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CPCE Exam Survival Guide or How to Prepare for Comprehensive Exams

What Is the CPCE Exam?

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is an exit exam for college students in a master’s level counseling program used to evaluate overall knowledge of counseling content. It consists of 160 multiple-choice questions in 8 areas; Human Growth and Development, Social and Cultural Foundations, Helping Relationships, Group Work, Career and Lifestyle Development, Appraisal, Research and Program Evaluation and Professional Orientation and Ethics. There is no set passing score for the CPCE or economics preliminary exam. Each individual program will set the CPCE score required to graduate. For some programs, the CPCE is the only exam needed in order to graduate while others may require additional comprehensive exams.

cpce exam

Preparing for the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination

The CPCE consists of 20 multiple-choice questions in each of 8 different areas. The following are some guidelines for studying to take the CPCE:

  • Read all assigned materials in your classes. There is a reason your professor assigns certain reading materials and contrary to what some students think it isn’t just to make your life difficult. Make sure to read everything assigned in class
  • Take notes. Take detailed notes during lectures and on all reading assignments. Keep all of your notes as they will be some of the best study materials for comprehensive exams.
  • Ask questions. When you are unclear about something ask questions until you understand. Waiting until after the CPCE or economics preliminary exam is too late. Get answers as soon as a question on something arises.
  • Organize notes. Keep your notes organized by topic. This makes it much easier when it comes time to review for comprehensive exams.
  • Take practice exams. Practice for the CPCE by answering sample questions. This will help you identify what areas you need to work on. Although the CPCE is multiple-choice make sure you understand why each answer is right/wrong so that you thoroughly understand why. Understanding why an answer is correct will help eliminate guesswork during the actual exam.

Further Suggestions on How to Prepare for Comprehensive Exams

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination is a multiple-choice test. However many programs will require either written and/or oral exams in addition to the CPCE. The following are some additional tips to help you prepare for comprehensive exams:

  • Practice writing answers to essay questions: Essay questions will vary from program to program. Some may allow open book and a week or more to answer questions while others may only give you a few hours with no materials allowed. Either way, practice answering essay questions in the required format
  • Strategic reading: There will be some programs which provide you with a reading list while others will require you to create for yourself. If possible include only materials that are applicable to the MBA comprehensive exam. Consider having a professor review your reading list. You don’t want to spend a bunch of time studying something that won’t be applicable.
  • Include sources: In most cases, you will need to support your answers to essay questions with evidence. Supporting evidence should be documented in order for it to be valid.
  • Keep up with the latest research: Some questions on comprehensive exams are likely to be drawn from the latest research in your field. Read the latest journals so that you are aware of what is going on in the field.

cpce exam tips
Regardless of what format your comprehensive exam takes, try to schedule it well in advance and make sure you are well rested the day of the test. If you are unsure how to prepare for comprehensive exams our company can help.

Contact us for first-rate CPCE exam preparation provided by well-qualified professionals in the field!