Registration to take ordination exams
Before registering for the exams, please carefully review the information on this page. When you are ready to register (or if you need to return to the registration site), click on the link below.
Applicants may register and pay online for the Bible Content Examination. An e-mail confirmation containing essential information required for taking the test is sent to each registrant.
The Bible Content Examination is given at proctored sites using an Internet-based testing program. The proctors for each site can provide information about the specific equipment availability and requirements for their location. Inquirers and candidates should confirm these requirements with the proctor at the site before registering.
Senior exam registration
The Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations and the Coordinator for Preparation for Ministry recommend that candidates take all four “senior” ordination examinations during the final year of seminary or after the equivalent of two full years of theological education. The decision to authorize a person to take the examinations belongs solely to the presbytery committee/commission overseeing her or his preparation for possible ordination as a teaching elder. Without this specific authorization, an applicant is not permitted to take these examinations.
When authorizing a person to take the exams, the presbytery’s committee attests that the inquirer or candidate has completed adequate academic preparation in each examination area and adequate supervised experience in the practice of pastoral ministry to be prepared to do the integrative work that is required in the senior ordination examinations.
Candidates who are taking the senior exams for the first time are encouraged to take the exams in all four subject areas.
Registration for all of the standard ordination examinations is completed using an online process. Once the candidate has entered the required registration information at the registration site (including payment information for the billing of the fees), an email will be sent to the candidate’s presbytery committee, requesting authorization to take the exams. Once the presbytery’s committee has authorized the examinations, an email confirmation will be sent to the candidate.
The same registration process is to be used by ministers of other denominations who are seeking admission to the PC(USA), and who have permission from a presbytery committee/commission to take exams.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that:
- all necessary steps in the application/registration process have been fulfilled;
- all instructions have been followed carefully;
- close contact is kept with the links to the process, i.e., proctors and committee chairpersons from each candidate’s presbytery.
The deadlines for applications are:
- for January exams: the preceding December 31
- for August exams: the preceding July 31
The fee for each exam is $75. When your registration is submitted online we will request an approval code for the total amount of fees due. Final billing to the account will be completed only after the presbytery’s committee has authorized taking the exams. This payment system does not involve the storing of personal account information during processing of the registration request.
Testing applicants will receive an email confirmation once the moderator of the appropriate presbytery committee has authorized taking the exams. This email will include information about the testing process, preliminary materials, and the applicant’s I.D. number. This number is used throughout the exam process to insure anonymity in evaluating responses.
All five areas of examination are administered using Internet-based testing systems. Please contact the proctor at your preferred testing site to find out how to comply with the technological requirements at that site before you register for the exams. It is the responsibility of the inquirer or candidate to comply with the technology requirements at the testing site. If you cannot meet the requirements at a particular site, you will need to consider an alternative testing site or explore options for a special proctor administration with your presbytery’s committee.
After registrations have been confirmed, cancellation of an exam up until one week before the administration of the exam will be subject to an administrative fee of $50 per exam. If an exam is cancelled less than seven days before the exam is to be administered, all fees paid will be forfeited. In case of serious illness or emergency, please contact the Coordinator for Preparation for Ministry/Exams and the proctor at the testing site as soon as possible; with confirmation of such circumstances registration fees will be refunded.
Registration for the August 2013 standard ordination exams will be from April 1 through July 31.
When does registration open for the Senior Ordination exams?
While the dates for exams currently open for registration do not appear on the initial "Profile" page once a person logs in, they do appear on the 'splash' screen (http://exams.pcusa.org) during open registration periods and on the specific registration page where particular exams are selected.
The Exam registration website does not allow you to see the dates of the exams once you are logged in. This seems like a simple website fix that would make things a lot easier for applicants so you don't have to spend 20 minutes looking for the dates to make sure you can attend. Once you log in the only information available is "Spring 2013"...
Suggestions for preparing for the Polity and other ordination exams are available in the "Handbook on Standard Ordination Exams" and the "Online Training Opportunities," both available from links on these Preparation for Ministry web pages (http://www.pcusa.org/prep4min). There have been no structural changes to the Polity Exam in response to the current Form of Government. All exams will be given online beginning in August 2012, so be sure to see the Handbook for information about that change.