The National Professional Practice Exam (NPPE) is a computer-based exam required to practice engineering or the geosciences in Canada (excluding Saskatchewan and Quebec). Some specifics of the exam are:
For most provinces you face 110 multiple choice questions with a 2.5 hour time limit (~1.25 minutes/question)
Ontario (PEO) has 120 multiple choice questions with a 3 hour time limit (~1.5 minutes/question)
British Columbia (EGBC) and Geologists Ontario (PGO) add additional essay question(s) and allow additional time.
You get 1 point for correct answers and there's no punishment for wrong answers
To pass, you must correctly answer 65% of the questions (72 questions)
The topics and weightings are:
10% or 7-10 Questions
20% or 17-21 Questions
III. Professional Practice:
30% or 27-32 Questions
IV. Law for Professional Practice:
20% or 23-28 Questions
V. Professional Law:
10% or 7-10 Questions
VI. Regulation of Members & Discipline Processes:
10% or 7-10 Questions
VII. PEO Specific Questions:
(Ontario Engineers Only)
~10% or 10 Questions
The cost to register for the exam varies (as of September 2019):
If you're a Canadian Educated Engineer (or Geoscientist), then simply ensure you're registered with your Association as a Member in Training (E.I.T. or G.I.T.).
To find out if your Canadian Engineering degree is CAEB (Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board) accredited...
Real exam experiences, from those that have written the NPPE, are hard to come by. So there are many questions:
What do I need to do to pass?
How tough is the exam?
How much time do I need to prepare?
Do I have to buy and read the textbooks?
Are there any hacks or tips to save money & time?
Fact: The majority of people pass the NPPE exam
The pass rates of our students is 99%+ and we know because we refund all purchases if students fail. The Associations do not publish a pass rate but we know that it is very high as well.
So it's not about whether or not you can pass the exam, I know you can pass it. It's about how long you wish to spend preparing for the exam.
So focus on how to prepare efficiently for the exam
I want to help you avoid the biggest mistake made when preparing for the exam. Most people prepare by reading the textbooks cover-to-cover, rather than planning their studies around the syllabus. I made this mistake and it cost me a lot of precious time...
I graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I took 2 weeks of time to prepare for the NPPE exam. Yup, 2 weeks of my small vacation allotment.
I started by ordering the material and making study notes of the subjects I enjoyed like patents and copyright. It wasn’t until I was 60% of the way through the material that I realized I messed up.
I wasted so much time making study notes of the OH&S manual and the CIPO documents only the find out they were worth less than 5% of the exam. Super Disappointed!!
There are many sections of the textbooks and suggested material that you shouldn’t bother reading at all. There's also an extreme amount of overlap between the two textbooks. The materials suggested by your Association are around 875 pages and take 2 weeks of evenings to read. So be strategic about your preparation time...
NPPE exam ready in 5 hours
This is our 4th year of Canadian Engineering exam preparation at PPE Headquarters. Last year we set out to improve our products, so went back to basics and started preparing students with classroom tutorials.
So in early 2018 we put 100 students through a pilot program and here is what we learned ...
The overwhelming feedback from our pilot program was:
"I work and don't have time to read 1000 pages of study materials,(20 hours, 2 weeks of evenings)"
"The textbooks are too expensive ($250) and I'll never use them again"
"Reading about ethics and professionalism is mind-numbing".
So in the middle of that year we launched a revised product:
60 Page Study Guide:
That kills the need to read 1000 pages of the suggested materials.
The readings go quickly and the real power is in practicing exam questions.
100+ Practice Exam Questions
Comes complete with answers and solutions
We use conversational based software to tackle boredom of material.
This allows students to study on the go and tackle the boredom of the material.
Since then we put 780 students through the new program and achieved a 99% pass rate. But that's not as cool as it sounds as we discovered most people pass the NPPE.
What’s important is that we’re timing each student's preparation time:
Consistently preparing in 5 hours or less.
When compared to 20 hours or 2 weeks of evenings → that’s big.
You can easily prepare for the exam in 5 hours:
Step 1: Read the Study Guide (1 hour)
Step 2: Jump into the Practice Exams (3-4 hours)
Step 3: If you're in BC, review the essay questions (30 minutes)
Step 4: Ensure you've booked a NPPE Strategy Session
Often we are asked whether students need to purchase the PPE or NPPE books. They are definitely not cheap, you are looking at approximately $250-$350 CAD. You are also facing a significant amount of reading, in the order of 800 pages.
An alternative, is to purchase training material such as the NPPE study guide. If one passes the exam without purchasing the materials, then outstanding, a great save of money. If one fails without purchasing the materials ... its easy to feel like an idiot.
It's a tough question; however, here are the criteria I use to make a solid recommendation.
The single largest criteria I use to make a decision is english skills. Simply put you need great english to pass this exam. If you do not have great english skills you must put in more work. A great way to put in the extra work is by reading the texts. It really is that simple.
Typically the question is posed by an email, so let's have a look at a few examples:
Your English is Good - No Need To Buy the Textbooks
These student's writing and english comprehension seems great, therefore I suggested not to buy the textbooks. These students passed the exam and saved a lot of time.
What I understood from your webpage, that I need to read only 50 pages to pass the exam. Is that correct?
My Best Regards,
I would like to buy the e-book guide. I am planning to go fro P. Eng. exam in Saskatchewan. Do you think I need to by Law and Ethics book after buying your e-book?
Thank you very much for replying. I'm writing the test January 19th in Alberta and haven't started yet. Is your material enough to pass the exam without reading the recommended textbooks and other notes provided by APEGA?
Your English Needs Work - Buy the Textbooks
I recommended purchasing the texts for these students. I also typically recommend delaying the exam and focusing on english language skills.
I bought your guide to prepare to NPPE exam January 2015. I wondering if need to order textbook or not. Could you please give me advice? Is enough to read your guide and sample?
How would you send me the material after I pay the necessary fee? Please include text APEGA. Is it by e-mail too? And how long it takes?
How you want me to put MU email doesn't work? Use my email thanks. Where I buy text Samuels.
Unfortunately old exams are not made available. However, APEGA and the other Associations provide 8 sample questions. Lets have a look the first question and examine the structure.
According to most Provincial and Territorial Acts, which activity by a professional member would be considered UNETHICAL?
A. Not charging a fee for presenting a speech
B. Signing plans prepared by an unknown person without thoroughly reviewing those plans
C. Reviewing the work of another member with that member’s consent
D. Providing professional services as a consultant
B. is correct. Most Provincial and Territorial Acts stipulate that before professionals sign plans that were not prepared by themselves or under their direct supervision, they must first thoroughly review those plans. Failing to do so means that the professional failed to comply with the Act, and, therefore, was in violation of the Code of Ethics.
All of the questions will contain four choices. Very rarely will an advanced multiple choice exam be as simple as one correct choice and three incorrect choices. There are generally three different methods to challenge the understanding of the examinees.
The first method is to have four correct answers to the question. In this case the examinees must choose the most correct answer. Often the most correct answer includes more than one course of action that the other three are missing.
The second method is to have four incorrect answers. In this case the examinees must choose the answer that is closest to a correct answer. A common theme of the NPPE study material is public safety. Often the most correct answer will the only one that protects the public.
The third method is to utilize answers that all involve a negative action. However, one of those negative actions is not applicable to the question.
You can see an example of this method in the question we reviewed previously. You do have a duty to yourself and the profession to charge for professional services as in choice A. However it is not an ethical code as asked in the question.
I have provided a number of NPPE Sample Questions with answers here for free. Additionally you can find more information about the study guide and practice exams below.