Examinee Information

Examinee Information

Once your Certified Paralegal application has been approved you are one step closer to becoming a NALA CP! Please take a moment to review the exam information listed below before taking.

Knowledge Exam
  • Three (3) hours testing time; multiple choice questions
  • Candidate MUST first pass the Knowledge exam before proceeding to the Skills exam.
  • Candidates are eligible to take the Knowledge Exam only after they have graduated from a paralegal educational program or currently in the last semester or quarter of the program, if using the 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 candidates receive the authorization to test for the Knowledge Exam, candidates will have up to three attempts within 365 days from the initial authorization to test date to pass the Knowledge Exam.
    • If the candidate does not take all three attempts of the Knowledge Exam within 365 days of the initial authorization to test date, the application is voided.  A new application and fee are required to reapply for the Certified Paralegal exam.
    • If the candidate does not pass the Knowledge Exam in three attempts during the 365 days, a new application and fee are required to reapply for the Certified Paralegal exam.
  • Candidates MUST wait 90 days between each of the three attempts of the Knowledge Exam and must submit a retake application and fee to NALA to initiate each additional attempt and receive a new Testing Ticket notification.
Skills Exam
  • Two (2) hours testing time; written essay
  • Candidates who pass the Knowledge Exam will receive authorization to take the Skills Exam.
  • Candidates have up to three attempts within 365 days from the authorization to test date to pass the Skills Exam.
    • If the candidate does not take all three attempts of the Skills Exam within 365 days of the initial Skills Exam authorization to test date, the application is voided.  A new application and fee are required to reapply for the Certified Paralegal exam. The candidate is required to start over by taking the Knowledge Exam.
    • If the candidate does not pass the Skills Exam in three attempts during the 365 days, a new application and fee are required to reapply for the Certified Paralegal exam.  The candidate must start over by taking the Knowledge Exam.
  • Candidates MUST wait 90 days between each of the three attempts of the Skills Exam and must submit a retake application and fee to NALA to initiate each additional attempt and receive a new Testing Ticket notification.
Application Fees:
  • $250 NALA Members
  • $275 Non-NALA Members

The Paralegal student fee is for paralegal students currently in the last semester or quarter of the Paralegal program.

  • Paralegal Student – $125 NALA Members
  • Paralegal Student – $150 Non-NALA Members
Retake Candidates:

$60 (per subsequent attempt for each Knowledge and Skills exam)

CP Program Candidate Handbook

Exam Format & Topics 
Preparing for the Exam-Exam Format & Specifications

NOTE: Results are NOT available by telephone or fax.

Examinees are provided with failing scores only and will also receive feedback regarding their performance on the exam in preparation for re-testing.

Passing scores are not provided as the Certifying Board has determined “Pass” is sufficient to designate successful completion of the exam.

Passing Scores

Knowledge Exam – 100 points total

2019 – 69 points (exams KJ & ZP) 68 points (exam MG)

2020 – 69 points (exams KJ & ZP) 68 points (exam MG)

2021 – 68 points (exams LS & QI)

Skills Exam – 30 points total

2019

  • February – 19 points
  • April – 19 points
  • July – 18 points
  • October – 20 points

2020

  • February – 20 points
  • April – 18 points
  • July – 18 points
  • October – 21 points
How Passing Score is Established

The passing points, or cut scores, for the exams are established using a criterion-referenced technique. Qualified and trained SMEs participate in determining the passing points working with the psychometric consultant. The final passing points resulting from this process are approved by the Certifying Board (or SME working group).

Exam Score Appeal Process

An examinee may appeal, in writing, to the Certifying Board for review of the Board’s actions concerning examination results.

Such appeal must include the candidate’s basis for the appeal and any and all relevant documentation to be considered and must be received at NALA within thirty (30) days after release of the examination results. The Board Chair and NALA staff will promptly investigate to determine whether the documentation submitted meets the Certifying Board’s requirements for review of examination results. If it is determined that the appeal does not meet the requirements, the examinee will be so advised. If the information meets the Board’s requirements for an appeal, such appeal shall be reviewed by an appeal committee which shall be composed of a minimum of three (3) members of the Certifying Board, to include a paralegal educator, an attorney, and an Advanced Certified Paralegal. Each member of the Appeal Committee shall have served a minimum of one (1) year on the Certifying Board.

