EPPP Exam Guide

Taking the EPPP, or Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, is a part of the road to becoming a psychologist.

If you’re planning to take the EPPP in the future, here’s a handy resource to help guide you through the process. (You might also be interested in our guide to the CPLEE exam.)

What Score Do You Need to Pass the EPPP Exam?

Prospective psychologists can earn anywhere from 200-800 points on the EPPP. In most U.S. states and Canadian provinces passing the EPPP standardized test means scoring at least a 500 if you’re going to be an independently practicing psychologist or a 450 if you’ll be a part of a supervised practice.

Most of the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico follow the 500 points guideline because it’s the score recommended by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The ASPPB has determined that a candidate who gets at least a 500 has enough of an understanding of the material to be a successful psychologist.

Ultimately, each local licensing board has the right to maintain its own standard of passing score. Before taking the test, make sure you’re aware of what your location recommends.

How is the EPPP Exam Structured? 

Taking the EPPP means going to a Pearson VUE testing center. There are a few of these testing centers in every region where the EPPP is offered, so schedule yours at the location most convenient to you.

The test itself is computer-based and has 225 multiple-choice questions that cover eight unique domains of psychological information. Each of the questions has four choices and only one right answer. Getting a question wrong doesn’t come with an extra penalty, which means if you aren’t sure of an answer, guessing won’t be counted against you.

Prospective psychologists are given four hours and 15 minutes to complete the EPPP. Outside of this timeframe, test-takers must also accept the Candidate Acknowledgement Statement (about five minutes) and complete a test tutorial (about five minutes). After they’ve submitted their EPPP, they will also be given a brief survey (also five minutes). In total, candidates can expect to spend a maximum of four hours and 30 minutes at their testing center.

During the EPPP exam, test-takers are allowed to take breaks when they’d like, but this doesn’t pause their exam clock. They may use their breaks to use the restroom or eat a snack. Prospective psychologists aren’t allowed to leave the building until they’ve completed the EPPP though.

Nothing is allowed in the exam room, so the candidate must store their belongings in a locker outside of their testing space. If they want a snack during the EPPP, it must be kept in their locker and also unwrapped and in a clear, plastic bag. Water is allowed (outside of the exam space) — only if it’s in a clear, unlabeled, spill-proof bottle.

When the test-taker has completed the exam, they will receive their unofficial EPPP score. Barring any errors, this is likely their final grade. Their location’s licensing authority will need to review the candidate’s exam before this score is finalized.

If the person doesn’t get at least a 500, they will receive an exam feedback report. This shows the prospective psychologist how well they did on each information domain and gives valuable information on where to focus their studies.

Something interesting about the test: not every one of the EPPP questions is scored. Every year, the EPPP contains 50 experimental questions — which aren’t labeled. These are included to see if they should be added to future versions of the exam.

Another quirk of the EPPP exam: the 225 questions don’t have the same point value. This is because the test’s questions range in difficulty level. The easier questions have less weight than the harder ones. Because of this element, it’s impossible to say how many questions you need to correctly answer to pass the EPPP test.

What Content is Covered in the EPPP Exam?

There are eight different domains, or content areas, that are a part of the EPPP exam:

1) Biological bases of behavior: 10% of the questions in the test

This section of the EPPP covers the biological side of human behavior and requires the prospective psychologist to tap into their scientific knowledge related to psychology.

Example topics: Neurobiological and genetic bases of behavior; drug classifications and abuses; results from trials; behavioral genetics; brain imaging

2) Cognitive-affective bases of behavior: 13% of the questions in the test

For this EPPP topic, test-takers must understand the psychological theory about human behavior being related to cognition and emotion.

Example topics: Research-based information about intelligence, learning, memory, motivation, emotion; parts of cognition (attention, language, executive functioning); how psychosocial factors impact beliefs; the relationship between cognition and behavior

3) Social and cultural bases of behavior: 11% of the questions in the test

In this part of the EPPP, prospective psychologists are tested on their understanding of how our culture impacts how people behave and interact with one another.

