Western Seminary M.A. in Counseling

Marital and Family Therapy Readiness Exam

Students entering the M.A. in Marital Family Therapy (MFT) Program are expected to bring a foundational knowledge of psychology. Proficiency in this foundational knowledge will be confirmed through a “Readiness Exam,” required of all incoming counseling students. If deficiencies are indicated, remedial work will be required. MFT students may satisfy these deficiencies in one of the following two ways: Complete appropriate undergraduate course(s) at an approved institution, or complete a self-guided instructional program provided through the Department of Marital and Family Therapy of Western Seminary.


The Readiness Exam (and any subsequent remedial work) must be completed before the Director’s Interview is granted. It is recommended that you take the exam as early as possible in the event that you would need to complete any remedial work.

Exam Content

The Readiness Exam consists of 115 multiple-choice questions. The exam covers five areas:

  1. Abnormal Psychology
  2. Historical Foundations & Considerations
  3. Human Growth and Development
  4. Personality and Counseling Theory
  5. Research and Evaluation


Each sub-section of the exam will be scored separately. A 50% score on each section will be necessary for a passing score. Scores of 49% or less on a particular sub-section will indicate a need for remedial work in that subject matter. For example, if a student receives scores of 50% or better on all subsections except Human Development, where he or she receives a 40%, that student would then complete the remedial work in Human Development only, not all 5 sub-sections.

The following checklist will guide you through the readiness exam process:

  • Complete all five sections of the exam.
  • After completing each section of the exam, write your scores and return them to the MFT Administrative Coordinator.
  • If you do not pass one or more sections, follow the “Remedial Work” instructions.

Remedial Work Instructions

  • Check out the necessary remedial items on reserve in the library or available through the links below (See materials list below)
  • After completing the remedial work re-take the subsection(s).
  • Write your passing score and bring the score sheet to the MFT Administrative Coordinator.

Suggested Study Materials

The following courses are recommended study materials for the Counseling Readiness Exam:

  • Davison, Gerald C., Neale, John M, (1994). Abnormal Psychology. New York : John Wiley and Sons.
  • Zimbardo, Philip G., (1992). Psychology and Life. New York. New York: Harper Collins.

Personality and Counseling Theory

Research and Evaluation

Human Growth and Development

Abnormal Psychology

Historical Foundations and Considerations

San Jose campus students: Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.
Sacramento students: Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.