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Preparation for Ministry

Registration for Ordination Exams


Standard ordination exams home

Registration for the Fall 2017 Senior Ordination Exams is open August 1 – September 30. Registration for the Bible Content Exam to be administered on February 2, 2018 is open November 1 – December 31, 2017. For all the necessary information about online registration and administration of these tests, please visit the examinations section of this website.  

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.

Register now

BCE registration

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 Manager 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.

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.

Applicant responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that:

  • registration deadlines have been met (see the Exams Schedule page for the specific deadlines for each exam cycle);
  • 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., BCE proctors and committee chairpersons from each candidate’s presbytery.



The fee for each exam is $65. 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. If you are taking the BCE, 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.

Those taking any of the senior ordination examinations are responsible to be prepared to comply with the technological requirements necessary to access the exam online and to have become familiar with the testing system before the examination period begins. Mid Council Ministries of the Office of the General Assembly provide a range of online resources in both text and video formats to assist with this preparation (visit


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 $25 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 Manager for Preparation for Ministry as soon as possible; with confirmation of such circumstances registration fees will be refunded.

(2) Comments

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  1. The listing of standard testing sites is available on the information page for the Bible Content Exam ( "Special Proctors" are arranged through the inquirer's presbytery.

    by Tim Cargal

    November 17, 2014


  2. Where do I find the contact information for the "proctors" of the BCE? Thanks!

    by Anthony J San Filippo

    November 17, 2014


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