Counseling Readiness Exam

Students entering the Master of Arts in Counseling 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. Counseling 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 Counseling Studies of Western Seminary.


The Readiness Exam must be taken at least once before beginning your first semester. You must pass all sections of the exam before your second semester registration is allowed. 

Exam Content

The Readiness Exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. The exam is self-administered via an online classroom and instructions given from the Counseling Department Administrative Assistant. The exam covers eight areas:

  • Social Psychology
  • Personality Theory
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Historical Foundations
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Human Lifespan Development
  • Biopsychology
  • Therapeutic Approaches 


Each sub-section of the exam will be scored separately. A 70% score on each section will be necessary for a passing score. Scores of 69% 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 70% or better on all subsections except Human Development, where he or she receives a lower score, that student would then complete the remedial work in Human Development only, not all 5 sub-sections. However, students may take the exams as many times as necessary to earn a passing score.

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

 Complete all eight sections of the exam.

 If you do not pass one or more sections, follow the "Remedial Work" instructions below.

Remedial Work Instructions

 Check out the necessary remedial items, on reserve in the library (See materials list below)

 After completing the remedial work re-take the subsection(s).

 After successfully completing all sections of the exam contact the Counseling Administrative Assistant to notify department of completion

Suggested Study Materials

Any general psychology text, preferably 2010 or more recent publication. 


Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Shanita Gills for more information.