Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) computer-based examination


Practical Nursing applicants have until Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 to apply to the Monday, Sept. 6 to Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 CPNRE exam window.

We are aware that some applicants are finding it challenging to schedule CPNRE appointments. Please keep checking for appointment availability. You might have to travel to find an available appointment in another exam centre.

Continue to check Pearson Vue’s CPNRE information page about the availability of exam centres.

Reminder: Only one exam window (the window with the nearest dates) is open for scheduling at any time. If you are writing the CPNRE during the Monday, Nov. 8 to Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 exam window, we will email you scheduling information in mid-August.

Before you can become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) 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 four hours.

You have three chances to successfully complete the CPNRE. See Repeat Attempts and Options when failing the CPNRE: Frequently asked questions to learn what happens if you reach the maximum number of tries. 

Examination window

Deadline to apply


Sept. 6 to Sept. 26, 2021 Sept. 14, 2021
Nov. 8 to Nov. 28, 2021 Nov. 16, 2021


  • 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. 

New exam to replace CPNRE in January 2022

As of January 2022, a new exam for RPN applicants, known as the REx-PN™ will replace the CPNRE as the official registration exam for Practical Nurses. The CPNRE will no longer be an option for Ontario applicants after December 31, 2021.

CNO and the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) are working together to develop a new exam for RPNs. We have partnered with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in the exam's development and implementation. The Regulatory Exam–Practical Nurse™ (REx-PN) is slated to launch in January 2022.

For the latest on this project, please visit: Updating RPN competencies and exam and FAQs about REx-PN.

Page last reviewed July 21, 2021