NPPE Exam - All you need to know!

The NPPE Exam


1. What is the NPPE exam?

The NPPE exam is a mandatory exam for most candidates who aspire to become professional engineers or geoscientists in Canada. Passing it successfully is one of the requirements to obtain a license to practice these professions in 12 out of the 13 Canadian provinces and territories (Quebec is the exception). The objective of the exam is to ensure that a candidate has the ability to practice safely, ethically, legally, and competently as a professional engineer or geoscientist. It tests knowledge of:

  • Ethics,
  • Law,
  • Liability, and
  • Professional Practice

The exam itself is delivered by remote proctoring (aka virtual proctoring.)


2. What does NPPE stand for?

The acronym NPPE stands for National Professional Practice Examination, which is its official name. It is an exam that any candidate aspiring to become a Professional Engineer or Geoscientist in Canada (except in Quebec) needs to pass successfully. The examination is colloquially referred to as the “NPPE Exam,” but other terms are also used to name it.


3. Is the NPPE exam referred to by other terms?

Yes, this very same exam is referred to by many terms, depending on the province or territory of Canada, the organization, or the type of document where it is used. Some of these terms, which are all synonymous, are listed below:

  • National Professional Practice Examination
  • National Professional Practice Exam
  • NPPE Exam
  • NPPE
  • Engineering and/or Geoscience NPPE
  • Professional Practice Examination
  • Professional Practice Exam
  • PPE Exam
  • PPE
  • Engineering and/or Geoscience PPE
  • Engineering and/or Geoscience Law and Ethics Exam
  • Law and Ethics Exam
  • Professional Practice and Ethics Examination
  • P.Eng or P.Geo Exam

NOTE 1: The 2 associations in Quebec (OIQ* and OGQ*) do not use the NPPE exam but an equivalent examination that, in French, they refer to it just as L’Examen Professionnel (EP), or translated into English the Professional Exam (PE). Naturally, it does not qualify for the adjective National.


4. What does Professional Practice mean?

Professional practice means the work and behavior of a professional and this implies getting and maintaining competency in all aspects of his job, setting high standards of conduct for himself (honesty, objectivity, impartiality, confidentiality), practicing industriousness, being organized, and holding responsibility and accountability for his actions and words


5. Is the NPPE exam the same across Canada?

Not exactly, but almost. There is a total of 15 associations of professional engineers and/or geoscientists across Canada. Only these, and no other organization else, can license you to practice engineering or geoscience. These are (geographically ordered on the map, left to right, bottom to top, as follows):

  1. Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (EGBC)
  2. Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
  3. Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS)
  4. Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba (EGM)
  5. Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)
  6. Professional Geoscientists Ontario (PGO)
  7. Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ*)
  8. Ordre des Géologues du Québec (OGQ*)
  9. Engineers and Geoscientists New Brunswick (APEGNB)
  10. Engineers PEI (EPEI)
  11. Engineers Nova Scotia (ENS)
  12. Geoscientists Nova Scotia (GNS)
  13. Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL)
  14. Engineers Yukon (EY)
  15. Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG)

Out of the 15 associations, 13 of them use the NPPE exam. The remaining 2 are the associations in Quebec (OIQ* and OGQ*), and these do not use the NPPE exam but an equivalent examination that, in French, they refer to it just as L’Examen Professionnel (EP), or translated into English the Professional Exam (PE). Naturally, it does not qualify for the adjective National.

NOTE 1: Out of the 15 associations of professional engineers and/or geoscientists across Canada, 14 are associated either with Engineers Canada and/or Geoscientists Canada. Only the Ordre des Géologues du Québec (OGQ*) is not associated with any of both.

NOTE 2: The practice of Engineering is currently regulated in all Canadian provinces and territories. Northwest Territories and Nunavut have together a single joint association (NAPEG).

NOTE 3: The practice of Geoscience is currently regulated in all Canadian provinces and territories, except in Prince Edward Island and Yukon.


6. Which associations use the NPPE exam?

Thirteen (13) associations of professional engineers and/or geoscientists use the NPPE exam as a requirement to obtain a license to practice these professions. All of them are associated either with Engineers Canada and/or Geoscientists Canada:

  1. Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (EGBC*)
  2. Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
  3. Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS)
  4. Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba (EGM)
  5. Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)
  6. Professional Geoscientists Ontario (PGO)
  7. Engineers and Geoscientists New Brunswick (APEGNB)
  8. Engineers PEI (EPEI)
  9. Engineers Nova Scotia (ENS)
  10. Geoscientists Nova Scotia (GNS)
  11. Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL)
  12. Engineers Yukon (EY)
  13. Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG)

NOTE: the NPPE exam in British Columbia (EGBC*) is the same as the one in all the other associations listed above, except that it includes an extra essay question and lasts one hour longer: the time allotted to write the essay.