The Appeal Committee of the Certifying Board will determine whether a decision made by the Certifying Board was inappropriate if: (1) the decision was based on material errors of fact, or (2) the NALA Certifying Board failed to follow published criteria, policies, and procedures.

Only facts and conditions up to and including the time of the Certifying Board’s decision are eligible for consideration during the appeal process.

After consideration of the matter under appeal, the Appeal Committee shall submit its recommendation for action to the Certifying Board. A majority vote of Certifying Board members shall be final and binding in the matter under appellate review.

School transcripts

Categories 1 and 2 require an official school transcript submitted with the application. A transcript is considered “official” if it bears the official seal and authorizing signature of the issuing institution. We will accept a copy of the transcript via mail, fax or email. The official transcript must indicate all courses taken and date of graduation.

Examinee Attestation

All examinees are required to sign the attestation on the application for the Certified Paralegal examination. This serves as a pledge of confidentiality, and states reasons for suspension of authorization to use the Certified Paralegal credential.

Attorney Employer Attestations
  • For those qualifying under Category 1, an attorney/employer attestation is not required.
  • For those qualifying under Category 2 the attestation section is required only if applying with one year or more of paralegal experience in lieu of the 15 semester hours of paralegal courses.
  • The attestation section must be completed by all applicants for Category 3.
Withdrawal, Incomplete, or Rejected Applications

If an applicant must withdraw the application, a $75 cancellation fee is required. If the application is incomplete or rejected, the application will be denied and a $75 processing fee is required.

Americans with Disability Act

The Certified Paralegal examination is administered in compliance with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. All special requests must accompany the application form. Click here to download special accommodations form. Examinees qualifying for special accommodations under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act must attend a PSI testing center.

Ineligibility

Individuals currently incarcerated for any offense, or on probation, parole, or other court-imposed supervision for a felony offense, are ineligible to apply for the CP examination.

Confidentiality

An individual’s application status, exam results, and personal identifying information is confidential and will not be released by NALA to any person without the consent of the individual or as required by law, except to exam proctors as required for administration of the exam.

Non-Discrimination

NALA does not discriminate against applicants based on race, color, creed, gender, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status.

The Certified Paralegal examination is computer-based. Examinees may take the examination at testing centers offered through the PSI Testing Center Network, through schools or local centers off the PSI network, or examinees may make arrangements for the examination to be offered at their place of employment.

PSI Testing Center Network

DO NOT CREATE AN ACCOUNT.  AN ACCOUNT WILL BE CREATED FOR YOU AFTER YOUR APPLICATION IS APPROVED.

Examinees will incur additional testing center fees through the PSI centers, and some of those off the PSI network. The PSI Testing Center Network that most examinees in the Certified Paralegal program will be utilizing is the PSI Premier PLUS Test Centers. There are over 250 PSI testing centers throughout the United States. After examinees are admitted to the CP program, they will work directly with PSI to confirm testing appointments. The website, www.psiexams.com has a list of testing centers. Be sure to choose National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) as the Sponsor name from the drop-down menu of certification programs for an accurate list of testing centers.  Please adhere to PSI’s guidelines regarding COVID-19.  Click PSI’s COVID-19 FAQs for details.
DO NOT CREATE AN ACCOUNT

PSI Testing Centers

Examinees will receive an email notification when PSI is ready to accept appointments and payment for the Certified Paralegal examination. Examinees may NOT contact PSI until this notification is received. The notification will include the web address, PSI login name, examinee ID number, and examinee PIN number. These numbers should be identical to the information provided by NALA. If they are not, examinees should contact NALA Headquarters immediately.  PSI provides two easy methods to schedule test appointments:

