Comprehensive Exam

The next scheduled Comp exam is on
Saturday, December 3, 2016 in SH 431 at 9am

What is the Comprehensive Exam?

The Comprehensive Exam is a 3.0 hour written essay exam. Please be sure to write neatly and clearly.  This is part of each candidate’s exit review. Both the M.A. and PPS School Counseling Credential programs require that students take and pass the exam. Even if you have a Master’s Degree from another program, you still need to take the exam for the PPS credential program.  If you have taken the Comprehensive Exam for your Master’s in Education concentration in School Counseling from this program, you do not need to take the exam again for the PPS Credential. Also, if you have already taken the Comprehensive Exam for your PPS School Counseling Credential from this program, you do not need to retake the exam for the master’s degree.

Scheduling the Comprehensive Exam

It is recommended that you complete the Comprehensive Exam in the last semester prior to graduation.  At this time, you will have completed most of your coursework and field experience, so you should be prepared to have the necessary knowledge base to pass the test.  If you should have difficulty with the exam, you will have a chance to study and retake the exam. 

Dates of the exam are posted online and on the bulletin board outside the Counselor Education office. At this time the Comprehensive Exam is handwritten. If you have special needs, please contact the Disability Resource Center.

Preparing for the Exam

The best way to prepare for the Comprehensive Exam is to learn as much as you can in your courses. You are encouraged to review your handouts, notes, and textbooks from each of your classes. There is no sample exam. (Note:You cannot use handouts, notes, textbooks, or collaborate with fellow students during the exam.) The test questions require that the student demonstrate broad knowledge of the counseling field based on both theoretical concepts and practical implementation. Answers to the questions should be direct and concrete.

Who grades the Comprehensive Exam?

The Comprehensive Exam is reviewed and scored by your university advisor using an evaluation rubric. Your score will determine whether or not you pass the exam.

How long does it take for the results?

Normally, it should take about two weeks for your advisor to review and score the exam.  Please contact your advisor if have any questions.

What if I do not pass the exam?

If you do not pass the Comprehensive Exam, you will be notified by your university advisor. You will meet with your university advisor to discuss how you may improve your understanding of the questions and strategies to improve your performance on the exam. Then, you will retake the exam.

What does the exam cover?

As mentioned above, the exam covers the content of the MA and PPS School Counseling Credential coursework and the knowledge and skills that you have developed during the program. Each of the courses in the department addresses certain objectives and those objectives provide expected outcomes. The course objectives might be the best overview of the content that might be required in the comprehensive exam. While the syllabi are no substitute for taking the coursework, they serve to refresh your memory. 

What should I do once I pass the exam?

Once you pass the Comprehensive Exam, you should be ready to apply for your PPS credential and be one step closer to graduation. Don’t forget to complete your Thesis Project for your master’s degree and/or to go to the credential services website for additional information required to apply for the PPS Credential: http//

For the PPS School Counseling Credential: Follow the instructions on the website for applying for your PPS credential. The Approved Program Contract is your approved and signed PPS Worksheet (the form can be found on the Counselor Education website):

This form needs to be approved and signed by your Counselor Education advisor and the department chair.


Updated 11/5/12 at 4:16 pm