7. What is the format of the NPPE exam?

The official NPPE is a 2.5-hours multiple-choice-question examination. It comprises 110 questions with four alternative answers per question, where just one of them is the correct answer. Only 100 questions are operational and considered on the score of a candidate, as the extra 10 are included to test them for future use. However, there is no way of identifying the latter.

NOTE: For 12 out of the 13 associations of professional engineers and/or geoscientists that use the NPPE as a requirement for licensing, the exam consists just of the above 2.5-hours multiple-choice-question examination. The NPPE exam in the remaining association (EGBC of British Columbia) has two parts: Part I is still the same 2.5-hours multiple-choice-question examination as described above, and Part II comprises an essay that needs to be written in one hour. Candidates can choose one out of three offered topics to write the essay. Therefore, this exam for EGBC lasts 3.5 hours, altogether, and is still called the NPPE exam!


8. How is the NPPE exam graded or scored?

In all cases where the NPPE exam is used, the score of the multiple-choice-question exam is based on the number of questions correctly answered, expressed as a percentage. A correctly answered question scores 1 point and there is no penalty for incorrect or unanswered questions. Nevertheless, the exam is graded on a curve, and a statistically equated score of 65% minimum is required to pass the multiple-choice-question exam. Please, refer to the NPPE Candidate Guide for more detailed information.

Essays for the British Columbia (EGBC) NPPE exam are graded based on the candidate’s ability to understand and address the topic, organization, and even grammar. The essay is marked from 0 to 10 marks, and a minimum mark of 6 is required to pass the essay question. Moreover, the multiple-choice question part of the NPPE exam (Part I) is independent of the essay question part (Part II), and a candidate needs to pass both independently to pass the exam.


9. Are the NPPE exam dates the same for all the Associations?

Yes, the NPPE exam dates are the same for all the Associations that use it as a requirement for licensure. They are offered on five occasions a year (January/February, April, June, August/September, and November), three contiguous days per occasion (usually a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), and 2 sessions per day (Morning and Afternoon), by remote proctoring.


10. What are the dates for the coming NPPE exams?

Year 2022:

# Exam Dates: Register by:
5 Nov 7-9 Sep 23

Year 2023:

# Exam Dates: Register by:
1 Jan 23-25 Dec 2
2 Apr 3-5 Feb 10
3 Jun 5-7 Apr 28
4 Sep 11-13 Jul 14
5 Nov 6-8 Sep 29

11. How does a candidate register to take the NPPE Exam?

First of all, a candidate needs to submit a formal application for any one of the types of engineering or geoscience licenses to the corresponding professional association of the Canadian province or territory where he/she intends to practice the profession. The association conducts an initial assessment of the application, and, if satisfied, it communicates to the candidate his/her eligibility to take the NPPE exam, the time-window within which it can be taken, and the information to contact and register with the third-party vendor that remotely delivers and proctors the NPPE. Candidates with unsatisfactory applications for a license are ineligible to register and take the NPPE exam.


12. What is remote proctoring?

Proctoring means supervision. Remote proctoring is a decentralized exam-delivery system with virtual supervision. Many candidates take an exam simultaneously from different remote locations (including their own homes) and a proctoring service provider confirms the identity of candidates and monitors any dishonest behavior during the exam by video surveillance. This ensures the integrity of the process. The remote location needs to have access to a computer, a webcam, and an internet connection.


13. Who administers the NPPE Exam?

The “Direction of Examinations & NPPE” of APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta) owns and administers the NPPE exam in the representation of the 13 Professional Associations that use the NPPE exam as a requirement for licensure. This means that APEGA is responsible for defining the syllabus (aka blueprint), recommending the basic study materials, preparing the questions, setting the dates for the exam, and hiring a third-party vendor to provide the computer testing and proctoring software and deliver/proctor the real-time examination process.

Currently, the third-party testing and proctoring vendor hired by APEGA is “Meazure Learning”, a company born out of the merger of a computer-based testing vendor (Yardstick) and an online proctoring service provider (ProctorU.)


