Your Score on the National Counselor Exam

Some practicing counselors and graduate students believe that their score on the National Counselor Exam (NCE) is determined by all the scores of others taking the same exam at the same time. The lament is: If I take the exam with a bunch of very high performers on the NCE, my score will be influenced by them and I won’t do well. That is false!

NBCC (www.nbcc.org) develops several forms of the NCE each year. They are used all over the country and most are administered by computer. For each form of the exam, NBCC determines what the passing cutoff score is and makes this determination long before that form of the exam is administered. The passing cutoff score is determined by the particular mix (including how difficult the question, and how important is the content of the question) of the 160 questions scored for you on that form of the exam. For the vast majority of exam forms created and administered by NBCC during the past 12-15 years, the passing cutoff score has ranged from 90 to 99. So if you fail or pass the NCE, blame or praise NBCC (or yourself), not the other counselors taking the exam when you do.

And, some state licensure boards convert the NBCC passing score to some state-established minimum such as 75%. In such a state, the board says you need to get a minimum score of 75% right answers. That 75% is exactly the same as the required raw score correct on the NCE such as 97 or 92, or 99 on that form of the exam.

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