If you're looking to take your NPPE Exam in 2021 or 2022, this post has everything you need to get started on the right foot.
NPPE Exam Dates
The final 2021 date is November 8-10. The 2022 NPPE Exam dates are as follows:
- January 24-26, 2022
- April 4-6, 2022
- June 6-8, 2022
- August 22-24, 2022
- November TBD, 2022
With so much choice, which sitting is right for you?
This is a highly personal question, and it depends on a few things. When are your busiest times of the year at work and home? Do you have more free time over the holiday (e.g. X-Mas break) or in the summer? By giving yourself about 5 weeks of studying before the exam, you should be able to pick an exam sitting that works for you.
How to apply for the NPPE Exam?
You can apply through your association's website, but first, you have to have started the licensing process. By starting the process, your association will ensure that your initial documents (e.g. transcripts, work history) meet the requirements to make you eligible for this exam. Here are the links to a few of the more popular associations' NPPE pages so you can learn more and also start this licensing process if you haven't yet:
Start the free NPPE mini-course today and access all of the course resources we have created for syllabus topic I. Professionalism.
NPPE Exam Strategies
Like any other exam, there are strategies to use to make the exam process easier. You've probably heard lots of things from friends, colleagues and online. It can be hard to push past the noise and get the best advice.
Since we've helped thousands of aspiring engineers pass the NPPE, we wanted to share some of that wisdom with you.
1. Understand the weighting of the NPPE Exam syllabus
Here is the breakdown for the different syllabus topics.
- I. Professionalism (7 – 10 questions)
- II. Ethics (17 – 21 questions)
- III. Professional Practice (27 – 32 questions)
- IV. Law for Professional Practice (23 – 28 questions)
- V. Professional Law (7 – 10 questions)
- VI. Regulation of Members & Discipline Processes (7 – 10 questions)
I've bolded three topics of the six above. You'll notice that those have more weight to them. This is because they are larger topics with more to them. As a result, when you study for your NPPE Exam, you should spend more time focusing on these areas.
Clients will often find us through a Google search after they have self-studied for the exam and failed. They show us their mastery report, and it looks something like this:
As you can see, this person did well on III, but not very good on topics II, IV – therefore, their exam fate was determined.
You have to take your exam time and divide it unevenly – the more questions on the exam for that syllabus topic, you have to give it more time and effort.
This is fairly easy to do with our NPPE Course course since we have more practice questions and longer syllabus presentations for topics II, III and IV.
2. Make Visual Connections with the NPPE material
You've probably seen or even used mind maps to study for other exams. There are lots of reasons why mind mapping can help you do well for your exam. We really like them and think they are perfect for learning the NPPE Exam material. Here are few reasons you should use them:
- it's more engaging than reading (and re-reading) the textbooks and recommended materials;
- it helps you reach clarity faster by letting you see how complex things are broken down and connected to the main syllabus topics; and
- it improves your productivity by seeing chapters worth of information at a single glance.
If you decide to self-study, you can still use mind maps, and we recommend that you create one for each syllabus topic. Doing this will help you sort and collect all the information and re-arrange it in a map format. Budget 10-15 hours per mind map to collect and organize the relevant information.
If you don't have time for that level of commitment, our NPPE Course has six mind maps ready for you to download/print. They cover each of the six syllabus topics. We even have a PEO NPPE mind map to help writers with that association make sense of the PEO-specific questions.
3. Bookmark questions in the NPPE Exam, then come back later
The NPPE is a timed exam. As a result, every second counts. You have about 84 seconds per question, and they tend to have long question stems (that's the part of the question that gives you the background and then directs you to pick the best option).
Luckily, on your exam, there is a "bookmark" icon you can click on when you want to review it later.
Hopefully, at the end of the exam, you'll have some time to spare. You should first click on the "Unanswered" link and answer any questions you left blank. Then, click on the "Bookmarked" button to review all the questions you would like to revisit.
By saving the harder questions for the end, your brain might have had time to locate that piece of information for you to answer it correctly.
4. Learn Key NPPE Exam Concepts
With 6 main syllabus topics and 40 minor topics, there are lots of concepts to understand. This is how flashcards can help.
Flashcards have been used in education since the beginning. There are many benefits of using flashcards in education. Specific to the NPPE Exam, here are a few reasons why we like them.
- They are cost-effective. You can make them out of paper you already have around the house or buy blank ones from the dollar store.
- they ingrain information faster into our memory by self-reflecting on our answers (also known as metacognition)
- gauge our progress over time when we ask ourselves, "how many have I mastered today?"
Go through the NPPE syllabus, textbooks and other recommended materials. Then make a list of all the terms you see, and you don't understand. On the back of each one, write down the definition or background to that term.
When going through your pile, you can begin to sort them based on once you know and once that you're still fuzzy on. Slowly, your pile of terms you know will grow. This will serve as a visual reminder of the progress you are making each day.
Our NPPE Prep Course has over 80 flashcards of important terms that you want to know for the exam. Our course's interactive cards allow you to stop showing what you already know - similar to the pile exercise mentioned previously.
5. Check your equipment before writing
When you register for your exam, your association will send you detailed instructions about the process. Make sure to read it as it can really make for a smooth exam day.
The exam is administered through Yardstick. It has partnered with ProctorU, a remote proctoring company, to allow you to take the exam at home. Please watch the video below to get more familiar with the process during the day of your exam.
Here are a few takeaways:
- @1:10 in the video, it wants you to have either the Chrome or Firefox browser installed on your computer. We have heard of students needing to switch from one to the other due to a technical issue. Please download them both to be safe.
