Program 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 Counseling Program 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 Program 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 8 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.

 Email the Counseling Program Administrative Assistant once you are satisfied with your scores

Suggested Study Materials

Kring, Ann M., Davison, Gerald C., Neale, John M. and Johnson, Shari (2007). Abnormal Psychology (10th ed.). New York: John Wiliey and Sons.

Gerrig, Richard J., Zimbardo, Phillip G., (2009). Psychology and Life (19th ed.). New York: Harper Collins. 

Myers, David., Dewall, Nathan. (2015). Psychology (11th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. 


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