Comprehensive Exam Information

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is a multiple choice exam taken by students in the MA counseling program who have completed at least 33 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 curriculum and mirrors the exam students must pass to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in the State of New Jersey, as well as many other states. Students who have completed 33 semester hours can choose the best semester to take the exam. The exam is offered once each Fall and Spring semester -there is no summer administration of the exam.

The Fall 2014 administration will take place on Saturday, October 25, in the morning.

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 MSU Counseling program coursework. Each section on the exam will be 20 questions long.

In order to take the CPCE, the student must register in WESS for the Comprehensive Exam course -GRADCMP18, call number 18424. Dr. Shurts is listed as the Instructor of record. An application and a $50 money order must be submitted to the Department Administrator, Lucille Gesualdi, UN 3165, by the deadline. The deadlines will be communicated through the MSU Counseling program student listserv. Any student who does register and submit the required paperwork and fee prior to the deadline will not be allowed to take the exam. The Application is available under FAQ #13.

 

Please see below for frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Counseling Program Comprehensive Exam. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact your academic advisor.

  1. What is the Comprehensive Exam?
  2. How many credits must I have completed to take the exam?
  3. When is the exam offered?
  4. How many hours do I have to complete the exam?
  5. What is the exact format of the exam, including number of questions and sections?
  6. Which sections on the CPCE directly correspond with my MSU Counseling Program coursework?
  7. Does the MSU faculty have input in the construction of the CPCE?
  8. How will the exam be graded?
  9. What feedback will I receive once my test is scored?
  10. How many times can I take the Exam?
  11. What happens if I fail?
  12. How much does it cost to take the Comprehensive Exam?
  13. Do I have to sign up to take the exam ahead of time?
  14. Are there any recommendations for study guides to help prepare?
  15. Will there be preparation sessions held for the exam?
  16. Are students in the post-masters or certificate programs required to take the Comprehensive Exam?
  17. Should I sell my textbooks after I finish a class or will I need them to study from for the CPCE exam?
  18. What if I have a disability that impacts test-taking?
  19. What if my religious beliefs do not permit me to attend the Comprehensive Exam on the day/time it is scheduled?

 

Answers

1. What is the Comprehensive Exam?

1. The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is a multiple choice exam taken by students in the MA counseling program who have completed at least 33 semester hours. A passing grade on the CPCE is required for program completion and graduation. The exam tests a student’s knowledge of material covered in the counseling curriculum and mirrors the exam students must pass to become licensed in the State of New Jersey, as well as many other states. Students who have completed 33 semester hours can choose the best semester to take the exam. The exam is offered once each fall and spring semester- there is no summer administration of the exam.

The Fall 2014 administration will take place on Saturday, October 25 in the morning.

In order to take the CPCE, the student must register in WESS for the Comprehensive Exam course -GRADCMP18, call number 18424. Dr. Shurts is listed as the Instructor of record. An application and a $50 money order must be submitted to the Department Administrator, Lucille Gesualdi, UN 3165, by the deadline. The deadlines will be communicated through the MSU Counseling program student listserve. Any student who does register and submit the required paperwork and fee prior to the deadline will not be allowed to take the exam. The Application is available under FAQ #13.


Back to FAQ

2. How many credits must I have completed to take the exam?

2. A student must have completed 33 semester hours in order to register to take the exam. Semester hours completed does not include classes one is currently registered in or still in the process of completing. If you are unsure about the number of credits successfully completed, please speak to your advisor.

Back to FAQ

3. When is the exam offered?

3. The Comprehensive Exam is offered twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring - there is no summer administration of the Comprehensive Exam. The date for the Fall 2014 exam is Saturday, October 25, and the date for the Spring 2015 exam is Saturday, March 21st. For more information on the exact room and time, check the Counseling website Announcements as this information becomes available. It will also be communicated through the MSU Counseling program student listserve:

http://www.montclair.edu/cehs/academics/departments/cel/announcements/.

Back to FAQ

4. How many hours do I have to complete the exam?

4. Students are given four hours to complete the exam.

Back to FAQ

5. What is the exact format of the exam, including number of questions and sections?

5. The CPCE is a standardized exam developed by the Center for Credentialing and Education. 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 MSU Counseling Program coursework.

