Candidates are certified as Magic Judges for two primary reasons – the first being that they are suitable ambassadors of Wizards of the Coast and the Magic Judge Program. The second is to integrate them into the wider judge community, to make it easier for them to communicate, learn, and improve. Certifying a person as a Magic Judge imbues a level of responsibility and trust on that person. It tells players, organizers, and other judges that the Judge Program values that individual and that events run by them will uphold the high standards the Judge Program has set historically.
What the Judge Program looks for in a candidate is “How good will the experience for players in this candidate’s events be?”
The Judge Levels page has information on the definition and requirements of each level. Before agreeing to test someone, they should fulfill these requirements (unless, for example, they are testing at the first event that they are officially judging). Pre-test discussions, on-event observations (either while the testing judge is a player, or a judge for the event) can and should be used to determine if the candidate is ready to test.
Default assumptions for all exam questions
On all exam questions, unless otherwise stated, the certifying judge and the candidate may make the following assumptions:
- The active player’s name begins with an “A”, the nonactive player’s name begins with an “N”.
- Players have the necessary resources to do whatever the scenario describes them doing.
- Players have only taken the described actions, and nothing else currently affects the game state.
- Players only have those creatures or non-land permanents they are mentioned as having.
- Players are both controller and owner of the permanents they are mentioned as having.
- Players have not committed any infractions previously during the event.
Types of tests
Depending on the certifying judge’s level (and role) there are various tests available:
|Test||Description||Available for||Passing score||Wait time to retest||Time limit (online)||Size rules||Size policy||Size total|
|Rules Practice||Practice test with questions on a variety of topics related to the Comprehensive Rules||All JudgeApps Users||n/a||none||45 min||5||0||5|
|Policy Practice||Practice test with questions about MIPG and other policy documents||All JudgeApps Users||n/a||none||45 min||0||5||5|
|Level 1 Practice||Test to assess rules and policy knowledge for the Level 1 exam||All JudgeApps Users||70%||28 days||120 min||14||6||20|
|Level 1||Test to reach Level 1||Level 2+||70%||60 days||none||18||7||25|
|Level 2 Practice||Test to assess rules and policy knowledge for the Level 2 exam||Level 1+||70%||60 days||75 min||17||8||25|
|Level 2||Test to reach Level 2||Level 3||80%||90 days||none||35||15||50|
|Level 3 Preliminary Exam||Test to assess rules and policy knowledge for the Level 3 exam||Level 2+ (Created by Level 3)||n/a||Special||100 min||17||8||25|
|Level 3A||Level 3 test version A||L3 Testing Manager||80%||n/a||n/a||35||15||50|
|Level 3B||Level 3 test version B||L3 Testing Manager||80%||n/a||n/a||35||15||50|
The L1P can be created by an L2+ mentor, and the L2P can be created by an L3 mentor. This will grant the mentor access to the exam, allowing them to review the candidate’s answers and provide feedback. The L1P can also be created by any JudgeApps user for their own use, and the L2P can be created by any L1+ for their own use. L1 and L2 exams must be created by an L2+ and L3, respectively. L3P exams are created by L3s – make sure to tell the L3 how many times you’ve previously attempted the L3P, and what the results were, when requesting an L3P exam. L3 certification exams will be created by the L3 Testing Manager as needed. For exams with a cooldown, the cooldown may be overridden by any Regional Coordinator. For exams with a time limit, the exam must be taken online, and the time limit begins when the candidate opens the exam for the first time.
Sitting the exam
An exam can be done at any time, it doesn’t have to be during an event. If the candidate works in a store keep in mind when arranging a time for the exam that they will be unable to be doing other work while taking the exam. It is unlikely you will be able to test someone while they are trying to work on their own. The exam itself is untimed, most candidates take around 60-90 minutes for the Level 1 test, and 90-180 minutes for the Level 2 test. Candidates are not allowed any notes (such as Release Notes for Magic sets or the JAR/MIPG) during the exam. Get them sitting somewhere quiet and go over the following points before starting:
- Whatever they put on the answer sheet is what you’ll mark. On the full exam they can cross things out, make notes, and note questions they want to talk about later. It also helps to give the candidate a few basic lands to draw on to help visualize scenarios.
- The contents of the exam are confidential and they are only allowed to discuss it with you.
- The player whose name begins with “A” is the active player and the one whose name begins with “N” is the non-active player.
- Show them the difference between the questions with only one answer and the “choose any number of answers” questions, where the number of right answers might range from 0 to 5.
Passing scores for Level 1 and Level 2 exams
The required passing scores are 70% and 80% respectively, as described above. An Advancement Interview review on JudgeApps is required to update a person’s Level.
After an exam
After the exam there should be a short interview with the candidate. This is the chance to sit down and talk about Magic: The Gathering™ and judging for a bit, as well as to confirm that the candidate would be a suitable member of the community, following policies and being willing to learn. This is also a chance to use the results of the written exam to clear up any misconceptions and teach the correct answers to anything the candidate got wrong. First of all, go over anything the candidate has questions on or say they are unsure about, then go over any remaining wrong answers. If the candidate has failed explain to them how the test has just identified some areas for them to work on with our help. Scheduling a time or event for a retest gives the candidate a goal to work towards and encourages them to keep judging.
Some other points that may need covering:
- For new Level 1s, reinforce the philosophy of Regular REL – that it is about having fun and as judges we are here to help players and correct game states rather than punish people.
- For new Level 1s, reinforce that, unlike Competitive REL, game losses are only used as a last resort at Regular REL, after a player has made the same mistake or been asked to change behavior many times. Things like problems with sideboarding or number of cards in a deck should not result in game losses at Regular REL.
- For new Level 2s, reinforce the philosophy of Competitive REL – focus on consistency in the application of the MIPG.
- For new Level 2s, reinforce the importance of mentoring and community building.
Feedback on questions
If there are any issues with questions and answers (too hard, too easy, unsuited for a given test, outdated, etc.) you can submit feedback after your test is graded. When looking at your test results in JudgeApps, you can click on the question number (to the left of the question) to visit that question’s page on JudgeApps. Near the bottom of that page is a comment form, which will be submitted to the team that manages the exam. Note that this is not a substitute for discussing exam results with your mentor – it is for helping to make the exam questions better.
Enter the advancement interview review
Entering an Advancement Interview review is a mandatory part of the certification process, no matter the result of the exam. Without a review entered, the advancement won’t be processed. Check the Reviews page for more information on how to enter an Advancement Interview review.
Update the candidate’s level
If the candidate advances to the next level the candidate’s level will update automatically on JudgeApps when an Advancement Interview review is submitted.
Inform your community
When a candidate advances, it is customary to communicate with the candidate’s Regional Coordinator and/or local leadership about it. It is also advisable to celebrate the candidate’s promotion in the corresponding JudgeApps regional forums and/or on social media sites.
Detailed information about the purpose of the Level 1 Exam, the subjects covered on the exam, and study recommendations.
Detailed information about the purpose of the Level 2 Exam, the subjects covered on the exam, and study recommendations.
This page written by Fabian Peck