Constitution Test

The Social Science Division at Bakersfield College and the College Testing and Placement Center offer an opportunity for persons pursuing a California Teaching Credential to demonstrate their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution as required by state law.

The exam consists of 100 questions; to receive certification 70 questions must be answered correctly.

The fee for taking the exam is $20.00, and there is a $15.00 fee if a re-take of the exam is necessary.

About the Test

The examination consists of 100 questions, 50 true-false and 50 multiple-choice. There is no time limit.

Four areas are covered:

  1. Historical Development, including the background of the Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitutional Convention.
  2. Key aspects of the constitution, including basic principles and specific information about the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
  3. The changing Constitution, including the process of amendment, the 27 Amendments, and other historical forces for change, such as: forceful presidents and justices.
  4. Major court cases which have constitutional importance, particularly the following:
Case Year
Baker v. Carr 1962
Barron v. Baltimore 1833
Brandenburg v. Ohio 1969
Branzburg v. Hayes 1972
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka 1954
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire 1942
Dred Scott v. Sandford 1857
Duncan v. Louisiana 1968
Engel v. Vitale 1963
Everson v. Board of Education 1947
Gideon v. Wainwright 1963
Griswold v. Connecticut 1965
Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971
Mapp v. Ohio 1961
Marbury v. Madison 1803
McCulloch v. Maryland 1819
Miller v. California 1973
Miranda v. Arizona 1966
Plessy v. Ferguson 1896
Regents v. Bakke 1978
Roe v. Wade 1973
Schenck v. U.S. 1919
U.S. v. Nixon 1974
Weeks v. U.S. 1914

The following recommended text is available for purchase at the Bakersfield College Bookstore: Our Federal and State Constitution, by Alex Schmidt.

Examinees also should acquire from an online source: The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide, by Linda Monk.

It is also recommended that additional sources be studied - encyclopedias and college textbooks in American Government. The current American Government text located in the Bakersfield College Library Circulation Desk is American Government, Custom Edition for Bakersfield College.

Taking the Test

  1. Acquire the necessary study materials and prepare for the exam. If more information is needed, call Political Science Professor Steven Holmes at (661) 395-4289 or 395-4581.
  2. When ready, arrange a testing appointment with the Placement Center at 395-4469 or 395-4479.
  3. Take the test at the Placement Center at the appointed time. Be prepared to pay the fee of $20.00 with a check, or money order with proper identification.
  4. If the exam is passed, a certificate will be issued.

Retaking the Test

Applicants who fail to pass the examination will be allowed to re-take an alternate form of the examination after a three week waiting period.

If an applicant fails the re-take exam or fails to take the re-take exam within one year of the date of the original exam, then he/she must reapply as if taking the test for the first time.

In either case, a period of one year must pass before reapplying.