Comprehensive exams

All programs within the Counseling and Psychological Services Department require the successful completion of a comprehensive examination. Since January 2002, the Counseling and Psychological Services Department has utilized nationally prepared and standardized examinations for each program's comprehensive examination. Specifics for each of the comprehensive examinations are given below.

Students enrolled in the school psychology program typically will sit for their examination during their internship year. Students in the counseling services program typically will sit for their examination during their internship semester. Students enrolled in the mental health counseling program will typically sit for their examination upon completion of 30 semester hours of coursework. Students in the school counseling program and the mental health counseling program may not take the comprehensive exam until they have achieved candidacy. All students should confer with their advisors if there is any question about the timing of the comprehensive examination.

Preparing for the examination should begin early and should involve a broad range of preparatory actions so that students may achieve a "professional synthesis" of their varied training experiences. A review of textbooks, lecture notes, and other course materials should serve as one component of the review process. It is important to note that students will be accountable for material covered in those required courses that were waived during the development of the student's Individualized Student Program.

Note: The comprehensive examinations are pass/fail. If a student does not successfully pass the examination, he or she must retake the entire examination during a future administration.

If you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to successfully complete the comprehensive examination, please contact the SUNY Oswego Office of Disability Students Services, 155 Marano Campus Center, 315.312.3358.

The Counselor Education Comprehensive Examination (CECE)

Both the School Counseling program and the Mental Health Counseling program use the CECE for their comprehensive examination. Students enrolled in either program are expected to take and pass the CECE as part of their graduation requirements. In addition, students in the School Counseling CAS-only program are expected to successfully complete the CECE.

Content: The CECE consists of 120 items, covering the eight common-core areas identified by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP):

  1. Human growth and development
  2. Social and cultural foundations
  3. Helping relationships
  4. Group work
  5. Career and lifestyle development
  6. Appraisal
  7. Research and program evaluation
  8. Professional orientation and ethics

Preparation: There is no official study guide for the CECE. Since the CECE and the National Counselor Examination (NCE) are based on the same eight knowledge areas, any study materials developed for the NCE should be useful for the CECE. Study guides for the NCE exam can be found in the Browsing Section of Penfield Library, in the library at Jefferson Community College, or may be ordered online at the following web site:

A practice exam for the NCE exam can be found at The NCE exam is very similar to the CECE and this is a very useful resource.

An excellent book to help you prepare for the exam is "Encyclopedia of Counseling: Master Review and Tutorial for the National Counselor Examination and State Sounseling Exams" by Howard Rosenthal. One copy is in our browsing collection and can circulate for two weeks and the other copy is in our reference collection of Penfield Library.

Cost: None.

Time allotment: Students are allowed three hours to complete the CPCE examination.

To register: A test date has not been selected yet for the Fall 2020 semester.  Check back early in the semester.

The School Psychology Praxis Exam

Students in the School Psychology Program, including students in the CAS-only program, are required to take The Praxis Exam for School Psychologists, which is administered by ETS. The Praxis Exam is also required in order for program graduates to become Nationally Certified in School Psychology (NCSP).

Students may obtain a copy of The Praxis Series: Guidance, Administration and School Services and The Praxis Series Registration Bulletin by calling (609) 771-7395. They may also get further information about the Praxis series on the Internet at

Content: As stated in The Praxis Series, "The test assumes that candidates have had some form of supervised practicum or internship experience." Consequently, the optimal time to take the exam may be during internship. The test is made up of 120 multiple-choice questions that cover the following areas:

1. Diagnosis and Fact Finding

2. Prevention and Intervention

3. Applied Psychological Foundations

4. Applied Educational Foundations

5. Ethical and Legal Considerations

Preparation: The Praxis Series: Guidance Administration, and School Services provides a full description of the test along with sample test items.

Cost: See Praxis web site for current test fee.

Time Allotment: Students are allowed two hours to complete the Praxis examination.

To Register: The Praxis exam is administered six times per year. The closest ETS test center is at Onondaga Community College. Students must have their scores reported to the Chair, CPS Department, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126. Students should follow the directions in The Praxis Series Registration Bulletin.