14. What does the NPPE exam cover?

The NPPE exam tests knowledge of Ethics, Law, Liability, and Professional Practice as related to the engineering and/or geoscience professions in Canada. The owners of the exam have developed a very detailed syllabus for it. The syllabus is divided into six (6) topic areas as follows:

  1. Professionalism (7 – 10 questions)
  2. Ethics (17 – 21 questions)
  3. Professional Practice (27 – 32 questions)
  4. Law for Professional Practice (23 – 28 questions)
  5. Professional Law (7 – 10 questions)
  6. Regulation of Members & Discipline Processes (7 – 10 questions)

The weight of each topic area in the exam can be appreciated by the number of operational questions that would be delivered for each (figures in parenthesis above.) Though the exam has 110 questions, only 100 are operational and 10 are included in it only to test them for future use.

Moreover, each topic area above contains sub-topics and even sub-sub-topics. The complete syllabus can be accessed through this link.

NOTE: Another term to refer to the NPPE syllabus is NPPE Blueprint, and the latter has been preferred since very recently.


15. Where can I find the NPPE exam syllabus?

The complete syllabus of the NPPE exam, as published by the exam owners/administrators, can be accessed through this link.

NOTE: The NPPE syllabus is also referred to as the NPPE Blueprint (National professional Practice Examination Blueprint) as can be seen when accessing the above link.


16. What is the NPPE exam blueprint?

The NPPE exam blueprint is just another name for the NPPE exam syllabus. Since very recently, the exam owners/administrators started calling the NPPE syllabus the NPPE Blueprint; so, the terms syllabus and blueprint mean exactly the very same thing.

The complete syllabus or blueprint of the NPPE exam can be accessed through this link.


17. Is there an official NPPE Candidate Guide?

Yes, the owners/administrators of the exam have published an NPPE exam candidate guide and it can be accessed through this link. This is the latest version of the guide and was published on May 06, 2022.

NOTE: Some of the 13 NPPE participating associations adapt this guide to include their own particular information like contact data, addresses, websites, and additional or reduced recommended study materials (though the multiple-choice-question exam will still be the same for all the 13 associations,) among other things. Therefore, it is wise to check the website of the association where you intend to be licensed for the adapted candidate guide if any.


18. Is there an official list of recommended study materials for the NPPE exam?

Yes, the owners/administrators of the exam have published an official list of recommended study materials within the NPPE Candidate Guide. The basic list consists of four books and nine guides/articles.

The four (4) books that can be purchased from publishers/book retailers are:

  1. Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience: Practice & Ethics. Fifth or Sixth Edition. Gordon C. Andrews, Patricia Shaw, John McPhee.
  2. Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering, and Geoscience. Second or Third Canadian Edition. Brian M. Samuels and Doug R. Sanders.
  3. Practical Guide to Ethics and Professional Practice for Engineers and Geoscientists. First Edition. Brian M. Samuels and Doug R. Sanders.
  4. Law for Professional Engineers: Canadian and Global Insights. Fifth Edition, 2019 by Donald L. Marston.

The nine (9) guides/articles that can be accessed freely online are:

  1. A Guide to Copyright
  2. A Guide to Industrial Designs
  3. A Guide to Patents
  4. A Guide to Trademarks
  5. Concepts of Professionalism (*)
  6. Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act*
  7. Guideline for Ethical Practice (*)
  8. Occupational Health and Safety Act*
  9. Royal Bank of Canada article – “The Soul of Professionalism” (*)

NOTE: The articles marked * are particular to APEGA, who are the owners/administrators of the exam. The adapted version of the NPPE Candidate Guide for the other associations would probably list their own particular equivalent information. And, since the exam cannot address particular information of one association that is not the same in all others (because the NPPE exam is the same across Canada; i.e., the multiple-choice-questions are the same), then it is an indication that the marked material cannot be in the exam unless a related question addresses a very general issue that would be the same across associations. The articles marked (*) are still particular to APEGA, however, the material can be seen as applying equally to all associations.


19. Why is the list of recommended study materials different for different associations if the NPPE exam is the same?

Different associations tend to have their candidates for licensure read a set of basic materials that is common to all associations and, in addition, their particular provincial or territorial laws, regulations, and other documents, hence the difference. However, since the NPPE exam is the same across all the associations that use it for licensure, logic would tell that the additional particular material cannot be tested as it is different for different associations.

