Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) Computer- Based Examination

Before you can become a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario, you must successfully complete the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE). This national examination measures the competencies required of nurses at the beginning of their nursing career in Ontario

Practical nurse educators, clinicians and administrators from across Canada develop the exam with assistance from Yardstick Assessment Strategies Inc., which ensures the CPNRE meets industry-accepted standards. Provincial and territorial regulatory authorities administer the exam within their jurisdictions and determine writing eligibility.

The CPNRE consists of 165 to 170 objective multiple-choice questions to answer over a four-hour period.

You have three chances to successfully complete the CPNRE. See Repeat Attempts to learn what happens if you reach the maximum number of tries. 

Examination window

Deadline to apply

November 19 to December 9, 2018 November 30, 2018
January 28 to February 17, 2019 February 9, 2019
June 10 to June 30, 2019 June 20, 2019
September 16 to October 6, 2019 September 27, 2019


  • Only one exam window (the window with the nearest dates) is open for scheduling at any time.
  • A candidate who cancels or fails to attend a scheduled writing of an examination will be charged a cancellation fee of $73.45. 

Project to update RPN competencies and exam

We’ve started working with nine other provincial/territorial regulators of practical nurses in Canada to develop a consistent national approach to the entry-level competencies of RPNs. No implementation dates have yet been set for this project, and it will not impact the current cohort of RPN students. For the latest on this project, please visit: Updating RPN competencies and exam

Page last reviewed November 28, 2018