How to Prepare for the Written Exam



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How to Prepare for the English Written Exam



The English Written Exam may be taken after having satisfied the requirements for the two classes –  Online Ethics and Courts Overview. To pass the exam, interpreters must possess a mastery of the English language equivalent to a highly educated native speaker, and have a thorough understanding of court procedures and interpreter conduct & ethics.

A summary of exam information is available on the English Written Exam Information page. The American Bar Association (ABA) webpage, How Courts Work, is an excellent resource for information about the justice system and courts.

If you believe you are ready to take the exam, you may find registration information on the Registration Process page.

Registration and Beyond

Once all prerequisites have been satisfied and you are ready to register, submit the English Written Exam and OPI Registration Form by the appropriate deadline and follow all subsequent instructions. For the exam schedule calendar, visit the Schedule and Calendar page.

Once registered, simply continue your exam preparation routine as normal. Remember, practice makes perfect. Continue studying, building your vocabulary, and developing your knowledge of idioms, court procedure and interpreter ethics.

Several Days Before the Exam

In the days leading up to the exam, make sure any necessary logistical arrangements for your exam date, time, and location are in order. Double check your exam confirmation e-mail and resolve any doubts you may have about logistics, procedures to follow, etc.

The Day Before the Exam

On the day before the exam you should already have everything in order. Finalize any lingering details but otherwise take your mind off of the exam. Go to a movie, spend time with friends and family, read a book, etc. Get a good night’s sleep so you don’t feel tired during the exam.

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Exam Day

Arrive early; registration will begin 30 minutes before the exam. At the exam site, you will be registered and admitted into the exam room. There will likely be a number of people taking the exam at the same date, time, and location with you. You will all take the exam at the same time and in the same room. Once registered, you may proceed to your assigned seat in the exam room and await instructions. There may be materials at your seat. Do not open any of them until instructed to do so. The exam administrator will provide clear instructions on what you are to do. All exam materials, including scratch paper and pencils, will be provided to you. You need not bring anything with you, other than your valid ID.

The exam will begin promptly at the appointed time. Once the exam room door closes and the test protocol begins, no one will be allowed to register and enter the room. Be sure you arrive early. The first part of the test protocol will be for you to read and sign the Oath indicating that you will not share information regarding the exam. You will then fill in your identifying information on the answer sheet and, after some preliminary instructions, the exam will commence.

You will have a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes to answer 135 multiple choice questions. The start and end times for the exam will be clearly posted and you will receive a warning when only 15 minutes remain.

Upon completion of the exam, you will be read some final information and turn in all of your exam materials to the test administrator. You will then be excused from the exam room and will be free to exit the testing site.

No visitors are permitted in the exam room, other than approved observers. Anyone accompanying you to the exam site will have to wait in a designated area. Seating may be limited or unavailable.

You should expect to be at the test location for at least three hours to complete your registration, the exam, and any post-exam tasks.

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Dos and Don'ts

The following are some dos and don’ts to follow for the exam.


  • Do have something to eat and drink before the exam.
  • Do use the restroom before testing begins to avoid having to stop the exam. Only one person at a time will be permitted to leave the exam room during the test. Anyone leaving the exam room will need to be escorted by exam staff.
  • Do arrive early. Give yourself extra time to travel, find the location, park, clear security, and walk to the exam room. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed into the exam room, the proctors will not be able to administer your exam to you, and your exam fee will not be refunded.
  • Do bring an acceptable form of identification for registration purposes. If your identity cannot be verified when you arrive, you will not be admitted to the testing room. Your exam fee will not be refunded.
  • Do expect to receive your exam results approximately 3 weeks after your exam.


  • Do not bring any of the following items to the exam site. They are prohibited and will not be allowed in the exam room. You should only bring in your car keys and identification. All of the items listed below and other unapproved items should be left at home or in your vehicle. There will be no secure place to leave them at the exam site. Neither the Program nor the location hosting the exam assume any responsibility for lost, stolen, or damaged personal items.
     •  Food and beverage. Water will be provided.
     •  Personal pens and paper. These items will be provided to you.
     •  Dictionaries and reference materials are not allowed and may not be consulted during the exam.
     •  Electronic devices including, but not limited to: cell phones, computers, tablets, mp3 players, Bluetooth devices, smart watches, smart glasses, and any other device capable of taking pictures, making audio/video recordings and/or sending/receiving wireless communications are strictly prohibited.1
  • Do not look at another candidate’s exam or answer sheet. Test proctors will circulate through the exam room during the test.
  • Do not remove any materials from the exam room, other than your own items. 
  • Do not share any information about the exam with others. This is to protect the integrity of the test and to make it fair to everyone who takes it. Remember the oath you will have read and signed at the beginning of the exam.

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1  Any candidate found to be cheating on or recording the exam and/or its procedures will be ejected from the testing site, said candidate’s exam will not be scored, the registration fee will not be refunded, and said candidate may be barred from future testing under the Arizona Court Interpreter Credentialing Program. Report of the incident will be made to the National Center for State Courts.  Return