Career Development Questions on the Counselor Exam!

I’ve been helping practicing counselors and students prepare for exams for over 20 years. A continuing comment I receive after counselors complete the exams is “There are so many questions that relate to career development.  It seems that half of the questions are career development ones!”

In fact, on the National Counselor Exam (NCE) of the 160 items scored for you (40 of the 200 are experimental/developmental), only 20 are in the content area of career development. On the  Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE), of the 160 total items, 20 are based in career development (and only 17 scored for you, three are developmental).

If it appears that way more items than 20 relate to career development, here is probably the reason: The questions in some content areas, such as appraisal (testing), research, and ethics may be using career development concepts or settings for those content area questions. For example, a testing content area question may be embedded within a career counseling setting or practice. But the question is scored for testing not career. Or, perhaps a research content area question is asking for statistical significance between three different career development groups receiving different services. It might look like a career question but is scored for the research content area. The content areas of groups, ethics, and others may use the career development domain for their questions as well.

The net effect is that it might appear that nearly half of the questions on the exams are career development questions, but are in fact scored for other content areas. So, only 20 questions are actually scored for the career development domain on the NCE and 17 on the CPCE.

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