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The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as the Coordinator, Preparation for Ministry/Exams for Mid Council Ministries of the Office of the General Assembly.

“... the Land that I Will Show You” is the blog of the Office of Preparation for Ministry/Examinations of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This blog is designed to serve as a resource for those discerning and preparing for a call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament as ordained teaching elders of the church. It will also provide a place for reflecting on and dialoging about the changing context of pastoral ministry in the early 21st century.

For quick announcements about changes or developments in the preparation process, dates related to exams or other key events, discussion boards, surveys, etc., you can follow us on Facebook at “Preparing for Presbyterian Ministry.”

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May 2, 2014

Registration Opens for First Quarterly Exams

Cover of May 2014 Exams HandbookThe Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC) has given final approval to the revision of policies and procedures needed to make quarterly administration of the senior ordination exams (Bible Exegesis, Church Polity, Theology, and Worship and Sacraments) a reality. With these approvals, registration is now open for the exams that will be given on July 25 and 26 (and the Bible Content Exam [BCE], which will be given on August 29, keeping with the “Friday before Labor Day” schedule begun in 2010).

There are a number of changes that are coming to both the registration process and the administration of the exams as a result of the increased opportunities to take the senior exams. All the information and details may be found in the new “Handbook to the Standard Ordination Exams in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” which is also being released today (you can download it from the denominational website by clicking here). To be sure you have this latest edition, look for “May 2014 / 2.0” on the cover.

Here are the most important things that inquirers/candidates and their presbyteries need to know about changes in the registration process.

Inquirers and Candidates must register for all exams with the user accounts registered with their presbytery of care. The exams system is now fully integrated with an online system used by presbyteries to track and report on progress in the preparation for ministry process.

Because only presbyteries can create accounts for inquirers and candidates, those planning to take exams should confirm they have accounts well before registration deadlines so that their presbyteries will have opportunity to enroll them in the system if they have not already done so. Exam registration deadlines are firm and will not be extended because an inquirer/candidate had yet to be enrolled by their presbytery in advance of the deadline.

Senior ordination exams are now “unproctored” and so may be taken from anywhere. Those exams will no longer be taken at testing sites, and so it is even more important for candidates to familiarize themselves with the online testing process before the examination period begins. The necessary information will be found in instructions sent with exam registration confirmation, the exams “Handbook,” and materials available on the Mid Council Ministries webpages (go to http://www.pcusa.org/prep4min).

Registration for the Bible Content and Senior Exams are separate processes. Because the BCE has a different administration schedule and requires selection of a testing site or designation of a special proctor, it requires a different online form.  Registration for both the BCE (proctored) and the Senior Exams (unproctored) is completed at the same website: https://exams.pcusa.org. Once logged in, applicants will find a link to “Register for an Exam” in the menu options on the left side of the “My Profile” page (this link is only displayed during active registration periods). Clicking on that link will display the “Select Event” page, that labels each exam “Event” by the season, year, and examination area (e.g., “Summer 2014 Senior Exams”). Those who need to take the BCE and one or more Senior Exams will need to complete separate registrations for each event; however, all four senior exams can be included in a single registration for a “Senior” event.

The registration deadline for the next Senior Exams is June 30, 2014. Because these exams will be given at the end of July rather than the end of August as in recent years, there is an earlier registration date. The registration deadline for the BCE will remain July 31 as in recent years.

Categories: Ordination Exams, Ordination Process


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