Tutoring for Licensed Professional Counselor Exam

Personalized Support for Success

How Maggie Makes Preparing for the National Counselor's Exam Easy


How I Came To Be a Tutor

I like attending to detail and organizing stuff! I prepared for the National Counselor’s Exam by meeting weekly with two classmates from graduate school. Of the three of us, I was the one who asked the nit-picking detailed questions in an attempt to understand the sample test questions. Between meetings, I created flow charts and diagrams to help us learn and remember theories, vocabulary and statistics. In time the other two came to rely on me to tutor them. We allowed lots of time to prepare, so by the time of the exam, I had compiled a large stash of note cards, a zillion lists of names, words and concepts. I had ploughed through two big guide books about the exam; listened to hours of exam review questions on cassette tapes; watched DVD’s on how to memorize large quantities of information, did every on-line test question I could find and found dozens of tips on how to take the exam. When the test day came, I was ready!

The National Counselor’s exam was the third big exam I had successfully passed on the first attempt. In preparing for the other two- one for a national licensure for medical technology and the other for massage therapy- I learned how to get engaged with the studying process and how to stick with it until I had a sense of mastery.

Now that the exam is behind me, I am just as committed to seeing others pass it successfully and as painlessly as possible! In fact, it actually is fun to help others really “get something” that was foreign to them, to find ways to not panic during the test or to create a real possibility that they WILL meet their goal of being licensed.

How Can I Help?

I know that counselors, who want to be licensed, want to pass the national counselor’s exam on the first try with the least amount of time taken for study. Students want to learn the material and retain it long enough to pass the exam. After all, after the exam is over, just how often will you be asked to name the three levels and six stages of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development? Studying for and taking the test can just seem like one more extra thing that you have to do to earn “licensed” status.

Ability to Organize

Working with students, I offer an organized and systematic approach to learning the material. While the guidebooks can be helpful at offering lots of information, they can be less-than-helpful because the information is not well organized. Some books are written in a question and answer format. These are great for review but are very difficult to use as a basic text because the information is presented randomly. Knowing where to is a mystery.

With this in mind, I have designed each lesson so that information flows logically and smoothly. Most lessons begin with an introduction to vocabulary relevant to each section of the test followed by flow charts or diagrams of the names of theorists and their theories. I present the research and appraisal sections in ways that even the most math-phobic students find easy to comprehend. I want students to succeed and I know how to break down the information into manageable bites.

Help with Memorization

I’ll admit it; there is A LOT of stuff to memorize! How to tackle such a volume of material can seem daunting. If your mind slips every so often, as mind does thanks to menopause, it is important to know memorizing techniques that do not require rote learning. Besides, rote memorization is highly ineffective for most people. To this end, I introduce several effective techniques to make memorization and recall easier. There are experts out there who know how this is done and I gladly share some of their “secrets” with my students.

Decreasing Anxiety

Some student’s anxiety is so high that the act of taking the exam terrifies them. With this in mind, I support students in finding ways to relax as it is often a key component in the learning process. To help prepare them for the test taking process, several exam tips on how to take a multiple-choice exam accompany each lesson. We also discuss strategies on how to hang in there for what can be a four-hour exam.

Avoiding Procrastination

Some students, on the other hand, are quite confident about being able to master the material, but really struggle to not procrastinate about studying. Working with a tutor can help them stay accountable to the process and get the job done in time for them to take the exam. Together we design a study plan that will allow students to cover all the necessary material at a pace that allows them to comprehend and integrate the information in a timely fashion. After each lesson, I also present homework to help students review what was presented and to prepare for the next lesson.

Tailored for Your Needs

I have designed the tutoring to be very flexible to meet a wide variety of needs. Some students have not been in graduate school for years and appreciate a comprehensive review. This usually takes at least nine two-hour blocks of tutoring time. Others are fresh out of school and want a refresher in just a few sections of the exam. No matter how extensive the tutoring program, I present just the information that will be crucial for you to need to know in order to pass the exam. (I have already done the homework of deciding what is important and what is fluff.)

Life Beyond Tutoring

After I passed the National Counselor’s Exam, I launched the tutoring business as a complement to my private practice as a psychotherapist and the impulse to teach continues to this day. After graduation in 2004, I returned to my alma mater, Naropa University, where I am delighted to work as an adjunct instructor in the counseling graduate program. Assisting third year students grow from novice interns to competent psychotherapists reminds me of the yummy work I did as a doula when I assisted moms to bring new life into the world. I have been teaching for over 25 years and I hope to be doing the same in the next 25.