It is worth mentioning Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba (EGM) whose NPPE study materials reduce to only the following two (2) textbooks and four (4) documents without any other material particular to Manitoba (compare this with the answer to the previous question).

The two (2) books that can be purchased from publishers/book retailers are:

  1. Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience: Practice & Ethics. Fifth or Sixth Edition. Gordon C. Andrews, Patricia Shaw, John McPhee.
  2. Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering, and Geoscience. Second or Third Canadian Edition. Brian M. Samuels and Doug R. Sanders.

The four (4) documents that can be accessed freely online are:

  1. A Guide to Copyright
  2. A Guide to Industrial Designs
  3. A Guide to Patents
  4. A Guide to Trademarks

If a candidate in Manitoba can successfully pass the exam reading just this reduced list of recommended study materials, then any other candidate can surely do the same anywhere else in Canada, as the NPPE exam is the same everywhere.


20. Do I have to read all the recommended study materials for the NPPE exam?

It would be advisable. However, the NPPE Candidate Guide is very clear when it says (literal quote): “Although there are recommended study materials, applicants can gain mastery of the topics covered on the exam any way that works best for them.”

The same guide, in another paragraph repeats (literal quote): “It is up to you to determine what resources are best to prepare for the exam, most applicants find using one ethics textbook and at least one of the law textbooks helpful.”

NOTE: There are probably more convenient alternatives in the market, compared to the recommended study materials, to streamline the preparation of a candidate for this exam. Consider for example the book “Engineering & Geoscience NPPE: Law and Ethics” authored by WPE Studio. It is short and covers all the topics listed in the official syllabus/blueprint of the NPPE exam in the same order.


21. Are all the questions based on the study materials recommended for the NPPE exam?

This question is not very simple to answer. Unfortunately, the syllabus/blueprint and the recommended study materials diverge largely. There are topics in the syllabus that cannot be found in the recommended study materials and vice versa. Also, organization-wise, there is very little ground in common. All this frustrates and overwhelms many candidates when studying for this exam.

We tend to think that the owners/administrators of the NPPE exam would prepare questions related to topics that are listed in the syllabus, whether they are or are not covered by the recommended study materials. Therefore, good advice would be to prepare for this exam following the topics listed in the syllabus. This means, however, that candidates need to scramble through the study materials for topics that can be found in them and venture into doing some further research on their own, beyond the recommended study materials, for topics that are not in them.

NOTE: The book “Engineering & Geoscience NPPE Law and Ethics” authored by WPE Studio may come in very handy to palliate these frustrations, as it exactly matches and follows the syllabus of the NPPE exam and provides many other advantages, including being very short (only 240 pages) compared to official study materials whose page count may get to 1300 pages, or even higher, depending on the association.


22. Do the recommended study materials cover the syllabus of the NPPE Exam?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is NO. There are topics in the syllabus that cannot be found in the recommended study materials and vice versa.


23. Can I familiarize myself with the computer-based exam software before taking the exam?

Yes. Once registered with the current vendor, it will give you access to a demo with all the features of the official software used for the exam. Every candidate must give a try to this demo as it is free. This way, also the computer, webcam, and internet connection can be tested in anticipation of the official NPPE exam.


24. Are there any practice tests for the NPPE?

Yes, the owners/administrators of the NPPE exam offer two banks of 50 multiple-choice-questions for $50 each; or both for $95. The questions appeared on previous exams, have English and French translations, and resemble the format of the official exam. These questions can be accessed through the following link. (NOTE: the disadvantages of these banks are that they are costly, both together contain only 100 questions when the official exam contains 110, and you lose access to them after the third trial. Nevertheless, they may be useful to familiarize yourself with the format of the exam.)

There are also some private alternatives. For example, for about the same price, WPE Studio offers three full sets of practice exams, each containing 110 different questions. The advantages of these practice exams are that they are much less costly, they follow exactly the format of the official NPPE exam, and above all, they bring an extended explanation that helps to learn or understand better the topic of the question. The platform used to deliver these practice exams is similar to the official one and allows you to simulate timed exam conditions. Not only that, but it also allows you to try the practice exams at your leisure, as many times as you need within the period of the license, and provides you comprehensive feedback, question by question, with the rationale as to why the correct answer is so. The final exam report will show the topic areas where you are strong or weak. This can help you diagnose the areas you need to pay more attention to before you take the official exam. The reports of all your complete attempts are also stored so that you can track your progress.


