The NCE test, formally known as the National Counselor Examination, is a comprehensive and challenging assessment for men and women looking to enter this exciting field of health care. The exam was developed by the National Board for Certified Counselors in consultation with an expert team of exam administrators as part of the licensure or certification process for counselors.
The NCE test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and takes about four hours to complete. It covers eight content areas and work behaviors: human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, group work, career and lifestyle development, appraisal, research and program evaluation, and professional orientation and ethics. It also addresses the five following subjects: fundamentals of counseling, assessment and career counseling, group counseling, programmatic and clinical intervention, and professional practice issues.
The NCE score report indicates the number of correct answers in each of these 13 content domains, as well as the total score (the sum of correct answers). The minimum passing score varies depending on the relative difficulty of the NCE version. The official score report contains a pass/fail verdict and is mailed to candidates approximately eight weeks after the day of the exam.
NCE Test Practice Questions
1. When beginning a counseling relationship, you are ethically required to
A. patient of the limits of confidentiality.
B. explain that everything said in your sessions will remain confidential.
C. keep a detailed record of what is said during each session.
D. write very few details of what is said in your session.
2. As you begin a counseling relationship, it is important to
A. patient unaware of your counseling plan.
B. give the patient little or no choice in the direction of counseling as it could prove detrimental to the therapeutic process.
C. jointly decide, between patient and counselor, how the counseling process will proceed.
D. answer as few of the patient’s questions as possible until the direction of the therapeutic process is naturally revealed during the initial hour.
3. A client arrives for counseling with the presenting complaint of relationship difficulties. She goes on to describe that she has had multiple abortions, and seems to use abortion as a birth control method. You are personally opposed to abortion. How should your personal beliefs impact the therapeutic relationship?
A. Your personal belief system will make it impossible for you to effectively counsel this client, and you should refer her elsewhere.
B. Your personal belief system should not have any bearing on the therapeutic relationship.
C. Your position on abortion will enhance the therapeutic relationship as it will make you more effective in teaching your client how to properly view abortion.
D. Your anti-abortion stance is best ignored and discounted while working with this client.
4. You have been involved in a counseling relationship with a client for six months, when he presents you with a small gift. What should you do?
A. Accept the gift and thank your client
B. Decline the gift with an explanation of why it’s inappropriate for you to accept it
C. Request that the gift be given to you only once therapy is complete
D. Accept or decline depending upon the circumstances
5. You are court-ordered to disclose confidential information about a client you are counseling. What do you do?
A. Limit, as much as possible, any possibly damaging personal information
B. Divulge any and all information about the client as court-ordered
C. Obtain written permission from your client to share confidential information
D. Both A and C.
1. The answer is A, “inform the patient of the limits of confidentiality.” Confidentiality has limits. As a professional counselor, you are ethically bound to report certain things. The patient’s intent to hurt someone else, suicidal ideation, and the abuse or neglect of a child are all examples of times when the professional counselor may break confidentiality and report what the patient has disclosed. The first session with a patient should also include a discussion of privacy and specific review of the types of information that would need to be reported, and to whom, given particular situations.
2. The answer is C, “jointly decide, between patient and counselor, how the counseling process will proceed.” Both counselor and patient should work together in devising the basic counseling plan. Working together, with and open and honest orientation, promotes a more integrated and positive approach to the therapeutic relationship, and furthers the ultimate chances of a successful counseling outcome. A regular review of the counseling plan, and level of progress, is also necessary to ensure a positive therapy outcome and patient satisfaction. This approach also shows respect for the freedom of choice of the patient, and his/her active role in the direction of the counseling relationship.
3. The answer is B, “Your personal belief system should not have any bearing on the therapeutic relationship.” The personal belief system of the counselor, when engaging in a therapeutic relationship with a client, should not be an issue in therapy. The counselor should be fully aware of his/her belief system and how he/she may diverge from the beliefs of the client in order to keep them in proper perspective. The counselor must avoid allowing those beliefs to impact the counseling process. The focus should be upon the client, and his/her values and belief systems, with a constant respect for individual diversity.
4. The answer is D, “accept or decline depending upon the circumstances.” Giving a gift is sometimes, and in some cultures, a means of showing respect and gratitude in a way that monetarily compensating the counselor does not. In certain circumstances, accepting a gift may be an acceptable thing for a counselor to do. However, in deciding whether or not to accept a gift, a counselor must consider the client’s motivation, the counselor’s motivation (in wanting to accept or decline), the monetary value of the item, and of course the point at which the therapeutic relationship has reached. For instance, in some cases declining a gift may be detrimental to therapy. However, for the most part, it is generally best if the counselor does not encourage or accept gifts from those with whom they are in a therapeutic relationship.
5. The answer is D, “both A and C.” When court-ordered to reveal confidential information about a client, you must of course ethically consider, first and foremost, the counseling relationship, and the rights of the client. You should, if at all possible, obtain written permission from the client to divulge personal information. Failing that, you must use your best professional judgment to limit the amount of information you share with the court. An emphasis must be placed upon sharing information in a way that would be as respectful as possible toward the confidentiality of your client, and cause the least possible damage to the counseling relationship.