Back to FAQ

6. Which sections on the CPCE directly correspond with my MSU Counseling Program coursework?

6. Most core classes required in the Masters of Counseling program correspond with the 8 CPCE sections, although some material from almost all of your courses could fall within these categories as well:

  • Human Growth and Development: Counseling Across the Lifespan, Counseling Child and Adolescents, and Developmental Psychology
  • Social and Cultural Foundations: Multicultural Counseling
  • Helping Relationships: Counseling Theories, Counseling Techniques
  • Group Work: Group Counseling: Theories and Practice
  • Career and Lifestyle Development: Career Counseling
  • Appraisal: Appraisal of the Individual
  • Research and Program Evaluation: Methods of Research
  • Professional Orientation & Ethics: Introduction to Professional and Ethical Issues in Counseling

Back to FAQ

7. Does the MSU faculty have input in the construction of the CPCE?

7. 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). The CPCE (Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination) mirrors the exam students must pass to become licensed in the State of New Jersey, as well as many other states.

Back to FAQ

8. How will the exam be graded?

8. Once students complete the exam, MSU faculty sends the exams away for individual scoring. 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. There is no predetermined passing or failing grade for the exam. The Counseling Program faculty will determine the appropriate passing score for each version of the exam. To determine an appropriate passing score, the faculty compares the scores to national norms as well as previous MSU results. Only students’ total score will be considered to determine a passing or failing grade.

Back to FAQ

9. What feedback will I receive once my test is scored?

9. The graduate school will notify you of your passing or failing score through a letter sent directly to your home. The letter will not display exact score information. To find out more about your general performance on the various sections of the exam or for other specific information regarding your exam, contact your advisor. You and your advisor will be able to discuss your results in more detail; however, you will NOT be provided an exact numerical result.

Back to FAQ

10. How many times can I take the Exam?

10. 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.

Back to FAQ

11. What happens if I fail?

11. 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. If a student fails the Comprehensive Examination during their 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.

Back to FAQ

12. How much does the Comprehensive Exam cost?

12. The current cost of the exam is $50. This fee is charged by the Center for Credentialing and Education, which is the company that produces and scores the exam. The exam fee must be paid by money order made out to “CCE.” Money order will not be sent to CCE until after the administration of the exam. Student ID numbers (not social security numbers) must be included on comprehensive exam application.

Back to FAQ

13. Do I have to sign up to take the exam ahead of time?

13. Yes! In order to take the CPCE, the student must now register in WESS for the Comprehensive Exam Course - GRADCMP18, call number 18424. Dr. Shurts is listed as the Instructor of Record. In addition, an application and a $50 money order must be submitted to the Department Administrator, Lucille Gesualdi, CEL office suite, UN 3165, by the deadline. The deadline will be communicated through the MSU Counseling program student listserv. Any student who does register and submit the required paperwork and fee prior to the deadline will not be allowed to take the exam. The application can be found at this site:

Back to FAQ

14. Are there any recommendations for study guides to help prepare?

14. 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 study guidebooks that students can borrow and review from the department secretary during secretary hours. In addition, you should review your textbooks and notes from the coursework at MSU. Students are encouraged to form study groups with their peers.

Back to FAQ

15. Will there be preparation sessions held for the exam?

15. Yes. There will be two review sessions prior to each scheduled exam date. It is recommended that students attend one of the two sessions, however attendance is not mandatory. Also, please note that any student can attend the preparation session, not just those planning to take the exam that same semester. Students should consider attending a prep session early in their program of study to get a better understand of what information will be tested. The session will go into more depth about important information regarding the exam. Please check your MSU email daily for announcements on the dates, times, and locations of the sessions.

Back to FAQ

16. Are students in the post-masters or certificate programs required to take the Comprehensive Exam?

16. Only students enrolled in the Masters of Arts in Counseling Program are required to take the Comprehensive Exam in order to complete and graduate from the counseling program. Students enrolled in the Advanced Counseling Certificate program do not have to take the exam. Students who are only enrolled in the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certificate program do not have to take the exam. Students only enrolled in the Post-master's Certificate in School Counseling program do not have to take the exam. Students only enrolled in the Substance Awareness Coordinator Certification program do not have to take the exam.

Back to FAQ

17. Should I sell my textbooks after I finish a class or will I need them to study from for the CPCE exam?

17. 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.

Back to FAQ

18. What if I have a disability that impacts test-taking?

There is a question on the Comps registration form asking if students require an ADA accommodation. If you check yes, you are required to attach a verification statement from the MSU Disabilities Resource Center specifying the required accommodation(s). We will work with the MSU Disabilities Resource Center to make the necessary and appropriate accommodations and scheduling.

Back to FAQ

19. 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 Comps on the day/time it is offered should contact the Comprehensive Exam Coordinator and the Program Coordinator to request accommodations. Situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Back to FAQ