To pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) you need help, a strategy. You can not just walk in to an examination center, sit down, and pass this examination without preparing.
How Important is the EPPP?
The EPPP is one of the most important tests a psychologist will ever sit for.
No matter how well you did in your graduate school classes. No matter how great you did on comprehensive examinations. Or how brilliant your dissertation defense was. Or how many journals accepted articles based on your dissertation. You may have been the star at your internship. Your internship director may have held you up as the model intern. Yet, despite it all…
If You Don’t Pass the EPPP…
If you fail the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology you will have very limited practice opportunities in the US or Canada. You will, virtually, be unable to practice anywhere without passing the it. At least not in any state or province that has a board of psychology that is a member of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The only exceptions to requiring you to pass this exam being Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Yet even Quebec requires applicants from outside the province to pass the exam before they are allowed to practice.
The list of professional activities that you are restricted from when you are not licensed is long: You can’t have private patients. You can’t get insurance company reimbursement. You can’t print “Licensed Psychologist” on your business cards. Many employers require that you be licensed. Basically, if you can’t pass the EPPP you’ll have thrown away years of graduate study and thousands of dollars on education, and all the sacrifices you made.
The EPPP Defined
The EPPP is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Every psychologist who wants to hang out a shingle in any state in the USA or in almost any province in Canada needs to successfully complete it.
Who Makes the EPPP?
An organization in Montgomery, AL creates and markets the EPPP to State and Provincial psychology boards.
Content of the EPPP
The EPPP contains these 8 domains: Ethical, legal, and professional issues, Treatment, intervention, and prevention, Social and multi-cultural bases of behavior, Biological bases of behavior, Assessment and diagnosis, Cognitive-affective bases of behavior, Research methods and statistics, and Growth and life-span development.
The EPPP is made up of two hundred twenty-five multiple choice questions. The examinee has four hours and fifteen minutes exactly, to finish the exam.
The exam is administered via computer. The examinee locates and sits for the exam at a Prometric Test Center.
It’s natural to assume that having attained a PhD or PsyD in psychology, having passed an accredited graduate program in psychology, completed an internship, and defended a dissertation or research project you would be able to easily pass the exam. Or perhaps pass it with a bit of review. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Why EPPP Questions are Difficult
On the EPPP, examinees must pick the “best” answer, not necessarily the “right” answer. Wording is often inverse. Questions may specify “all are true except” or “all are false except.” Discriminating fine differences between the answers on this psychology exam can be very challenging.
The questions on the exam require you to not only be familiar with each of the eight domains, but to demonstrate the application of that knowledge.
It is not realistic to believe that you can prepare minimally for the EPPP, or prepare in the same manner you have in the past for examinations. Nor is it realistic to prepare minimally and simply plan on continually retesting until you pass the test. There are several reasons for this.
EPPP Registration Expenses
One reason that makes it unrealistic to keep retesting is the high cost. Each administration of the EPPP costs you $450. Each sitting at the Prometric Test Center to sit for the psychology exam costs $68.
State and Provincial psychology boards require the payment of licensing and administration fees before you are allowed to take the exam. You must obtain an Authorization to Test letter from your psychology board before the ASPPB will allow you to register for the psychology examination. Psychology board costs related to licensing and sitting for the exam, depending on where you live, can be upwards of a thousand dollars.
How Many Times Can I Take the EPPP?
Another reason it is unrealistic to repeatedly retake the EPPP is that there are limitations on how many times you can take it. The ASPPB restricts you to taking the exam four times annually, while your local psychology board may restrict you even further. After a certain number of unsuccessful attempts on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology many psychology boards require you to convince them why you should be allowed to try to pass the exam again. Before you can take the test again your psychology board may require you to take additional classwork, gain further experience, or undergo supervision (for example).
All of these additional requirements can add significantly to the time it takes you to pass the EPPP.
Financial Costs of Retesting on the EPPP
Retakes of the EPPP are not free. You must pay the full fee to ASPPB ($450) and to Prometric ($68) each time you sit for the exam. Your psychology board will also charge you additional administration fees to reapply for another authorization letter to retake the exam. In all, the process of sitting for and passing this test are quite costly.