The Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) is the licensing exam one must take to become a practicing psychologist in the United States and Canada. It is developed and owned by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).
ASPPB first developed the EPPP in 1964 to limit discrepancies in licensure requirements between different jurisdictions and to allow for the mobility of psychologists.
Before a candidate can qualify to take the EPPP, they need first to meet certain conditions, including having a doctorate in psychology and having completed the intern requirements of their particular state. (To find the rules for your state or province, see Board Contact Information).
When a candidate is ready to take the EPPP, they should consult ASPPB’s “EPPP Candidate Handbook” to learn how to schedule a test, what they need to bring to the testing center and what to expect when they arrive.
The EPPP is extremely challenging, covering all eight domains a candidate is expected to master in order to work in a professional practice. It is administered through computer and lasts 4 hours and 15 minutes. It consists of 225 multiple-choice questions, of which 175 are scored and 50 are pretest items that do not count towards the final score. For each question the candidate is given four possible answers, only one of which is correct.
Here is an example of the type of question a person might encounter on the EPPP:
In the context of incremental validity, the positive hit rate is calculated by:
In this case, Answer B is the correct answer. (If you would like to see more sample questions, and experience what it is like to actually take the EPPP, we provide a free EPPP sample exam.)
After completing the EPPP, the candidate will receive an immediate (but unofficial) score. This score is then reported to the licensing board within 10 days. The licensing board will then decide whether the score meets the established passing score for the state, province or jurisdiction in question.
Passing the EPPP by itself does not qualify a candidate to become licensed as there may be additional requirements and paperwork required by different jurisdictions. The particular licensing rules for each state can be found by contacting the licensing board of the relevant state using the Directory Published by ASPPB.
Below are the content areas of the EPPP together with percentages for how these are weighted in calculating the candidate’s final score:
Domain 1: Biological Bases of Behavior (12%)
This tests your knowledge of biological and neural bases of behavior, psychopharmacology, and methodologies supporting this body of knowledge.
Domain 2 - Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior (13%)
This tests your knowledge of cognition; theories and empirical bases of learning, memory, motivation, affect, emotion, and executive function; and factors that influence cognitive performance and/or emotional experience and their interaction.
Domain 3 - Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior (12%)
This tests your knowledge of interpersonal, intrapersonal, intergroup, and intragroup processes and dynamics; theories of personality; and diversity issues.
Domain 4 - Growth and Lifespan Development (12%)
This tests your knowledge of development across the full life span, aptyical patterns of development, and the protective and risk factors that influence developmental trajectories of individuals.
Domain 5 - Assessment and Diagnosis (14%)
This tests your knowledge of psychometrics, assessment models and instruments, assessment methods for initial status of and change by individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations/systems; and diagnostic classification systems and their limitations.
Domain 6 - Treatment, Intervention, Prevention and Supervision (14%)
This tests your knowledge of individual, couple, family, group, organization, or community interventions for specific problems/disorders in diverse populations; intervention and prevention theories; best practices and practice guidelines; consultation and supervision models; and evidence supporting efficacy and effectiveness of interventions.
Domain 7 - Research Methods and Statistics (8%)
This tests your knowledge of research design, methodology, and program evaluation; instrument selection and validation; statistical models, assumptions, and procedures; and dissemination methods.
Domain 8 - Ethics/Legal/Professional Issues (15%)
This tests your knowledge of code of ethics, professional standards for practice, legal mandates and restrictions, guidelines for ethical decision making, and professional training and supervision.
If you would like to learn more about the EPPP, we have a number of resources to help you, including a Free EPPP Sample Kit. This kit introduces you to the licensing exam and outlines the tools available for candidates studying for the EPPP.