PEO NPPE – What’s Unique for Ontario Writers?

In April 2020, PEO adopted the national professional practice exam (NPPE) as a permanent solution to the law and ethics licensing step.  This post will cover some aspects that are important to know about your PEO NPPE.

Advantages of the NPPE (sometimes called PEO NPPE)

The NPPE has two distinct advantages over the now-retired PPE:

  1. It gives applicants the ability to take the exam when social distancing measures are in place.  This means virtual proctoring is permitted.  What is virtual proctoring?  It is a way for the candidate to write the PEO NPPE at a suitable location such as your workplace as long as a P.Eng., P.Geo., or P.Geoph. proctor has been identified.
  2.  The NPPE results are also subject to psychometric analysis and reporting.

By migrating to the NPPE, PEO also complied with a recommendation from a 2019 independent audit on its regulatory performance. See item 4.21 in this report if you're interested in learning about what problem the auditor had with the retired PPE.

PEO NPPE via virtual proctoring
Here is what virtual proctoring might look like at your work. You'll need a P.Eng. proctor (to administer the exam) and an approved computer with a functioning microphone (so they can double-check no one is assisting you).

Main Differences between the retired PPE and the NPPE

Here are the main differences between the NPPE and the retired PPE for PEO exam writers:

  • NPPE is all multiple-choice (instead of short- and long-answers)
  • NPPE is computer-based (instead of pen and paper)
  • NPPE is 3 hours long (this is no change)
  • NPPE has a specific syllabus that covers 6 main categories and questions that apply to most jurisdictions in Canada. Then, a 7th topic is included which includes 10 PEO-specific questions.
  • NPPE doesn't release old exam questions (where PEO did publish some of its old PPE papers)
  • The NPPE uses the same ethics textbook (by Andrews), but for the law book, it uses a book called Practical Law of Architecture, engineering and Geoscience (by Samuel and Sanders).  We don't recommend the Marston law book since it doesn't align as well as the Samuel/Sanders book. 

When is the NPPE offered?

Unlike PEOs PPE that was offered just 3 times a year, the NPPE has a total of 5 sittings.  For 2021, the sittings are:

  • January 25–27, 2021
  • April 12–14, 2021
  • June 14–16, 2021
  • August 30 –September 1, 2021
  • November 8–10, 2021

You'll want to make sure that you have registered with PEO first.  Once you do that, they will notify you when you are eligible for an NPPE sitting.  We have written about some NPPE Exam strategies for you to consider.

What is covered in the ten PEO NPPE questions?

Preparing for the PEO NPPE is similar for NPPE.  In fact, PEO NPPE writers will see the same 110 NPPE questions.  However, 10 additional PEO-specific questions are inserted in, making the total 120.  These ten additional questions will test your knowledge on three topics as mentioned by PEO:

To get to know these topics, you can use the links above.  For the third bullet, you can scan PEOs website and look at FAQ pages to get a sense of the issues and questions people commonly ask about.

For students of our NPPE Course, in addition to the 500 NPPE practice questions, we provide 30-specific PEO questions to test you on those three bullets. We also have a comprehensive mind map (screenshot below) that shows this material visually.

PEO NPPE mind map

Mind maps are a really handy study tool and we talk about them a little more in our NPPE Exam post.

How to Prepare for the PEO NPPE

There are two methods to prepare for this exam:

  1. Self-study + buy the 2 textbooks.  This will take you the longest as you'll want to develop your own crib sheets, practice questions, study plan and organize the information on your own.  Most aspiring engineers trying to balance work and family commitments will find it difficult to find 2-3 hours/day over 8-weeks to learn all the information on their own.
  2. Use an NPPE Prep Course (textbooks are optional).  Using a trusted prep course and cut your effort in half.  Priced at around $200, it is an excellent value for the pain and sweat you will incur while trying to study on your own. Here at Practice PPE Exams, we've developed a comprehensive NPPE Course that gives you 6-months of unlimited access to 500 practice questions, over 3 hours of syllabus presentation materials, flashcards, 10 mind maps, a study checklist and much more.  With this option, give yourself 4-6 weeks and 1-2 hours per day of study.  The textbooks are optional since we provide links to trustworthy URLs in our course to cover the materials.  However, if you still want to buy the textbooks, we provide page and section numbers to direct to for further reading.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions about the NPPE.  We also invite you to download our free NPPE cheat sheet below.  Enjoy!

Start the free NPPE mini-course

Please fill in the form to start the free mini-course. We just need this basic information to allow you to see some of the course material that is behind the member wall. If you don't see a form, then we already have your login details.

You'll also receive my monthly Canadian engineering newsletter to keep you informed about licensing changes and noteworthy career topics.

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13 thoughts on “PEO NPPE – What’s Unique for Ontario Writers?”

    1. Hi Simone,

      How many hours of studying (in average) would your course take to study before one is ready to write the exam?

      1. Hi Sam,

        Great question. If you haven’t started studying yet, we recommend 4-5 weeks of study time at 1-2 hours per day. But, if you have already started self-studying you can use certain or all parts of the course as a last-minute study tool depending on what aspect of the course interests you (e.g. flashcards, syllabus presentations, 500 practice questions). Drop us a line at support@practiceppeexams.ca if we can help you further.

    1. Hi Rodrigo,

      We have a very comprehensive NPPE course applicable to any applicant of an association writing the NPPE (including PEO). I’ll be in touch with more details.

  1. Due to covold 19 i did not take exam PPE now they introduced NPPE. i buy PPE practice exam from you from you
    but they cancel.can you help me regarding this

    1. Hi Syed,
      Thank you for the comment. I’m emailing you now about switching your access to our NPPE course.

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Great question. The Marston would definitely have some applicability to the NPPE. However, from the investigation that I have done, the Sanders law textbook seems better aligned with the NPPE syllabus. If you have the option to buy one, I would recommend the Sanders book. We provide page numbers for the Sanders law book (2nd or 3rd edition) as well as trustworthy URLs if you decide not to start with their of the textbooks.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for the great question. You are correct. We originally published the video and this blog post in April 2020 when PEO first talked about their plan to migrate to the NPPE. For the first sitting, it was 2.5 hours. Now, as you have correctly pointed out, it is 3 hours and there is a 7th syllabus section called “VII. PEO Questions” which covers its Act, Regulations 941 and 260/08, and Ontario focused practice issues.

      Our course has always reflected those changes and provides extra PEO-specific too. Just a few moments ago, I updated this post to reflect those changes. Next week, we’ll be adding a few pop-up clarifications to that YouTube video to make sure it remains relevant.
      Thanks again!

  2. Hi,

    I am an electrical EIT with EGBC and willing to apply for the PPE exam on August 30 – September 1. I am a bit concerned about the study material as I have never taken any ethics courses during my school time. I wondering if the course you are offering would suffice and if there are essay questions for the EGBC exam, as I notice that you are focusing on PEO. I would also like to know the total number of hours that are recommended for study to cover all the material and if it’s necessary to purchase the textbooks or just use the course material.


    1. Hi Anis,
      Great questions.
      Yes, we have 12 practice essay questions in step 7 of the course for EGBC applicants. We support everyone writing the common NPPE and those with variations including EGBC, PEO and APEGS. 1-2 hours per day for 5 weeks is enough for most people. The textbooks are helpful if you want to read from one author’s voice and don’t want to be on your computer for each study session. In the course, we provide URLs to topics that we discuss, so the textbooks are optional if you don’t want to order them. We look forward to supporting you.

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