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Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is a multiple choice exam taken by students in the Counselor Education Program, Mental Health and Rehabilitation Majors, program who have completed at least 30 semester hours. A passing grade on the CPCE is required for program completion and graduation. The exam tests students’ knowledge of material covered in the counseling program. Students who have completed 30 semester hours can choose the best semester to take the exam. The exam is offered during the fall and spring semesters.

The CPCE is a standardized exam developed by the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). The CCE is the same company that assists with credentialing and assessment for the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The multiple choice exam is currently 160 questions, consisting of 8 subsections. The subsections include, Human Growth and Development; Social and Cultural Foundations; Helping Relationships; Group Work; Career and Lifestyle Development; Appraisal; Research and Program Evaluation; and Professional Orientation & Ethics. All of these areas correspond with your FIU Counselor Education Program coursework. Each section on the exam will be 20 questions long.

In order to take the CPCE, you will need to submit the CPCE application form to Dr. Russell by the application deadline. There is a $75 fee that will be paid individually during the CPCE online student registration process once applications are approved. Any student who does not submit all required paperwork prior to the deadline will not be allowed to take the exam. The deadlines to apply for the CPCE and administration dates are as follows. There will be no summer administration but students are able to take the exam during Summer semesters at other local sites in the area.

Important Dates

Spring 2018

  • Application Deadline: February 2, 2018
  • Administration Date: March 3, 2018

Fall 2018

  • Application Deadline: September 14, 2018
  • Administration Date: October 13, 2018

Requirements

Students must have taken the following coursework prior to applying for the CPCE: Counseling Skills & Techniques, Ethical, Legal & Professional Issues in Counseling, Human Development across the Lifespan, Group Counseling, Educational & Vocational Counseling, Cross Cultural Counseling, Counseling Children & Adolescents, Measurement & Appraisal in Counseling, Foundations of Educational Research, and Personality Theories.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the CPCE?
    • Multiple choice exam taken by students in the Counselor Education Program, Mental Health and Rehabilitation Majors, who have completed at least 30 semester hours
    • Passing grade is required for program completion and graduation
    • Tests a student's knowledge of material covered in the counseling curriculum and mirrors the exam students must pass to become licensed
  • At what point and how do I take the CPCE?
    • Students who have completed 30 semester hours can choose the best semester to take the exam. The exam is offered once each semester.
    • There is an application that must be submitted by the deadline. There is a $75 fee that will be paid individually during the CPCE online student registration process once applications are approved.
    • Applications are available on the FIU Counselor Education Program website and all students will receive information on the application deadline.
  • What coursework do I need to have taken?
    Course Number Credit Hours Course Name
    MHS 5400 3 Counseling Skills and Techniques
    MHS 6700 3 Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Counseling
    MHS 6802 3 Personality Theories
    EDP 6277 3 Human Development: Lifespan
    MHS 6511 3 Group Counseling
    MHS 5350 3 Educational and Vocational Counseling
    MHS 6428 3 Cross Cultural Counseling
    SDS 6411 3 Counseling Children and Adolescents
    MHS 6200 3 Measurement and Appraisal in Counseling 
    EDF 5481 3 Foundations of Educational Research
  • When is the exam offered?
    • The Comprehensive Exam is offered two times a year, in the fall and spring.
    • The date for the Spring 2018 exam was Saturday, March 3, 2018. The Fall 2018 exam will be October 13, 2018.
    • For more information on the exact rooms and times, check the Counseling website.
  • When are the deadlines to apply to take the CPCE?

    The deadline to apply for the Spring 2018 exam was February 2, 2018. The deadline for Fall 2018 is September 14, 2018.