Living in Colorado I have grown fond of hiking, attending the Rockies baseball games (when they are winning). On sunny days I enjoy driving to the tippy-top of the highest drivable mountain in the world and along other thrilling mountain passes.
Yes, for an “older woman” I love to take an occasional risk. To keep me grounded after flirting with edges of 1000-foot drop-offs, I dance like a fool at the dance hall, soak in hot springs or tube down the Arkansas River.

The following quote continually motivates me to bring my gifts as a teacher to help others find ways to make the drudgery of studying and test taking into something bearable, successful and maybe even fun!

“Celebrate your life. Bring pleasure into it whenever you can and see that pleasure as truth not as some secret sin. When you begin to blossom and glow and dance down the street just because you are happy…then you are free.” Emmanuel’s Book


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"When I heard about Maggie's NCE study group, I struggled with the idea of paying someone to help me do what I should be able to do myself (study). I decided to go ahead because I was really busy, and knew I'd procrastinate without someone keeping me on schedule.

Boy! Not only did I get it done before nearly everyone in my graduating class, but due to Maggie's approach, I digested the information very efficiently. I knew, after each group, exactly which pieces of the exam I needed to study and how to knock it out fast.

After the group was over, I took the exam and well exceeded the needed score. (I got 135 when all I needed was a 99!) If you still need to get this thing done, I'd suggest you give Maggie a call and get going! Aside from taking it for you, Maggie will make it as painless as possible."

Becky DeGrossa, MA
Boulder CO
Counseling Wise

“My biggest concern … was how I was going to consolidate the (NCE) material in an organized way and retain what I learned. I struggle with tests and this exam was made manageable because of the sequential, linear approach the tutoring provided. Maggie was able to explain theories and ideas in various ways, which helped cement in concepts. The tutoring increased my confidence and security in taking the test. I would not only recommend the tutoring, I would say it's a must. The most significant benefit I got was passing the NCE.”

Anne Dinwiddle, MA
Boulder CO

"Do I really need to pay someone to help me? Can’t I figure out how to do this on my own? Does this mean I’m not smart? I have a MA…can’t I figure out a study plan? Of course, I absolutely could have done this on my own. But asking for help from Maggie didn’t mean I wasn’t smart or couldn’t figure out a study plan…it meant that I wanted someone in my corner who had a more objective perspective about the whole process.

If I hadn’t signed up for tutoring I wouldn’t have signed up for the test until the last minute. If I had signed up for the test at the last minute, I wouldn’t have given myself enough time to study and prepare and probably wouldn’t have done very well.

Plus, Maggie alleviated many of my worries. I could remind myself of her confidence in me, and let go of some of my concerns. Maggie is a fabulous cheerleader! Whenever I had doubts I could turn to her and she would give me concrete reasons why I was going to pass the test. Additionally, she has the ability to break large amounts of information into small chunks. This saved me a lot of time! I absolutely would recommend tutoring. Tutoring offered my confidence and a structured study schedule to get me to the finish line.

Amy Hartman, MA
Nederland CO

Peak to Peak Counseling

"I aced the statistic questions...thanks to you!"

Molly Prout
Highland Park IL

“My biggest concern in taking the exam was whether or not I would pass. I have a lot of anxiety around test taking. The biggest benefit I received from tutoring, was the guidance and knowledge in understanding the material that was required to prepare for the exam. It was nice to have an outline of each chapter and handouts that were definitely helpful! I also enjoyed the one on one work, as that is how I learn best. I would definitely recommend Maggie to anyone out there who is planning on taking the exam. She is very insightful and knowledgeable in the different areas pertaining to the exam. It is great to have a structured way to prepare for the exam and Maggie provides that structure! ”

Erin O’Donnell
Denver CO

"The biggest benefit I got from working with Maggie was the help and instruction around the stats and research. I felt like I could finally understand it. The graphs and how she explained it was invaluable. I almost got excited about it and wanted to share it with my friends, so that they could see it too. I would recommend Maggie's tutoring to anyone who wants to pass this exam. The one on one attention helped me stay on task and focus on the specifics of each section."

