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Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination

Students enrolled in the counselor education programs must complete and pass examinations required for graduation. The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is a multiple-choice exam taken by students in the Clinical Mental Health major.

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. The CPCE exam is offered at FIU during the fall and spring semesters. However, students are able to take the exam during summer semesters at other local sites in the area and pay the applicable fees to them. Prior approval must be obtained from faculty. 

Check the Student Handbook for more information about the exam, application, and administration deadlines. 

Important Dates

Spring 2020

  • Deadline: February 14, 2020 — 5pm
  • Administration Date: March 14, 2020

Fall 2020

  • Deadline: September 11, 2020 — 5pm
  • Administration Date: October 10, 2020


Students must have completed 30 semester hours and taken the following coursework prior to applying for the CPCE: 

  • MHS 5400: Counseling Skills & Techniques 
  • MHS 6700: Ethical, Legal & Professional Issues in Counseling 
  • EDP 6277: Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • MHS 6511: Group Counseling 
  • MHS 5340: Educational & Vocational Counseling 
  • MHS 6428: Cross Cultural Counseling 
  • SDS 6411: Counseling Children & Adolescents
  • MHS 6200: Measurement & Appraisal in Counseling 
  • MHS 6630: Program Evaluation and Research in Counseling & School Psychology
  • MHS 6802: Personality Theories

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 CPCE, 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 CPCE 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 CPCE on the next available date after speaking with their advisor.
    • Students may take the CPCE three (3) times. If a student fails the CPCE three times, they must complete an Appeals form, available from the Program Director.
  • 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 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.