Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination
The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) is required by hundreds of universities and colleges across the United States for students in graduate level counseling or education programs. It measures a student’s competence across a range of foundational concepts and knowledge related to counseling as a profession.
Where Do I Register for the CPCE?
You have two options for taking this exam. One option is to take it on campus at your school. The second option is to take it at an approved Pearson VUE facility. The process and fees are different depending on which option you choose.
If you choose to take it on campus, you will register at your school. Call your program director or advisor to schedule an appointment. The dates and times available for the test will depend on what your school offers.
The exam fee will be just $75 which is less expensive than the Pearson VUE option, however, you won’t be guaranteed a standardized testing experience. It will be administered on a computer, using a secure internet browser, but beyond that, testing conditions will be determined by your school.
Given the lack of standardization, when scheduling your appointment, make sure to ask the following questions:
- How much time will I have for each section?
- How soon will I find out my score?
- What do I need to bring with me?
- What form of ID will you accept?
- Will there be any scheduled breaks during the exam?
- What is the minimum score required to pass?
If you choose to take it at an authorized Pearson VUE facility, you can schedule your appointment online or by phone with the Center for Credentialing and Education. The fee will be $15-0 but for that higher fee, you can be assured of a standardized testing experience.
That means you can be sure that the testing center will be quiet, free of distraction, and that no issues will come up during the test. You will still take the exam on a computer but rather than an internet-based test, it will be a test on that computer so there won’t be a concern about spotty internet connection.
What Subjects Are Covered on the Test?
The CPCE spans eight common core areas that are all highly relevant to the field of counseling. Those common core areas include:
- Human growth and development
- Assessment and training
- Social and cultural diversity
- Career development
- Research and program evaluation
- Counseling and helping relationships
- Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice
- Group counseling and group work
There are exactly 20 questions for each of the eight areas and all of the questions will be based on industry professional standards. However, only 17 of the 20 sections on each section will actually be scored.
The remaining three are unscored questions which are being used for statistical purposes and/or are being considered for inclusion on future versions of the test. You won’t know which three questions are the unscored ones, though, so make sure to do your best on all questions in every section.
CPCE Practice Exam
How Is the CPCE Scored?
The maximum score you could receive is a 136—the total number of scored questions across all eight core areas. So your score on the test is a “raw” score directly representing the number of questions you answered correctly.
There is no universal criteria for passing the exam as the minimum requirement is set independently by each university. In general, the minimum will likely be somewhere between 62% and 65% correct (so 85 to 89 out of 136).
However, in some circumstances, the minimum could be as high as 75% (102 out of 136) so you definitely need to ask rather than risk aiming for a score that is lower than what you need.
How Can I Prepare for the CPCE?
If you are taking the exam, it means that you have already completed graduate level course work on the theory and practice of counseling so you should already have a good foundation in the principles that you’ll be tested on.
However, you will definitely need to spend a few weeks reviewing all of the relevant information and ideas across all subjects. So you should get the Mometrix study guide which contains an indispensable overview of all eight core areas.
In addition to compiling all of the most relevant information you will need, it also comes with an optimally designed study plan to help you organize your study sessions for the best possible results.
To improve your recall speed and give you the flexibility to study on the go, you should also pick up some Mometrix flashcards. These convenient and well-designed flashcards include all of the essential terms and concepts that you will need to have memorized by test day.
CPCE Study Guide
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