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BCCNM and the College of Nurses of  Ontario have partnered to develop a new entry-to-practice exam for practical nurses

​BCCNM and the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) have partnered with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to develop a new entry-to-practice exam for practical nurses. The Regulatory Exam - Practical Nurse​ (REx-PN) will launch on Jan. 4, 2022. If you have questions about the exam, please contact us at


​​The following resources will help you learn more about the REx-PN and how you can help prepare your students to write the exam. To learn more about the application process and other details, visit the main REx-PN page​. ​​

​​Computerized-adaptive testing (CAT)
The REx-PN uses computer-adaptive testing (CAT) to assess the exam writer’s knowledge. Every time the writer answers a question on the exam, the computer re-estimates their ability to respond based on all their previous answers and the difficulty of those questions. Learn more about CAT​.


Test plan​
The REx-PN test plan provides an overview of what information will be tested, the type of questions candidates will be asked to answer, and some sample questions. This document will help you and your students know what to expect on exam day and can assist you with writing REx-PN-style questions.


​​Practice exam

The REx-PN practice exam​ provides an exam similar to the one candidates will take on test day. For $150 USD, candidates will receive two practice exams of 80 questions, available for a one-time use within 45 days of the date of purchase. The exams must be completed in one sitting. After they complete the exam, the candidate will receive a score report with the percentage of questions answered correctly.

Students can purchase the practice exam individually, or you can purchase vouchers to give to your students that will give them access to take the practice exam. Visit the voucher store for details​.

​Candidate Tutorial

The REx-PN Candidate Tutorial provides instructions on how to answer the different REx-PN item types that exam writers will see during the REx-PN examination. Practice items will be provided to familiarize writers with each item type.

Item writing
NCSBN has developed several webinars to support you in the development of test questions for your students.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Our frequently asked questions page has a comprehensive list of questions that you or your students may have. If you have a question that isn’t covered, please email us at

Exam development

BCCNM and CNO have been committed to engaging with stakeholders throughout the exam development process. We thank stakeholders who contributed to the exam's development by providing feedback and/or participating in item writing and item review panels. For a full list of exam development activities, view the exam development timeline

Educator newsletter

​In the year leading up to the launch of the REx-PN, BCCNM has been sharing information about the exam in a newsletter for educators. Each issue is distributed to leaders of B.C. practical nursing education programs for distribution as appropriate in their organizations.

Exam development documents

​​​Four key documents informed the development of the REx-PN:​​

Entry-level competencies

Competencies are the integrated knowledge, skills, behaviours, attitudes, critical thinking, and clinical judgment expected of an entry-level LPN to provide safe, competent, and ethical care. Entry-level LPNs are at the point of initial registration, following graduation from a BCCNM-recognized practical nursing education program.

On Sept. 1, 2020, the Entry-Level Competencies for Licensed Practical Nurses, a set of national entry-to-practice competencies for LPNs across the country, came into effect. These competencies, approved by the BCCNM board, are based on input from educators in nursing programs, recent LPN graduates, current LPNs, and other stakeholders across Canada.

Practice analysis

The Practice analysis was conducted in early 2019 and included participants from both B.C. and Ontario. A panel of subject matter experts was assembled, and a list of LPN activities was created and incorporated into a survey that was sent to newly licensed LPNs. We then collected and analyzed the data.

The national entry-level/entry-to-practice competencies were also mapped to the practice analysis to ensure the exam includes competencies essential for safe nursing practice.

Because the Canadian health care industry is evolving rapidly, practice analysis studies will be conducted by BCCNM and CNO on a five-year cycle.

Test Plan

The REx-PN Test Plan contains detailed information about the content areas to be tested by the REx-PN and describes how the exam is structured, including the exam’s length and how it is scored. The Test Plan can be used as a guide for students preparing to write the REx-PN and for educators looking to write REx-PN-style questions so they can help students prepare.

Mapping document
The Mapping document compares the foundational entry-to-practice competencies needed by LPNs with the content covered in the REx-PN Test Plan. The REx-PN will not test everything an LPN needs to know throughout their career. It will test the competencies—knowledge, skill, and judgement—nurses are expected to have within the first year of practice ​​to keep clients safe. The results of the mapping showed that all but one of these competencies map to the REx-PN activity statements and corresponding content.

External resources