National Professional Practice Examination
COVID-19 Update: The NPPE continues to be administered online during the scheduled dates in 2020, but due to public health restrictions, exam administrations have all been moved to remote proctoring until further notice. Remote proctoring allows candidates to take the NPPE in their home in a secure environment using a stable internet connection and webcam. All candidates who register to take the NPPE in upcoming sessions will receive further instructions by email on how to take the exam remotely. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
The National Professional Practice Examination (NPPE) confirms knowledge of professionalism, law, and ethics. Eleven engineering and geoscience self-regulatory organizations in Canada currently use the NPPE. The NPPE follows all relevant standards detailed in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing to ensure that the exam program is valid, reliable, and fair (psychometrically defensible).
Do I Need to Write the National Professional Practice Exam?
All professional membership applicants (licensee, professional licensee, professional engineer, or professional geoscientist) must pass the NPPE before they can be licensed to practise in Alberta. However, you do not need to have already passed the exam before starting your application, and registration is only available after you've submitted your application.
If you have passed a professional practice exam other than the NPPE in another Canadian professional engineering or geoscience self-regulatory organization, you will still need to take and pass the NPPE as part of your application process to APEGA.
Candidates are strongly encouraged to download and read the NPPE Candidate Guide before registering for the exam. It contains more detailed information than is presented here and is optimized for printing.
NPPE Hold Applicants: If the NPPE is your last requirement prior to licensure, you will be given one year to take the exam and pass, starting from the date of your decision letter from the Board of Examiners. Applicants who fail to pass the exam within the allotted time will have their applications withdrawn and will be required to re-apply by completing a new application to become a licensed professional. Regardless of whether the NPPE is your last requirement prior to licensure, you will have a maximum of four (4) attempts to pass the NPPE. For example, if an applicant attempts the NPPE two times prior to the NPPE becoming the last requirement prior to licensure the applicant will have two more attempts of the NPPE (within one year) after they receive their decision letter from the Board of Examiners.
Titles Reserved for Professional Members
Even if the NPPE is the last requirement to obtaining your professional licence, there are restrictions on the use of titles and designations until you receive your professional licence from APEGA.
Using the title of engineer, geoscientist, geologist, or geophysicist in any electronic or print media is not permitted until you obtain your professional licence from APEGA. These titles imply your ability to practice the above professions independently. This includes:
- social media profiles
- email signatures
- business cards
Registering for the National Professional Practice Exam
The exam is offered five times per year. Each session for that month offers the exam six times: one morning and one afternoon slot over three days.
|Exam Location||Examination Fee|
Fees do not include GST and are subject to change without notice.
|Exam Dates||Registration Deadlines|
|February 3-5, 2020||December 16, 2019|
|April 6-8, 2020||February 28, 2020|
|June 8-10, 2020||May 1, 2020|
|September 14-16, 2020||July 17, 2020|
|November 23-25, 2020||October 9, 2020|
Registration opens once the registration deadline for the previous session has passed.
Members-in-Training may only write the exam when they have submitted an application for Professional Membership (P.Eng./P.Geo.). You can register for the exam in the Member Self-Service Centre.
When you register, you will choose your preferred location from a list. After the registration deadline, you will receive an email confirming your exam location, date, and time, as well as any additional instructions.
Rescheduling & Cancelling
To reschedule or cancel your exam, email [email protected] before the registration deadline. You cannot reschedule or cancel after the registration deadline.
Writing the National Professional Practice Exam
The exam has 110 multiple-choice questions based on 6 subject areas. You have 2.5 hours to complete it. Although the NPPE contains specialized vocabulary and terms, the exam is not used as a test of English language proficiency and is regularly verified (using standard readability measures) to function at a readability level of approximately grade 10.
Two textbooks and several free websites are recommended as study materials to prepare for the NPPE.
Several practice tests are available to help you prepare for the NPPE. Practice test questions are ones used on previous NPP exams. The practice test gives you detailed feedback showing you your areas of strength and weakness in terms of learning. To best use the practice tests, we recommend that you take one early in your studying process and then later to determine which areas you still need to focus on.
The practice test site also sells an NPPE preparation package, which includes the two textbooks and access to a 100-question practice test at a discounted price.
Writing Outside Alberta
If you wish to take the exam outside of Alberta, you must specify your preferred location when you register for the exam. You must make this request at least one week before the exam registration deadline.
Applicants taking exams outside of Canada must find a secure location and a proctor (a person who will supervise the exam). The location must be a business with a street address. The proctor must be a registered P.Eng., P.Geo., or a United States P.E.
Email the location and proctor information to [email protected] for final approval.
APEGA can accommodate special needs because of a medical condition, including:
- extended testing time
- extra breaks
- reduced-distraction testing rooms
- larger font
To submit a request, email [email protected] to obtain the special accommodation instructions and forms.
You must submit the special accommodation forms before the registration deadline or your request cannot be accommodated.
The NPPE is a criterion-referenced examination, meaning that psychometric procedures were used to determine a passing score that reflects a standard of minimum competency. An equated score of 65 or greater is required to pass. If you passed the exam, you will not receive detailed score information. Exam results are either pass or fail based on the number of correct answers (1 point per correct answer) you achieved on the operational (scored) questions on the exam. You are not penalized for incorrect answers. Statistical equating ensures that variations in exam difficulty from each session are taken into account to ensure fairness to all applicants taking exams. The Educational Testing Service has published a report that explains test equating in more detail.
Exam results are usually available in 3 to 4 weeks. The results will appear in your Member Self-Service Centre account. We do not provide results over the phone or by email.
If you failed the NPPE, APEGA will send you a report showing the subject areas that you were weak in.
Failure Note: If you fail the NPPE four times, your application will be withdrawn, and you will need to submit a new application for membership.
To retake the exam, re-apply through the Member Self-Service Centre.
To ensure the validity of the NPPE, APEGA uses exam security investigation techniques, such as statistical collusion detection and content theft patrols. APEGA investigates applicants and Professional Members who are suspected of cheating or who engage in content theft.
Cheating and content theft includes:
- copying answers from another person during an exam
- working with another candidate to answer questions during an exam
- sharing exam questions before, during, or after an exam (memorizing, taking screenshots, etc.)
- sharing copyright practice test questions
No NPPE exams have been released publicly, other than the practice test questions. Any copies of the NPPE in circulation have been taken through content theft. There are serious consequences to cheating and content theft:
- exam results can be withheld
- your application to APEGA may be rejected
- Professional Members may be investigated for unprofessional conduct
Applicants and Professional Members are obligated to report any test security issues they are aware of, whether they occurred before, during or after the exam. Incidents can be reported anonymously to [email protected].