25. How many times can I take the NPPE exam?

You can take the NPPE exam, literally, as many times as you need to pass it, except that you need to pay the corresponding fees each time, and depending on the association, wait for some time before taking it again, especially after the third attempt. You may also need to file a new application for licensure after the fourth attempt.


26. What happens if you fail the NPPE exam?

Not much really. You can afford to fail the NPPE exam quite a few times without any consequence, except that you need to pay the corresponding fees each time, and depending on the association, wait for some time before taking it again, especially after the third attempt.

The system works as follows: to be eligible to take the NPPE exam, you first need to file a formal application for licensure to the association of the province or territory where you intend to practice a as professional engineer or geoscientist. The association then communicates your eligibility to take the exam and the time window within which you can take it. During that time window, you are allowed to take the exam up to four (4) times. If the window closes or you failed the fourth time, then your application for licensure is withdrawn and you need to re-apply for licensure and the system repeats itself.


27. Are the NPPE and the PPE exams the same?

Yes, as of 2022, both terms refer to the very same exam. In the past, the format of the ethics and law exam for PEO was unique to it and PEO named it the PPE. However, PEO recently adopted the NPPE exam and calls it NPPE, but one can find places in their online information where PEO still refers to it as the PPE exam: a reminiscence of their old exam. Nevertheless, other associations across Canada would also use the term NPPE or PPE, interchangeably, for this exam, though they never had a different format, i.e., EGM. Most other associations seem to prefer just the term NPPE or NPPE exam. Universities across the country tend to refer to it just as PPE or Professional Practice Exam.


28. Is the NPPE and the Professional Exam (L’Examen Professionnel) the same?

The answer is No. However, a bit of background is needed to respond appropriately. There is a total of 15 associations of professional engineers and geoscientists in Canada. The NPPE exam is used by 13 of them and its questions are the same for all 13 (only one of these, EGBC, adds an essay question which is a very minor variation, but otherwise it uses the very same exam.) The remaining 2 associations (OIQ and OGQ from Quebec) each use their own exam and both refer to it as the Professional Exam or L’Examen Professionnel. Now, topic areas, the recommended study materials, format, and duration of the NPPE and those of the Professional Exams of OIQ and OGQ are as follows:


NPPE exam (13 associations):

  1. Professionalism
  2. Ethics
  3. Professional Practice
  4. Law for Professional Practice
  5. Professional Law
  6. Regulation of Members & Discipline Processes

The owners/administrators of the NPPE exam publish a list of recommended study materials that include four textbooks and 9 documents. The exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions and lasts 2.5 hours.


Professional Exam (1 association: OIQ):

  1. The professional system, the Association of Engineers of Quebec (OIQ: Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec), the social role and the professional development of the engineer
  2. Ethics, deontology, and professionalism
  3. The applicable laws and regulations
  4. The standards of professional practice

OIQ publishes a 781 pages compendium of study documents in a single volume available only in French that they refer to as the “Integral Material to Prepare for the Exam” and these can be accessed through this link. The exam consists of a variable number of multiple-choice and true/false questions and lasts 3 hours.


Professional Exam (1 association: OGQ):

  1. The professional system, the Association of Geoscientists of Quebec (OGQ: Ordre des Géologues du Québec)
  2. Ethics, deontology, and professionalism
  3. Contracts, standards, and responsibilities
  4. Other laws and regulations that frame the work of the geoscientist

OGQ also publishes a 172 pages compendium of study documents in a single volume that they refer to as the “Preparatory Notes for the Professional Exam” and these can be accessed through this link. Some other complementary documents are also referenced. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and lasts only 2 hours.


As seen, though many topics are common to all three exams, the recommended study materials, format, and duration of the exams are different for all three. In addition, the NPPE applies to engineering and geoscience, the Professional Exam (OIQ) applies only to engineering, and the Professional Exam (OGQ) applies only to geoscience.


29. How do I prepare for the NPPE exam? What should I study for it?

Here is what you need to do to prepare yourself for the NPPE:

  1. Read the NPPE Candidate Guide (Link)
  2. Read the NPPE Blueprint or Syllabus (Link)
  3. CHOOSE and STUDY appropriate materials* that can streamline your NPPE prep.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the remote testing/proctoring software
  5. Take as many full-length practice exams as possible and review your performance
  6. If you intend to get your license from EGBC, be sure to also practice writing essays as it brings an essay question.

