If you need help studying for the NCMHCE exam or just want some more information about what the exam is like, you’ve come to the right place.

Click below to take a free NCMHCE practice test!

What’s on the Exam?

Questions: 130-150
Time limit: 3 hours and 45 minutes

First, let’s talk about the questions on the exam. There are somewhere between 130 and 150 questions total, but only 100 of the questions will count toward your score. Why is that?

Unscored Questions
The 30-50 unscored questions are added to the exam to determine if they’re good enough questions to add to future versions of the exam.

The trick is that you won’t have any way of knowing which questions are scored and which ones are unscored. They will appear just like the scored questions throughout the test.

The time limit for the exam is 225 minutes (3 hours and 45 minutes), but the entire testing session will last 255 minutes (4 hours and 15 minutes):

  • Read and sign the confidentiality agreement: 5 minutes
  • Complete the testing tutorial: 10 minutes
  • Time limit for the exam: 225 minutes
  • Scheduled break after the fifth case study: 15 minutes

The exam is split into the following five sections:

15% of the exam

  • Maintaining proper administrative and clinical protocols
  • Informed consent
  • Client records and confidentiality (including electronic communication)
  • Legal and ethical counseling practices
  • Supervision
  • Use of social media
  • Advocating for clients and professional issues

25% of the exam

  • Conducting effective client intake interviews
  • Utilizing mental status exams (MSEs)
  • Assessing for substance abuse disorders
  • Evaluating mental health functioning
  • Understanding and applying diagnostic systems (e.g., DSM-5)

15% of the exam

  • Developing evidence-based treatment plans
  • Aligning interventions with client needs, developmental level, and cultural background
  • Selecting appropriate counseling modalities
  • Setting goals and objectives for therapy

30% of the exam

  • Establishing therapeutic rapport and alliance
  • Active listening and attending skills
  • Reflecting and reframing client statements
  • Applying various counseling techniques
  • Crisis intervention skills

15% of the exam

  • Empathy and empathic responding
  • Cultural competence and sensitivity
  • Respect and acceptance for diversity
  • Non-judgmental stance and positive regard
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Self-awareness and professional boundaries

How to Register

To get started with the registration process, you’ll need to create an account on the NBCC website. You’ll then be able to submit an application through this account.

Once your application is approved, you’ll be able to register for a testing appointment, which includes paying a $275 testing fee.

NCMHCE Study Guide and Flashcards

Get practice questions, detailed study lessons, and complex subjects broken down into easily understandable concepts.

Study Guide

Exam Scores

Each counseling case has multiple decision points, where you choose actions related to Information Gathering (IG) and Decision-Making (DM). Every question you answer correctly gives you a positive point, while incorrect answers may result in negative or zero points. Both IG and DM sections have their own scores, and there is a minimum score you have to get for each one to pass the exam.

You should get your official score report within 8 weeks of testing.

Retaking the Exam

If you didn’t get a passing score on your first try, that’s okay! You can retake the test after the mandatory 30-day waiting period.

Online NCMHCE Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online NCMHCE prep course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The NCMHCE course includes:

  • Review Lessons Covering Every Topic
  • 750+ NCMHCE Practice Questions
  • More than 500 Digital Flashcards
  • Over 30 Instructional Videos
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The NCMHCE prep course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their NCMHCE exam. Click below to check it out!



What happens if you fail the NCMHCE 3 times?


For your first three attempts, if taken within two years, you only need to submit an application once. If you fail the exam three times, you’ll need to reapply before taking it again.


How long is the NCMHCE exam?


The exam is timed at 3 hours and 45 minutes.


How many questions are on the NCMHCE exam?


The exam contains between 130 and 150 questions in total.


How much does the NCMHCE exam cost?


The testing fee is $275.