Frequently Asked Questions


What is PACE?

What is Pace?


PACE is a competency-based exam. Test results will provide an evaluation of the skill level in paralegal practice. The exam has two parts. Tier One is designed to test critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities. It includes general legal and ethical questions. Tier Two will test knowledge of legal specific practice areas.  The purpose of PACE is to: 

  • provide the groundwork for expanding paralegal roles and responsibilities;
  • provide the public and legal community with a mechanism to gauge the competency of the experienced paralegal; and
  • be used in states considering regulation of experienced paralegals.

All proceeds received from PACE are placed in the nonprofit Foundation for the Advancement of the Paralegal Profession. This foundation is independent of NFPA.

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What does RP mean?

RP is the designation for the paralegal who has successfully passed the PACE exam and stands for Registered Paralegal.

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What are the requirements for taking PACE?

Because this exam is for experienced paralegals, the requirements are greater and include both experience and education. These can be found in detail on the NFPA website.

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What's the best way to study for the test?

The right answer to this is: whatever is the best way for you. Some people study better in groups while others do well studying alone. Some prefer online review courses so this is entirely up to you.

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Are there any special study materials?

NFPA sells a PACE Study Manual online for $55 (plus $10 S&H), or check with your PACE Ambassador. This is a “must” for preparing for the exam and be sure you have the latest edition. There is a bibliography in the PACE Study Manual. Others like to gather additional materials such as flash cards, bar charts and manuals containing Federal Rules. It’s always a good idea to spend some time in the law library as well. The PACE Ambassador can also provide you with a suggested list of additional study materials.


New PACE Study Manual and new PACE Exam!

We are pleased to announce that the new and improved PACE Study Manual (5th ed.) will be available for purchase starting MARCH 1, 2008.  The new study manual includes many new mini-chapters including bankruptcy, corporate law, intellectual property, family law, and other areas tested in the new exam.  We have also updated the existing chapters, and completely re-written the technology chapter.  There are new study questions as well.


You will continue to order the new Study Manual through the NFPA website, just as before.  However, the volume, after March 1, will be shipped directly from the publisher, Prentice Hall.  The cost is $75 plus shipping and handling, which will vary depending on where you live and the method of shipping you choose. 


If you purchased the 4th edition Study Manual, be assured that it will still assist you in preparing for the new exam.  It is not as comprehensive as the 5th edition, and the major difference is the re-written technology section and the addition of the mini-chapters.  As always, we encourage PACE Candidates to consult other source materials as well as the Study Manual in preparing for the exam, regardless of which edition of the Study Manual they use. 


The new PACE exam will go live on MAY 12, 2008.    If you want to take the current PACE exam, you must do so before April 16, 2008.  Tests will not be scheduled during the period 4/16/08 - 5/12/08 to allow the vendor to upload and beta test the new exam. 


For more information, contact Cindy Welch, RP, DAPA’s PACE Ambassador

NFPAThe Leader of the Paralegal Profession®


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How do I join a study group?

DAPA forms study groups as members request them. These groups meet on a schedule they set themselves, at a mutually agreed location.  An organizational meeting will take place immediately after the General Membership Meeting on February 19, 2008.  If you are unable to attend the meeting but are still interested in participating in the study group, please contact Kimberley Smith at or (214) 740-8185.  Please contact the PACE Ambassador for more information.


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What about the online review course?

This is offered through American Institute for Paralegal Studies (AIPS) and more information can be found on NFPA's website. The course starts about every four to six weeks and runs for seven weeks. This is terrific for those who enjoy distance learning opportunities and the class is currently being taught by Loretta Nesbitt, RP, a DAPA Past President. Additionally, the online practice test is part of the package. The cost is $395 plus $55 for the manual.

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How do I sign up to take PACE?

Again, go to NFPA’s website where you can order an application to take the exam. The application fee is $25 for members, $75 for non-members. Once the fee is received by NFPA, they will send you an application, information on exam content, sample exam questions and logistical information on taking the exam. The test itself is $225.

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I'm an RP, now what?

Congratulations! In order to maintain the RP credential, you are required to complete twelve (12) hours of CLE, including one (1) hour of ethics every two years. Please note that your renewal date is the date you took the exam, not the date you receive your official notice of passing the exam. You may obtain CLE a number of different ways including attending seminars or taking on-line courses. Additionally writing articles, speaking and making presentations can be considered CLE, however you must submit those for approval from the NFPA CLE Coordinator 45 days before the date of your renewal (to allow for NFPA CLE approval).  For Renewal information, visit the NFPA website.


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Where are the tests administered and how often?

The tests are administered by Sylvan Technology Centers (aka Prometric). The computer-generated test consists of 200 multiple choice questions taken within a four hour period. The test is available at your convenience on any days but Sundays and holidays. If you elect to take the test on a Saturday, you will need to reserve your spot several weeks in advance as these book up quickly.

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How will I know I passed?

PES is now offering “instant results” immediately after taking the test, however, the final results are not available until the scoring runs occur at the end of June and the end of December. Until this time, the official RP designation may not be used.

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