* The NPPE Candidate Guide advises “Although there are recommended study materials, applicants can gain mastery of the topics covered on the exam any way that works best for them.” Therefore, you are free to choose the set of materials you want to study (Point iii.* above). For example, you can choose the recommended study materials (Link) but these have many disadvantages: They are too long, as depending on the association the page count of study materials can get up to 1300 pages for some, and even higher for others. The recommended study materials do not cover all the topics of the NPPE blueprint/syllabus, and you need to do some further research for missing topics. Organization-wise, the blueprint and the recommended study materials have little ground in common, and this is a major headache for candidates that follow this path as they do not exactly know if the material they are studying is relevant or not, and therefore, they cannot possibly manage or monitor their progress properly.

However, you can streamline your NPPE prep if, instead, you study only material that is relevant for the exam and is exactly organized following the NPPE blueprint. A great book that meets these criteria is WPE Studio’s “Engineering & Geoscience NPPE: Law and Ethics,” as it contains only topics listed in the NPPE blueprint and follows its organization. Besides that, by force of relevancy and organization, it is much shorter than the recommended study materials: only 240 pages long. This can truly streamline your NPPE prep, be very helpful when monitoring your progress, and save you precious time.

With proper preparation, taking the NPPE exam can be a manageable challenge. So, get started on your NPPE prep today with WPE Studio!


30. How long does it take to study for the NPPE exam?

The answer to this question is not straightforward as it depends on many factors, including your study habits, the time you can devote to your preparation, and the study materials that you select to prepare yourself. Remember, the NPPE Candidate Guide clearly says that you do not necessarily have to use the recommended study materials and that you should get to master the topics of the exam the way that suits you best. Therefore, an absolute time measure cannot be established but a relative one, as a function of the tasks you need to accomplish.

The heaviest part is not just reading the materials you chose but studying them and absorbing information and building organic knowledge that can stay with you and that you can apply during the exam.

If you chose the path of the NPPE list of recommended study materials, your NPPE prep time will amount to the time you need to study at the very minimum two books about 400-pages long each and four other loose articles, plus the time you need to take and review at least two or three mock tests in the format of the official NPPE exam.

However, you can shorten that time if you take the path that suits you best following the advice of the NPPE Candidate Guide. If this is the case, you are probably better off reading a single book that contains all the topics of the exam. (A great candidate surely is “Engineering & Geoscience NPPE: Law and Ethics” by WPE Studio. It is written following exactly the organization of the NPPE blueprint or syllabus. This can truly streamline your NPPE prep and be very helpful to monitor your progress.) Your NPPE prep would then take just the time you need to study a 240-page book and the time you need to take and review at least two or three mock tests in the format of the official NPPE exam.


31. How hard is the NPPE exam? Is the NPPE exam difficult?

The NPPE exam is not easy. It is not an exam that you can pass just by appealing to your intuition and common sense or solving a single mock test in the format and length of the official exam. It is a challenging examination that requires a significant investment of time and effort to prepare for. You need to become conversant with many intertwined concepts, principles, and theories. The exam will test your memory of them in a few instances, but it will mostly test your ability to apply them to real-life junctures presenting you with some hypothetical scenarios or problems. Nevertheless, with proper preparation, the NPPE exam can be a manageable challenge.


32. Do I need to buy the recommended textbooks for the NPPE exam?

No. You do not have to own them. You can borrow them from a library or anybody else that may possess these books. Furthermore, all the other complementary documents can freely be downloaded from the internet.

However, the question you want to ask is probably not about possession but if you need to read or study the recommended textbooks. And the answer to this question is NO. The NPPE Candidate Guide clearly says that you do not necessarily have to use the recommended study materials and that you should get to master the topics of the exam the way that suits you best.

If you consider that (1) each of the recommended textbooks is about 400 pages long, (2) the NPPE exam blueprint/syllabus diverges completely from the organization of the textbooks, (3) there are many topics in the blueprint/syllabus that you cannot find in the recommended books and vice versa, (4) that beyond reading these books you will still need to do some further research for those missing topics, then, as the NPPE Candidate Guide advises you to take the path that suits you best, you are probably better off reading a single book that contains all the topics of the exam. A great candidate is of course the book “Engineering & Geoscience NPPE: Law and Ethics” by WPE Studio as it is only 240 pages long, covers all topics of the exam, and is written following exactly the organization of the NPPE blueprint or syllabus. This can truly streamline your NPPE prep and be very helpful to monitor your progress.


