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Essentials 2020 Exam

Everything you need to know to take the advanced exam.


When and where is the exam?
Exams will be scheduled from Jan. 31–Feb. 1, at local SGI-USA centers or other designated locations. Please contact your local organization for more details. Since this exam is administered online, examinees must bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Am I eligible?
This exam is intended for those who have passed the SGI-USA Introductory Exam and have not yet completed the 3-part Essentials Exam series. Those who have passed Essentials 1, 2 and 3 do not need to take this exam.

What if I don’t remember whether I’ve passed all three exams?
It’s easy to check. Log in to with your member ID and select “My Exams” for a record of all your past exams.

How do I register?
Log in to Under the “My Exams” tab, you will see a “Register” button if you’re eligible to take the exam. Note: Examinees must register in order to take the exam.

What’s the study material?
The exam material is The Opening of the Eyes: SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series, which is available for $7.95 at your local SGI-USA bookstore and online at

Is there a study guide?
Yes! A workbook is available for download at

Will there be study prep meetings?
Please contact your local organization for more details.

What should I keep in mind?
We study Buddhism not with the aim to become experts but rather genuine human beings. SGI President Ikeda writes that, amid the tumults of society, Buddhist study enables us to “correctly perceive the essence of life, illuminated by the unparalleled mirror of [Nichiren] Daishonin’s writings. With a sound view of life, human existence, society and the universe, we can survey everything clearly and without distortion. Wielding the ‘sharp sword’ of faith, we can sever ties with all negative influences and advance without confusion or doubt along the correct path of eternity, happiness, true self and purity.

“When we read his writings, we can come into direct contact with the towering life state of Nichiren Daishonin himself. We can break out of our small, constricting shell and open a vast, expansive state of life” (September 2015 Living Buddhism, pp. 6–7).

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