May 2008 News - Important Referee Training Information

The Division is hosting one-day referee training workshops in 2010 in support of fencers who want to earn their referees rating.  

The second of three referee testing clinics will be instructed by Maitre d'Armes Peter Burchard and hosted by Golden Gate Fencing Center from 10:30AM-6:30PM. Anyone interested in taking the referee test can pre-register through AskFRED. 


Cost is $20 for referee candidates (those planning to take the test), but anyone can come and observe the clinic at no cost.

Read on below for reference documents and pre-study materials you should review prior to attending the one-day training!



Below you will find links to documents and materials that will assist prospective referees.  If you do not carefully study the relevant sections of the USFA rule book and use the official study guide, you will NOT pass the referee test. It is imperative you prepare for the test you will take and must pass with 90% correct answers. As fencers you all understand the value of hard work, training and being prepared for the bout. Passing the referee exam is no different. You must be prepared for what you will find on the test, and the links below will help you to be ready. 

This is what you can expect when you take the test: 

60 questions in the general exam. The exam is multiple choice. You must get 54 correct answers in order to pass. Many of the questions are easy, but quite a few are formated in such a way as to have several correct choices, with one being the MOST correct-and thus the right answer. 

Read the questions carefully! Then reread them. The wording is often intentionally confusing, leading you to make unfounded assumptions when answering. Your single best defense is reading the USFA rule book carefully and learning the rules thoroughly so you won't be confused. 

If you pass the general exam (we hope you do!), then you will have to take a weapon specific exam. The weapon specific exam is 30 questions. Again you must answer 90% of the questions correctly to pass the exam (27 correct). If you've studied hard and know your weapon, then you have a good chance of passing. 

If you pass the general exam and then the weapon specific exam, you will receive a "pass" and are ready to be observed in order to receive your rating. Ratings can only be assigned by a qualified observer at a USFA sanctioned event. The Nor Cal Division will be working with local tournament organizers to arrange events in which referees who have received a pass on their exam can be observed and earn a rating. 


Click Here for the USFA rule book. Read Book 1 carefully, especially the sections about offenses and penalties. You need to know this very well if you want to pass the test. Book 3 also has important information a referee must know, and you should study the sections relevant to the weapon you will choose to test for. 


Click Here for the official study guide from the Fencing Officials Commission (FOC). You can find the study guide under "Ratings" in the menu at the top. You should absolutely read and answer the questions in the study guide, as they are questions that are very similar to the ones you will find in the test. They are formated in the same manner as the questions on the test, and you can bring the study guide to the clinic to ask the instructor questions about which answers are correct. 

Click Here for the test. This test is good way to practice ahead of time but be aware that the most popular answers are not always correct. You might want to see if you can find which ones people are wrong about.  

Click Here for the FOC Referee's Manual. It contains valuable information for a prospective referee. 

Becoming a rated referee isn't easy, but rated refs are very important to our sport. Qualified, professional referees are very valuable, and the more we develop in the division the stronger our fencing will become. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the sport of fencing. 

Good luck!