Judge Testing

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.

Judge exams

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
Easy Practice Practice test with easy questions, roughly equivalent to Level 1 exam All Levels n/a none 30 min 10 2 12
Hard Practice Practice test with more difficult questions, sometimes harder than the Level 2 exam All Levels n/a none 30 min 10 2 12
Policy Practice Practice test with questions about MIPG and other policy documents All Levels 69% none 30 min 0 10 10
Level 1 Practice Test to assess rules and policy knowledge for the Level 1 exam All Levels 70% 28 days 60 min 14 6 20
Level 1 Test to reach Level 1 Level 2+ 70% 2 months 75 min 18 7 25
Level 2 Practice Test to assess rules and policy knowledge for the Level 2 exam Level 1+ 70% 2 months 75 min 17 8 25
Level 2 Test to reach Level 2 Level 3 80% 3 months 150 min 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 Special 80% n/a n/a
Level 3B Level 3 test version B Special 80% n/a n/a

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.) please contact Brian Schenck.

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.

The Level 1 exam

Detailed information about the purpose of the Level 1 Exam, the subjects covered on the exam, and study recommendations.

The Level 2 exam

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