  • What is the exact format of the exam, including number of questions and sections?
    • The multiple choice exam is currently 160 questions, consisting of 8 subsections. The subsections include, Human Growth and Development; Social and Cultural Foundations; Helping Relationships; Group Work; Career and Lifestyle Development; Appraisal; Research and Program Evaluation; and Professional Orientation & Ethics. All of these areas correspond with your FIU Counselor Education Program coursework. Each section on the exam will be 20 questions long.
  • Which sections on the CPCE directly correspond with my FIU Counselor Education Program coursework?
    • Human Growth and Development: Human Development Across the Lifespan (EDP 6277), Counseling Children and Adolescents (SDS 6411)
    • Social and Cultural Foundations: Cross Cultural Counseling (MHS 6428)
    • Helping Relationships: Counseling Skills and Techniques (MHS 5400),
    • Personality Theories (MHS 6802)
    • Group Work: Group Counseling (MHS 6511)
    • Career and Lifestyle Development: Educational and Vocational Counseling (MHS 5350)
    • Appraisal: Measurements and Appraisal in Counseling (MHS 6200)
    • Research and Program Evaluation: Foundations of Educational Research (EDF 5481)
    • Professional Orientation & Ethics: Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling (MHS 6700)
  • Does the FIU faculty have input in the construction of the CPCE?
    • No. The exam is a nationally standardized exam created by the Center for Credentialing and Education.
    • The Center for Credentialing and Education is the same company that assists with credentialing and assessment for the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  • How will the exam be graded? What is a passing grade?
    • Once students complete the exam, NBCC will make your scores available on your account. Each exam score will consist of a score for each section, as well as a total score. The results of each exam will then be reported to the program faculty.
    • A passing grade is determined for each administration of the exam. The FIU faculty have designated a passing score to be at or above the mean on the total score as passing. Only students' total score will be considered to determine a passing or failing grade. Once the faculty is informed of the passing score by NBCC, you receive an email with the information.
  • What feedback will I receive once my test is scored?
    • The director of the Counselor Education program will notify you of your passing or failing score through a letter sent to your FIU email account. The email will contain an attachment that has the exact score information.
  • How many times can I take the exam?

    According to University Policy, a student is allowed three tries to pass the CPCE. If a student has three failed attempts, the student will be removed from the counseling program.

  • What happens if I fail?
    • If you fail the Comprehensive Examination, you must contact your advisor to go over the results of your exam. Together you and your advisor can identify needed areas of improvement and work toward preparing for your next exam attempt. Failing the Comprehensive Examination may result in a student not being able to begin Practicum or Internship.
    • If a student is in his or her final semester of classes, then she/he cannot graduate and must retake the Comprehensive Examination on the next available date after speaking with their advisor.
    • Students may take the Comprehensive Examination three (3) times. If a student fails the Comprehensive Examination three times, they will be dismissed from the Counseling Program.
  • How much does the Comprehensive Exam cost?
    • The current cost of the exam administration is $75.
    • This fee is charged by the Center for Credentialing and Education, which is the company that produces and scores the exam.
    • The associated exam fee must be paid individually during the CPCE online student registration process once applications are approved.
  • Do I have to sign up to take the exam ahead of time?

    Yes. You must remember to complete an application to take the exam before the announced deadline. All students will receive information on the application deadline, as well as the current application sites from the FIU Counseling listserv.

  • Are there any recommendations for study guides to help me prepare?
    • There is no official study guide for the CPCE. However, the CPCE is modeled after the National Counseling Exam (NCE). Therefore, you can use any NCE study guide as a good resource.
    • The counseling department does own three copies of study guidebooks that students can borrow and review from the FIU library. They are on reserve under Dr. Kenny's name and can be checked out at the main library desk for a period of 2 hours a time.
    • In addition, you should review your textbooks and notes from the coursework at FIU. Students are encouraged to form study groups with their peers.
    Possible Study Guides
  • Should I sell my textbooks after I finish a class or will I need them to study from the CPCE exam?

    Your textbooks from your courses, especially your core courses, will help you study for the CPCE. Therefore, you should keep all of your textbooks to review before the exam.

  • What if I have a disability that impacts test-taking?
    • There is a question on the Application form asking if students require an ADA accommodation.
    • If you check yes, you are required to attach a verification statement from the FIU Disabilities Resource Center specifying the required accommodation(s).
    • We will work with the FIU Disabilities Resource Center to make the necessary and appropriate accommodations and scheduling.
  • What if my religious beliefs do not permit me to attend the Comprehensive Exam on the day/time it is scheduled?

    Students whose religious beliefs preclude them from taking the exam on the day/time it is offered should contact the Director of the Counselor Education Program or their advisor to request accommodations. Situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.