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Exam (RPNCE)


COVID-19 safety measures

BCCNP has put health and safety protocols in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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.

Please note: we are not currently accepting applications for the May 20 (postponed to August 19) exam date at this time. Exam dates may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

​Action2020 Exam
May 20​ (postponed)
​2020 Exam
Oct. 21
​Apply for disability/special needs accommodation​Mar. 11​Aug. 12
​Apply to write in another province​April 1​Sept. 2
​Apply to write RPNCE*​April 1​Sept. 2
​Withdrawal without charge​April 6​Sept. 7
​RPNCE ExamPostponed to Aug. 19 ​Oct. 21
​Compassionate withdrawal request​Aug. 31​Nov. 2
Exam time and location


​​Location​The exam location will be in Vancouver, BC and wherever possible, easily accessible by transit. The exact location will be communicated to candidates approximately one month prior to the examination date. ​
​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 approximately four weeks after the exam date. This email will contain instructions setting out your next steps towards registration with BCCNP.
If you pass

If you have provisional registration, your registration will be automatically converted to practising RPN registration. You will be notified once this has been done. 

If you do not have provisional registration, you will be sent an email requesting payment of your registration fee. Once paid, you will receive a second email confirming your practising RPN registration.

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