If you're looking to take your NPPE Exam in 2021, this post has everything you need to get started on the right foot.
NPPE Exam Dates
The 2021 NPPE Exam dates are as follows:
- January 25–27, 2021
- April 12–14, 2021
- June 14–16, 2021
- August 30 –September 1, 2021
- November 8–10, 2021
With so much choice, which sitting is right for you?
This is a highly personal question and it depends on a few things. When is your busiest time of year at work and at 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 prior to 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 you have to have started the licensing process first. By starting the process, your association will make sure 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:
Who is the NPPE For?
It is for those who want to obtain their Foreign or Professional License. It is a necessary step that tests your English skills and ability to make a good judgment on situational questions. The questions are drawn from a number of reading materials that you can purchase in your study kit. The kit contains reading material including a Law textbook, Ethics textbook, Engineering Act, by-laws and intellectual property white papers.
APEGA has provided 8 sample questions at the bottom of this page. Readers 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. Our NPPE Pro Online Course contains up to 500 sample questions that are continually updated to challenge aspiring engineers and simulate the exam difficulty.
Let's now look at a sample question taken from the Pro Course.
Download my NPPE Cheat Sheet to get a summarized overview of the key topics and recommended study method.
NPPE Exam Sample Question
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 with respect to pay scales, working hours and benefits when compared to similar companies in the industry. 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 is a reflection of 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, as well as 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 the application of it (items 2 and 3).
Having an awareness of Bloom's Taxonomy is important in understanding why it will take a few weeks to get ready for the exam. While you might be able to 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).
NPPE Exam Strategies
Like any other exam, there are strategies to use to make the exam process easier. However, with lots of advice online, from friends and colleagues, 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)
You'll notice that topics II, III and IV have more weight to them. This is because they are larger topics. As a result, when you study for your NPPE Exam, you should spend more time focusing on these areas.
Often, clients will come to us 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 Exam course since we have more practice questions and longer syllabus presentations for topics II through IV.
2. Make Visual Connections with the NPPE Exam 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 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
- 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. Budget about 10-15 hours per mind map to collect and organize the relevant information.
In our NPPE Exam Course, we have 9 mind maps ready for you to download/print. They cover each of the six syllabus topics + 3 more (to cover each of the main themes: law, ethics and professional practice).
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.