When you schedule your appointment, you should be prepared to provide any of the following information:
  • Name used to schedule your appointment must match exactly the name shown on your identification. At a minimum, the identification must be a valid, government-issued ID that shows your name in the English alphabet, your signature, your photograph
  • Your sponsor issued I.D. Number
  • Contact phone numbers – If there is an unexpected event, PSI will use these numbers to contact you
  • Mailing address
  • Exam title (s)
  • E-mail address
  • Method of payment

Test appointments can be canceled and/or rescheduled through the PSI website.  PSI has strict rules regarding cancellation or rescheduling appointments. Changes or cancellations received fewer than 72 hours prior to the appointment date will result in a forfeiture of payment. Cancellations more than 72 hours in advance of the appointment date are eligible for a refund. Appointments may be canceled or rescheduled online using the same link used to schedule appointments.

In rare cases, weather or an emergency forces a test center closure. If this happens you will be contacted by the PSI rescheduling department within 24-48 hours to reschedule your appointment. Examinees may also call 800-733-9267 for information. Real-time site information is posted at psiexams.com.

Once examinees have made the appointment and submitted payment, PSI will send a confirmation with testing center rules. The confirmation will also include directions to the testing center location.

PSI Testing Center Policies

The following are standard rules for PSI testing centers and will be followed by NALA examinees. For more detailed information, there is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on the PSI website. Click here to visit this page.

  • No conversing or any other form of communication among candidates is permitted once you enter the examination area.
  • You are prohibited from reproducing, communicating or transmitting any test content in any form for any purpose. Copying or communicating content is a violation of PSI security policy. Either one may result in the disqualification of examination results, may lead to legal action and will be reported to your Licensing Authority/Sponsor.
  • Electronic devices and recording devices of any kind (including but not limited to cell phones, pagers, cameras) are NOT permitted in PSI testing centers.
  • No personal items should be brought to the testing centers. PSI will not be responsible for any personal items and suggests that you leave such items in another safe place of your choosing. Only non-programmable calculators that are silent, battery operated, do not have paper tape printing capabilities, and do not have an alphabet keyboard will be allowed in the examination site.
  • You must present valid, unexpired and acceptable ID(s) in order to take your test. Check your Candidate Information Bulletin or Licensing Authority/Sponsor for the specific rules that apply to your test.
  • PSI requires all employees and test takers to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner at all times. Exhibiting abusive behavior towards a proctor or other candidates will be reported to your Licensing Authority/Sponsor and may result in criminal prosecution.
  • You must arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled exam time in order to be admitted to take your exam.
  • Persons not scheduled to take a test are not permitted to wait in the testing center or surrounding common areas.
  • Once examinees have made the appointment and submitted payment, PSI will send a confirmation with testing center rules. The confirmation will also include directions to the testing center location.
PSI Cost Information

Appointment fees, effective through 2018, for PSI testing centers are as listed below. The PSI appointment fees are separate from the examination fees and paid directly to PSI. Payment is required in advance.

  • Knowledge Exam – $55
  • Skills Exam – $40

The time stated above is the time an examinee will be in attendance at a testing center. Examinees are required to be present 30 minutes prior to the stated exam start time for check-in and sign-in into the exam session. Examinees are cautioned that those who are termed “NO-SHOWS” will forfeit the examination appointment fee.

NALA is not responsible for changes in fees or policies of PSI that apply to the PSI Testing Center Network. NALA makes every effort to convey information about PSI testing center policies and fees, but amendments to the fee schedule and policies may be made by PSI that are not immediately communicated to NALA.

Non-PSI Testing Centers

For those Examinees who are participating in non-PSI Testing Centers, NALA has established procedures which allow an employer or school to apply to become a NALA approved testing center designed for groups of employees or paralegal students. A packet of forms and requirements to become an authorized testing center for the Certified Paralegal examination may be obtained by clicking here.

Below is a list of schools and firms that will be offering testing centers to examinees. Check this page often as centers are added frequently prior to the opening of a testing window.

SCHEDULING APPOINTMENTS: In order to schedule your testing appointment(s), you are required to use the link provided for your choice of testing location so NALA may confirm your eligibility with the testing location.  Walk-ins are prohibited at all testing locations.