33. How long is the NPPE exam?

The NPPE exam is a 110 multiple-choice-questions, 2.5 hours exam.

If you intend to get your license from EGBC, apart from the above, you need to answer an extra essay question in 1 hour, so your exam will last 3.5 hours.


34. How many questions do you need to answer correctly to pass the NPPE?

There is no precise answer to this question for two reasons:

  1. The exam consists of 110 questions, 100 of which are marked and will make up your operational score while 10 are included only to test them for future use and will not contribute to your operational score. There is no way an exam taker can differentiate these 10 questions from the other 100.
  2. The exam is curved.

Nevertheless, some clues can logically be inferred.

The NPPE Candidate Guide on pages 12 and 13 says literally: “The cut score on the NPPE is a scaled score of 65 and determined using a best practice Standard Setting approach (i.e., the Modified-Angoff Method) where Subject Matter Experts from across Canada participate in setting the minimum standard required (i.e., minimum level of knowledge) for candidates to be able to demonstrate on the exam in order to pass. The scale score of 65 is NOT equivalent to a percent score of 65 (i.e., correctly answered 65% of the questions) due to the statistical equating method we implemented to ensure variations in exam difficulty from each session are taken into account to ensure fairness to all applicants taking an exam.”

It is important to distinguish the terms used above:

  • The operational score or percent score is the number of correctly answered questions out of the 100 valid questions. This can only be known to the examiners.
  • The scale score is the operational score expressed in terms of the scale of the curve. You need a scale score of 65 to pass the exam. This can only be known to the examiners.
  • Raw percent score is the number of questions (valid and test questions) correctly answered expressed as a percentage of the 110 questions of the exam. This can somehow be estimated by the exam takers.

Now, to get a raw percent score of 65%, you need to answer correctly 72 questions (i.e., 65% of 110). However, this translates into an operational score of 65% only if you answered correctly 65% of the 10 tested questions. In the worst-case scenario (i.e., when you answered correctly the 10 tested questions that do not contribute to your score), then you need to answer 75 questions to guarantee an operational score of 65%.

This operational score of 65% still does not guarantee a scale score of 65% needed to pass the exam. In some instances, you may need an operational score of less than 65% and in others more than 65%. Since there is no published historical data, it is impossible to estimate how far above or below the operational score is with respect to the scale score.

The conclusion would be that you need to answer correctly at least 75 out of the 110 questions to guarantee an operational score of 65% and expect that the operational score is above the scale score to get a scale score of 65 or better to pass the exam. If you consider a 5% margin to allow for this uncertainty, you need to answer correctly 79 questions that you can probably round to 80. This means that you can afford to fail 30 out of the 110 questions.


35. Can I take the NPPE exam in another country?

The NPPE exam is remotely proctored. That means that it is delivered remotely and you can take the exam from your home, wherever in the world it is located. What you need though is a computer, a webcam, and a fast internet connection.


36. Is the NPPE exam multiple-choice?

Yes, the NPPE is a 110 multiple-choice-questions exam that lasts 2.5 hours.

If you intend to get your license from EGBC, apart from the above, you need to answer an extra essay question in 1 hour, so your exam will last 3.5 hours.


37. Is the NPPE exam open book?

No. This is a closed-book exam.


38. Will the NPPE be available in both English and French?

Yes, the exam software provides the ability to switch between these two languages before or during the exam.


39. Where can I take the NPPE exam?

The NPPE exam is remotely proctored. That means that it is delivered remotely and you can take the exam from the comfort of your own home, wherever it is located, or any other suitable place. However, you need a computer, a webcam, and a fast internet connection at that location.


40. How am I notified of the NPPE exam results and when?

You will be notified of your NPPE exam results only by physical mail (not by email or phone) two to three weeks after the exam and at least one week before the registration deadline for the next exam.

If you succeeded, the letter will only convey a congratulatory message and the fact that you passed the exam. You will never know your score, whether operational or equated. However, if you failed the exam, the letter will bring what NPPE examiners call a “mastery report.” This report will list the six topic areas of the NPPE blueprint/syllabus and, for each of them, your partial score plus an indication of your performance: Mastered (>70%), Borderline Mastered (55 to 69%), and Not Mastered (<55.) It will also suggest some study techniques and the areas you need to focus on for your next attempt. (If you are involved with EGBC, the letter will also address your overall result for the essay question: pass or fail.)