Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) Registration Examinations

Impact of COVID-19 on CPNRE 

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.

Before you can become a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) in Ontario, you must successfully complete a registration exam that measures the competencies required of RPNs at the beginning of their nursing career in Ontario. Currently, applicants must write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE). Beginning January 4, 2022, the Regulatory Exam – Practical Nurse (REx-PN™) will replace the CPNRE as the regulatory exam for RPN applicants to CNO.

Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE)

  • 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.

Practical Nursing applicants have until Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 to apply to the Monday, Nov. 8 to Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 CPNRE exam window.

Regulatory Exam – Practical Nurse (REx-PN)

As of January 4, 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 the REx-PN, and have partnered with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in the exam's development and implementation.  

No limit on writes: Because the REx-PN will be a computerized adaptive test (CAT exam), it allows for no limit on the number of times a writer can attempt it. The system knows if a writer is retaking the exam and supplies them with a set of questions different from those the writer had in previous attempts.

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

CPNRE - Writing the regulatory exam in 2021

Examination window

Registration Closes

Notes

Nov. 8 to Nov. 28, 2021  Nov. 16, 2021

A candidate who cancels or fails to attend a scheduled writing of a CPNRE will be charged a cancellation fee of $73.45.

If you have registered for the CPNRE during this window, give us two business days to send your notification.

REX-PN - Writing the regulatory exam in 2022

Examination window Registration Opens Registration Closes

Notes

Jan. 4, 2022 and onward* Dec. 1, 2021 N/A

If you are writing the CPNRE in November, we recommend you wait to receive your CPNRE results in mid-December before registering to write the REx-PN. If you register for the REx-PN then learn you passed the CPNRE, you cannot get a refund from the exam provider for your REx-PN registration fee.

* The REx-PN will be available to write at any time in permanent and temporary centres of the exam provider, Pearson Vue.

REx-PN writers will have to wait a minimum of 60 days between attempts, which equates to a maximum of six attempts per year.

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 October 18, 2021