- Find a quiet room with a reliable internet connection (ethernet connection is more reliable than wifi). Remove distractions from the room.
- Make sure to do the computer test ahead of time to ensure your equipment meets the remote exam writing requirements. Don't forget to have your computer plugged into a power source.
- What's permitted and prohibited? In general, water in a clear bottle is permitted, and notes/pens are not. However, for the latest information about what is allowed or not, refer to your booking confirmation email from Yardstick or your association.
6. Test your NPPE Knowledge
As mentioned earlier, the syllabus for this exam is quite extensive. You'll have some knowledge and good reasoning already from working in industry.
Here is how it is for most people on the 3 main NPPE Exam topics:
- Law - some exposure to business organizations, insurance, health and safety law and contracts (e.g. drafting, entering, and breach).
- Ethics - some understanding of ethical issues, dilemmas, and duty to public and environment.
- Professional Practice - fair understanding of the licencing process, workplace issues, safety standards and intellectual property.
Now, let's take a look at a pie chart that reflects a typical students' knowledge.
Your pie chart might have the portions a little different, but everyone will have these 3 areas. Things you know, things you know you don't know, and an even bigger section of "what you don't know, you don't know".
This last section is only understood once you take a close look at the syllabus and realize that the exam writers have cast the net very wide.
Luckily, practicing sample NPPE questions solves two problems for you:
- you're able to quickly identify gaps in your knowledge; and
- if you use a timer, you can learn how to pace yourself and avoid running out of time.
It is well understood that the NPPE questions and long and tricky. If you're self-studying, you need to find a friend to develop the questions you fo. If you develop them on your own, you will know the correct answer, and it will defeat your purpose.
You'll also want practice questions that cover the entire syllabus. To do this, take the syllabus and go line by line and have your friend develop questions for each line. Although there are 6 syllabus topics and 40 sub-topics, those sub-topics have their own topics (about 250 in total).
Let's take a look at a question from our NPPE Course course.
Question. Kenny, P.Eng., is an electrical designer and is disgruntled with his working situation. He asks his other professional colleagues, and they have similar feelings towards management. Kenny and others believe that management has not treated them fairly concerning pay scales, working hours, and benefits compared to similar industry companies. One of Kenny’s colleagues suggests that they start a union. Kenny knows that starting a union:
A. is an appropriate early step to correct the situation.
B. is unethical and may lead to the company reducing in size.
C. on their own is not smart; joining the already established labour union is best.
D. reflects that his employer failed to set fair policies and negotiating procedures.
Answer and explanation. Try to answer this on your own before reading any further. The correct answer is D. When employees want to unionize, it often reflects employer-related issues. The option "is an appropriate early step to correct the situation" is incorrect as unionization should be the last step. "Is unethical and may lead to the company reducing in size" is incorrect as unions are ethical. "On their own is not smart; joining the already established labour union is best" is incorrect as professionals should steer away from labour unions since professionals are often smaller in numbers and their interests will not be well supported. 5th or 6th ed. ethics textbook p.237 or https://canadianlabour.ca/what-unions-do/.
This a suitable and challenging question because:
- It is long enough to consume some time. You only have 2.5 hours to write 110 questions (or 3 hours for 120 questions for certain provinces), so the longer the questions are, the more challenging they become.
- Each option looks like a good one at first glance. Expect all options to be plausible, where you have to hunt for the best one.
- It is based on a situation. By personalizing the question, using Kenny in this example, you immediately imagine the situation from his perspective.
- It tests more than one thing. Here, you are tested on your knowledge about unions and how to apply them to Kenny's situation. This application is what you can expect to find on the exam.
Now let's look at Bloom's Taxonomy below.
It shows different thinking levels that can be tested during an exam. Luckily, with multiple choice question (MCQ) exams, the highest order items (creating and evaluating) can't be tested. So, your NPPE questions will test your knowledge of the bottom 4 (Remembering, Understanding, Applying and Analyzing). So you're left with a mixture of the lower 4 types. The question above tests your understanding of unions and their application (items 2 and 3).
Having an awareness of Bloom's Taxonomy is important in understanding why it will take a few weeks to prepare for the exam. While you might remember and understand lots of facts in a week or two, it will take a little more time to apply and analyze different law, ethics and professional practice situations.
A good challenging exam will have 70% or more of the MCQs at the level 3 and 4, and the rest at level 1 or 2. So as you prepare for your exam, don't just read and memorize concepts (level 1). I encourage you to:
- Read the case studies.
- Ask yourself - How could (insert term) affect me in my career? What situation could I see myself in regarding (insert term)?
By thinking and discussing the terms, instead of just reading them, you're practising your application and analyzing skills (levels 3 and 4).
7. Where to get your NPPE Exam Practice Questions from?
There are a few options of where to get practice questions from. Since your exam is multiple-choice, you'll want to practice multiple choice question prior to the exam. Here are a few options:
- (free) APEGA has provided 8 sample questions at the bottom of that link. You may find the 2-line questions too short and not reflective of the current exam questions that are expected to be harder, longer and situational.
- NPPE Practice sells retired questions that were once on the NPPE. From what I understand these questions are from around 2015 and don't reflect the current difficulty of the exam. The other issues are: they are very expensive at $1/question, you only are given 3 attempts and there are no provincial-specific questions (for applicants like PEO that adds some additional questions)
- Our NPPE Course contains 500 sample questions continually updated to challenge aspiring engineers and simulate the exam difficulty.
We hope that you enjoyed this post. If you did, please leave a comment or question. You can learn more about our NPPE Total Prep Course today.