Series 65 as a precursor to CFA L1


I’ve got some time until I can take the CFA L1 in March 2016 and would have three queries in relation to that and the Series 65.

If I am interested in getting some results before taking the CFA L1 does it make sense to take the Series 65 just for the sake of being better prepared (and motivated to start studying early for the CFA)?

How much of the CFA L1 does the Series 65 cover?

Is there a risk of learning ‘wrong’ data from this in terms of the CFA (i.e. different classifications of items etc)?

Would there be any information anywhere as specific as to say which learning objective (LOS) would be covered?


I recently took the series 66 (65+33 into one) and must say that I do not believe it is very useful informationally wise for the CFA level 1. The other tests focus very heavily on rules/regulations and at times feels like a law test. There are very small portions of the test that relate to actualy portfolio management and investment analysis.

I would say the a benefit to taking the test before the CFA is that it teaches you how to study and put in the time in order to pass the serires 65. Another benefit is that the Ethics part in the CFA is similar in concept to what the series 65 teaches you about laws and regulations.

However - unless you don’t need the series 65 to work with clients and place trades for work I wouldn’t necessarliy recommend it because in my opinion the only benefit to an employer is that you will be able to do more working at a firm that someone else. If you’re trying to learn about investments don’t look to the 65 to provide you with that.

Thanks! Don’t need it for work, but given it should be easy might use the structure, copy CFA topics on same topic area together and try to pass the test essentially by reviewing CFA L1. I’ve already noticed that the Series 65 does not go into depth almost at all and rarely requires any calculations at all. I’ll let you know if I decide to pursue it.

To me, it’s really an apples to oranges comparison. The 65 (or 66) is the exam that a lot of employers give you a week or two to study for and take after you pass your 7. I don’t see much of a benefit in studying material for an exam that you can study for and pass in a matter of weeks.

Additionally, the exam question format is not the same, it’s computer based, and I do see some areas that might conflict with the CFA cirriculum just because the CFAI has a very specific way of presenting some topics.

Personally, I would see a much greater benefit in reading through ethics and then brushing up on any week areas that you already know that you have so that you have a good foundation for when you really start studying for level 1.

PS: the CFA exams are in June, not March. I wouldn’t want you to stress out getting ready for an exam 3 months early… :wink:

Thanks for the views and exam date clarification. My thoughts must have been on CAIA II in March.