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Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • 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
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  • Students who have completed 30 semester hours can choose the best semester to take the exam. The exam is offered once each semester.
  • There are two applications and a $50 fee that must be submitted by the deadline. Cash or check made payable to FIU.
  • Applications are available on the FIU Counselor Education Program website and all students will receive information on the application deadline
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Course Number

Credit Hours

Course Name

MHS 5400

3 Counseling Skills & Techniques

MHS 6700

3

Ethical, Legal & Prof. Issues in Counseling.           

MHS 6802

3

Personality Theories

EDP 6506

3

Human Development: Lifespan

MHS 6511

3

Group Counseling

MHS 5350

3

Ed. & Vocational Counseling   

MHS 6428

3 Cross Cultural Counseling

SDS 6411

3

Counseling Children & Adolescents

MHS 6200

3

Measurement & Appraisal in Counseling

EDF 5481

3 Foundations of Educational Research

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  • The Comprehensive Exam is offered three times a year, in the fall, spring and summer.
  • The current date for the Spring 2012 exam is Saturday, March 3, 2012. The Summer 2012 exam is scheduled for Saturday, June 16, 2012 and the Fall 2012 exam will be October 13, 2012.
  • For more information on the exact rooms and times, check the Counseling website.
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The deadline to apply for the Spring 2012 exam is February 3, 2012. The deadline for Summer 2012 is May 16, 2012 and the deadline for Fall 2012 is September 13, 2012.

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  • The multiple-choice exam is currently 160 questions, consisting of 8 subsections.
The subsections include:
  1. Human Growth and Development
  2. Social and Cultural Foundations
  3. Helping Relationships
  4. Group Work
  5. Career and Lifestyle Development
  6. Appraisal; Research and Program Evaluation
  7. Professional Orientation
  8. Ethics
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  • 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)
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  • 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).
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  • Once students complete the exam, the director of the Counselor Education program returns the exams to NBCC 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.
  • A passing grade is determined for each administration of the exam. The FIU faculty have designated a passing score to be at or above one standard deviation below the mean on the total score as passing. Only students' total score will be considered to determine a passing or failing grade.
Example of a passing score:
  • Mean of the administration: 91.75
  • Standard deviation of administration: 14.75
  • Passing score would be 77 or higher
Sample Student Scores:


Content Area
    Maximum Possible
Human Growth & Development 7 17
Social & Cultural Foundations 10 17
Helping Relationships 7 17
Group Work 8 17
Career and Life Style Development 10 17
Appraisal 6 17
Research &  Program Evaluation 12 17
Professional Orientation & Ethics 14 17
Total 74 136
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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.

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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.

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  • 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.
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  • The current cost of the exam administration is $50.
  • 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 by check or money order. The check should be made out to "FIU." Panther ID numbers must be included on comprehensive exam application.
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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.

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  • 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.
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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.

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  • 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.
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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.

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