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Exam (RPNCE)

Applicants who wish to register with BCCNP as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse must successfully pass the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE). The RPNCE is a national multiple choice ​exam for RPNs in Canada that measures the entry-level competence and safety-to-practice of applicants seeking registration.
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Have you already passed the RPNCE?

If you've already written and passed the RPNCE, you do not need to re-write it. You must still meet all of the other registration requirements in order to register with BCCNP​. 
Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to take the RPNCE, you must have met all of BCCNP’s other registration requirements for practising RPN registration​

If you are an applicant who has completed an approved psychiatric nursing education program in Canada, you must pass the RPNCE within a timeframe such that you can continue to meet the RPN Registration Requirement: Quality Assurance: Part B (RPN Practice Hours) (i.e. having graduated from a recognized psychiatric nursing program within the last five years, or having practised psychiatric nursing for at least 1400 hours within the preceding 5 years). To achieve this, most graduates should aim to pass the exam RPNCE within four years of completing their program.

If you are an internationally educated applicant, you must attempt the RPNCE within two years from the date you are eligible to write the exam. You must pass the exam within five years of the date you are eligible to write the exam.
Exam cost

​The fee to write the exam is $661.50. The cost is the same across all provinces except for tax. 

Exam content

​The RPNCE is a national multiple-choice, pencil and paper exam for RPNs in Canada that measures the entry-level competence and safety-to-practice of applicants seeking registration.​

Learn more about the breakdown of exam content ​

Work while waiting to take the RPNCE (provisional registration)

​Yes, if you have provisional registration​. This registration is available is for those who have met all the requirements of Practicing registration except passing the exam and who have applied for and paid to write the next scheduled RPNCE. For more information about provisional registration, go to our provisional registration section​.

 Apply for the RPNCE

How to apply
If you are a new applicant to BCCNP, you will provide your consent for us to register you for the RPNCE and will pay the exam fee as part of your online application form. We will register you for the next exam for which you are eligible, unless you tell us you want to defer writing the exam for any reason. 

If you submitted an application for RPN before September 4, 2018, BCCNP staff will contact you once you are eligible to write the exam, and will explain the process you will need to follow to apply for and pay for it.​
Exam schedule and deadlines

​The RPNCE is offered three times a year on the third Wednesday in January, May and October. You may only apply for the next scheduled exam, not for one further in the future.

​Action​2018 Exam
Oct. 17
​2019 Exam
Jan. 16
2019 Exam
May 15​
​2019 Exam
Oct. 16
​Apply for disability/special needs accommodation​Aug. 1​Oct. 31​Feb. 27​July 31
​Apply to write in another province​Aug. 29​Nov. 28​Mar. 27​Aug. 28
​Apply to write RPNCE*​Aug. 29​Nov. 28​Mar. 27​Aug. 28
​Withdrawl without charge​Sept. 19​Dec. 19​April 17​Sept. 18
​RPNCE Exam​Oct. 17​Jan. 16​May 15​Oct. 16
​Compassionate withdrawal request​Oct. 29​Jan. 28​May 27​Oct. 28
​Exam results released​Nov. 14​Feb. 13​June 12​Nov. 13
​Hand scoring request​Jan. 2​April 3​July 31​Jan. 2

​*For those applying to BCCNP after September 4, 2018, you will need to have demonstrated your eligibility for the exam by this date for BCCNP to be able to register you for the​​​ upcoming sitting. For those that applied before Sept. 4, 2018, you must have demonstrated your eligibility, applied and paid for the exam by this date for us to register you for it.

Exam time and location

​​Location​Vancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver, BC, V6C 3C1
​Registration​8:00-8:45 am
​Exam time​9:00 am - 1:00 pm
ID​​Please bring the same two pieces of identification that you submitted with your RPNCE application in order to gain entry to the exam room.

 Exam results

You will receive your results via email within four weeks of the exam date. This email will contain instructions setting out your next steps towards registration with BCCNP.
If you pass

​BCCNP will automatically issure you with practising RPN registration. You will be notified once this has been done. 

If you fail

If you fail on your first attempt at the exam, you may apply to write the exam again. Please contact for instructions how to do this.

If you fail the exam twice, you may write it a third time after completing any conditions set by the BCCNP Registration Committee in order for you to be eligible to do so.

Note: You must pass the exam within a timeframe that you can continue to meet the RPN Quality Assurance requirement for practice hours.

If you fail three times

 If you have not successfully passed the exam after three attempts, you will need to complete an approved psychiatric nursing refresher program​ before any further attempts.​

Note: You must pass the exam within a timeframe such that you can continue to meet the requirements set out in Continuing competence Part B (practice hours)​.

 Exam resources

Study guide

​The Registered Psychiatric Nurse Regulators of Canada ​study guide​ may assist you in preparing for the exam

Practice test

​The Registered Psychiatric Nurse Regulators of Canada ​has created a practice test ​designed to help you prepare for the exam. 

Suggested resources

​The following are suggestions for resources that may assist you when preparing for this registration exam:

Addictions and Mental Health. 2015. Ralph, I.;​

Canadian Fundamentals of Nursing. 2014. Potter, P. & Perry, A. Elsevier Canada

Fundamentals of Canadian Nursing: Concepts, Process, and Practice. 2014. Kozier, B., Erb, G., Berman, A., et al. Pearson Canada Inc.

Medical English Clear & Simple: A Practice-Based Approach to English for ESL Healthcare Professionals. 2010. Hull, M. Philadelphia: E.A. Davis & Company

Psychotropic Agents. 2014. Ralph, I.​

Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing for Canadian Practice. 2015. Austin, W. & Boyd, M. Wolters Kluwer

Varcarolis’ Canadian Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. Halter, M.J. 2014. Elsevier Canada