Study the appropriate materials. The “entry” level for judges is usually Level 4/5, which is a written exam only. (There is no test for judges below this level; however, a 4/5 rating is required to judge all levels below). The critical items to know for testing are
a.value of each skill
b. order of the skills in the routine
c. specific deductions for those skills (understand the difference between “flat” and “up to” deductions)
a. skill-specific deductions (yes, this is a repeat of 1c)
b. general deductions
c. neutral deductions (these are taken from the average by the chief judge)
3. Averaging procedures
a. how scores are averaged
b. what items are deducted after the average is done.
This may seem like a lot of information, and if you order the JO Compulsory book, it can feel very overwhelming. In practice, the information you need to know for testing fits fairly easily on about 9 single-sided pages. There are a number of different references available through the National NAWGJ library for sale that you can use (or ask one of the contacts listed above if there are any materials available). The USA Gymnastics web site has all official materials.
Sign up to take a judging test. This is handled through USA Gymnastics.
After passing the test, immediately begin the process of applying for the following: USA Gymnastics Professional Membership (or Junior Professional Membership if under 18).
Click on “Member Services” once you get to their site.You will need to become Safety-certified (lasts 4 years) and have a Background Check done (good for 2 years). The Safety Certification can be done online at any time, but the background check can take 6-8 weeks the first time, so try to plan ahead.
If you have not yet been in touch with the State Judging Director, now is a good time to do so (if you are a California judge, we can add you to GymJas so you can receive all announcements and use our assigning system).