The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) is a crucial exam for anyone hoping to practice as a professional counselor in the US. It consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and often takes approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

As you might imagine, this examination can be quite challenging. It’s also a relatively expensive test, incurring a non-refundable fee of $275 during each registration. Consequently, it’s vital to prepare for the test beforehand.

Fortunately, there are several top-notch NCE prep courses available online.

Which of these study-intensive courses might help you pass the NCE with flying colors? Let’s compare the best NCE prep courses to find out.

The Best NCE Prep Courses

  1. Mometrix University NCE Prep Course
  2. Dr. Arthur’s Study Guide 
  3. Best of the Best NCE Test Prep
  4. National Counseling Exams Subscription Service and Study Guides
  5. Test.com NCE Practice Exams Plus

1. Mometrix University NCE Prep Course

The Mometrix University NCE Prep Course is one of the most comprehensive study options available. It’s also fantastically accessible, offering users up to one week of free access. So, you can try it out, and if you don’t feel like it’s worth the $79.99 monthly fee, you can immediately opt out.

However, after exploring their in-depth NCE study materials, you might not want to cancel your subscription. 

This NCE exam prep course has it all: Hundreds of flashcards and practice questions, video lessons, and text-based, subject-specific study guides. 

Each video lesson concludes with a quick practice quiz for improved reinforcement. You can also choose to retake any quiz or rewatch any video, making for your NCE review process straightforward. 

This option is also compatible with multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. Consequently, you can study for the NCE at nearly any location. And keeping track of your progress is easy with the help of the tracking bar located at the top of each lesson.

The only potential drawbacks to choosing this prep course are the lack of extended access and recurrent monthly subscription fee. Still, dedicated examinees can absorb the bulk of the information on offer within about one month, which may lower overall costs.

Things We Like

  • A free 7-day trial ensures that examinees are satisfied with the study materials
  • More than 450 flashcards make it easy to study on-the-go
  • Nearly 1,000 practice questions; far more than other NCE preparation courses
  • All 84 lessons feature an end-of-lesson quiz that reinforces learned information
  • Easy-to-use user interface and progress tracking bar

Things We Don’t Like

  • No lifetime subscription option
  • If you don’t cancel your subscription, you’ll be charged $79.99 every month

TAKE ME TO MOMETRIX UNIVERSITY


2. Dr. Arthur’s NCE Study Guide 

Dr. Gary L. Arthur has been teaching graduate-level counseling courses for more than four decades. That dedication makes Dr. Arthur’s Study Guide one of the most trustworthy NCE preparation sources.

Unlike our other top picks, this option includes the opportunity to interact with a master of the field. 

Both prep packages come with a 30-minute (maximum time limit) consultation with Dr. Arthur himself. As such, examinees can ask any needling or unanswered questions about the NCE and receive a direct, honest, and informed response. 

Even better, both packages remain accessible and valid for up to one year after the purchase date.

The pre-assessment NCE exam is also a practical addition. It allows you to gauge your weak subjects and focus more intensely on those during the preparation process. 

Things We Like

  • All plans include a 30-minute consultation with Dr. Gary Arthur
  • Prep access lasts for one year after purchase
  • Two extra practice exams are available for an additional charge of $60
  • Includes a pre-assessment exam that helps you target trouble areas

Things We Don’t Like

  • Limited 3-day return policy/satisfaction guarantee
  • No lifetime access option

3. NCETestPrep.com NCE Prep Course

The Best of the Best NCE Test Prep course was designed by Raysha, an instructor and counselor whose organizational skills are worthy of endless praise. 

After all, it’s challenging to fit all of the relevant information examinees need to master into an easy-to-follow 8-week curriculum.

Still, the step-by-step curriculum and balanced pacing aren’t the only things that make this option attractive. At only $69, this course offers more bang for your buck, especially when you consider how many videos, text files, and practice exams are included.

Unfortunately, there is no satisfaction guarantee associated with this NCE test preparation course. Additionally, users are limited to a 90-day access window, which is far shorter than the average access limit of one year.

Things We Like

  • One of the most budget-friendly options
  • It offers a 6 to 8 week curriculum that’s evenly paced and highly structured
  • Features a unique mix of video and text-based study materials
  • The final module consists of practical tips and exam advice

Things We Don’t Like

  • No satisfaction guarantee or clearly-outlined refund process
  • Limited access of 90 days

4. National Counseling Exams Subscription Service and Study Guides

If you prefer to utilize physical study materials (as opposed to digital ones), you may enjoy the options available from Licensure Exams, Inc.

