2023 Edition

NCE Practice Exam

Take this free NCE Practice Exam to see the types of questions and sections that appear on the actual National Counselor Exam. The NCE tests a candidate’s understanding of basic counseling concepts in the areas of human development, fundamental counseling techniques, appraisal, ethics, research, group counseling and career development counseling. To prepare for your test, use our 800 question NCE Practice Exams Plus that includes online flash cards, exam review and 50 state guide.

For more free practice questions, try our other NCE Practice Test.


Human Growth and Development

1. According to Piaget's stages of moral judgment, a child younger than age ten will think which of the following is worse?
2. How many stages are there of moral reasoning, according to Kohlberg?
3. Which of the following is not a factor in the sleep patterns of adolescents?
4. A college student viewing a situation as good or bad or right or wrong is using:
5. Which theorist believed in the zone of proximal development (ZPD)?
6. When present in females, the Oedipus Complex is referred to as the:
7. Kohlberg's theory of moral development has three progressive levels ending in:

Social and Cultural Foundations

8. Cross-cultural counseling:
9. Most behaviors are learned and displayed in a cultural context.
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10. Which of the following is true about counseling within a cultural context?
11. In the United States, each socioeconomic group represents a different culture because they share:
12. Therapists adhering to which of the following theories would believe that aggression is learned through modeling?

Fundamentals of Counseling / Helping Relationships / Clinical & Programmatic Interventions

13. Which is true about Freud's idea of the preconscious mind:
14. Nathan has been working on cutting down on drinking. He tells you he passed a state store and 'found my car pulling itself into the lot.' He denies giving much conscious thought to it. Nathan is describing the workings of:
15. ________________ results when ideal standards are violated. According to Freud, this is a function of the __________________.
16. A counselor sets her monthly fees for consulation on a job-by-job basis. Which of the following reinforcement schedules is this an example of?
17. Suppression and repression are different because:
18. When a client becomes aware of a factor in his or her life which they were previously unaware, counselors refer to it as:
19. A counselor who chooses their theory and techniques in order to match the client's attributes, resources, and situation is called:

Group Work / Group Counseling / Clinical and Programmatic Interventions

20. One of the first formal therapeutic groups was held by:
21. Of the following, which is NOT a curative factor of group, as outlined by Yalom?
22. Jerry hears a fellow group member say, "I am really struggling with this divorce. I can't see my way to the other side sometimes. It seems like I'll never feel better." Jerry just experienced a relationship break-up himself, which spun him into a depression. Though the group member's situation is unfortunate, Jerry feels a little better hearing about it. Jerry is experiencing which curative factor of group therapy?
23. What are the three levels of social groups?
24. The fact that a group decision will be less conservative than a decision made by an individual can be explained by which of the following concepts?
25. Which is the correct order of Tucker & Jensen's stages of group development?

Career and Lifestyle Development / Assessment and Career Counseling

26. Which career theorist talked about life roles?
27. Holland's trait-factor theory matched which of the following together?
28. Jeremy, during intake, told you that he really enjoys his job as a watch repair man. His strong Interest Inventory would probably indicate a high score in which of the following?
29. A counselor has designed his career counseling group in such a way that it presents a "field and levels" approach to careers. Whose theory is he following?
30. What do dual career families often lack?
31. Developmental career theorists view career choice as:
32. Which is NOT one of the original 3 stages of career development identified by Ginzberg and his associates?
33. This publication provides key information about a job, including training needed, salary, job outlook, etc.

Professional Counseling Orientation / Ethics

34. Your patient enters your session excited about the New Age therapy you tried last session. She had brought in an article, and because of her enthusiasm and the fact that it did not require any new training, you had agreed to give it a try. She asks you to continue during this session, but you have done your homework: it's been proven ineffective and, in a select few clients, the condition was slightly worsened. You validate your patient, noting how glad you are that she's excited to try something new. Then you tell her that, unfortunately, you won't be able to continue with these types of treatments. With this act, you are expressing:
35. You have just launched a successful therapy group, and want to promote it to engage new clients so they, too, can benefit. You have asked your current therapy clients to offer an anonymous testimonial, telling others how useful it has been. From an ethical standpoint, this is _____________.
36. You are a licensed professional counselor with a Master's degree in Counseling and a doctorate (PhD) in Technology and Operations Management. On your appointment cards for clients, the most appropriate way to list yourself is:
37. It is ________ to administer a test to a client from a certain population when the test has not been normed to that population.
38. Nosology, the process of formal diagnosis, is most closely related to:


39. Your supervisor suggests that you give your client a Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI) Test. This is a(n) ____________________.
40. Self-report tests like the BDI:
41. Which of the following is not considered a subjective test?
42. Ipsative measures:
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43. Personality tests or interest inventories measure:
44. Reliability tells:

Research and Program Evaluation

45. When you see the letter P in relation to a test of significance, it means:
46. An operational definition:
47. Which of the following are not included as a concept in deductive reasoning?
48. Using deductive reasoning to gain knowledge has been called:
49. Joannie is a part of a research experiment monitoring energy level and depression. She becomes pregnant and tells you that she has been very fatigued. Her tiredness is:
50. A(n) _______ is a form of descriptive research and requires a return rate of 50-57% to be accurate.

Quality starts with who wrote the material.
Our practice exam writer
Diane Dean, LPC, RN-BC, MA,
 is a licensed professional counselor and educator with 20 years experience in healthcare. She has taught at many colleges and universities, including the University of Pittsburgh.

Stacy Fruhling, LCPC, LCADC, NCC, MAC,
 is an adjunct professor in psychology and counseling at the Ann Arundel Community College and the Community College of Baltimore.

Lisa Slade, MS, LPC, NCC,
 is an adjunct professor in psychology, counseling, sociology and human services at Caldwell University in the Graduate School of Psychology, at the University of Bridgeport and at the Housatonic Community College.


The NCE contains 200 multiple-choice, non-sectioned questions. There are different versions of the test. Test questions come from a pool of questions that have been extensively reviewed and researched for content accuracy and clarity.

Below are the six domains tested by the NBCC on the NCE:
• Professional Practice & Ethics
• Intake Assessment and Diagnosis
• Areas of Clinical Focus
• Treatment Planning
• Counseling Skills and Interventions
• Core Counseling Attributes
Covering the eight CACREP Common Core Areas::
• Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
• Social and Cultural Diversity
• Human Growth and Development
• Career Development
• Counseling and Helping Relationships
• Group Counseling and Group Work
• Assessment and Testing
• Research and Program Evaluation