State Center Name (click for details) Window
CA QTS Testing Center July, 2021, August, 2021, September, 2021
FL Brian R. Toung, P.A. July, 2021, August, 2021, September, 2021
ID Idaho State University July, 2021, August, 2021, September, 2021
MS Holmes Community College July, 2021, August, 2021, September, 2021
TX Odessa College July, 2021, August, 2021, September, 2021
UT Salt Lake Community College July, 2021, August, 2021, September, 2021
VI University of the Virgin Islands – UVICELL (St. Croix) July, 2021, October, 2021
WI Madison Area Technical College October, 2021
WV Mountwest Community & Technical College July, 2021
Overview of Testing Center Options

If you have the option of selecting PSI and Non-PSI centers, the following chart outlines the different procedures.

If you are taking the exam at a PSI center: If you are taking the exam at a non-PSI center:
  • All centers through the PSI testing center network are available for the Certified Paralegal examination subject to the center’s hours of operation.
  • The center must be approved by NALA in advance of the testing window. An examinee’s employer may qualify or most community colleges.
  • All NALA examinees will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to make an appointment through PSI.
  • Do not contact PSI until you have received your Authorization to Test or confirmation from PSI that they are ready to schedule your appointments.
  • Do not create an account through the PSI website. In order to schedule your appointments, you are required to use the login and PIN provided in your Authorization to Test and confirmation emails from PSI. Assignments will only be available to schedule using the ID and PIN provided to you by NALA.
  • If you receive a communication from PSI, disregard the PSI communication and its instructions.
  • Be sure to review the rules posted on the PSI website when making your appointment.
  • You must arrange your own testing schedule through the school or your employer. Be sure you know the time you will need for each exam section.
  • PSI will charge an appointment fee payable by credit card (VISA or MasterCard only) when the appointment is made.
  • Fees vary by testing center. Some schools and employers do not charge. Inquire about this in advance from the testing center.
  • PSI advises NALA of appointments that are made and confirmed.
  • Examinees must advise NALA of appointment times and dates.
  • PSI has strict rules regarding cancellation or rescheduling. Changes or cancellations received less than 72 hours prior to the appointment time will result in a forfeiture of payment.
  • Testing center rules regarding fees vary by center. Consult the testing center for these details. Generally, if centers have charges for the proctors and testing facility, payment will be made upon entering the center as part of the check-in process.
  • Cancellations more than 72 hours in advance of the appointment time are eligible for a refund. Appointments are canceled or rescheduled online using the same link used to schedule appointments. Contact NALA Headquarters for questions regarding refunds.

Note: Cheating and misconduct are not tolerated in the Certified Paralegal program. Click here to review policies and other policies for examinees.

The following policies address testing center policies, terms and conditions, timing of exam sections and instructions from proctors.

Upon login to the testing web site, the Terms and Conditions appear on the computer screen with the login information. These are detailed rules relating to the delivery of the computer based examination. Each examinee must enter their unique NALA Account Number and click “I accept these terms and conditions” before signing in to the examination.


Terms and Conditions

You are asked to agree to the following terms and conditions related to computer based delivery of the Certified Paralegal examination any time you sign in to the test web site. This information was provided to you with your examinee information from NALA.

PLEASE read the following carefully – some of the terms are duplicative of requirements of PSI testing centers, others are specifically required of all NALA examinees.

