Most psychologist candidates spend five to seven years in graduate studies earning a doctorate, which is followed by a supervised internship. Since psychologists provide counseling and psychotherapy services, they must be licensed by the state in which they work. Usually, candidates are licensed through a series of exams. Such exams include the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), state-specific licensure exams and the National School Psychologist Test.
Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
The EPPP is a standardized, written test provided to 59 agencies for use in assessing entry-level knowledge to practice. It is developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).
Candidates have four hours and 15 minutes to complete the computerized exam, which is offered at more than 300 Prometric testing centers nationwide. Any breaks taken do not stop the clock. The test includes 225 multiple-choice questions. Twenty-five of those questions are for pre-test purposes and are not scored.
Topics covered include:
- Biological bases of behavior
- Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
- Social and multi-cultural bases of behavior
- Growth and life-span development
- Assessment and diagnosis
- Research methods and statistics
- Ethical, legal and professional issues
One of ASPPB’s sample exam questions follows:
The central ingredient of the most effective behavioral treatment for agoraphobia is:
- Deep muscle relaxation
- Prolonged exposure to vivo
- Shaping of the desired behavior with an implemented reward system
- Exposure in fantasy
(The answer is B.)
Most candidates taking the exam have earned a doctoral degree in psychology and are able to pass the test, according to the ASPPB.
Costs include the ASPPB’s $450 fee, Prometric’s $65 fee and local jurisdictional fees, which vary.
State Licensure Exams
States boards often have additional assessment requirements beyond passing the EPPP. In California, candidates have three hours to complete a 115-question multiple choice test that includes questions based on vignettes.
In Ohio, psychologist candidates take an oral jurisprudence exam. The questions are drawn directly from the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code and cover four areas: supervision rules, general rules of professional conduct, psychology board laws and rules and Ohio laws relevant to psychology practice. Candidates must answer four questions correctly and may ask for only one alternate question.
In Connecticut, the jurisprudence examination consists of 25 multiple-choice questions, of which 18 must be answered correctly. In North Carolina, applicants are asked to complete 50 multiple-choice questions covering the state practice act and ethics code.
The ASPPB offers a downloadable handbook outlining state requirements on its website for members.
National School Psychologist Test
The National School Psychologist Test is designed for master’s and specialist’s degree candidates who want to be school psychologists. It was revised in late 2008 and is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) through the Praxis Series.
The exam includes 120 multiple-choice questions about data-based decision making, research-based academic practices, research-based behavioral and mental health practices, consultation and collaboration, applied psychological foundations, and ethical, legal and professional foundations.
A sample Praxis question follows:
During assigned seatwork time, Mary, a first-grade student, sometimes leaves her seat and attempts to play with a block collection. When she leaves her seat, she fails to complete her seatwork. Which of the following behavioral intervention strategies could the teacher implement to most effectively increase the long-term likelihood that Mary will complete her seatwork?
- Allow Mary to read from a book the teacher selects for a specific time before beginning her seatwork.
- Allow Mary to play with the blocks afterwards if she remains in her seat throughout the seatwork time.
- Explain to Mary the value of completing seatwork in terms of the objectives of the lesson.
- Remove the blocks from the classroom during the assigned seatwork time.
- Ask Mary to remain in her seat until her assigned seatwork is complete, even if the seatwork takes longer than the allotted time.
(The answer is B.)
For more about the Praxis Series, please see The Guide to Teacher Exams.
Are you preparing for a psychologist-licensing exam? Please see our Directory of Psychology Exams.