This preparation provider offers physical study guides, CDs, and quick-reference guides (called Tidbits). Those who purchase audio study guides (CDs and CD sets) can also enjoy free shipping on those items.

However, an annual subscription plan that includes access to all resources and materials costs almost $600. 

That’s double the cost of registering for the NCE, and it may be far too pricey for some examinees.

Additionally, refunds and returns can be challenging. For example, if you opt for a weekly subscription plan, you only have two days to try the study materials and request a refund. Physical items aren’t eligible for returns or refunds.

Things We Like

  • Offers both digital and paperback study guides
  • Examinees can choose from multiple subscription plans
  • Instructional CDs ship for free
  • NCE Exam Tidbits are condensed, affordable, and easy-to-reference study guides

Things We Don’t Like

  • An annual subscription plan that includes all resources and materials costs about $600
  • The refund process can be confusing

5. Test.com NCE Practice Exams Plus

Test.com offers exam preparation resources for a wide variety of tests. While this diversity can be a boon for those attempting multiple examinations, it does have a few noticeable drawbacks. 

Firstly, because Test.com’s NCE Practice Exams Plus is one of the hundreds of Test.com preparation products, it doesn’t feel quite as dedicated and comprehensive as other options. 

While you’ll be able to access a test simulator feature, flashcards, and 800 practice questions, you won’t be able to view video lessons or order study guide books. That said, you could choose to download a printable version of this massive study guide.

Still, this option feels less interactive, which can be problematic for visual learners.

That said, Test.com’s NCE Practice Exams Plus is comparatively affordable at less than $100. In addition, Test.com also offers all users a full money-back satisfaction guarantee, which is far more impressive than the limited-time guarantees.

Things We Like

  • Offer unlimited access to study materials
  • Competitively priced for increased accessibility
  • TestSIM feature to simulate testing environment and time limit restrictions
  • Compatible with tablets, smartphones, and computers

Things We Don’t Like

  • Relatively few additional resources
  • No video reviews are included

NCE Prep Courses Compared

Course NameMometrix University NCE Prep CourseDr. Arthur’s Study Guide Best of the Best NCE Test PrepNational Counseling Exams Subscription Service and Study GuidesTest.com NCE Practice Exams Plus
Practice Questions950+200 to 1000200+100+800
Additional Resources84 text lessons, 30+ instructional videos, 488 flashcards450+ flashcards, online study guide, phone consultationSix video reviews, 25 instructional videos, study plan, 16-module course curriculumPaperback study guide, eBook study guide, digital audio lessons, CD sets, reference guidesTest simulator, flashcards
Satisfaction GuaranteeYes, or money backLimited; 3-day satisfaction guaranteeNo satisfaction guaranteeLimited; 7-day for monthly or yearly subscription plans, 2-day for weekly subscription plans, no refunds on physical materialsYes, or money back
Price$79.99 (every month)$199 to $356 (single payment)$39 to $69 (single payment)$14.95 to $599.95 (varies depending on chosen materials)$39.95 to $79.90 (single payment)

FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding NCE prep courses. If you have any remaining questions or concerns, you may be able to resolve them by checking out the inquiries just below.

What Should I Study for NCE?

There are eight CACREP domains that you should concentrate on when studying for the NCE:

  • Assessment and Teaching
  • Career Counseling
  • Counseling and Helpful Relationships
  • Group Counseling and Group Work
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Social and Cultural Diversity

How Long Should You Study for NCE?

The preparation period varies from person to person. Still, most examinees will want to spend a minimum of one week studying. But those determined to achieve the highest possible scores will want to dedicate three months to prepare for the NCE.

What Is the Passing Score for NCE 2021?

The passing score for the NCE changes slightly with every iteration and administration. That said, the general minimum for a passing score tends to range between 95 and 110.

What Percentage of People Pass the NCE the First Time?

The first-time pass rate for the NCE is 82.6%. Statistical data shows that younger examinees enjoy a higher passing rate than those aged 40 or older. Still, proper preparation and studying can help you increase your chances of passing on your first try. 

How Many Times Can You Take NCE?

You can take the NCE up to eight times after your initial registration; Four attempts per year over two years. After two years of consistent attempts, you will need to re-register (and pay any applicable fees) to attempt the exam again.


Final Thoughts

Preparing for the NCE doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. When you have suitable study materials and practice exams at your disposal, you can significantly increase your chances of passing this exam on your first try. 

In our opinion, the Mometrix University NCE Prep Course is the best overall choice. It offers more NCE practice questions, study guide reviews, and digital flashcards than our other top picks. You can also try it out for one week, free of charge!