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This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the CPACE exam. It is organized into five sections: CPACE Overview, CPACE Registration, Studying for the CPACE, CPACE Testing Day, and CPACE Test Results.

If you have additional questions about our prep programs, please see our general FAQs page and our Info & Help Videos page.


CPACE Overview

What is the CPACE?

CPACE stands for California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination. The exam consists of two sections (Content/Performance) and is used primarily for school administrator credentialing in California. More information can be found on our CPACE page.

Who takes the CPACE? What does the CPACE qualify you for?

The CPACE is primarily required to be passed by school administrator candidates in California.

Is the CPACE still required in California?

Yes, the CPACE is still one of the main ways a candidate can satisfy the licensure requirements.

How do I get my CPACE waived?

There are alternate options for satisfying the licensure requirements via coursework. To learn more about these options, please check with the state credentialing office.

How long is the CPACE good for?

A passing CPACE score on file with the official testing service must be used for credential purposes within ten years.


CPACE Registration

Where can I take the CPACE?

Computer-based and online-proctored testing are available by appointment during certain windows. For computer-based (in-person) testing, there are a variety of testing centers available. For more information about testing center locations, please visit CPACE Registration Info.

How often is the CPACE offered?

Computer-based testing is offered at testing centers during three different two-week testing windows. Online-proctored testing is by appointment during select one-week testing windows each year. For further information, please see CPACE Test Dates.

When should you take the CPACE?

Many candidates will have restrictions based on their organization’s timetable. In the absence of such requirements, candidates are advised to take the CPACE as early as is practical as the test can be re-taken if necessary and appointments may not always be available at convenient times. For more information, please see CPACE Test Dates.

How much does the CPACE cost?

Basic registration for a computer-based CPACE test has a fee of $294 for the Content exam and $358 for the Performance exam. For further details, please see CPACE Testing Costs.

Is there a fee waiver for the CPACE?

To inquire about a fee waiver for the test itself, please contact the official testing service that administers the CPACE. If you are looking for financial assistance for our prep programs to study for the CPACE, please see Financial Assistance.

Do I have to pay to retake the CPACE?

Yes – there is no fee to change a registration, but regular fees apply to retaking the CPACE. For more details, please see CPACE Testing Costs.

How long do I have to wait to retake the CPACE?

You must wait 45 calendar days to retake the CPACE.

How do I cancel my CPACE?

To cancel a CPACE registration, please contact the official testing service.


Studying for the CPACE

How long should I study for CPACE?

The average amount of time an individual spends studying is around two months, but that varies widely, depending on several factors such as your existing familiarity with the test content, and the amount of time you have available to study each day.

Which is the best CPACE test prep book?

There are a limited number of CPACE study guides available from major educational publishers like Cliffs, Kaplan and others. If you plan to buy one, we recommend going to a physical bookstore so you can read through the various options and see which is best for you.

Our company doesn’t offer any physical books. Instead, our CPACE prep options let you learn test content and strategies directly from caring, experienced teachers. Options include live classes, one-on-one tutoring and self-paced online prep.

Is your CPACE prep up-to-date?

Yes – whenever the test is updated, we adjust our prep programs accordingly. If you have any questions about specific programs, please feel free to Contact Us.

Can I take the CPACE sections separately?

Yes, you may take the CPACE sections separately or all together. For more information, please see CPACE Registration Info.


CPACE Testing Day

Is the CPACE difficult?

That depends on the individual. A good way to get a sense of the level of difficulty is to take a CPACE practice test.

How long does the CPACE last?

The CPACE Content exam allows 3 hours 15 minutes to complete and the CPACE Performance exam is 4 hours.

How many questions are on the CPACE?

There are 70 multiple-choice questions on the CPACE-Content test and two performance modules on the CPACE-Performance test.


CPACE Test Results

What score do you need to pass CPACE?

You must have a scaled score of 220 per subtest to pass the CPACE. To get a sense of your likelihood of passing, you can take a free CPACE practice test and have the multiple-choice sections auto-graded.

How do I get a copy of my CPACE scores?

Your score will be emailed to you, if you requested that option, and it will be available to you through your account with the testing service. You may view or print your CPACE scores up to 2 years after your test through your account with the testing service. After that, you may fill out a form to request a copy of your scores.

Where do I send my CPACE scores?

CPACE scores are sent to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing as well as any institutions you specify when registering for the test.

How long until I get my CPACE results?

Test results are available within 5 weeks of testing for computer-based testing. For online proctoring, test results are available within 4 weeks of testing. For more details, please see CPACE Test Dates.

What happens if you fail the CPACE?

You may retake any section that you failed after a waiting period of 45 days.


Our Core Plus Online Prep Programs feature: 

  • instructional videos that teach you the exact content you need to pass
  • interactive practice tests that replicate the real exam
  • virtual tutoring videos that guide you through every practice question
  • advanced diagnostics that offer in-depth insights into your strengths and weaknesses
Learn more about CPACE Online Prep
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