Riverside, IL

"I chose to obtain a tutor for the NCE because studying on my own was not providing any major benefits. I needed someone to assist me with organizing my studying materials & facts and to provide a easier way to understand the concepts.
Maggie in one word is truly "Awesome". She made the tutoring interesting, easy to recall and understand. Our study sessions, along with the memory devices, and material truly prepared me for what to expect on the NCE. As a result of utilizing her services, I am proud to report that I passed the exam on the 1st try with flying colors! Would I recommend her services to someone seeking tutoring: absolutely yes!

Houston TX

"I PASSED my NCE exam! I was shaking when I opened the letter, but God is good. I want to thank you for tutoring me and all the suggestions on how to take the exam; it was completely helpful as I scored the highest in the concentration area of Ethics, which is what you tutored me in!!! Yippee!"

Melissa Wright,
Family Therapist
New Jersey

"...thank you for your help and work this spring regarding my anxiety over test taking. The work we did allowed me to take the exam Monday and pass with the least amount of anxiety during the test. "


"My biggest concern was PASSING the test, the first time, and having the focus to study effectively on my own, especially since it had been four years since I graduated with my MA. Maggie helped direct me where I needed to go and having the weekly or biweekly meeting with her kicked me into gear as far as having the motivation.

The biggest benefit was passing the test the first time! And also the support to do so. Studying with a tutor gave me the structure and motivation I needed to get through material that I found uninteresting. While I am a self-starter and had purchased all of the study materials, studying with a tutor gave me the added boost I needed to get through it.

I would absolutely recommend tutoring. It's great to have the support. Maggie knew where to direct me as far as what to focus on, which also helped a lot. And yes, I have been licensed for over a year, now!! Hooray and thank you! It was well worth the price."

Linda Baird, MA, LPC
Denver and Boulder Certified Hakomi Therapist

Body Mind Integration

"Maggie’s gentleness and patience helped me to calmly approach the areas of the exam that were daunting to me and to help me to learn the material with confidence."

Merryl Rothaus, Boulder
Instructor at Naropa University

"Working with Maggie was a pleasure. She was very genuine, patient and attentive to my needs. She taught me in a way that addressed my particular learning style and increased my confidence tremendously"

Lisa Dionne, MA, RN Broomfield, CO

"Concerned that I was weak in the statistics part of the LPC exam, I met with Maggie one time and she made it clear and easy to understand. Plus, that one meeting gave me the confidence that I did know enough to take and pass the exam the first time. Well worth the time and money spent."

Christie M. Baryames, MA
Play Therapy Specialist
Longmont, CO

“Thank you so much for your tutoring. It made the biggest difference in my confidence level knowing that I was prepared. I passed the exam!”

Ashley Connolly
Boulder CO

"The great news is that I PASSED! I had my doubts but I received the score in the mail the day before I went home for Christmas so it was a great present. Thank you for all your help! "

Kelly Glenn MA, NCC (yayaya! )
Boulder, CO

"Maggie organizes the information very well, which makes it easier to understand. The flow chart on which statistical test to use was particularly helpful."

Avia Onwulata

"Working with Maggie was critical in helping me pass the NCE examination. The structure, support and explanation assisted me in learning the necessary content and she provided helpful tips and study techniques along the way. I am thrilled to say I passed my exam on the first try!"

Christy Clark MA
Boulder, CO

"Maggie built my confidence and helped me to understand more than just memorizing the concepts! She is a blessing and I'm sure she will bless another future LPC!"

Sarah Bodden, MA PLPC, NCC

"I just finished the exam and because it was computerized, I got the results immediately. I passed!!! (With flying colors, I might add!) Thank you so much for you time and knowledge in this process."

Abigail A. Jones, MS LAC
Wickenburg AZ

"I did celebrate! Andrew Helwig's book was very helpful and your charts really helped me especially in those sections! I definitely recommend it! My passing score was 85 and I scored 103 utilizing Helwig's and your info. Thanks again!"

Claudette Burnett
Harrisburg PA

"Thank you Maggie for all of your help...I passed it!!! So relieved and ready to move in to the next chapter. I couldn't have done it without your help. Thank you so much!!!! "

Amy Montoya
Trinidad, CO

"I just wanted to inform you that I passed my NCE exam. I want to thank you for all of your help. Would not have passed the exam without your program. A major burden has been lifted off me. Thanks again!!!!!"

Darryl Allen