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NALA CP Exam: Big Changes Coming in 2018

If you are a paralegal who has begun preparing for but not yet taken the Certified Paralegal Exam or, alternatively, one who is still working towards passing a remaining section or two, take notice that you have until the end of the September 2017 testing window to complete the process.  Beginning in January, 2018 NALA will be administering an entirely new exam format.

Here is the basic breakdown...

Examination Format

The 2018 Certified Paralegal examination will consist of two required sections taken in the following order:

  •  Knowledge Exam
    • The Knowledge Exam will consist of multiple choice questions covering the topic areas listed in the table below
    • The Knowledge Exam will be administered on-demand, year-round at testing centers with preliminary result reporting upon completion
    • Candidates must successfully complete the Knowledge Exam in order to be eligible to take the Skills Exam
  • Skills Exam
    • The Skills Exam will consist of a written assignment.  Specifications are set forth in in the table below
    • The Skills Exam will be administered during four testing windows each year: February, April, July, and October.

 

Successful completion of both the Knowledge and Skills Exams is required to obtain the Certified Paralegal credential.

 

 

Examination Policies

First Administration – Knowledge Exam

  • The first administration of the Knowledge Exam will be offered during a 30-day window with 150 items. This administration will be used for post-administration analysis, scoring, and standard setting. For this session, results will not be available upon completion but will be provided once the analysis, scoring, and standard setting has been completed.
    • 100 items will be scored (determined after administration).
    • 50 items will be pretested for statistical analysis (determined after administration) but will not be scored.
    • 3.75 hours testing time (90 seconds per item) will be provided for this one-time testing session.

Subsequent Administrations – Knowledge Exam

  • When the examination opens for year-round testing, 120 items will be included on each Knowledge Exam.
    • 100 items will be scored.
    • 20 items will be pretested for statistical analysis.
    • 3 hours testing time (90 seconds per item) will be provided for all subsequent Knowledge
    • Result reporting will be available upon completion with on-demand testing year-round.


Exam Administration Policies and Procedures

Knowledge Exam
  • Candidates must first pass the Knowledge Exam.
  • Candidates are eligible to take the Knowledge Exam only after they have graduated from an educational program, if using that eligibility pathway, or have the required minimum experience, if using the experience category. The new system of on-demand testing will remove deadlines to apply for the examination. Candidates will be able to apply when they are eligible.
  • Once NALA approves an application for the Certified Paralegal examination, candidates will have 365 days from the approval date to sit for the Knowledge Exam. If the candidate does not take the Knowledge Exam within 365 days of the initial approval date, NALA will return the application to the candidate. The examination fee is nonrefundable.
  • Candidates who do not pass the Knowledge Exam must wait 90 days before re-taking it.
  • Candidates must pass the Knowledge Exam within the first three attempts during the 365 day period or wait 365 days before trying again.
Skills Exam
  • Candidates who pass the Knowledge Exam are then eligible to take the Skills Exam and must complete the Skills Exam within the next 365 days after receiving notice of eligibility from NALA.
  • Candidates must wait at least 2 weeks after passing the Knowledge Exam before receiving eligibility to take the Skills Exam.
  • Candidates who do not pass the Skills Exam must wait 90 days before re-taking it.
  • Candidates must pass the Skills Exam within the first three attempts in a 365 day period or start over by re-taking the Knowledge Exam.
 Exam fees
  •  First time candidates
    • Nonrefundable examination fee of $250 for NALA members, $275 for nonmembers.
    • Includes one attempt for the Knowledge Exam and one attempt for the Skills exam.
  •  Retake candidates
    • Nonrefundable attempt fee of $60 per subsequent attempt for the Knowledge Exam.
    • Nonrefundable attempt fee of $60 per subsequent attempt for the Skills Exam.
  • New applicants for the May 2017 and September 2017 testing windows
    • Candidates who have not yet taken any sections prior to the May 2017 testing window have the option to sit for the examination in May 2017 or September 2017 but will have to complete the exam and pass all sections by the closing of the September 2017 testing window. If candidates do not take and pass all sections by the closing of the September 2017 testing window, NALA will require these candidates to retake the examination in its new format beginning in 2018.
    • Candidates who have not yet taken any sections of the exam also have the option to wait until 2018 to sit for the examination and the application will be transferred to 2018 upon request.
  • Candidates in retake status
    • Candidates who first sat for any section in September 2015 through January 2016 will have the full two years provided in their original application to take and pass all sections of the exam since the applications will expire after the September 2017 testing window closes.
    • Candidates who first sat for any section in the testing windows beginning May 2016 through January 2017 will need to successfully complete any remaining sections of the examination by the September 2017 testing window.
    • Any candidates who do not successfully complete all sections by the September 2017 examination will retake the entire exam in its new format starting in 2018. Candidates in this situation have a reduction in time to complete the examination from the time allowed in the initial application. These candidates will be permitted to re-take the new exam once at half cost since the time period to complete the examination has been reduced. Any subsequent re-takes will be at full price.

KNOWLEDGE EXAM

1. United States Legal System
  • Sources of Law
  • Judicial System
  • Remedies
  • Administrative Law
2. Civil Litigation
  • Jurisdiction
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
3. Contracts
  • Formation, Rights, Duties
  • Enforcement and Defenses
4. Corporate/Commercial Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Transactions

5. Criminal Law & Procedure

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure

6. Estates Planning & Probate

  • Estates and Trusts
  • Wills

7. Real Estate Property

  • Property Rights and Ownership
  • Transactions

8. Torts

  • Intentional Torts
  • Negligence
  • Strict Liability Torts

9. Professional and Ethical Responsibility

  • American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Unauthorized Practice of Law

SKILLS EXAM

1. Writing
  • Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling
  • Clarity of Expression
2. Critical Thinking
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Analysis of Information
  • Decision Making



If you are taking the Certified Paralegal Exam in May or September you need to do everything you need to pass all sections before the end of the September testing window or else you will have to start over from scratch with the new exam format in 2018!

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