would probably have been sufficent alone. If you're studying on your dime, get the book, but eitherway do not rely solely on STC's series 66 material - you will probably fail.
Also, "Pass the 66" has a nice (and free!) "updates" section that amounts to a 3 and a half page "cliff notes" for the entire 66 exam:
I recommend printing this out and reviewing right before you take the exam.
Also, print out the FINRA / NASAA study guides/outline of the exam. It will show the subjects the test will ask and the number of questions on those subjects.
This helped me allocate on what to spend my time on. I didn't use it for the 7 but I wish I had. For example I spent hours wrapping my head around margins and it ended up being 1 question out of the entire test.
A few things for the 66 that may help you:
1) Remember, you are a fidicuary. When in doubt, choose the option thats best for the client.
2) Watch out for questions that try to trick you into thinking that they're talking about an IA/IAR when they're actually talking about a broker-dealer. Answers that would be correct for a IA are not correct for a B/D. Re-read the questions, the quesiton will specify "broker dealer" or "investment advisor" but then go on to describe the opposite.
Read each question at least twice. This is not a test that you want to always go with "your initial gut reaction". Each question must be anaylized.
3) If you see an example and know "you can't do that" or "its bad" then it's unethical, but if you're doing it willfully/intentionally its fraud/criminal. Also, anything that implies that the SEC/FINRA/NASAA/State Admin/ect has "approved" or "recommended" is fraud/criminal. They just give you the right to sell, they don't give their stamp of approval on anything. With that said, I didn't have a single question on criminal penalities/statue of limitations. I had one easy question on liability in a civil case.
4) Study, study study - I used several high lighters going through my Pass the 66 book and then went over the parts I highlighted in the book again the evening before I tested.
Always push forward :)
Thank you for your info, I will bookmark it for sure and use when I get hired.
You answered some of my questions about MSSB assessment tests on the post: “assessment tests Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Financial Advisor Associate Training Program”, and you said I could ask you again. I tried to post reply, but for some reason the system did not allow me to do it there. So I am posting my questions here on this post and I would greatly appreciate your clarifications.
You said to prepare for pre-hire assessment tests there will be math and logic and personality. Any idea where would I get some materials for me to practice on math and logic for such tests. I really want to do well. I know I have skills for the position and I don't want the tests to become obstacles in hiring process.
So what would you suggest for preparation, so I can focus on the areas that tests cover? Any materials? For each section please..
And also as I understood assessment tests are not timed. Is it correct? Did they just email the link to you after the interview and you had to do them at home online?
Thanks again for your help..