By clicking “I accept these terms and conditions,” you are agreeing to the following:

  • I have read the “Policy Statement” and I am familiar with its provisions.
  • I will be continuously monitored during my appointment.
  • I consent to video and audio recording of my test session and to the examination of the video and/or audio recording of my test session in the event that any questions should arise concerning possible violations of the procedures and/or rules of the test center. (May not apply to all centers.)
  • I will follow instructions of the test proctor, represent myself honestly, and conduct myself quietly to avoid interfering with the performance of other examinees.
  • I will only use authorized computer equipment.
  • I will not open software programs on the computer provided by the testing center unless instructed by the proctor.
  • I will neither give nor receive any form of unauthorized assistance during the examination or any breaks.
  • I will not bring into the testing room any unauthorized items such as food, drinks, purses, briefcases, backpacks, cell phones, pagers, notes, note pads, photographic equipment, or any electronic devices. If I am observed using an electronic device, including a cell phone, in violation of these rules, it may be confiscated and sent to NALA for examination.
  • If I have questions or concerns about the test environment, I will quietly notify the test proctor.
  • I will report all problems related to the testing center, proctor, or computer delivery of the exam to the proctor immediately. If an examinee does not report problems with exam delivery immediately to the proctor, NALA will trust there are no problems, and there is no basis for complaint after the examination session has ended.
  • I will allow testing center staff 30 minutes to resolve any technical problems that may arise (including power failure). I have the option of continuing the examination or requesting a reschedule of the examination for technical or other problems outside of my control taking more than 30 minutes to resolve.
  • I will sign in and out every time I enter or leave the testing room.
  • During testing, the exam timer will remain running during any unscheduled breaks; therefore, it is in my best interest to use the restroom or otherwise address personal needs prior to beginning my test.
  • I will remain in the test center and may leave only to use those restroom facilities that are closest to the test room. I will not leave the building. I will not access a phone or my personal belongings, except in the case of an emergency. Under such circumstances, I will notify the test proctor before accessing a phone or my personal belongings.
  • I will not remove any written, printed, or recorded materials of my examination from the testing center. The examination questions remain the property NALA and I shall maintain the confidentiality of the questions and answers.
  • I will return all materials, including scratch paper, provided to me by the test proctor when I have completed my examination and before I leave the test center.
  • Once I begin taking sections of the Certified Paralegal examination, I understand the examination, including retakes, must be completed within two years, (a maximum of five additional testing sessions).
  • If the examination is not completed within this time frame, credit for all passed sections will be forfeited and a new application form will be required.
  • Abuse of this site, or non-compliance of these terms and conditions will not be tolerated. Should information concerning abuse or non-compliance come to NALA’s attention, the candidate’s ID number and PIN will be terminated and NALA may take further disciplinary action.

Prior to allowing examinees to sign in to the testing site, all examinees are required to review the terms and conditions related to taking the CP examination via computer based testing. The information contained in the terms and conditions is also provided to examinees with the testing PIN and ID number, the NALA account number, and other instructions. Each examinee will be required to check “I accept these terms and conditions” prior to starting an examination.

Results

Knowledge Exam

  • The preliminary test scores will be provided immediately to examinees at the testing center after completing the exam.
  • NALA will provide an official confirmation of test results.

Skills Exam

  • Requires grading by the Certifying Board and results will not be available at the testing center.
  • Results for the Skills Exam will be released by the end of the month following the testing window, i.e., March, May, August, and November.

Examinees are provided with failing scores only. In addition, examinees who need to re-test will receive feedback regarding their performance on the exam. This information is provided to assist examinees in preparation for re-testing.

Passing scores are not provided. Successful completion of each exam is designated with “Pass.” The Certifying Board has determined “Pass” is sufficient to designate successful completion of the exam sections and that if a paralegal has met the standard, the paralegal has earned the Certified Paralegal credential.

Results are NOT available by telephone or fax.

Appeal of Results

An examinee may appeal, in writing, to the Certifying Board for review of the Board’s actions concerning examination results. The specific procedure for the appeal of examination results is posted on the NALA web site.

Retake Policy

Knowledge Exam Retake

  • 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 attempt and two additional retake attempts during the 365-day period or wait 365 days before trying again.

Skills Exam Retake

  • 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 attempt and two additional retake attempts during the 365 days or start over by retaking the Knowledge Exam.

Confidentiality of Examinees

The names of examinees for the Certified Paralegal examination are considered confidential and not released by NALA to any person, except examination proctors, without express approval of the examinee.

