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CA State & Local Challenge Exam - POLS 151

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Spring 2024 Test Date

Test Date: Saturday, May 11th    
Test Time: 10:00-11:30am       
Test Location: The Challenge Exam is held online via the vendor information below.  

You must register for the Challenge Exam with the vendor starting April 9th (registration will close on May 6th). Once you have registered and paid the $5 registration fee, you will have access to the Globalyceum study materials. The test opens promptly at 10am on May 11th. No same-day drop ins will be allowed. No extensions on the exam time will be allowed.     
Once you register on the Globalyceum site, you will have three days to pay the $5 course fee. If you do not pay within that period, you will lose access to the study materials and the test. 

Students Enrolled in POLS 151

See online testing instructions below. 

Drop-in Students

Any student can "drop-in" and sign-up to take the Challenge Exam, but you will need to email the Political Science Department Chair, Professor Cynthia Boaz, no later than May 6th in order to register with the vendor. 
We won't be able to add drop-in students to take the Challenge Exam after the deadline.  There are no exceptions to this policy. 

Online Testing Instructions

The POLS 151 Challenge Exam will use a digital product based on materials from both SSU and Globalyceum to conduct the exam.  The SSU POLS Department has negotiated a special rate of $5.00 for the Fall 2023 administration of the Challenge Exam via any remote, online connection.
Students will then navigate to Globalyceum. and will register there for access to materials to prep for the Challenge Exam and also pay $5.00 to take the Challenge Exam on Saturday, May 11th. 
Grading of the Challenge Exam will take place after the exam ends at 11:30am. To pass and receive this credit towards your degree, you must receive 75% or better on the exam.
All students intending to take the POLS 151 Challenge Exam will need to email the POLS Chair, Professor Cynthia Boaz, in order to get a unique course section number to register for the test via Globalyceum. This unique course section number will not be available until April 9th. 
You must register and pay the test fee in order to access materials including the test.

Students may only attempt the test twice.

POLS Department policy states that a student may only attempt the POLS 151 Challenge Exam twice.  After two failed attempts, a student will not be permitted to retake the test and must enroll in a course that will meet the requirement in the Area GE AI category.  If a student does not attend the examination on the stated date above and is registered for POLS 151, a “No Credit” will be given which will be counted as an attempt.  If a student does not plan to attend the exam after registering, it is the student’s responsibility to drop the course following standard University guidelines.

Challenge Exam Information

The Political Science Department offers students the option of Credit by Examination to fulfill the California State and Local portion of the CSU U.S. Constitution/General Education graduation requirement. Please note that passing this Challenge Exam will not satisfy the GE requirement unless you have satisfied the U.S. Constitution requirement elsewhere. Please consult the SSU catalog or the Department for further information.
The two most common reasons why students opt to take this exam are: (1) A student has successfully passed the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in American government in high school and they were given college level course credit that is generally the equivalent of our POLS 200, except that they still need to show appropriate levels of knowledge of California government (as GE D4 mandates) which the AP course and AP Exam in high school do not cover; or (2) A student successfully passed an introduction to American government class in another state where there was no coverage of California government in the class.
Only current enrolled SSU students are permitted to take the exam. Students may register for POLS 151 to receive one unit for successfully completing the exam. To earn the unit of credit, students must be registered in POLS 151 by the census date and must pass the exam. 
NOTE: If a student has already fulfilled the CSU requirement, this exam may not be used to obtain a unit of credit. It is not necessary to enroll in POLS 151 to take the examination merely to fulfill the statutory requirement (with no unit credit).
The examination includes multiple-choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions.  Two brief descriptive essays may also be included. To pass the exam, a student must receive a score of 75% or better overall.  If enrolled in POLS 151, the score will be posted on the grades page in MySSU. If students are not enrolled in POLS 151 and chooses to drop-in, a letter will be sent out to notify both the student and Admissions & Records of the score.  The Challenge Exam is offered once per semester on the Saturday just after classes end and prior to the start of Finals Week.
Listed below are a number of texts and articles on California government and politics. Reading a number of these should also provide the kind of information and knowledge you will need to take this examination. This list is not comprehensive or expected to have read everything on it to be prepared. Students may prepare by reading other sources as well. The Department recommends starting with the latest edition of Gerston’s book, and then reading at least a few of the other books on the list. Check the library or online for copies of the books. The Department does not provide any additional instruction or support for the exam.
Questions about the content or the structure of the examination please contact the Political Science Department Chair, Professor Cynthia Boaz.

Reading List

  • Anagnoson, J. Theodore, et al., Governing California
  • Brewster, Lawrence and Leonard Kooperman. A Primer of California Politics.
  • DeBow, Ken and John C. Syer. Power and Politics in California.
  • Field, Mona and Charles Sohner. California Politics and Government Today.
  • Gerston, Larry N. and Terry Christensen. California Politics and Government: A Practical Approach.
  • Janiske, Brian and Ken Masugi, Democracy in California
  • Korey, John L. California Government.
  • Lawrence, David. G. California: The Politics of Diversity.
  • Mathews, Joe and Mark Paul. California Crackup.
  • Price, Charles and Charles Bell. California Government Today.
  • Van Vechten, Renee B., California Politics:  A Primer

In addition to these books on California, you might also read:

  • The California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • The Constitution of the State of California


The following websites provide additional information, news, analysis and policy information.