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 RPNCE questions

Do questions have more than one correct answer?

​A multiple-choice question is constructed so that only someone who has mastered the subject matter will select the correct answer; to that person, only one option will appear to be the correct answer. To someone who lacks a firm grasp of the subject matter, all options may look plausible.​

How is the correct answer determined?

RPN Subject Matter Experts from across Canada create and evaluate the exam questions with assistance from ASI test consultants. They ensure that the RPNCE meets the Blueprint guidelines, and is valid and reliable.​

The correct answer to each question on the exam is supported by references from two expert sources in the field. Every attempt has been made to use references that are up-to-date, accessible and accepted within the psychiatric nursing community.
Does each question have equal weight on the exam?

​Each exam question has the same value: one mark. Your score on the exam is calculated as the number of questions that you answered correctly.​

Are there any questions that you must answer correctly to pass the exam?

​There are no critical questions that a candidate must answer correctly to receive a passing score on the RPNCE. Each exam question has the same value: one mark.​

How is the pass mark for the exam set?

​The pass mark is determined by the content and the difficulty of the test questions included in each exam. The pass mark is set at a level that represents the performance expected of a competent entry-level psychiatric nurse. It is set by a panel of Subject Matter Experts from across Canada who work closely with entry-level Registered Psychiatric Nurses, and include educators, experienced practitioners and administrators. The pass mark is not set using a norm-referenced approach such as “bell curving.” For each form of the RPNCE, the pass mark is the same across writing centres and across the four western provinces.​

Is there a prep or study guide available?

​The Registered Psychiatric Nurse Regulators of Canada (RPNRC) has released tools to help candidates prepare for the RPNCE: Study Guide (PDF)​ and Practice Test.

Important: with the exception of the official Study Guide and Practice Test linked above, RPNRC has not sanctioned any other prep guide or practice test. We are aware that a fraudulent prep guide is being sold online at for $299.99 (or $199.99 on sale) with “all of the answers to the RPNCE” and “questions and answers sourced from actual previous RPNCE exams.”

Please use extreme caution in purchasing any prep guide or practice test that promises to prepare you for the RPNCE, other than the official RPNRC tools linked above. Please contact the College if you need more information.

 Applying for the exam

Can I apply to write the RPNCE if I haven't completed my program?
​Yes, if (a) you are scheduled to complete your program prior to the exam, and (b) your school advises us prior to the exam date that you that have completed the requirements of the program.​​
What if I'm late in applying?

​You can apply up to 2 weeks prior to the exam. There is an additional late fee of 20%. Applications will not be accepted within two weeks of the exam.​ ​Familiarize yourself with the upcoming exam dates and deadlines​

What if I require a testing accomodation?

​If you have a documented disability or special need that requires a testing accommodation, please contact BCCNM immediately to request an application form. You will be asked to submit documentation completed by a qualified health professional (e.g. a physician or psychologist) to certify that you require the accommodation. The deadline for the application is 11 weeks before the exam date.​

Can I write the RPNCE in another jurisdiction?

​If you graduated from a psychiatric nursing education program in B.C., you can request to write the exam in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba. You can do so by indicating this on the application form you submit to BCCNM. Your request will be forwarded to the other jurisdiction and will be subject to their approval.​

What happens if I need to withdraw from a scheduled exam?

​Withdrawals for any reason are permitted without any cost if you notify the BCCNM office up to 4 weeks before the exam date. After the 4 week deadline, there is a withdrawal fee of 20% of the exam fee unless the fee is waived on compassionate grounds. Requests for compassionate withdrawal must be made to BCCNM no later than 12 days after the exam date. Refunds are at the sole discretion of the college.​

 Day of the exam

Where does the exam take place?

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. ​

What time does the registration for the exam begin on the day?

​Registration for the exam opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 8:45 a.m. Please plan on arriving by 8:00 a.m. to allow plenty of time to sign in and find your seat. Instructions to candidates about the exam begin at 8:45 a.m.​

What time does the exam start and finish

​The exam begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m. You will not be permitted to leave the examination room within the first hour of the exam, but may leave at any time thereafter.​

What identification do I need to bring to the exam?

​You will be required to present identification to gain entrance to the exam. Please ensure you bring the same two (2) pieces of identification that you submitted with your exam application.​

Your ID must be current on the day you are due to write the exam. Expired IDs will not be accepted. If your ID changes or is updated (for example if you update your driver’s license between the date you apply for the exam and the date you write it), it is your responsibility to provide the college with your new ID no later than two working days before the date of the exam.
Can I eat during the exam?

​You are not permitted to have food at your exam table, aside from throat lozenges. However, if you know you will require a snack during the exam you may bring one with you in your bag, which will be stored in a designated area. An invigilator will accompany you to your bag and then outside of the exam room to consume your snack.​

What should I bring to the exam?

​You do not require any special equipment. BCCNM will provide the necessary supplies such as pencils, erasers and pencil sharpeners. Please review the Entry into the exam room policy​​ for more information.

 After the exam

When do the results come out?

​Exam results are released within 4 weeks of writing the exam. You will receive your test result by email.