Other Certified Paralegal Program Requirements

This policy statement refers strictly to the delivery of the Certified Paralegal examination. It is the responsibility of each examinee to be familiar with the other policies and requirements of the Certified Paralegal Program, including but not limited to, the continuing education requirements to maintain the Certified Paralegal credential as well as examination and testing center fees.

Timing of Exam Sections

The following are the required two sections of the Certified Paralegal exam with the time allowed as established by the NALA Certifying Board:

  • Knowledge Exam – 3 hours
  • Skills Exam – 2 hours (Essay required)

The computer based testing allows the timing of each exam section to be enforced automatically. Timing begins when the test is released by the examination proctor. When the time has expired, the exam will close automatically and the examinee will not have access to it again. If an examinee has not completed the test, and the time allowed expires, the work completed will be scored. Questions that are not completed will be scored as incorrect answers.

Timing begins once the proctor has released the exam. There are no scheduled breaks during the exam. If a break must be taken during testing, the clock will continue to run.

Instructions for Proctors

Testing center proctors are responsible for the delivery of the Certified Paralegal examination, including providing printed copies of the essay questions as needed.  Questions regarding facilities or equipment should be directed to the testing center proctor.

The NALA Certifying Board is responsible for the Certified Paralegal examination.  Questions regarding the examination content or format should be directed to NALA Headquarters at 7666 E. 61st Street, Suite 315, Tulsa, OK  74119, 918.587.6828 , FAX 918.582.6772, or nalanet@nala.org.

Policy Statement

One of the terms is that the examinee is aware of the Policy Statement. This consists of a review of the attestation each examinee signed on the application form, and other policies related to the exam program. The statement is as follows:

Policy Statement
The Certified Paralegal Examination was developed by NALA-The Association of Legal Assistants-Paralegals and has been provided to the paralegal profession since 1976. The program is administered by the Certifying Board for Paralegals.

Examinee Attestation
All examinees are required to sign the following attestation on the application for the Certified Paralegal examination. This statement serves a reminder of your pledge of confidentiality, and reasons for suspension of authorization to use the Certified Paralegal credential:

I hereby declare that the above information [on the Certified Paralegal Examination Application Form] is complete and truthful. I further pledge not to divulge the contents of any examination question for certification as a legal assistant/paralegal by NALA (the “Examination Questions”) and agree to be bound by the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility of NALA. Inasmuch as it is and ever will be impracticable and extremely difficult to determine the actual damages resulting to NALA should I divulge the contents of any Examination Questions, I agree to pay NALA as liquidated damages and not as a penalty, the sum of $500 for each breach of my agreement not to divulge the contents of any Examination Questions.

I further understand that the CP designation may be suspended or revoked and that I may be prohibited from taking any further NALA exams, including but not limited to any specialty practice area exams or retaking the general certification exam for the following reasons:

  1. Falsification of information on application form.
  2. Subsequent conviction of the unauthorized practice of law.
  3. Failure to meet continuing legal education requirements as required by the Certifying Board.
  4. Divulging the contents of any Examination Question.
  5. Subsequent conviction of a felony.
  6. Violation of the NALA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
  7. Violation of the Terms and Conditions of testing.
  8. Engaging in any other conduct determined by a majority vote of the Certifying Board to be unethical or unprofessional.

The Certified Paralegal credential may be suspended or revoked if it is found the Certified Paralegal has:

  • Falsified information on application form
  • Been convicted of the unauthorized practice of law since receiving the Certified Paralegal credential
  • Failed to meet continuing legal education requirements as required by the Certifying Board
  • Divulged the contents of any examination question
  • Been convicted of a felony since receiving the Certified Paralegal credential
  • Violated the NALA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
  • Violated the “Terms and Conditions of Testing,”
  • Engaged in any other conduct determined by a majority vote of the Certifying Board to be unethical or unprofessional.Filing a complaint.If any person believes that a Certified Paralegal has been convicted of a felony or violated any of these standards, the individual should contact NALA in writing. Such communication should be marked “Confidential.” The information provided should include documents which substantiate any claim of conviction or improper behavior.

For more information view Disciplinary Policies and Procedures.