CPLEE Exam Guide 2024

If you’re planning to be a practicing psychologist in California, a part of your career journey will be passing the California Psychology Law and Ethics Examination (CPLEE).

Even though it’s a much shorter exam than the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), it’s important to know what to expect for the CPLEE before taking it.

To help prepare you for California’s standardized psychology exam, we’ve put together a guide filled with useful CPLEE information. Here’s what you need to know before sitting the CPLEE.

What is the CPLEE?

The CPLEE was created in 2015 by the California Office of Professional Examinations Services (OPES) to test a prospective psychologist’s knowledge of California’s laws, regulations, and ethical rules for the field of psychology.

The test itself consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and is computer-based. Candidates will have two and a half hours to complete the CPLEE.

Prospective psychologists in California take the CPLEE to keep up with California’s ever-changing laws and regulations. Because the EPPP doesn’t cover state-specific legislation, the California Board of Psychology and others decided to add the CPLEE as a requirement.

When Should I Take the CPLEE?

The CPLEE is one of the last stops on your path to becoming a practicing psychologist.

Before you’re allowed to sit the exam, you’ll need to have:

  • Your doctoral degree in psychology
  • Completed your 3000 hours of internships and supervised work experience
  • Passed the EPPP

Once you’ve completed all these requirements, you’ll be allowed to take the CPLEE. And, when you’ve passed the exam, you should be ready to apply for your psychology license and start practicing.

How is the CPLEE Scored?

The CPLEE has 100 multiple-choice questions that cover California psychology laws, regulations, and ethics. Of the 100 questions, 75 are scored and 25 aren’t.

Like the EPPP, the CPLEE tests new questions for each version of the exam. They use the 25 unscored answers to determine content for future CPLEEs.

What Score Do I Need to Pass the CPLEE?

Though the question is straightforward, the answer isn’t. This is because OPES regularly creates a new version of the CPLEE and grades them based on the difficulty level.

On average, a candidate can expect needing to answer 56-59 scored questions right to pass.

What’s Covered in the CPLEE?

The CPLEE covers eight different areas of California laws, regulations, and ethics that surround the practice of psychology.

Here are the eight content areas that will appear on the CPLEE:

1) Informed consent, confidentiality, and privilege; 20% of the exam content

This section of the CPLEE is broken down into informed consent (5% of test), confidentiality (7%), mandated reported (3%), and privilege (5%).

2) Psychotherapeutic relationships; 13% of the exam content

For this CPLEE topic, candidates are tested on treatment of minors (3%), sexual misconduct (4%), multiple and exploitative relationships (3%), and termination of relationship (3%).

3) Professional competence; 16% of the exam content

Personal impairments (2%), seeking professional consultation (2%), competence boundaries (3%), competency development (3%), professional continuing education (1%), and cultural competence (5%) are covered in this CPLEE subsection.

4) Assessment, evaluation, and intervention; 20% of the exam content

The topics in this part of the CPLEE are involuntary treatment (2%), duty to protect (3%), psychological testing (3%), forensic services (4%), telehealth (5%), industrial and organizational services (1%), and providing psychological consulting (2%).

5) Records; 11% of the exam content 

Be prepared to be tested on general requirements (3%), retention of records (3%), release of records (3%), and electronic recordkeeping (2%) in the records portion of the CPLEE.

6) Administrative; 6% of the exam content 

For the administrative section, candidates can expect questions regarding fees and arrangements (3%), bartering (1%), and notices to consumers (1%).

7) Professional issues; 6% of the exam content 

There are four content areas being tested in this part of the CPLEE: peer infractions (2%), advertising and marketing (1%), disciplinary actions (2%), and gifts (1%).

8) Testing, training, supervision, and research; 9% of the exam content 

In the eighth and final section of CPLEE, prospective psychologists will answer questions about scientific research and publications (3%) and teaching, training, and supervision (6%).

How Much Does it Cost to Take the CPLEE?

Registering for the CPLEE is $129.

How Do I Register for the CPLEE?

After you’ve taken and passed the EPPP, it’s time to request permission to take the CPLEE. For the exam, you’ll need to fill out a CPLEE request form. Along with the form you must submit your EPPP scores, your degree information, and details about your 3,000 hours of supervised work experience.

Once you’ve gathered your materials and completed the form, get ready to mail everything, including a check or money order for $129, to the California board. Their address is 1625 North Market Blvd., Ste. N-215, Sacramento CA 95834.

When the board has received and reviewed your materials, you’ll be given permission to take the CPLEE via email. Then, you’re ready to choose your testing site and schedule your CPLEE.

After you’ve decided on a testing site, you can schedule your exam through psiexams.com or by calling (877) 392-6422.

An important note: after you receive board permission for the CPLEE, you must take it within a year, otherwise you’ll be forced to request permission again.

Can I Resit the CPLEE and How Often?

If you don’t pass the CPLEE, you are allowed to resit the exam at least three months after your previous attempt. Every three months, OPES releases an updated version of the CPLEE, and a candidate who failed must wait for a new version to be released before retaking the test.

For each CPLEE attempt, you will need to send another $129 to the California board and wait to receive an email confirming your eligibility to resit the CPLEE.