Example topics: Research-based theories and models of social cognition, like the development of stereotypes; social interaction and relationships (altruism, verbal and non-verbal communication, mate selection); group and systems processes (job satisfaction, conformity); cultural and sociopolitical psychology (privilege, political differences); identity diversity; the effects of oppression

4) Growth and lifespan development: 12% of the questions in the test

Think of this EPPP exam domain as covering everything to do with human development. There can be more of a focus on the infant stage of life when you’re studying developmental psychology, but the EPPP will cover all aspects of a person’s development.

Example topics: Growth and development throughout a person’s entire life; how someone’s environment impacts their development; research-based developmental theories; diverse identities and development; family development; life events that impact development; how factors like healthcare access and socioeconomic status affect development; diseases and disorders that alter expected development

5) Assessment and diagnosis: 16% of the questions in the test

Prospective psychologists must understand how to properly assess their patients and the systems they are a part of.

Example topics: Test standardization procedures; assessment theories and models (developmental, behavioral, ecological); different types of assessment methods and their strengths and weaknesses (self-reporting, psychophysiological measures, direct observation); common instruments to measure characteristics and behaviors; issues of differential diagnosis; instruments and methods appropriate for group and organization assessment (program evaluation); how to choose assessment methods; classification systems; influences of evidence-based interpretation of data; epidemiology constructs; psychopathology theories; how intervention and prevention efforts impact couples; technology in testing

6) Treatment, intervention, prevention, and supervision: 15% of the questions in the test

This important part of the EPPP helps make sure the test-taker knows how to properly treat patients.

Example topics: What can impact treatment or intervention decision-making (relevant research, a good patient/practitioner match, readiness to change); theories of treatment, intervention, and prevention; the effectiveness of certain treatments; methods for prevention and intervention in diverse or special populations; interventions to enhance growth; research-based models of consultation and career development; telepsychology; the state of healthcare and its impact on intervention; encouraging patients to be healthy; new models of supervision

7) Research methods and statistics: 7% of the questions in the test

This section of the EPPP exam covers the statistics and math-related parts of psychology. It’s especially important to understand if you’re planning to enter a research-based psychological role.

Example topics: Sampling and data collection; design of case studies; analytic methods; statistical interpretation; how to apply research findings

8) Ethical, legal, and professional issues: 16% of the questions in the test

Being a psychologist means being ethical and professional with your patients and coworkers. This topic is covered in-depth on the EPPP.

Example topics: Ethical codes; professional standards; laws that impact the practice of psychology; managing ethical issues; ethical decision-making; professional development; emerging social issues and how these change psychological practice; client and patient rights; ethical issues in research, supervision, and technology-assisted psychology services

How to study for the EPPP exam

We recommend reading our guide to the best EPPP study materials providers for more in-depth guidance on the leading companies, the study materials they offer and the practice exams you can sit.

When Should I Apply to Take the EPPP?

In most states and provinces, you’re allowed to apply for the EPPP once you’ve finished your educational requirements for your psychology degree. This can vary, so check your location’s psychology board site for more information.

How Much Does the EPPP Exam Cost?

Taking the EPPP test is $600, with an additional $87.50 fee that’s paid to your testing facility. There are some locations that charge candidates additional fees on top of this. Your state’s psychology board site will have the total cost listed. Make sure to check so you aren’t blindsided with extra fees.

How Do I Register for the EPPP Exam?

After you’ve applied to take the EPPP and received permission from your location’s psychology board, the board will create a profile for you in the ASPPB EPPP’s registration portal. When they’ve added your information, you will receive an email from the portal that will allow you to register for your EPPP exam.

Can I Resit the EPPP Exam? 

Candidates can resit the EPPP exam up to four times in a calendar year. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay the same exam fee every time you take it.

What is the EPPP 2 and am I Required to Take it? 

The EPPP 2 is a new section of the EPPP that was introduced in January 2020 and launched in August 2021. This part of the exam tests how the candidate would react in real-world situations that practicing psychologists face.

If you’re taking the EPPP 2, it will cost at least $450. There may be additional fees based on your testing site. Because this part of the EPPP exam was only recently introduced, there are only a few locations that currently require it: Arizona, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Manitoba, Nevada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. More locations may be added as the test is expanded.